Jesus Never Existed

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Jesus Never Existed

The Christianizing of America - The End Time - 21st century – A Jesus Jihad?

The Dark Age Restored

Any day now, many Americans hope and believe, the Lord of Hosts will cleanse the world with fire and brimstone and reward His Elect with eternal life. For some believers, this joyful purging of the wicked will begin with a sudden (or “rapturous”) reunion of the righteous with their King and Saviour “in the air” (I Thessalonians 4.16). Others are not quite so certain of the teleportation but are equally convinced that Judgement Day is imminent and are making sure they are on side with Jesus before that terrifying but glorious apocalypse.

Gone is the old “postmillenarian” idea that human endeavour could create the heavenly kingdom here on earth and that, after a thousand years of Christian goodness, only then Christ would return to rule a perfect world. That dangerously socialistic Christianity, popular from the 17th to the early 20th century, has no place in the winner-take-all society of the early 21st century. Rather, we are in a “premillenarian age” in which the rough stuff comes first. Satan is already loose in the world and the showdown is just around the corner.

Not since the age of the crusades, which began when Pope Urban II goaded the barbarous Franks into invading the more civilized Muslim world, has global geopolitics so effectively intertwined Christianity’s claims to an exclusive and universal salvation with a naked grab for global resources. Then, it was “the riches of the east”; today, it is oil. Chillingly, all the elements that characterised the earlier Dark Age have their 21st century echo in a nouveau Catholicism: apocalyptic foreboding, homage to Jerusalem, holy war, prophecy, faith healing and the whole medieval circus of religious deceit. Not for centuries has a faith-based agenda so closely meshed with political imperatives.

Welcome to a Brave New Jesus World.

A Chosen People, a Hated Nation

“The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to humanity.”
George W. Bush, State of the Union address, January 28, 2003.

Loathing for America is about as close as we can get to a universal sentiment: it is the one dynamic that unites fundamentalists and liberals, Arabs and Latin Americans, Asians and Europeans, and even the overshadowed Canadians, with the rest of the world.”  – Z. Sardar.

Americans, like the Jews, think of themselves as rather special, a chosen people, set apart by God for the achievement of his Divine Purpose. If Allah has rewarded Islamic states with most of the world’s oil reserves because of their fidelity to the precepts of Muhammad, then the Christian God has rewarded America with all else. The foundation myth of America – political freedom, unleashing the dynamic enterprise of its people, creating unprecedented wealth – like all such myths, contains an element of truth yet conceals more than it reveals. How could America have failed – a “virgin” land of vast resources, into which were poured the technologies that Europe and the Middle East had developed over thousands of years? And if the headlong scramble for material wealth has begun to exhaust America’s own riches then the habit of acquisition and accumulation has rendered the whole planet an American resource, servicing U.S. business and policed by U.S. military. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

In the American mind, if short-comings are acknowledged at all, then they are as nothing compared to the correctness of the American Way, a system so good that, in a million movie houses and TV networks across the planet its image is held up for the world to admire and emulate. In its self-image the U.S. remains a haven of personal liberty and material comfort; a compassionate nation, willing to sacrifice its “boys” for the liberty of others; and an open society, drawing into itself all who have the determination to “make it” and the will to help themselves. As the US wrestles to impose its will on the whole world, aggressive wars and full-frontal invasions, as ever, are supplemented by covert operations, military coups, economic sanctions and financial pressure.

Yet, damn it, the rest of the world refuses to share in the conviction that the USA is the best of all possible worlds. The world struggles to resist the embrace of Americanisation because it resents the destruction of its own culture and the pillaging of global resources to feed the appetite of the insatiable American behemoth. The world sees through the illusion that the “American dream” is not really theirs for the taking: that for every billionaire there must be ten thousand worker bees; that most of the world will never be like Orange County or Long Island; that colonies might derive marginal benefits from imperial patronage but in all essentials they will always be exploited by empire. There can never be a world of only winners and no losers. And America, we all know, is determined to “win”.

Jesus makes it better

The image the world sees of the USA, for all its acknowledged achievements, is an arrogant superpower, selfish, aggressive and heedless of the long-term consequences of its actions, either for people or the environment. The world is not unaware that U.S. commitment to “freedom and democracy” goes no further than support for any oppressive regime that gives a free hand to U.S. corporations and allies itself to U.S. global strategy. A “freedom agenda” is only useful when the local despot happens to be antagonistic to American interests. It is not “freedom” but the requirements of U.S. business which are paramount.

Bestriding the world in a way that no other nation can, America has become more invasive, predatory, and repressive than at any time in its history. Eight hundred U.S. military bases garrison the globe. The world’s most parochial culture has assumed for itself the role of “global policeman”– yet could there be any worse choice to police the streets of Baghdad or Kabul than a hick from Arkansas or N Dakota? Financial instruments, the World Trade Organization and the IMF, intervene on behalf of U.S. interests in every economy. The U.S. government treats the United Nations with contempt and routinely eschews international agreements. From the Kyoto Protocol on climate change to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, from the International Criminal Court to the treaty to ban land mines, from women’s rights to the ban on the use of child soldiers – the U.S. rejects them all because they may place a restraint upon the U.S. and its corporations.

