Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Casting the Mold - Part 1 - The Blind Man

Casting the Mold will be a three part essay on how 'End Times Theology' is working to destroy the world as we know it.

We have come to a part of our history that is catastrophically close to sending us into a downward spiral. We now have communications that will enable us to view events that happen around the world within mere seconds of their occurrence. We now watch more current events in real time than ever before in the history of the world. One would think this is an absolutely fabulous thing.

Unfortunately, this magnificent coming of the technological age cannot seem to shake off the shackles of superstition and fear. The end of the age, long since prophesied for a millennium, are now said to be upon us. This theology in christianity is not old hate. In fact, the birth of end time theology is fairly recent in religious history, having been born with John Nelson Darby in the early 1800's. They of course dispute this, saying it was actually as old as the bible itself, often citing Augustine of Hippo in "City of God" as the beginning. While Augustine of Hippo did mention the seventh age as the millennium in which the city of God would come, he was not and did not refer to this in the same manner as current dispensationalists.

Prior to John Darby and his new radical timeline for the end of the world, Revelations was accepted to have been written about Rome. It was written during the point when people were waiting for Messiah and Rome had finally gotten tired of the Jews, and Nero walked right into the Holy of Holies in the temple and put his own image in there. This was accepted because it made the most sense. It was the right time period and everything in Revelation could be coincided with Rome at the time.

But Jesus never returned and the end of the world didn't happen. But in the 1800's, John Darby translated the Bible himself and, not knowing history that we now know, decided Revelations must be about a future apocalypse, not a point in time that had long since passed.

He was slow to get a following, but today, dispensationalism has a huge following in America. Most are premillennial dispensationalists, believing that all the bad stuff, the "tribulation", will happen and be followed by the millennial reign of Christ on earth. They also believe that the true believers will be taken out of this world in what they coined, the rapture, a term not found in the Bible at all. There is some debate as to whether this rapture will happen before, during, or after the bad times, the "tribulation".

Now all this is just quaint superstition and I could really care less if they just did their thing and didn't allow this to change how they interact with the world, and thus not change the world for the worse. But that isn't the case. Todays dispensationalists have allowed themselves to pen everything as a sign of the end times. They see a Tsunami on TV, thats a sign. Hunger in Africa? End Times! Poverty, disease, war, torture, violence, all signs of the end of days!

What this has done is created a very dangerous blinder on a good amount of people. When you see horrible things happen on TV, you should feel sad and have emotion and have a desire to help. But these people don't see that at all. They see food shortages and disasters and other horrible events, and instead of helping, they thank their lucky stars that Jesus is coming soon and that this is another glorious sign of his imminent return.

With blinders like these on, they are allowing major problems with this world to pass in front of their eyes and do nothing. They don't really see the issue, they don't really understand the danger, and they won't really do anything to help. And why would they? After all, its just a "sign of the times" and Jesus will be back soon and everything will be better. And while a majority of America wallows in superstition, the world around needs the help that religion once offered to it.

If the new face of religion is wicked superstition and callous blindness to what is happening to the world, then I wish someone would take them out of the world, off to la la land! The rest of us need to mobilize to stop world hunger, poverty, disease, and global warming. We have to have our eyes, and pocket books, and hearts open wider because the dispensationalists, as a general rule, are blind to the reality of the world at large. America can no longer ask the christian right to assist in making the world a better place. Religion in America is no longer serving a useful purpose or helping anyone but themselves. Blindness, it seems, also comes from god.

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