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August 20, 2009

Armagettin' Outta Here: Gun Toting Radical Fundamentalists Fed by End of Times Mythology


Sorry this piece is so long, but it is really important for people of good will to understand the anthropological discoveries and theological research regarding the Book of Revelation, the main source of the false prophecy driving today's fundamentalist angst. This rapidly spreading virus is taking over thousands of Christian communities, especially in the Bible Belt, and spreading like wildfire on the internet. Simply google President Obama Antichrist or run a YouTube search to see hundreds of false teachings using biblical reference to justify the religious right's gun-toting aggression.

The greatest threat to our planet right now is self-fulfilled prophecy in a world where organized religions' end of world scenario dominates. The basic premise that the Book of Revelation is prophecy at all, featuring a fantastical, action packed story of an evil Antichrist, Armageddon, the end times, the second coming of Christ is pure fantasy. Theologians, scholars and anthropologists, especially the Dead Sea Scrolls studies have taught us so much more about the evolution of this first century Book, a testimony of a persecuted people in their own time, in their own way, a parable of martyrs, not prophecy.

The Book of Revelation was written during the 1st century period of mass persecution of Christians in Rome. Anthropologically, these parables are known as the underground press of their time, written by those Christians in prison on their way to the death arena, smuggling out their horror stories of suffering and death, the truth about their imprisonment in real time. Revelation is therefore a story of the courage of the martyrs, inspiring stories and images to help them endure and never stop believing. Knowing they would ultimately face death, no matter how monstrously they were being tortured, mutilated, killed, and yes, fed to the lions for the entertainment of the Romans, they prayed, they wrote, told stories of hope, and inspired each other to never give up their faith in God and Jesus Christ, even in the face of death.

The monstrous, exaggerated images found in Revelation were meant to emphasize the suffering, as well as offer truth and inspiration to other Christians hiding from their tormentors in the catacombs beneath the city. Think of these writings as apostolic, inspirational messages encouraging fellow Christians to hang in there, hold on to your faith in Jesus Christ, be brave martyrs facing death, because Jesus will ultimately defeat death, and welcome them in resurrection.

The authors of the Book of Revelation intentionally used a literary "code" and familiar imagery of the time as a way to protect those Christians not yet arrested should anyone be found w letters, gospel teachings, or even telling stories of Jesus Christ. Any Christian would be arrested, imprisoned and put to death in the arenas, sport for the decadent Romans in this mass murder campaign. Literary imagery was intentionally used to protect other Christians not yet caught by the Romans to warn them. For example "the seven headed dragon" reference was a common image of Rome at the time, referencing the 7 hills of Rome, the monster, i.e. the Roman Emperor. See volumes of scholarship and theology on Revelation for more details.

Conclusion: These stories of horror, suffering and faith were never to be taken literally or as prophecy. That is what this Book is really all about- the truth of the martyrs at that particular time in history, and the inspiring message to stand firm on their faith in spite of the horrors they faced.

Just like playing a children's game of "telephone", by the 21st century, the truth of the bible has been filtered down to pure fiction. This false teaching is the driving force behind the increased threats and acts of violence we are seeing from so-called Christian believers, militias etc. It is time for all adult Christians to take a firm stand against the hate, as Christ did, and care for the sick, the mentally challenged, the poor, the widows and children, the least of these our brothers and sisters.

"If you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth."

Seed Newsvine

3 comments:

  1. You have interesting opinions, politics and religion aren't really my passions but you seem to assert your beliefs very convincingly....keep writing.

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  2. These are challenging times for all men andwomen of good will.

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  3. the violence and murdering that has become standard in the Osama Bin Laden "warp" on Islam, perhaps, has spawned a similarly violent "mirror group" among radical christians.
    of course, that isn't christian behavior, now, is it? Jesus told us to love one another and to forgive one another for our differences. Let's expose these non-christian preachers for what they are... agents of evil!

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