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I know this is bound to piss some people off here because talking Jesus stuff at dKos is kinda asking to rile stuff up. But I'd like some help from the Bible-knowledgeable folks here and I'm hoping for toleration from the rest (yeah, lots of luck, but I'm hoping).

Its my impression that the bible-based Antichrist is featured by its ability to cause people with faith in Jesus to lose their true faith and lose their salvation. I know there is all sorts of lore surrounding the Revelations figures of the Beast and the Antichrist and and and etc. but staying Bible-based - Isn't that feature the main thing? This isn't Hollywood or The Omen. I'm asking as a matter of straight scripture. Feel free to hit me with verses.

My contextual concern for this has been some Republicans' unedifying behavior. I find the degree to which it is unedifying frightening, especially when these folks lips confess Christ but their behavior is contentious and makes me feel sickened.

Can it be that a significant percentage of Republicans actually believe Obama is causing the faithful to lose their faith? I really doubt it. I'm sure a lot of Republicans' unedifying behavior has that effect, and especially when it becomes all murderous and hateful that kinda pretty much imperils their salvation. If there's anything Antichristian at work in America today, it seems to me right-wing extremism is doing a pretty good job at it. And that's not to identify or claim anything here as "being the Antichrist." But for realsies, Obama?

I know there is a sense that keeping religion out of it is the best way to keep religious extremism out of it and I'm used to the politically astute ridiculing the idea of people talking to God or thinking God answers back. But that doesn't mean that this premise of Obama-as-Antichrist shouldn't be addressed by scripture or refuted by scripture. It's a burden to me to see so many people who should be acting like a house on the hill seeming to be more like burning houses on the hill (yeah I know America has a long history of that). As a parent as well, I know the way this represents Christian faith could cause any number of young minds to think "Flee!" I'm sure many people here have already acted on that "flee" impulse and fled from Christian beliefs as something to hold seriously. Obviously the Pope scandal right now doesn't help.

Flame away, I guess, but I still think the counterquestion is How has Obama caused the faithful to lose their faith?

Update: I really want to thank all the commenters for being so nice and thoughtful. I suppose where this discussion has left me is the idea of asking Congressional reps and senators whether they are willing to go on the record that they personally believe President Obama is NOT the Antichrist. That could cause some interesting trouble. I would not be able to do this myself personally. Should I try to recruit someone to do it?

Originally posted to philipmerrill on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 09:49 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I had a discussion with a teenager (7+ / 0-)

      the other day. He insisted that Obama was the A.C. Would give no ground to any argument against.  I presented him with many historical (and erronious) claims of Anti Christliness ascribed to other Presidents, Popes, & Putas (well, not putas). As well as U.N. directors, Masons, Mormons, etc.  He denied Obamas whiteness, ("no one cares what his mother is or what she did, it's not important") later he insisted Obama was the AC because he was light skinned. He finally got mad when I said that dog over there could be the AC just as likely as Obama, he claimed I was impuning his faith, apparetly centered on the belief that Obama was the AC.  He called me a bad Chrisitan.  

      If there are 14 year olds put there like this, how many are close enogh to step into the Hutaree Camp?

      If Republicans weren't arrogant, how would I teach my son about arrogance?

      by manoffire on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 11:43:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catdevotee, grada3784, burana, yaque

        We always say around here that we have Obama's back even though we disapprove of some aspects of his policies, mostly those that continue Bush legacies. Somehow this is an area where progressives should connive to have his back. The people who like to do this A.C. assertion thing should be hearing counter-arguments that are non-secular.

        I wish I had a good scheme.

      •  can't reason with idiots (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mnemosyne, grada3784, yaque

        Should have just said:

        "Look, Obama can't be the antichrist, cuz I'm the antichrist (and so's my wife).  Now shush, and be on your way".

        •  but you have to try to persuade voters (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I suppose it's just some of the guests that the idiots have over at their BBQs that I want us to reach. A lot of recent elections have hinged on 1,000 votes either way, so the impact of reasoning with idiots could sway some Independents. Superficially, it looks like Obama has consciously adopted that as a standard strategy. But he imposes limits on himself that others don't have.

          I wonder how many members of Congress would be unwilling to go on the record as stating that they personally believe Obama is NOT the Antichrist? Perhaps that would be a scheme?

