The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, June 26, 2006

Gaming the system for Jesus

From the mysterious Cipher comes a story of millennialist Christians preparing for the end of the world. When it's a group of people in purple sneakers waiting for the mothership, it's funny-yet-sad. When it's a multi-million dollar, international effort to actively promote the end of the world, it's 100% disturbing. Welcome to Republican America, where nervous fundamentalists see the Bush presidency as their best hope for establishing a theocracy-- or, failing that, bringing about Armageddon. It's the ultimate version of "if I can't have it, no one can."

For thousands of years, prophets have predicted the end of the world. Today, various religious groups, using the latest technology, are trying to hasten it.

Their endgame is to speed the promised arrival of a messiah.

For some Christians this means laying the groundwork for Armageddon.

With that goal in mind, mega-church pastors recently met in Inglewood to polish strategies for using global communications and aircraft to transport missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission: to make every person on Earth aware of Jesus' message. Doing so, they believe, will bring about the end, perhaps within two decades. (. . .)

Artisans have re-created priestly robes of white linen, gem-studded breastplates, silver trumpets and solid-gold menorahs to be used in the Holy Temple — along with two 6½-ton marble cornerstones for the building's foundation.

Then there is Clyde Lott, a Mississippi revivalist preacher and cattle rancher. He is trying to raise a unique herd of red heifers to satisfy an obscure injunction in the Book of Numbers: the sacrifice of a blemish-free red heifer for purification rituals needed to pave the way for the messiah.

So far, only one of his cows has been verified by rabbis as worthy, meaning they failed to turn up even three white or black hairs on the animal's body.

Linking these efforts is a belief that modern technologies and global communications have made it possible to induce completion of God's plan within this generation.

Pretty odd theology, considering that Jesus said of the Second Coming in the Gospel of Matthew (24:36) that “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” And that's right after pointing out that "there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Maybe if the fundies weren't so busy with silver trumpets and red cows, they could ditch the Cliffs Notes and do some heavy reading. Like "Theology for Total Morons."