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The Big Picture

'Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons.' -- Vizzini from "The Princess Bride"

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Pat Robertson's 2008 Prophesies are out!

As we all know, Pat was completely and utterly wrong about his 2007 prophesies. There was no major terrorist attack within the United States. But did that stop him from predicting the future of 2008? Of course not! He just announced his new God-given predictions last Wednesday on the 700 Club. See the OneNewsNow article here.

Quick quiz for you. What has been making major economic news for the last few months? You got it, if you said the housing bubble bursting. It is causing big problems for not just the credit and financial markets, but also for many American's wallets as well. We are headed for some tough times economically in this country. Anyone who pays even the least bit of attention to financial issues knows this.

So what is Pat's biggest prediction for 2008? Ding! Financial crisis. I guess only God can tell Pat's Christians what everyone (including all other Christians) have known for months now.

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says 2008 will be a year of violence worldwide and a recession in the United States, followed by a major stock-market crash by 2010.
So only by the divine secret sharing of info by God to Pat are we supposed to know that a recession is very possible? I again guess that the whole housing market gave no one any indicator at all? But then again, if you listen to, and believe George Bush, then maybe not. He thinks everything is hunky-dory.

The same goes for violence. Is there going to be more or less violence in 2008, and would either be considered, "a year of violence worldwide?" Just out of curiosity, what past years have not been considered "years of violence"??

Oh yeah, there were a number of peaceful years during the Clinton Presidency... So I guess that means peaceful years are bad things, and by this statement of prophecy, Pat is really saying things will be good for conservatives, and especially religious conservatives. Because we won't be living in as peaceful times as the Clinton years. As for the market crash? Well, just like last years catastrophic terrorist attack, it could happen (even though it didn't) , and it could be mild or avoided altogether (which no matter which way it goes, will be called a vindication for Pat -- Prayer via his peeps, I mean flock, and all that).

But I have to wonder.. If God and Pat has this yearly tete-a-tete, why talk about something that could happen in 2009 or 2010, if God is telling Pat 2008's predictions?

Robertson said, "We will see the presence of angels and we will see an intensification of miracles around the world."
That actually sounds like a more reasonable Godly prediction. Because it has absolutely no basis in fact whatsoever, and cannot be ascertained one way or the other. Angels will be hanging around? Ok. How do we establish that? And why haven't they been hanging around before? Intensification of miracles? You mean like I put a dozen pairs of socks in the dryer, and when I put them away in the sock drawer, there were a dozen complete pairs.. Its a miracle! Just what is a miracle? A sick person getting better?? I'll tell you what a real miracle is: Tomorrow George Bush says he had an epiphany from God, and is pulling out the troops from Iraq immediately. That would indeed be a miracle.

But what does "intensification" of miracles really mean? The miracles become even more intense?? I put a dozen pairs of socks in the dryer, and I come away with two dozen pairs of socks? The sick person not only becomes healthy, but takes on super-human powers?? I gotta tell ya.. Within the realm of Christianity, words have no meaning and stupid has virtually no limit. (I say virtually no limit, because to have limitless stupidity, Christianity as a whole would have to possibly pull a Jim-Jones in entirity. And I just don't see that ever happening.)

Finally:

Last year, Robertson predicted that a terrorist act, possibly involving a nuclear weapon, would result in mass killing in the United States. Noting that it hadn't come to pass, Robertson said, "All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God in his mercy spared us."

Somehow? Somehow?? You mean Pat has no idea if people prayed enough, and even if they did it had the noticed effect?

So if I understand Pat correctly here, if enough people prayed that no one ever died or got sick, or that everyone who got sick was cured, then those things would come true? Because apparently if enough people pray that we will not be attacked, then we won't be; seems to work. I also presume that no actual Christians ever pray to be rich either, since not all Christians are rich. The cop out here is completely self-evident.

You know, the only thing that really saddens me about all this, is that there are still people out there who buy into Pat Robertson's line of nonsense. They are the ultra-gullible ones. Because I am certain --certain I tell you-- that there were absolutely no faithful Christians on the eve of hurricane Katrina praying that the storm would pass. And it didn't. And we had meteorological predictions that Katrina was coming too. But nothing in the way of the eve of the Great Terrorist Action of 2007 for faithful Christians to pray against... Pat Robertson, your god-buddy in the sky was playing with you.

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10 Comments:

At January 23, 2008 7:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi
i am a christian, and a bible teacher and i find robertsons comments utterly reprehensible to the spririt of the christian faith and the spirit of prophecy. his comments are very dangerous least of all because they don't point to God and to build up the church, which is one key purpose of prophecy, but also because they do nothing but increase fear (or ridicule depending on your view). further, they are all so general as has been highlighted on your web site. a child could make these guesses. Robertson's gospel is branded by and married to the american dream (which is an idolatrous illusion anyway), and he is so US-centric in his theology, i wonder whether he knows the world is round! My advice to him is to take a tunic and carry no purse and walk the world that you so freely talk about. I guarantee his prophetic voice would be different.
thank you for your time. I feel better for saying that.
R

 
At January 23, 2008 10:00 PM, Blogger jeffperado said...

