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The Big Picture

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Time To Pick on Rapture Ready Again

This is a post I'd been thinking about for a while. Rapture Ready has two articles up showing that even us heathens can recognize the signs of this imminent rapture by famed global economist/strategist, Wilfred J. Hahn. Here is part I and here is part II. In this series, he outlines ten points that even a heathen like me should be able to recognize as being the signs of Jesus' coming (I would have to agree with the Apostle Paul and say first coming -- but that is a different story).

This situation is really more incredible than it seems. Why? Because one doesn’t have to be a Bible-reading Christian to recognize that the world is heading for troubles and that many of today’s trends are simply not sustainable. If Christians stand accused of ignoring the Bible and obvious world trends and events today, would then a non-Christian have any excuse for ignorance? No.

At first I would have to say, "Well no duh!" Yes the world is headed for troubles. But I would ask the obvious question, who is causing those troubles? On the one hand it is conservative Christians causing all our problems here at home and our problems abroad. On the other hand it is conservative Muslims causing problems elsewhere. In any sense it is religion that is making this world a worse place. Even in the smaller sense of Hinduism and Islam in India and Pakistan, or the provokative message of peace of Buddhism. I would even say the philosophy of China, some sort of pseudo-religion of supremacy-of-state over the individual prefectly matches the message of all religions, albeit cloaked in some faux-atheism sheepskin.

Secondly, it seems patently obvious that these trends cannot be sustained. But again who is pushing to keep these trends going and who is trying to reverse them? Environmentalists want to reverse the unsustainable ewnvironmental damage we are doing to our planet. And guess who argues against global warming and other environmentally destructive things we are doing? If you said Christains you would be correct. Energy? Again it is the Christians who block the scientists efforts to move us forward towards a more responsible sustainable energy policy. War? Christians want it. Torture? Again Christians. And what about overpopulation? Oh, yeah, Christians say have more (white) babies, no abortions or same-sex marriages, no education for safe-sex, no contraception, no access to morning-after pills. No to Christians, more people and less food is good (it is also the christians who want this to be an "ownership society" where everyone owns their own home on a piece of land.. Just where is that land going to come from? Farms.. Farms.. Farmland.

Now I am not saying that we atheists and scientists are perfect and only provide the "right" answers, but one thing we always have done is to provide the solutions to the problems that have been created by distinctly religious sources.

This is only a thumbnail sketch of this "sustainability problem." To really look into it, we need to see what Wilfred identifies as the ten sustainability issues, and compare them to their sources, and the sources of their solutions. (oddly enough -- or should I say understandably enough -- he never identifies population and food supply as an issue. That is one I'd list as number one, religious wars being number two, and rich-centered energy supply as number three... But that's just me.)

He lists them in no particular order. While I find that particularly odd, I will run with it and respond one-by-one. His number one:

1. Skewing of Wealth Between Rich and Poor
That is certainly a valid concern. Oddly enough it seems to be a distinctly liberal issue. Liberals want to fight this skewing but conservatives want to broaden it. Again is it any shock that Christians who want to make this chasm wider are wildly conservative? Maybe we have an opening here to turn many Christians into bleeding-heart liberals so that this unsustainibility problem could be aleved.

Wilfred seems to concur:

Secular analysts would surely wonder where these trends are heading. At the present rate of this development, any one of two outcomes, or both, could occur — either a world controlled by small cabal of rich overlords or anarchy and societal breakdown. It would not be overstating the case to say that today’s wealth imbalances in the world exceed that during the late stages of the past Roman Empire. It is not a positive outlook.

That settles it, vote progressive and save the world from destruction!

2. Islam, Europe and the Catholic Church

Remove religion and things would improve. Funny how a fundie Christian and some lowly atheist like me are in total agreement. The money quote:

Some prophecy scholars in fact think that Islam will be part of a world-wide religious ecumenicism at some point in the future. This, however, seems unlikely. True Islam does not compromise and never has, other than for short-term advantage. In fact, Arabs (Islam, after all is an Arab religion) cannot even agree amongst themselves, a characteristic that the Bible itself documents.

Sound familiar? It you thought that the exact same thing could be said for Christianity then you get a point. Why are all Christians not Catholic?? Does not the Bible not also document that as well? Oh, and ask a fundamentalist Christian to compromise on same-sex marraige or abortion and see what answer you get. I think it is obvious at this point that ol' Wilfred has his head up his ass.

3. Materialism and Financial Pyramiding

Oh and I guess Christians, say all those who control gorvernment thanks to Bush and the Republicans, are not personally responsible for this? Isn't it liberals who want to spread the wealth (through "socialism") and conservatives who want an ownership society where each person keeps what they earn to detriment of all others (unless they default on their home loans, then those same conservatives want all other Americans no matter how poor to help them pay for their McMansions via a public bailout. The same goes for the bailout of Wall Street who made this happen.