Aware that it is unloved, America struggles but fails to understand its critics. Unwilling to recognize that its own greed is the harbinger of a hostile and violent reaction across the world it creates simplistic bogeymen. Explanations are to be found in “psychological factors such as aggression and fanaticism” (Laqueur, p23), in dysfunctional personalities that suffer persecution mania, misdirected libido and weak ego. They must “covet the US lifestyle”, they must “hate US freedoms”, as if an Islamist straps a bomb to his chest because he can’t live with the idea that Americans periodically elect a president, buy handguns mail-order, or watch daytime TV.

The Christian ideology – the peculiar, late-evolving, business-friendly, fundamentalist, Americanised Christianity – comes to the rescue. It may not directly determine the political agenda but it informs the climate from which that agenda emerges. Both its “faith-based” domestic program – animated more by hysteria over abortion than, say, concern for poverty or social injustice – and its proselytising “world mission”, encourage and endorse a predatory global capitalism and the assault on civil liberties. Driven by an assumed rather than proven spiritual superiority over more ancient creeds, it reduces all issues to a simplistic though epic struggle of good versus evil. It is an “us” and “them” world. The abortionist, the homosexual, the rights activist, are linked inexorably with the serial killer, the revolutionary, the terrorist. All are agents of the Devil.

National Christianism’s reassuring message is that its own devotees, whilst they may for ever remain “sinners”, are most certainly saved by their allegiance to the one true god. If they err in this temporary earthly life, and, for example, obliterate the life and liberty of a distant people, Jesus will understand and forgive them. Not accepting Jesus is by far a greater sin than merely squandering the resources of the earth or bringing misery to millions. An almighty God, not restrictions on carbon emissions, will safeguard the natural environment but only if He wills it. What matters, anyway, is the everlasting life hereafter.

Americans, after all, are citizens of God’s favoured nation, which has been assigned by the Creator with a mission on the world stage. What more noble purpose could there be than that, even if along the way there is a little bit of gluttony and corruption? We all know the really bad guys are out there. Satan and his earthly henchmen wear the black hats or, more often, head scarves. And if the conflict proves fatal for the late, great, planet earth, then that too is all part of the divine plan.

Proof of the Holy Presence!

The Lord is with Us!

And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” – Acts 2.18.

The salesman of Jesus is no different from the secular entrepreneur, whose ambition to break into an established market compels him to trumpet a “unique selling feature” in order to draw customers away from established brands. Old-style Pentecostalism had about run its course when a new strain of mental disease broke out in U.S. communities rich in the fellowship of Jesus and void of a rational understanding of the world. The “Charismatics” had arrived. What they offered was the “Christian experience” – a theme park for the spirit, where the roller-coaster ride was an immediate, tangible display of the divine. A century or more of scientific rationalism, and its abundant and obvious rewards, counted for nothing. Switch off the brain. Feel the Spirit. Not just “tongues” but holy laughter, healing hands, ecstatic writing, fainting, shouting, spontaneous testimonials of faith, weeping and animal antics were all “gifts of the spirit”, the visible presence of the Lord on earth.

Not since the medieval “age of faith” had so many otherwise sane individuals partaken in wide-eyed theatrics in the name of religion. Throughout the Middle Ages, disasters such as the invasion of Europe by the Mongols, the Black Death, etc., had engendered a general sense of foreboding. In this climate of fear and anxiety “ecstatics” and self-abasing flagellants, agitated by a plethora of miracle-inducing relics, performed before vast crowds anxious to be close to God’s work. Their hysterical fits before the bones of a saint had made them, fleetingly, the centre of attention. Repeated often enough they might earn the patronage of a local grandee, or at a minimum, establish for themselves a new trade in “healing”. More importantly, their behaviour endorsed the “authenticity” of the saintly shrine where they had put on their show. In consequence, throngs of gullible pilgrims followed in their footsteps and Holy Mother Church happily took the credit – and the cash.

The Jesus Reality Show

The new generation of American religious shysters have a glib but effective “rationale” for their pitch. The world, it seems, had grown not only desperate for oil but lax in its “appreciation of the supernatural” (too much godless education?). God now chooses to send “spiritual gifts” to reward the elect and strengthen the faith of waverers. This repackaged flimflam is sold as “living faith”, a product designed to more than hold its own in the world of 24/7 mass entertainment. In fact it is 24/7 mass entertainment. Like Wal-Mart and Blockbuster video, the business model is big, brash, and lowest common denominator. No off-putting ritual, no tiresome biblical study. The door to Jesus is open to everyone. Show time.

Perhaps these charlatans are successful because many Americans are as parochial and poorly educated as medieval European peasants. No doubt a diet of limitless self-gratification leaves them unfulfilled and sends them headlong into spiritual pyrotechnics. A nation of obese bodies and lost souls. Doubtless a large part of the allure is egotistical, a desire to be part of the performance, just like those medieval “ecstatics” before the shrine of a saint. Roll on the carpet. Have your 15 minutes of fame. In the process, of course, the con men for Christ carve for themselves a fat piece of the pie, a “niche market” in the lucrative world of Jesus sales.