    •  I was under the impression (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grada3784, philipmerrill

      that the concept of the Anti-Christ was a historically constructed concept with very thin Biblical support.  At least this is what I gather from the documentaries I've watched on it.  Am I mistaken?

  •  The really really crazy crazies think the (5+ / 0-)

    Catholic Church is the Antichrist. The Dominionists like Palin for example.

    So they might have a point on that one, if there were such a thing as Antichrists, which there aren't.

    No offense to you or your diary, that's just my opinion anyway.

  •  Some ideas are not worth refuting (6+ / 0-)

    They just deserve a bitch slap.

  •  Everyone knows (10+ / 0-)

    that Jerry Falwell said that the Antichrist was 3 things:
    and alive today

    I'm guessing Larry David.

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

    by James Allen on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:04:24 PM PDT

  •  I rec'd this and passed it on to my FB page! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philoguy, Pluto, grada3784

    Wow, so refreshing.  I just can't stand to burst this person's bubble by telling her that the people behind all of the AntiChrist and Birther crap are just nasty "human beings" (and I say that lightly), that have absolutely no belief system and certainly don't give a hoot about the Antichrist except for the fact that it's a way to keep the "minnions" in line with all the scary Bible thumping stuff.  Oops, said it anyway....

  •  There is really very little... (10+ / 0-)

    regarding the "Antichrist" in the actual Bible.

    The word only appears a few times in the Epistles of John, and then it is usually in the context of "an antichrist" (used as a kind of synonym for heathen or infidel) rather than "The Antichrist."  Although the later usage is indeed present.

    It's commonly understood that the "Man of Sin" in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 is this same figure.

    snip from wikipedia:

    Paul writes that this Man of Sin will possess a number of characteristics. These include "sitting in the temple", opposing himself against anything that is worshiped, claiming divine authority, working all kinds of counterfeit miracles and signs, and doing all kinds of evil.  Paul notes that "the mystery of lawlessness"  (though not the Man of Sin himself) was working in secret already during his day and will continue to function until being destroyed on the Last Day.  His identity is to be revealed after that which is restraining him is removed.

    Real specific stuff, huh?

    My personal atheistic opinion is that this meme has much more to do with identity politics than biblical scholarship.

    Evreything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

    by GreenPA on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:08:58 PM PDT

  •  The blind leading the blind? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philoguy, grada3784, crose, bluegrass50

    But that doesn't mean that this premise of Obama-as-Antichrist shouldn't be addressed by scripture or refuted by scripture.

    How about we treat this entire Anti-Christ thing as what it is?  The inclusion in the Bible of the drug-addled writings of a unknown author.  Rejected by many Christian scholars, including Martin Luther.

    Why not deal with this problem head-on?  As in, "it's fine if you want to believe this nonsense, but if you take action in opposition to the law and/or good sense, you will be sanctioned".

    "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." Lazarus Long

    by rfall on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:09:20 PM PDT

    •  that would be a secular response (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grada3784, crose, rfall

      I'm not downing it. But if the idea these Republicans have is that no one who believes in Jesus disagrees with them openly, then they are not getting enough of an opportunity to have their negative feelings about Obama shaken or challenged.

      •  It certainly seems a reasonable approach to (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Philoguy, grada3784, philipmerrill, crose

        ...hit them both high and low, on secular and spiritual grounds.

        I just can't take part in the latter, and think that it's just dueling religious interpretations in any case.

        But, if it helps to counter the idiocy of the religious rightwing, I'm down with that.

        "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." Lazarus Long

        by rfall on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:34:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not crazy about the title (11+ / 0-)

    I am a devout Christian, but I'm not sure about this diary title, because it seems the point of this diary is to discuss the horror-show that is the extremist crazies in this country who actually believe that our President is the anti-Christ.  That's not a "Christian" topic -- it's a topic for realists, Americans, people who think -- and the whole meme is scary as heck.

    I am appalled that this is even an issue, a discussion point, a THOUGHT, even, in America in 2010.  Seriously.  I know the anti-Christ drill:

    2 Thessalonians 2

    1Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

    2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

    3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

    5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

    6And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

    7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

    8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

    9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

    10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

    11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

    12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    But the thought that there is some percentage (jeepers -- any percentage) of Americans who believe this about our President is just horrifying.

