A Texas court ruled last week that a pair of Christian homeschooling parents who stopped teaching their nine kids because they believed the Rapture was imminent (and everyone knows that the best thing about heaven is NOBODY QUIZZES YOU ABOUT THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS) are not, in fact, allowed to just do that.
As it turns out, state education requirements are not beholden to whatever absurd cosmic notions you lifted from your favorite book and/or Kirk Cameron movie.—
I think the Rapture might be a whole lot more interesting if everybody had to take a biology exam before entrance to heaven.
"Something tragic occurred," the experts repeated over and over. "It was a Rapture-like phenomenon, but it doesn’t appear to have been the Rapture."
Interestingly, some of the loudest voices making this argument belonged to Christians themselves, who couldn’t help noticing that many of the people who disappeared on October 14th—Hindus and Buddhists and Muslims and Jews and atheists and animists and homosexuals and Eskimos and Mormons and Zoroastrians, whatever the heck they were—hadn’t accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior. As far as anyone could tell, it was a random harvest, and the one thing the Rapture couldn’t be was random. The whole point was to separate the wheat from the chaff, to reward the true believers and put the rest of the world on notice. An indiscriminate Rapture was no Rapture at all.”—
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (page 3).
This is why Rapture-believing Christians hate this new show. It’s also a very succinct explanation of what the Rapture is really for: to separate THEM from US, and thus to justify all the tribalism inherent in fundagelical Christianity.
Here’s a simplified version of his claims: the “land of Magog” in Ez. 38-39 is a futuristic reference to modern day Russia. The evidence: the text places Magog (a mysterious reference even in Ezekiel) to the north of Israel and … wait for it … Russia is also north of Israel. He also claims that the modern words Moscow (capital of Russia) and Tobolsk (important Russian City) are derived from the ancient Hebrew words Meshech and Tubal. On the basis of these connections, he suggests that Vladimir Putin may in fact be Ezekiel’s Gog, the one from Magog who rules Meshech and Tubal.
These are classic examples of underdetermined claims: assertions that lack the amount or type of evidence which would provide proof or certainty.—
Christian blogger at Cataclysmic debunks current craze of seeing Armageddon pending as a result of Russian-Ukrainian-Crimean situation: “Is Putin Ezekiel’s ‘Gog’?”
The answer, by the way, is “No.” And while I may disagree with this guy’s decision to believe as he does, he’s dead on the money when he writes, “There is a bizarre and disturbing tendency for Christians to interpret biblical prophecy as a secret code, pertaining to our current geo-political affairs, which we must decipher.”
So what does it mean when, instead of praying for God to redeem and preserve the world, you devote your life to praying that God will conquer and destroy it? Well, the Trappists gave us Thomas Merton. IHOP gave us Tyler Deaton. —
Fred Clark at Slacktivist has a series of really interesting posts about the International House of Prayer, a Kansas City-based evangelical conglomerate that is featured in the film God Loves Uganda and in this recent Rolling Stone article about a murder.
Read them here:
“International House of Pride: Beware of God’s special apostles who bring the ‘prophetic word’ from God that they are apostles and they are special’
Slacktivist, where you find the best summary and unpacking of the “Left Behind” series anywhere.
Fundagelical Tim LaHaye thinks the 144,000 are to be “fulfilled” Jews—Jews who become Christian evangelists in the last days.
Jehovah’s Witnesses used to teach that the 144,000 are a literal number of people who will rule with Christ and Jehovah in Heaven—nobody else gets to go.
Apparently, none of them noticed that it’s a really, really big number and might have some metaphorical use.