With its brash new formula, “charismatics” spread like a virus through the older denominations, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist – even Roman Catholicism! Though Catholic tradition, in particular, favoured sobriety and solemn ceremonial when Christ was in the building, popes Paul VI and John Paul II gave their approval to a “charismatic” movement within the Roman church. Perhaps, as business managers facing a crisis of declining sales, they saw the urgent need to keep up with the competition.

Hell, they had invented all this stuff a thousand years ago!


Satan and his minions join the party

It seems only right that if the Holy Spirit is active in the world then the Prince of Darkness should also be about his diabolic mischief. And in fact 21st century America has resurrected the medieval conviction that “malevolent forces” wait menacingly in every corner, ready to subvert the righteous, abduct the innocent, and enslave the weak. The devil now assumes the form of a terrorist, joining and surpassing yesterday’s assortment of drug-crazed psychos, pinko radicals and bad guys. Shades of grey do not exist, only a simplistic, black-and-white political landscape of “good guys” and “bad guys”, security or peril.

The formula is uniquely American. By demonising minorities (whether “Injuns”, Catholics, blacks, Commies, radicals, gays, Muslims) menace can be multiplied and fear engendered. A handful of delinquent elements and marginal threats are orchestrated into a global menace. A highly militarised state, backed by major corporations and a wealthy elite, exploits the public fear of foreigners, subversives and minorities to create a high-tech version of medieval demonology, in which an unseen enemy is poised to exploit any lack of vigilance.

Fruitcakes found in airport church!

The Toronto Blessing: Pentecostal tourism

Naive and gullible Christians are all too willing to see the presence of “God” in any silly happening.

The “Vineyard Association” of churches was established in the mid-1980s by ambitious Christian evangelicals keen to offer a complete range of “Spirit-led” product to their innocent followers. Healing, prophecy and exorcism joined “speaking in tongues” in their Jesus portfolio. It was all rather enthusiastic and exuberant, even by the traditions of evangelism.

But how to push the envelope?

The idea of an exuberant or “fun-loving” Jesus originated in the fertile mind of a character called Rodney Howard-Browne, not in Canada but thousands of miles away in his native South Africa. It seems lucky Rod received an infusion of divine levity. Presumably, the mirth-making Lord and Saviour could have solved all kinds of problems in the Dark Continent.

But Rod had other ideas. His business savvy took him to the U.S. where he could sell his laughing Jesus to simple-minded Americans. In 1993 he launched his career at Carpenter’s Home Church, Florida, breathing new life into a stalled “Latter Rain” movement (a sort of triumphalist form of Pentecostalism).

Another sharp operator, Randy Clark, took Rod’s happy clappy franchise into Canada and finessed the product into the “Toronto Blessing“, a ruse which attracted the endorsement of some of the biggest scammers on the Jesus circuit. Tens of thousands of Jesus groupies flocked to a small unimpressive church on an industrial park near Toronto International Airport. It seems the Lord of Hosts shows up daily and getting them all stirred up and giggly!

After leaving their brains in the parking lot, excited Jesus fans wait in line for their blessing.

Pastor passes out the Holy Spirit …

Instant Jesus © has an immediate effect: euphoria, delirium, incoherence take hold.

Weakness in the head is followed by weakness in the knees…

All fall down.

Now rolling about in the aisles, the happy clappies have all the evidence of Jesus they will ever need.

Same time tomorrow for more Jesus fun?

Have you ever noticed that miraculous healings are so often “inoperable tumours” and walking problems, never the re-growth of a lost limb – now that WOULD be a miracle!

The more restrained Vineyard Movement, embarrassed by the childish antics at the Airport Church, expelled the Toronto branch in 1994. But by then those happy clappy Jesus dollars were rolling in. Special deals were cut with hotels, travel companies, local publishers and radio stations.

Who says Jesus has no sense of humour?

Naturally, a “global mission” followed. We can but hope that the next product to be added to the wondrous range of Christian spiritual gifts takes its cue from Mark 16 and that the faithful will demonstrate to the skeptics of this world their invulnerability to snake bites and the quaffing of poison.

They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” – Mark 16.18.


Satan and his minions join the party

It seems only right that if the Holy Spirit is active in the world then the Prince of Darkness should also be about his diabolic mischief. And in fact 21st century America has resurrected the medieval conviction that “malevolent forces” wait menacingly in every corner, ready to subvert the righteous, abduct the innocent, and enslave the weak. The devil now assumes the form of a terrorist, joining and surpassing yesterday’s assortment of drug-crazed psychos, pinko radicals and bad guys. Shades of grey do not exist, only a simplistic, black-and-white political landscape of “good guys” and “bad guys”, security or peril.

The formula is uniquely American. By demonising minorities (whether “Injuns”, Catholics, blacks, Commies, radicals, gays, Muslims) menace can be multiplied and fear engendered. A handful of delinquent elements and marginal threats are orchestrated into a global menace. A highly militarised state, backed by major corporations and a wealthy elite, exploits the public fear of foreigners, subversives and minorities to create a high-tech version of medieval demonology, in which an unseen enemy is poised to exploit any lack of vigilance.