    "Let reverence for the laws . . . become the political religion of the nation." ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:09:49 PM PDT

    •  We really do need a good term (7+ / 0-)

      to distinguish Bible-thumping hatriots from practicing Christians. Something that alludes to their (pseudo-)Christianity without implicating Jesus in their berserker mentality.

      "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

      by Bob Love on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:23:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I go for "viper and hypocrite Christianity" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Love, philipmerrill

        with Jesus on their lips and fear and hate in their hearts. Then there's "Satan's Christianity" which is, I believe, technically accurate.

        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 11:10:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, but you're a believer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That title was meant as an honest warning to folks here who have a strong gag reflex to anything Jesus-this or Jesus-that here.

      •  Yes, but (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EeDan, philipmerrill, crose

        I think the title would steer them away . . . yes?  This isn't about crazy Christians . . . it's about the crazies.

        "Let reverence for the laws . . . become the political religion of the nation." ~ Abraham Lincoln

        by noweasels on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:46:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well...I'm not sure (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If I was writing this from a purely secular viewpoint with confidence in a straightforward assertion, then I wouldn't have felt the need for putting that there. And just because it's Christian oriented doesn't mean they have to avoid it. I sometimes read transgender diaries. Around here being openly Jesus-oriented is offensive to a lot of people. (I can see why.)

          •  Unfortunately, this is a problem all religions (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            deal with - even those that are not truly definable as "religion", such as Buddhism.  There are always those who will adopt the mantle of acceptability in order to follow their own ends.  Once someone says they are fighting for Buddhism or they are a Christian Militant, there's not much that can be done unless the mass of mainstream participants elects to rise up in rejection - or to quote Sen. Carrothue: "No, you can't!".  

            That's the problem - no one on the outside can strip the mantle, only those on the inside.  The Christian Crazies have to be rejected by the non-crazy Christians.

            That which doesn't kill me merely postpones the inevitable.

            by EeDan on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:33:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  noweasels, I wish you were at my place (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I bet you anything you would crack up if you saw this spiritual girl's Christian wack collection.

      The Pluto Chronicles. You want reality? You can't handle reality!

      by Pluto on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 11:00:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Christian wack? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Mal: "...So then the Shepherd says to the Companion, "Well, a good goat'll do that."

        by crose on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 11:24:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You Know... (7+ / 0-)

          I'm a collector.

          The Pluto Chronicles. You want reality? You can't handle reality!

          by Pluto on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 11:31:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Conan did some great bits about those. (3+ / 0-)

            "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

            by James Allen on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 11:32:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Hey (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            EeDan, Pluto, grada3784, philipmerrill, crose

            Go Here.


            Jesus and Saint Peter are golfing. St. Peter steps up to the tee on a par three and hits one long and straight. It reaches the green. Jesus is up next. He slices it. It heads over the fence into traffic on an adjacent street. Bounces off a truck, onto the roof of a nearby shack and into the rain gutter, down the drain spout and onto a lilly pad at the edge of a lake. A frog jumps up and snatches the ball in his mouth. An eagle swoops down, grabs the frog. As the eagle flies over the green, the frog croaks and drops the ball. It’s in the hole. Saint Peter looks at Jesus, exasperated. "Are you gonna play golf?" he asks "Or are you just gonna fuck around?"


            Moses and Jesus are playing golf, Jesus says: "This is a 230 yard par 3 over water, and Tiger would use a 4 iron." Moses responds: "Not enough club for you." Jesus hits it in the water, and asks Moses to part the water for him, like the Red Sea. Moses says: "No way, I’m up two with two to go!" Jesus starts walking on water looking for his ball. A group following them comes to the tee and one of them says: "Wow! Who does he think he is, Jesus?" Moses responds: "No, Tiger Woods."


            The Pope gets a letter from the head Rabbi in Israel challenging him to a game of golf. The Pope's handicap is 28, so he calls on one of his flock for help. "Jack, you are now Cardinal Nicklaus, and I want you to go whip the socks off the Rabbi." When Cardinal Nicklaus returns, the Pope asks how it went. "I have good news and bad news. The good news is I played my best game ever, and shot a 63. The bad news is I lost to Rabbi Woods by 2 strokes."