Thank you for your insights. I agree with you on every point. I certainly do not hate Christians. I think everyone can get along and live peacefully in this country. That is what makes it great, after all!

I have only one small nitpick. If you read the Gospels, Acts, and the epistles of Paul, one thing stands out about the structure of "the Church": It was to be communist. There are so many references to the fact that all members of the church were to give all their possessions to the church and the church was to turn around and redistribute those goods on a "as needed" basis. That is the economic philosophy of communism. It also matches nicely with the tenth commandment as well. But today's Christians are completely the opposite. They are all purely capitalistic and thoroughly anti-tenth commandment.

You mention this and agree with it. But you call it American idolatry. And it really is Christian (in general) idolatry. Christians in general ignore the simple fact that money and God do not mix.

 
At January 24, 2008 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff,
I expect you are not surprised I'm writing again.... your reply started off so well too. I also expect you've "heard all that Christians have to say on these matters" but I also trust you still consider yourself an open book and not a closed book....
There is one thing that stands out when one reads the gospels and Acts is that any discernable church "structure" is certainly not so easy to pin down. The church or "community of believers" was not really the same from one place to the next.

Also, there are not that many references (2 or 3) about possessions, and that in the very first chapters of Acts, before the church went non-Jewish, it certainly isn't a blue print for church per se, and it is a little mischievious of you to squeeze the communism model into this, which though you're not the first and won't be the last to do so, is a distortion of the point at hand which is a "common wealth" rather than an elite wealth, which is what typifies communism in practice (though I suspect not in theory).

By "today's Christian's" I understand you to mean Western believers... you raise an important issue that is sometimes true, but not always true, just because they live in Capitalist cultures, but what of the vast majority of Christians who live in non capitalist cultures? This shows there must be something that transcends the values you promote if there is a worldwide Christian community.

"Money and God do not mix" is an interesting statement. If God is concerned about the poor and poverty and wealth and the good use of resources (see the Parable of the talents as one example), then you are being too reductionistic. The problem comes when, as James says, "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." That is to say, if the 10th commandment is broken, then so is 1 & 2, since whatever is coveted replaces the worship of God. It's not communism, it's priorities....how can God take second place to money/goods/whatever?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. What country do you refer to. I am Bristish and live in England and have also lived in Egypt as a missionary, so have a useful perspective on non-western Christianity, which, I have to say, has been very challenging and beneficial to my worldview at least.
Cheers
Richard

 
At January 25, 2008 7:41 PM, Blogger jeffperado said...

Hey Richard,

First off, I guess you are correct. I am American, and I simply assume that anyone I chat with on my blog is American as well. 99.9% that is true. But as you well know, 99.9 is not 100.0...

For clarification, when I speak of 'today's Christians' or 'modern Christians' or anything of the like, I am referring to Christians of the last 5 or so decades. Geography is not a part of that.

Somehow I suspect we are arguing the same point, but from two perspectives; atheism and Christianity. But again, I have one small disagreement. There are about a dozen references to being poor. There are a dozen more which depict how believers are supposed to give everything to the Church, and in turn the church will redistribute the wealth to all its members on an 'as needed' basis.

I have written a book. I have a chapter on this very subject. If you email me, I can send you a copy.

 
At January 27, 2008 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Jeff,
I would like to read in more detail what you have written, how can you send it to me? I don't want to put my email address on this conversation.

If I may have a nitpick too: We are looking at this same topic from different angles, as you rightly say, but I am sure you know, being a bright bloke yourself, that the references to being "poor" and "giving everything to the church" have their specific interpretive contexts, and may or may not be a rule for all time, (although I'm not sure how you managed to slip in "poor" into the conversation).

What I think you are doing on your web site is really a very good thing by and large. You are absolutely right about Pat Robinson and all his silly "prophecies" but to infer conclusions that make the church "communist" from scripture is to put a round peg in a square hole.... Pat Robinson is not the standard by which worldwide Christianity is to be judged, thank God.

I am sure you know there are at least two sides to every discussion, and so am convinced you know how I will respond. I congratulate you on your passion which does make people think, but as long as you remember the free will you exercise is a gift from the God you have boxed.

Also, your reference to your Christians from the last 5 or so decades and geography not being a part of that isn't a natural conclusion to make.... if your argument is against Western Christianity, then your thoughts speak powerfully into that and as a result you are to be congratulated (up to a point), but how do your words speak to a believer in Sudan or China where wealth and capitalism are not even on the radar?

I may be going back to Egypt in the summer for a week or two. I invite you to come with me.......
Let me know how I can receive your writing.
Respect.
Richard

 
At January 27, 2008 9:44 PM, Blogger jeffperado said...