The Sale of indulgences

Investing in God

Professional fund-raisers now bring in serious dollars for the Lord’s work. American Express will do nicely. A few shady deals in the cupboard? Purge your guilt by donating a major wedge to your local pastor. He may not only pray for you but call in a few favours down at City Hall. It sure worked for Charles Keating, the biggest fraudster in US history (the Lincoln Savings and Loan scam). Keating chipped in more than a $million to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity and she reciprocated with a character reference for his day in court.

And if you want to accrue a few extra credits in the Hereafter, have you noticed all the assorted bric-a-brac and Jesus junk replacing books in the Christian store? Better get your stock of holy kitsch, just to be sure. The Christian retailing industry is worth annually in excess of $3 billion.

Iconography of the Saints

The All-American Superhero

Kicking butt across the galaxy – an American dream.

Against the power of darkness crusade the mighty Chosen Ones. The American hero has always been a man with a gun. Popular movies and television shows are either set in the US or on an alien world portrayed as an American culture with better technology. Whether it’s “Charlie” in Vietnam or the evil Goa’uld on the distant edge of the galaxy America likes to see itself getting its own way. You got a problem with that?!

While the rest of the world can enjoy, and laugh at, American muscle-flexing superheroes, with their cannon-sized handguns “wasting” every bad guy in sight, the poorly educated, parochial American, takes it all very seriously. He rarely, if ever, experiences other cultures and meets only other Americans throughout his life.

Hey, buddy, you’ve got to defend you and yours – that’s the American Way, don’t ya’know!

Fortress America – the Gated Future

Evil: On Special this Week

There is only one response to the lurking Powers of Darkness: love of Jesus and awesome weaponryHaving manufactured and magnified evil, commercial opportunity presents itself. SELL the POWER to match the EVIL. “Security products” flourish in a hot-house of endemic fear. From the handgun to the “panic room”, from the helicopter gunship to the Bradley Armoured Fighting Vehicle, you just can’t be too safe.

The sappy American buys the power. Enough weaponry to equip an army (never mind that the real consequence is domestic homicidal carnage); an urban assault vehicle, to roll over any obstacle (never mind the destruction of the environment, that’s somewhere else, sometime else); and, above all, he buys into the religion of ultimate power, buys into an alliance with an omniscient deity who, real soon, will unleash his awesome arsenal on all who fail to embrace, well, the American Way, of course. And like anyone surrounding himself with a terrifying arsenal in order to be “safe”, the probability of violence is raised, not lowered, by the availability of violent devices.


Locked and loaded

The super rich have always lived within the embrace of high walls and private security. Several centuries ago they were called barons and their liveried private soldiers were known as liegemen. For all their security, they were often murdered.

Today’s executives rely more upon technology than manpower but the principle is the same. Like a redoubt in enemy territory, their retreat is a “safe neighbourhood” or “exclusive” compound. Having amassed their swag, they secure it from prying eyes and thieving fingers by hiding behind private security guards, 24 hour video surveillance and a raft of alarm systems.

More than eight million Americans now live in gated communities – and no doubt still worry at night.

Europe 1306

 USA 2024

Crusade in the Holy Land

“I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgement against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.”

– Joel 3.2. Biblical basis for Israel’s grab of Arab land.

Israel, like America, was established by the elimination of a native people.

At the beginning of the 20th century the land of Palestine had been home to 700,000 Arabs and around 55,000 Jews. The two peoples had lived peaceably alongside each other for centuries. But in Europe, in reaction to an upsurge of anti-semitism in the 1880s, a Zionist movement had been established which sought (in the words of the First Zionist Congress of 1897) “a home for the Jewish people in Palestine guaranteed by public law”. Palestine, however, was not the only region considered for an enclave for the Jews. Other possibilities included Argentina, Uganda, the Soviet Far East and even the U.S.A. Initially, even the idea of a Jewish homeland was opposed by many assimilated, notably Reform, Jews, fearing that a Jewish state would undermine their own position. But by the 1930s, and the rise of Nazism, Zionism had “hardened” its declared goal into the creation of a Jewish state within Palestine. The problem then was what to do with the people already living in the region. The solution came with the war of 1948, which allowed the Jews to ethnically cleanse their new republic. With the expulsion of most of the Palestinians, Israel began sixty years of conflict with her neighbours.

Christian Zionism

Historically, the Jews, as “Christ killers”, were often on the receiving end of Christian violence. Though employed as slave traders, merchants, doctors, rent collectors and money lenders throughout the Christian lands, in times of social stress the prosperity of this despised minority was cause enough for popular anti-semitic outrages.

The Jews, like others, were drawn to the opportunities which America offered and in the major cities of the eastern seaboard prospered in everything from gangsterism to banking. On the west coast, a Jewish presence was particularly strong in the nascent movie industry. New York money and the Hollywood dream factory were especially benevolent towards the newly established state of Israel and Jewish nationalism became a favoured cause of U.S. foreign policy.