            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 06:14:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  That is FABULOUS!!!! (0+ / 0-)

            My god an entirely NEW thing to collect, allow to get covered with a deep coat of hoar and then shoot off the fencepost!!! I LOVE IT!!

            A friend of mine collects cans of potted meat products from all over the world. She loves the labels.

            I collected my coydog's whiskers, and my GSD's whiskers before that. There are some things that defy the definition of "collectible."

            Mal: "...So then the Shepherd says to the Companion, "Well, a good goat'll do that."

            by crose on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 10:30:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Antichrist is a tricky subject... (9+ / 0-)

    ...and I intentionally don't put "the" before Antichrist there, because the Bible's unclear on whether there's one singular antichrist or whether antichrists can be multiple. 1 John 2 seems to suggest the latter:

    [18] Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.

    Regardless, the thing they're usually referring to is this passage about the "man of lawlessness" from 2 Thessalonians 2:

    [3] Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. [4] He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

    [5] Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? [6] And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. [7] For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. [8] And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. [9] The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, [10] and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. [11] For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie [12] and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

    There's a pretty big assumption being made here, of course: that the reader is to believe that he or she is living in the last days - which obviously couldn't have been true when the letter to the Thessalonians was written in the 1st century CE, when the modern interpretations of the apocalypse myths were being constructed in the late 19th century CE, and today in the 21st century CE. Otherwise, if you believe the Bible, if you're not living in the last days the "man of lawlessness" is still a while off.

    The other distinct thing about the "man of lawlessness" - and perhaps about apocalyptic literature in general - is the versatility of its language. The above passage could be applied to any number of figures in history, from the right point of view. The same with apocalyptic literature in general, which was of course written to persecuted communities; its function is to buck the community up, to tell them that no matter how shitty things may look right now God's going to come back and bring justice. If you're seeing religion being hijacked by your persecutors, and see the masses believing things your faith tells you are untrue, the above passage would be quite heartening - of course they're being deceived by an antichrist, and Jesus will set everything right when he comes again.

    At the end of the day, Scripture - like statistics - can be used by pretty much anyone to "prove" pretty much anything. In my opinion, the grand narratives of the Bible and the wisdom its smaller narratives (particularly the life of Jesus) can impart to us are much, much more important interpretively than finding some kind of propositional, constitutional "proof" that so-and-so is the Antichrist.

    Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

    by mistersite on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:12:27 PM PDT

  •  Two points here: (10+ / 0-)

    Agree with commenter that if Obama has caused someone to lose their faith, they never had it. It is a ridiculous concept.

    As to the Anti-Christ, the only place you find reference to it is the Book of Revelation, which is an allegory and not to be taken literally. In trying to take it literally, you can interpret it any way you want and I could make a case for anyone up to and including Mr. Rogers or Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street as being the anti-Christ.

    Indeed, whatever happened to Russia as the "land of Magog" from scripture out of which the anti-Christ would come - this was big from the 1950s through the 1980s. Now some say it's Iran, some say Osama bin Laden is the anti-Christ, etc. etc. There's not but ignorant spewing on the matter.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:16:11 PM PDT

  •  It's the only way they can explain (7+ / 0-)

    how a black guy can be popular enough to become President.

    Especially after eight years of Pure Righteousness.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:16:45 PM PDT

  •  If you go look at The Revelation to John (4+ / 0-)

    (AKA the Apocalypse of John, also sometimes called the Book of Revelation), you'll find the relevant verses around Revelation 13:1-18, but believe me, you'll find it a rough row to hoe to find anything that looks like Obama, or anyone else, in that mess.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
    --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

    by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:19:27 PM PDT

  •  Doesn't sound like Christianity to me. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    philipmerrill, createpeace, FireBird1

    Jesus Christ himself would be scratching his head trying to figure out what those wingnuts are jabbering about. It's a mishmash of violent superstitions and prejudices that have little relation to the sort of values that Christ talked about.

    Greenspan admits his free market faith was "a mistake" - Reliance on self interest creates a flaw "in how the world works."

    by Otherday on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:39:38 PM PDT

  •  I knew back during the election (6+ / 0-)

    that when people on the right started  using pics of Obama and describing him as magic, or embolded in light shadows, or calling him The One, was a set up for the AntiChrist theme.