Richard,

First off, you can email me personally using the 'email me' button on the right hand side (heh.. the side you drive on) of my main page. Then your email will be private and not public.

Otherwise, as regarding your nitpick: giving everything away makes you poor. And discussions of being poor are certainly relevant to communism. After all, the only rich communists are capitalist communists.

Next, you wrote: "I congratulate you on your passion which does make people think, but as long as you remember the free will you exercise is a gift from the God you have boxed." That is a loaded assumption. I could just as easily say something like: "I congratulate you as long as you remember that evolution through purely chemical and physical processes permit you the ability of higher reason." You can, I am sure, see the obviously loaded nature of the statement. Besides, the whole concept of God and human free will is an entirely different discussion. One which is dangerous for you, because of the simple fact that if humans have free will, than that will is outside of the power of God (or control of God) and to claim that something is outside the power of God or control of God is to say that God is not all-powerful. The free will of humanity is the limiting factor of God.

P.S. as for Christianity; I can only say that there are many capitalist Christians in China. That alone bolsters my argument and weakens yours. For you depend on absolutes on Chinese Christianity. And all I need are for some anti-communist Christians.

 
At January 28, 2008 2:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff
I tried to use the "email me" but since it tried to launch outlook express which I don't use, so if there is another way I would be grateful.

I knew you'd notice my 'loaded assumption,' but I thought it was well worth the try. However, the nitpick does still stand: If you're rallying against Christians for being communist, as they are apparently commanded to give everything away, why is pat robertson so obviously wealthy? Why don't I give everything away? No one I know gives everything away (i.e. to the church), so if this is, as you say, such an obvious New Testament teaching, then it seems your complaint is against poor Christians (whom are the vast majority in the world), and rich Christians from capitalist societies.

You are right about the free will discussion being a different one though, and you highlight the key theological tension, to which there are reasoned responses, but this may not be the occasion for it.

Anyway, I've enjoyed the chat and would be happy to read the work you have written if we can get round the email problem.
Cheers Jeff
Richard

ps I drive on the left side like everyone else in the UK.... I'm not in Egypt anymore ;-)

 
At January 30, 2008 10:18 PM, Blogger jeffperado said...

Richard,

all I can suggest is that you click on the email me button, and when the outlook window pops up, just cut and paste my email address into your email program and then close the outlook window. I have the same problem as I do not use outlook either. It is a pain, but that is the way it is for me.

 
At May 06, 2008 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff and Richard,

I really enjoy your conversation, quite intelligent you're both. Your argument would never resolve simply because logic in itself cannot explain the unknown. If logic claim that it can then I would say it’s all assumption.

What’s wrong with communism, by the way? Communism in theory is perfect. As long as human still have greed it will never materialize, other than that I would love to live in that utopian state.

About Pat Robertson, we gotta get him off the air. This dangerous dude keeps giving these stupid predictions to the Christians. For God sake, my Christian Brother believes in that. Why on earth he keeps giving fear to the people. People in his role should do the opposite don’t you think?

Cheers.
T

 
At May 08, 2008 2:19 PM, Blogger jeffperado said...

T,

Thanks for your thoughts. But I must point out a few things to you.

1. I never claim to "know" the unknown. I am not an atheist because I lay any sort of claim on knowing the unknown. I am an atheist because based opun all we do know, that any and all "known" gods are imaginary not real. Thus, based on this fact, I choose not to believe in any of them. Any and every atheist will tell you this. We can not and will not deny the possibility of some unknown "god" out there. We simply reject human-constructed gods to date. Therefore I base all my arguments solely on what we really do know. I make absolutely no claims whatsoever on those things hich we, as the human race, do not know. Take this fact to heart, for it will help you understand the mind of any generic "atheist" out there.

2. Communism is flawed inherantly because it is based on some unknown (unknowable?) Utopia. Humans are what they are, and that is a species filled with passion, belief(s), facts, interpretations, goals, and intents (both devious and honest). Placing equality above all else can only lead to trouble, jealousy and in the end violence. Equality is important, but human individuality and talent, skills, knowledge and wisdom trump equality all the time in the real world. (Think of equality in this way: Would you in a totally equal world, get heart surgery from a person who spent their life studying medicine or from a high school dropout who their entire subsequent life has been a ditch digger?) Equality is important in terms of non-changeable and non-inherant means, but has little use in terms on knowledge, experience and talent. Humanity has recognized this fact, and thefefore gives deference to non-equal talents, but bestows equality upon things which cannot be changed like gender, race, etc. In other words, everyone should have equal access to the same things, but their individual choices make their value to their collective (whatever that collective may be; church, neighborhood, state or country) depends solely on what they are capable of contributing.

I hope this clarification helps sort out any problems you may have with my answers here.

 

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