In contrast, Arab nationalism potentially jeopardised the cheap oil supply upon which the entire world economy increasingly depended. Whereas Israel represented an island of western interests in a vital region of energy resources, aspirant Arab states were problematic. For most of the 20th century, sponsorship of a corrupt and fabulously enriched oligarchy made them “safe” but an undercurrent of increasingly radical Islam introduced a volatile element into a delicately woven matrix of politics, oil and religion.

Today, the evangelicals articulate what politicians think but dare not say: that the Islamic faith is a grave threat to both Israel and America. Like on a medieval map, Jerusalem is again the epicentre of the world. It is here that the final conflict between God’s truth and Satan’s lies will be fought.

You see, it has all been foretold, in that wonderful book of mayhem and mania – the Holy Bible.

Road map to Armageddon

The “Road Map” for peace in the Mid East gets scant support from evangelicals because it potentially restricts Israel to less than than supposed biblical borders (“from the Euphrates to Egypt“).

In the fundamentalist scenario, the Jews will be restored to Israel, the Temple will be rebuilt (bye bye Al-Aqsa Mosque), and only then (joy of joy) will the Lord Jesus Christ return in triumph.

On the Day of Judgement, Christians will have to answer for how well they have treated the Jews (the “root” of which they are the “branch” – Romans).

It therefore behooves true Christians to support the aggressive stance of Israel towards its neighbours.

Political fundamentalist:

“You see, the … thing is what they need to do is to get Syria to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over.”

– George Bush, G8 Summit 17 July 2006

An early advocate of “Christian Zionism” was Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and a promoter of the “ingathering” of the Jews to their ancient land. One of today’s more prominent Christian Zionist mouthpieces is John Hagee, who articulates a similar fundamentalism in which the Jews remain the “chosen people”.

“Christians must come together and pray for the safety of the Jews. The Jews are God’s holy people, it was through them that God came forth as Jesus Christ to spread the message of Good News … of Heaven and truth and salvation.”

Hagee’s ministries claim to have raised more than $8 million to resettle Russian Jews in Israel. In return, Hagee has received numerous accolades from Jewish organisations.

When Johnny is not glad-handing politicos in Israel (he claims 22 visits) he regurgitates his doomsday scenario in such money-making delights as “Beginning of the End“, “From Daniel to Doomsday“, and “The Battle for Jerusalem“.


Thank God – We know how the battle of Good and Evil will end!

Who can resist being told his or her “future”?

The Romans read victory or defeat in the entrails of a chicken or the guts of a bull. For longer term forecasts they consulted soothsayers and sibyls. The art of the diviner is to remain enigmatically ambiguous, leaving it to the enquirer to make the final judgement. Nostradamus was particular gifted in this respect. Retrospectively his “quatrains” can be fitted into almost any century. Christian soothsayers of the 21st century read “signs” of the End Time in contemporary events. But what’s new here? The rise of Islam in the 8th century, the year 1000, the Black Death of the 14th century, the Reformation of the Church in the 16th century, the French Revolution, the First World War, the founding of Israel, etc., etc. – all have been hailed as harbingers of the Apocalypse.

The early Christians, too, had a particular attachment to the arcane art of “prophecy”, pouring over a pile of ancient Jewish texts, not so much to discern the future as to legitimise a supposed recent past. Lacking any hard evidence for their godman’s existence, they were obliged to reinterpret and misinterpret Jewish scripture to provide “proof” that God had in fact incarnated in human form and for a a year or two had performed miracles and espoused the essentials of wisdom.

As it happened, the Jews had a rich stock of prophetic literature, which invariably foretold the triumph of the righteous and the ruin of their persecutors. The earliest Christians shared the apocalyptic vision and adapted the Jewish tales of an impending “Judgement Day” for their own cause. The rambling nonsense of the Revelation of St John (and other Old Testament books of “prophecy”, such as Daniel) were particular favourites. 3rd century Church Father Tertullian no doubt spoke for many when he enthused for the already impending Armageddon in which non-believers would “liquefy in fiercer fires than they ever kindled against the Christians.

But with the triumph of the Church and its acquisition of an earthly kingdom, the End Time was postponed indefinitely, save that in times of social stress the lurid prophesies were dusted off and used to animate the current enthusiasm, whether it be for a holy war or a cultic retreat to a mountain top. Throughout the subsequent history of the faith, apocalyptic prophecy has always retained a special appeal for a certain breed of Christian – one more concerned with the punishment of sinners than with love for his fellow man.

The Book of Revelation may be incoherent bile but one prophecy at least is clear: though millions are doomed to extinction in the Final Conflict, the Christian elect will reap their reward – and surely they deserve it, they have after all “accepted Jesus” – and pass on to life eternal in the kingdom of the Lord. Scary, eh?

Red Heifer

The Book of Numbers tells a yarn about the Jews wandering in the wilderness. Numbers 19 relates the curious Rite of the Red Heifer.

“This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke.” – Numbers 19.2.

Now, what do you do with a beast of such virginal purity?