    They even had a last supper painting out there for awhile.
    This rhetoric worried me.  He had not even picked a running mate.
    if it was not a problem anywhere
    else, I knew it would be a problem
    in the Bible Belt.  The huge mass of people desiring change.  They
    could not wrap their little minds around a black man having that much appeal without supernatural intervention.

    The bible refers to end times and the AntiChrist in Daniel and
    Revelation but these so called haters are hijacking faith in the name of God and religion is becoming a cult and has nothing to do with real Christlike images.
    Obama would not fit the profile in any way shape or form of what some refer to as the Anti Christ.  I am old enough to to remember people saying John Kennedy was the antichrist.

     The AntiChrist according to scripture would be LOVED by everyone.  That certainly would not be this president.
    The one world government actually was spewed by HW Bush, Sr. first.
    Then when Clinton talked of Globlization, these haters said he just changed the word.  Alex Jones is promoting so much of this as well as Ron Paul.IMO.

    It blows my mind to think that even the KKK was started under the misguided, warped theory of God founded.  Be not deceived, they do hate and mistrust the government and felt like Bush was one of them.  W....Don't even ask me why
    they believed that except all the evangelicals were visiting him briefing him on end times.  I heard while channel surfing one night, Jack Van Impe say he was spritually advising Bush on the end times.  That evangelist is supposed to be a Hal Lindsay prophet of end times.  

    These people have twisted the bible just as much as they have twisted the Constitution and it is  not much different than the
    misguided views of the Jim Jones,
    the Taliban or any other wierd religious belief.  

    Obama barely got healthcare, and people believe he can sway people
    to lose faith?  They never showed any signs of having faith to begin with, if they are doomers and judgers.  They are hypocrits and in biblical terms, Pharasees.  They are true believers in a God of their perception that rules with an iron fist and the bible says God is love.  Go figure.  You can't fix stupid and crazy is just

    •  That last sentence is poetry (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crose, Vetwife

      You can't fix stupid and crazy is just dangerous.

      I actually really love that. But even if we can't fix the infestation, it might be possible to knock some percentage points off it. I do not want to lose seats in November - I just don't. This might be the most hopeless side of the spectrum to address, but their loud mouths bother me.

  •  I wouldn't put words in iron-age mouths (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I wasn't there and a lot has transpired in the meantime.

    Those that are most threatened by us are those that are most unsure of themselves.

    by Steven Payne on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:44:17 PM PDT

  •  Maybe Glenn Beck. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, philipmerrill, crose, FireBird1

    He told his followers to leave their churches and write down everything he says. And in some traditions the Devil is ignorance, misperception or misunderstanding.

    Regarding the Book of Revelation, the author was locked in a dungeon, and his book is a nightmare. It shouldn't trump JC's teachings.

    In some ways, religious "soldiers" misunderstand the real battle. Jihad is spiritual, not a physical confrontation with outer bogeymen.  "Help others and fix yourself, not the other way around." Compassion is not an easy path.

    IOW, the antichrist is within each of us, and the battle is with that.

    (If that makes any sense.)

    These are remarks that verge upon the personal. via James Wolcott

    by x on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:55:43 PM PDT

    •  It makes plenty of sense (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And the too-popular bashing of the word jihad is indicative of the whole problem. It's violent extremism that needs to be bashed.

      Similar issues with approaches to the Bible that hold "just say Jesus" is a sufficient answer to having a life in God's name. Such an easy approach that can be used to self-justify any extreme.

      I suppose the battles all of us must lead inside of ourselves (not just an antichrist thing) is a bigger issue that could be better represented. We can be stronger together, understand ourselves better by broadening our horizons, and dismay the corporatist scoundrels in the process.

  •  Here is a thought (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When talking about these militia types claiming terror in the name of God.  This really does terrify me.  First of all we have so many misguided followers of religion and not the same of  many people of faith who try to
    interepret Christ's teachings.