But let's see what Wilfred has to say:

However, none of these factors are more vulnerable than the last two of the 5P list — Productivity and Pyramiding. These relate to the economic and financial explosion over this period, involving globalization, technology, the increasingly invasive role of money, and the unstable system of monetarism. It has created a lustrous, intoxicating apparition of wealth … albeit mostly false wealth. While the advance of technology itself likely will not be lost, the huge financial colossus that has emerged in recent years is extremely vulnerable to collapse. Even secular analysts can see this. One does not need the Bible to understand this, though the Scriptures surely are in line with this view. Given the greed, corruption and rapaciousness that are part of this trend, it is only a matter of time. In fact, this collapse may already have started. It can happen quickly and suddenly.
Again, tell me who is responsible for this? Ah, yes, conservative Republicans who are wholly supported by conservative Christians. Yes, they have created the very problems they now proclaim as proof of their vision. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy. The money:

Actually, of all the 10 Endtime Signs for Heathens, this one is the most imminent. While it is possible that the world monetary authorities and governments can buy some time by way of temporary manipulations, it remains very possible that the worldwide financial problems that began to unravel as of July 2007 are in fact, the start of the deteriorating conditions that will culminate in the final disasters in the Tribulation period. The sad truth, however, is that while many non-Christian analysts can see the writing on the wall, a large part of North American Christianity remains deluded, clinging on to their prosperity theology and the idea that God will not judge the materialism and greed that are the very underpinnings of our society.

Has Wilfred actually sat down and read about who and what caused all this? Bush and Co are the root. But even before that it was the Newt Revolution contained within the "Contract with America" that was the root. All us heathens look at this and shake our heads and say to ourselves you guys (conservative Christians) caused all these problems, but don't you worry, for we progressives (and atheists included) will come up with solutions to all the problems you caused. For we want to save the world and all you guys want is to bring about its end so that you can (in your wildest desires) bring about the presence of your mythical sky-god.

4. Diseases, Pandemics, Biodiversity

Again, Conservative Christianity despises science because it includes evolution and other evidences that require proof. All science has its root in fact and theory, theory is built upon fact. Science offers the possibility to cure diseases. But religion and Christianity in particular puts up a huge barricade: Do not teach evolution, do not do research on stem cells. Do not go in the directions that the facts lead, if those facts lead away from God. Who is it that limits research dollars for science and medicine that could lead to cures? Oh yeah, conservative Republicans based on the opposition of fundamentalist Christians.

There are some disturbing developments that suggest that the advances of medicine with respect to germs and microbes may only be temporary. One of these is the emergence of the superbug — bacterium that have mutated to become resistant to multiple types of antibiotics. Infectious disease physicians are becoming increasingly alarmed that the development of new antibiotics will lose pace with this threat. They have good reason for their concerns. For one, pharmaceutical companies are falling behind in the development of new antibiotics. Secondly, antibiotic resistance spreads fast.
Can anyone say evolution? And who fights evolution? Oh that's right, conservative Christians. Science can stay ahead of the curve as long as science is not hampered by Christian dogma stating that evolution is not to be taught and science can only proceed if it is God-supporting. Maybe if religion kept its perverse worldview out of the purview of science, then sciece could continue to cure disease. But that will not happen as long as there are fundamentalist Christians out there protesting evolution and science discovery, if it may disprove their limited views of "God."

Ouch! This may be the most painful point Wilfred brings up:
5. Israel & Jews in the World
His point is totally muddied, but it seemsto be:
For one, it would have been noticed that for the first time in over 2500 years, the world’s largest population of Jews now live in Israel. That is a recent bellwether. Up until 2006 or so, the US held this distinction. (See Midnight Call issues of November and December 2007 for a broader discussion of this condition.) An understanding of probabilities and world history would further highlight the significance of Jewish developments in the world today. What people has ever been restored to their homeland after 2500 years? In fact, what people has ever survived that long with their identity intact once they have lost their country? What probabilities are defied by the fact that Hebrew, a language that fell out of common usage, would again become a spoken language?.

So just a quick question, why does the concentration of Jews in any part of the world, not just Israel, matter to anyone? How is that a distinctly secular concern? The only possible explanation I can come up with is another religious excuse. More Jews in Israel means more reason for Muslims to attack. But that is not secular at all, it is religious. If religion went by the wayside, then there would be no problem at all with this "Jewish buildup". Again, it is religion that is the source of the problem. And speaking of Jews and persecution, who is it that have killed more Jews... Oh yeah, Christians; Christians hate the Jews for "killing their God." P.S. Can I mention the "dead" language of Latin which has survived in both science and the Religion of Catholicism. Does that count??

We have covered the first five points that are to be found in part I of Wilfred bizarre screed. In my next post I will cover the second five points.

Oh -- and they do not get any better. Our friend Wilfred seems to prove that what passes for Christian thought is not that at all

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At March 20, 2008 3:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smart work about global warming. I have also a blog which give information about cause of global warming.

At March 20, 2008 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can tell, by the look on your face, that you would enjoy Googling "The Rapture Index (Mad Theology)," "Famous Rapture Watchers," and "Open Letter to Todd Strandberg." John


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