Apparently, sprinkling this bovine’s blood towards the front of the tent with a forefinger seven times does a whole lot of cleansing.

However, for heap big magic, the animal’s ashes mixed with water provides gallons of ritual purity. What do you do with all this slurry? Why, purify the whole of Israel of course!

Ancient nonsense? Well, some fundamentalists believe that when a red heifer is born, the Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem and Armageddon will follow soon after.

Start worrying. A red heifer WAS born in March 2002  – and was declared ritually acceptable by the rabbis.

“God’s Bigger picture”

Apocalypse Now: “Dispensationalism”

Less it be thought that the current anticipation of Armageddon is feverish guesswork – as if – a complete “ideology” underpins the doomsday scenario. According to the insanities of so-called Dispensationalism, periodically God works his magic outside the normal laws of the universe. Thus the whole story of humanity can be seen as a number of episodes (or “dispensations”) brought to a close by the intervention of the Almighty. The Edenic period was brought to a close by the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden. The Antediluvian period ended with the flood, the Postdiluvian by the building of the Tower of Bable and the Patriarchal by the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Fable stacked upon fable.

We then enter the quasi-historical period of the Jewish law, designated the Legal dispensation, which ends with the imagined birth of Jesus. With JC’s resurrection begins the Ecclesiastical period – the current epoch– which forecloses with the “rapture” of the church, when “saved Christians” will be whisked away to a joyous reunion with their Lord and Saviour and granted ring-side seats from which to savour the ungodly in their agonizing torment. Thus the final showdown is to be welcomed and encouraged rather than delayed and avoided.

The final, awful period, Tribulation, will be more terrible than any episode in human history. In seven years of apocalyptic meltdown, the bad guys will almost triumph. The Antichrist will appear and he will take the guise of a “one world” leader (see! can’t trust the U.N.!). Half of the human race will die, the seas will turn to blood, and a third of the earth will be consumed by fire (see! famine, global warming – it all fits!). The shattering climax will be the second coming of JC, “in Glory”.

Such is the lurid gore-fest of dispensationalism, the hope and anticipation of vindictive small minds who audaciously abrogate to themselves a claim to the American-Dream-That-Never-Ends, who think their own skins so precious and their souls so deserving of immortality. Dispensationalism is by no means a new idea, but a disturbing feature today is the mass support the delusion enjoys. Why do anything about humanity’s obvious problems when the “King” is coming to reclaim his kingdom and believing Christians will get all the top jobsTrouble is, the dispensationalists want the rapture to happen real soon and given half the chance would love to trigger Armageddon. They are not harmless nuts; they are dangerous nuts.

Biblical certainty

Joining the Elect 

The hi-tech paraphernalia of secure and exquisite comfort necessitates continuous innovation and social change, but that change is seldom without surprises. Ironically, the introduction of uncertainty is profoundly disturbing to those who build their “comfort zone” on conservative principles and traditional values. They simply cannot handle unknowns which leave them ill at ease and uncertain how to react. New ideas, unfamiliar people, novel situations are therefore intrinsically threatening.

Hand guns and semi-automatics only get you part of the way. For the Big Showdown, just around the corner, you need to line up some heavy-duty celestial dudes – God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Boy, are they gonna kick ass.

Fundamentalism exploits this psychotic need for certainty in an uncertain world. Family, Nation, God have a reassuring glow of immutability and permanence. They also absolve the individual of profound thought or individual judgement. My family first, my country right or wrong, in God we trust. Such individuals respond to formulaic systems which have all the answers ready prepared.

Four hundred years of critical scholarship can be brushed aside by the simple maxim that every verse of the Bible is a literal truth, not a contention for debate, the word of God to be accepted and regurgitated, not dissected and disputed. The rational questioning of scripture is attacked as “arrogance”, with the caveat that revelation transcends the mere logic of man. Thus the world of the believer is kept “tidy” and uncompromised, his faith a fortress which will withstand the assaults of science or rationality.

The fundamentalist showman invokes the “family” metaphor at every opportunity, a “family” of which, of course, he is the wise patriarch, with a hot-line to God, and his adoring acolytes are “children”. It is “family” in a truly traditional sense of the word, with emphasis upon rules, duties, dependency and obedience. It is an island of rectitude in a world of immorality, anarchy and evil.

The world is blessed to have an archipelago of such islands in the USA. Now if only they could take over the government …

Pax Americana – or a thousand year Christ Reich?

“Dominion” (aka “Latter Rain”, “Restorationism“, “Kingdom Now”)

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

– Ephesians 4.11,13.

For the bigger personality, with more ambition than merely orchestrating emotional funfests and amassing a personal fortune, the prize of political power beckons. To rise above the commonality of Christian showmen – and there are a lot of them – special status is required. The theological sophistry of so-called “Restorationism” provides the required formula. Not content with “spiritual gifts” and prophecy, according to Restorationism God is restoring to his church the “fivefold ministry”, which means apostles and prophets are again among us!