    What if that plan had not been foiled?  We don't know for sure that it has been completely and if not, then we could not trust our neighbors, teachers, or family, or people who claim patriotism or christianity because we would not know if they were targeting anyone who believed differenty.  EXACTLY
    like the Taliban.  In that case, if IED's were placed, and people killed in masses, martial law would
    almost be certain, to contain civil unrest.  The National Guard would have to be called and Machavelian like, these nutcases would say, "See I told you" and then it would be so dangerous every thing would be IMO worse than the 60's withe the church bombings because it was white against black and other minoroties, not a so called religious uprising against people
    who have been vocal of their beliefs or non beliefs.  This is what they are trying to do.
    Why can't thinking people see that they are the enemy who could cause the very thing in a delusional mind that they are trying to avoid?
    Maybe these people are so whacked out that they do want us all to die and they take over and start their own Taliban of sorts under the banner of Chrisitianity.

    •  hard not to be calm-challenged (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I feel you. I'm hoping now's the right time for some of this to get settled, and I'm gratified by the demographics. I also think Obama is smart about the ugly side of life. He's had to be.

      But I also think what you refer to could be seen as bullying where many Republican/Independent people can see all of that and feel that they must let themselves be swept along by the popular tide of people around them. So I want people like us to undermine their confidence that we Dems are what we have been portrayed to be. Reaching them may be hard, but that IS why Obama goes on Fox.

      And unfortunately zealots tend to be very insensitive to people with different beliefs dying.

  •  No Rapture, No AntiChrist, No Problem. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philoguy, obsess5, philipmerrill

    All due respect, but I think you have the cart before the horse. If you wish to use scripture in your discussion there are two separate journeys that you have to traverse otherwise you are just arguing about words.
    Journey 1: The beliefs of the earliest Christians, The change in beliefs that followed soon after and then Christianity for the next 2000 years.
    Journey 2: The breadth of early Christian writing and the byzantine path to the current Canon first confirmed ~360 CE
    Journey 1: The beliefs of the earliest Christians. The Apostle Paul is the earliest Canonical writer in the New Testament. Paul speaks of the imminent return of Jesus within in his lifetime. This mindset flows throughout Paul's writings. He writes about celibacy being best given the imminent return of Jesus. Paul's clear narrative gives way to the Johna-nine narrative that introduces a more mystical view of Jesus being reunited with his flock. The change is necessitated by the observable fact that AFAWK Jesus did not return as Paul had hoped. So instead of Jesus coming back to rule on Earth with Paul and all of Jesus's followers now the reunion is to take place in heaven. In the second century CE There were lots of competing ideas about the true nature of Christianity many of them much different than Christianity as we know it today. For brevity's sake (too late for that) suffice it to say that the Hellenistic Paul and the Ethereal John won the day. Obtuse texts beget obtuse interpretations of the texts. Add time and translation and you get The Rapture and the AntiChrist.
    Journey 2: The Christian bible did not come together as a single document until ~360 CE. There are no surviving complete texts of the books in the canon older than ~200 CE so it is hard to say what path many of the books in the Christian bible took to become part of the canon. Further in the period ~100- 200 CE there was active suppression of alternate points of view within the Christian hierarchy. We only know of some of these traditions due to the voluminous refutations written by Iranius and Tertullian.
    It is widely known and accepted that we do not know who wrote most of the books of the New testament. We do know that some books are not what they seem. Second Timothy is most likely a fake written by some church scribe that didn't care for Paul's views as expressed in First Timothy.

    So summing up we have a set of beliefs that changed over time. We have a New Testament that is a thoroughly human document. To try to make sense of some of the diverse Christians views of the AntiChrist necessarily requires that we place the greater discussion within the historical framework of both Christian beliefs and practice and the rather arbitrary collection of Christian writings we call the new testament.

    The elephant in the living room is that many good Christians were brought up to believe that the Bible is the Literal word of God and that it is without error. So it is a lot for them to accept that their could be legitimate but differing points of view on anything in the Christian bible.

    If someone confronts me with talk of the AntiChrist I will deflect it if possible. If not I will guide the discussion through questioning. While there are some of the AntiChrist persuasion  that are able scholars of their faith, for the most part the flock is simply repeating what they have been told ad nauseum all of their life. The scholars are more fun because you can actually have a meaningful conversation. As for the rest of the flock I just try to be as kind as circumstances permit and move on.

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire

    by leftover on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 12:55:58 AM PDT

    •  very interesting albeit "scholarly" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      1st - I'd be curious @ a reading list.