In simple terms, a return to the purity and structure of the early church (as it is supposed) is presented as a necessary precondition (and “sign”) of the Lord’s imminent return. The key element is that an apostle has elevated status – just like Peter, Paul and the rest of the gang – which means authority over the church. An apostle or a prophet, like a latter day Muhammad or Joseph Smith, can pronounce new doctrinal revelation with divine authority, give a new interpretation to established scripture and determine the whole direction of the church. And what purpose does this serve? Why, the taking of supreme power:

“Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost … As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors – in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”

 James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries (Christian Science Monitor, March 16,2005).

Under the banner of Christ, well-dressed demagogues espouse dangerously intolerant policies. One Church. A purging of wickedness. Judgement of the unrighteous. Torquemada and his Inquisitors would have been proud. In the rival brands of “Latter Rain”, evangelical psychopaths wage war on the entire fabric of modern culture.

Hopes of a science-led, secular 21st century, now appear naively optimistic. The most powerful, richest, and most materialistic nation on Earth has renewed its love affair with tribal superstition, irrational paranoia and a morbid delight in hopes for an imminent Apocalypse.

The terrifying future: a world gathered under the hegemony of America, a world bending the knee to Christ.

  • Walter Laqueur, No End to War. Terrorism in the 21st century (Continuum, 2003)
  • Walter Laqueur, The New Terrorism (Phoenix, 2001)
  • Harold Bloom, The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation (1992)
  • Will Herberg, Protestant, Catholic, Jew (1950)
  • Andrew Sinclair, A Concise History of the United States (Sutton, 1999)
  • Kevin Phillips, American Dynasty (Allen Lane, 2004)
  • Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (Norton, 2005)
  • David Domke, God Willing? Political Fundamentalism in the White House, the ‘War on Terror,’ & the Echoing Press (Pluto, 2004)
  • Ziauddin Sardar, Why Do People Hate America? (Icon, 2004)

Onward, Christian soldiers

The Burning Bush – If you’re not for us, you’re against us.

Fighting talk – but is it Christian?

Divine Right

In post 9/11 America, loving Jesus is equated with patriotism, whereas dissent from the administration is unpatriotic and a stand against God. Are you sure you want to do that?

George W. Bush snuggled up to Jesus – and crucial evangelical support – during his father’s 1988 presidential campaign. In 1999 Bush named Christ as his favourite “philosopher” (did he know any others?). He later intimated that he had been called by God to run for president.

“When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the Savior, it changes your heart. It changes your life. And that’s what happened to me.”

Bush’s “born-again” faith certainly gained him political advantage.

“Reclaiming America for Christ”

Dominion high priest James Kennedy, CEO of Coral Ridge Ministries, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Kennedy campaigns for a theocratic America: “The intellectual elite speak lies from the Father of Lies.

Front runner for the American Ayatollah?

Update September 2007:
Dr Kennedy is unlikely to become America’s High Priest. After experiencing his very own End Time, God has called him back to the factory.


Inventors of the “Laughing Jesus” scam

Rodney Howard-Browne – Laughing all the way to the Bank.

Rod certainly healed his finances – he now lives in a million dollar home in Tampa, Florida.

Randy Clark – happy clappy franchisee.

Dispenses the “Toronto Blessing.”

Love affair with Israel

A search for peace and justice – or laying the groundwork for Christ’s return?

Pastor John Hagee, CEO of  Cornerstone Church, San Antonio, Texas, and advocate of unwavering U.S. support for a militant Israel.

Christian Zionists like Hagee stiffen the U.S. resolve to back Israeli interests at any cost.

Hagee provides the underpinning “logic” that the End Time will begin in Jerusalem and the Jews have a key role to play in the impending return of Jesus,

In the meantime, if you have a really strong stomach you can even shell out $16.95 for a copy of the Hagee family sing-along with Jesus.

Well a guy’s gotta make a living.

Happier Days?

1918. Founder of the World Zionist Organization and later first president of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, in Arab dress, meets with future king Feisal I of Iraq, with whom he signed an agreement for Arab-Jewish cooperation.

Both men were contemptuous of the Palestinian Arabs. Their agreement – for mutually supportive Jewish and Arab states – came to nothing because of a secret British-French deal to divide up the Middle East.

Later, Weizmann gained U.S. President Truman’s support for the establishment of the State of Israel.

Preview the End Time NOW

The fabricated belief system of Christianity blends seamlessly with the unashamed fiction of some of its high priests.

Tim Le Haye – Christian Zionist and creationist – is author of a series of apocalyptic fiction called “Left Behind“. He pulls out all the stops to “foretell” how unrepentant sinners, fornicators, Muslims and idolaters will suffer agonizing torments for not accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

Zion Oil: ‘Prophesy’ of family stock value

Hal Lindsey, Christian Zionist, theorist of “Dispensationalism” – and oracle for rising stock prices?

“On April 1, 2004, Lindsey used his WorldNetDaily column to promote the sale of shares in the Zion Oil and Gas Company, citing Biblical prophecy as a basis for suggesting that there was oil in Israel.

Critics have pointed out that Lindsey failed to mention that one of the directors of Zion Oil was Ralph DeVore, a director of Lindsey’s ministries, as well as his cousin.

DeVore has since resigned from Zion Oil.”

– Wikipedia

“Latter Rain” – a sign of the End Times (or simple lunacy?)

“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” – Joel 2:23

In 1910 David Wesley Myland, in “The Latter Rain Covenant“, attempted to correlate the actual rainfall in Israel with Spirit manifestations convulsing Pentecostal meetings!

In 1949 the Assemblies of God conglomerate split over “Latter Rain” and its notions of the Spirit.

The Charismatics subsequently emerged from the breakaway group.

Training Holy Warriors

Jesus Camp, Devils Lake, North Dakota

16th century founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola (“give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man“), would have approved!

Pentecostal summer camp for kids trains tomorrow’s Army of God with a funfest of politics, religion and child indoctrination.

The Camp is at one with the Pope on the abortion issue. Three inch fetus dolls are used as “prayer tools“!

“Regime change”

A Christian Mission to win friends and influence people

The extermination of the native peoples of America was only the start of U.S. aggression towards its neighbours.

In little more than 200 years of its existence, the U.S. has waged war against almost every nation on the face of the planet. The American empire, like all previous ones, has been forged through the force of arms.

U.S. wars, invasions and interventions

North America
Indian wars (1777-1870)
Canada (1775, 1812)
Mexico (1806, 1836, 1844, 1846-48, 66, 76, 1913-7, 1919)

Central America/ Caribbean
Panama (1856, 1885, 1895, 1901-4, 1903-14, 1989-90)
West Indies (1822)

Nicaragua (1853-58, 1867, 94, 98-9, 1909-1933, 1981-90)
Puerto Rico (1898, 1950)
Honduras (1903,7,1911-12,1919,1924-5, 1983-9)
El Salvador (1981-92, 2004)
Guatemala (1920, 1954, 1966-7)
Cuba (1822-5, 1898, 1906-9, 1912-33, 1940-59, 1961)
Dominican Rep. (1916-24, 1961, 1965-6)
Granada (1983-4)
Haiti (1888, 1891, 1914, 1915-1934,1993-5,2004-5)

Latin America
Colombia (1860, 1873, 1901, 1903-14, 2003)
Guyana (1963-4)
Ecuador (coups of 1961, 1963)
Argentina (1833, 1852-3, 1890, coup 1976)
Peru (1835-6)
Uruguay (1855,58, 1947)
Chile (1891, 1963-73, coup 1973)
Brazil (1894, coup 1964)

Tripoli / Libya (1801, 1815, 1981,1986,1989)
Egypt (1882)
Sudan (1998)
Liberia (1847, 1971, 1980, 2003)
Angola (1860, 1976-92
Somalia (1992-95)
Zaire (1967)
Sudan (1998)

Britain (1775-83, 1812-1815)
Germany (1917-18,1941-49)
Austria (1945-55)
France (1798-1800)
Italy (1945-46)
Russia (1918-22)
Spain (1806-1810, 1812-19, 1898)
Greece (1827, 1946-49, coup of 1967)
Yugoslavia (1919, 1992-4, 1999),
Macedonia (1991)

Philippines (1898-1913, 1945, 2002)
Guam (1898)
Samoa (1898-99)
Hawaiian Is (1874, 89, 1893)
Indonesia (coup 1965)

Vietnam (1955-1975)
China (1843, 1854-56, 59, 94-5, 1911-41, 1945-47)
Japan (1853-4, 1941-52)
Afghanistan (1979-89, 1998, 2001- ?)
Cambodia (1962-75)
Laos (1962-75)
Korea (1871, 1888, 1894-6, 1945, 1950-53)
Pakistan (2005)

Near/Middle East
Turkey (1922)
Egypt (1956)
Syria (coup1949)
Oman (1970)
Libya (1981,2011)
Iran (1953, 1980, 1987-8)
Lebanon (1958, 1982-4)
Kuwait (1991)
Iraq (1958, 1991, 2003-11)
Yemen (2000, 2002)
Iran – 2011?

Highlights of US foreign relations:

In 1898 the US defeated Spain in war and “bought” the Philippines for $20 million. It required a decade and a force of 126,000 US troops to crush the Filipino independence movement. Major CIA involvement 1948-54.

The US laid claim to Cuba as early as 1848. De facto annexation took place at the end of the century.

1903 US intervention in Panama secured the region’s secession from Colombia and the acquisition by the US of the canal zone. The US Army Corps governed the zone and directed the construction of the canal, 1904-1914.

In concert with Britain, 1953 the US organized the overthrow of an elected government in Iran and installed the dictatorship of the Shah.

In Syria In 1954 the US orchestrated the removal of an elected government.

In 1973 the US destabilised the elected government of Chile and aided the brutal military regime.

Comprehensive listing (off-site)

Do Americans understand the world they police? 

Be afraid, be very afraid! (YouTube video)

PS: Special relationship?

July 2006. G8 summit, St Petersburg.

Lebanon is getting bombed to blazes and “Yo” Blair asks the great chief if he can go to the Mid-East to calm things down.

The boss says “No, Condi can handle it.”

Some fifty articles are now available as a book. For your copy order:

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