      2nd - BUT... my sense of countering or standing up to these literalists doesn't necessitate the scholarly journey(s) IMHO, especially since the scholarly approach is reviled by them and seen as a refusal to accept God as superior or his word as perfect.

      Now I'm OK with aspects of the literalists as far as leading a personal life of faith. But when it comes to "just arguing about words" it seems to me this is something many of them excel at and illustrating how much diversity is possible. There's a lot of consistent insistence that the Bible is easy and straightforward to interpret literally followed by all sorts of fantastical and individual conclusions, and often insistent arguments about words that seem like the sort of formalism that the Gospels Jesus was encouraging people of that day not to get overly wrapped up in.

      So I enjoy what you say but consider it at least halfway comparable to secular points raised by other commenters. I'd still like to see some pushback that was in these folks' own terms. There are old white Southern Christian males who are not so nasty and hateful as this Tea Party stereotype. There has to be a way to push back that isn't asking to be martyred quickly.

      But feel free to chalk me up as ruminating about impractical schemes without actually having a clue. This extremism is sooo offensive and Obama-as-A.C. is starting to irk me - perhaps more than it should.

      •  Reading list... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Bart Ehrman: "Lost Christianities", "Jesus Misquoted", "Jesus Interrupted". I am sure his other titles are worthy, but these are ones that I have read.

        Peter J. Gomes: "The Good Book".

        Elaine Pagels: "The Gnostic Gospels"

        Jonathan Kirsch: "God against the Gods"

        Karen Armstrong: Any title

        John Shelby Spong: "Sins of Scripture", "Jesus for the Non Religious"

        Speaking as an old white ex Southern Christian male born into a Southern Baptist family I am intimately familiar with the opportunities and obstacles of engaging with this demographic. As is probably clear my path has diverged from my fundamentalist roots.

        All in all since most of the AntiChrist and Rapture dogma is extra biblical (it is simply not possible to construct these narratives from the given texts.) I have not read anything of note that even discusses these traditions much less deconstructs them.
        In my fundamentalist days fiery  invective laced with the signs of the end times, the AntiChrist and The Rapture were daily grist for the faithful.

        One of the challenges is the insular nature of these faith communities. They tend to avoid engaging with those with other beliefs and as a result don't know how to act when confronted with anything that doesn't conform to their beliefs.

        Yours is a worthy quest, though as you say it  might not be possible. I am cheering for you.

        Blessings to all.

        Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire

        by leftover on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 04:09:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  the New Testament is not the only one (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that is a "thoroughly human document". The Old Testament is just as "thoroughly human".  The whole thing is a thoroughly human document that reflects a history of agendas and score settling over time.

  •  Contrary to to popular belief. Revelations was (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluegrass50, A Runner, FireBird1

    not written by 'John the Beloved' of disciples fame.  Revelations was written approx. 120 years after the death of Jesus.  A hermit named John living on the Greek island of Patmos is said to be the author.  His fiery apocalyptic visions are thought to be a result of a hobby experimenting with hallucinogenic pharmaceuticals. (last sentence is pure speculation on my part...sure fucking makes sense though)

    "These are people of the land. The common clay of the new west. You know.....morons!" -The Waco Kid

    by fedorko on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 04:11:11 AM PDT

  •  my bottom line (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluegrass50, A Runner

    I believe supernatural calumny of elected officials is serious and inherently amounts to incitement to commit violence. In American public life, participants in government have an obligation to give the realm of rationality every possible deference as far as the terms of discourse that they use. It's no joke to ascribe paranormal evil to our country's highest elected official. It's not right and it is kooky. Members of Congress should be called on to take a stand against supernatural calumny of Obama.

  •  25% of gop'ers polled believe BO is the AC (1+ / 0-)
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    Thats one fourth of all repubtards polled. Wow.

  •  ridiculous. manmade. nonsense. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ALL religion, that is.

  •  When prophecies have as many different (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    philipmerrill, bluegrass50

    answers as we've had anti-Christs throughout history, is it really a prophecy?  Or some cult dogma?

    The Taliban and al-Qaeda use bombs to try to terrorize the people; the Republicans use the media.

    by grada3784 on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:51:50 AM PDT

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