Monday, May 23, 2011

Not The Post-Rapture Round Up

These comments are one of the reasons why I would never consider atheism: atheists are the nastiest, rudest, foulest, most arrogant, most violent people around. I'd die before joining with them. They're crude caricatures of the religious strawmen they despise- but with all the intolerance, and none of the morals or charity.

Well we all have a cross to bear, if you will pardon the pun. But being, the nastiest, rudest, foulest, most arrogant, most violent people around, pales into insignificance, in the cross bearing stakes that is, when it comes to the amount of shite one, as a blogger, has to wade through on a daily basis. A subject already covered once today.

This was to be a post Rapture round-up, but it's too easy isn't it, to sit here and take the piss out of the afflicted, there would be more sport shooting fish in a barrel. But I did come across this piece of drivel, or should that be fuckin' drivel, in the Telegraph no less? Well it would be wouldn't it?

A picture paints a thousand words rings the old adage, or words to that effect. But never a picture says more about a fellow than the banner that adorns the writer's blog. Nuff said? Well if not read his blurb, the subject of one of his books kind of sticks out, but nowhere near as sharply as the words: Like everyone of my generation, I’m a bit obsessed with Sarah Palin.

I’m a bit obsessed with Sarah Palin. I know someone else who falls into that category, but not quite in the same manner, it must be said. more? or John Cleese?
So what can we expect from this auspicious defender of the one true faith, the header should give you a fair indication, but no script would be complete, and the writer predictably doesn't disappoint, for he like all his ilk, falls back on the straw man to make his argument. Or should that be little old straw ladies?

A pathetic a piece of writing as ever I have had the misfortune to read.

The Rapture aside, America's evangelical Christians deserve a little respect

Last week I went to a small evangelical church in West Los Angeles to test the mood pre-Rapture. This particular congregation did not buy the prediction by Christian broadcaster Harold Camping that the End was now, but they shared his feeling that it must be soon. A lady sang an oddly upbeat song about “The Dark Times Due” and the preacher affirmed that God is on his way. “We must live our lives like every day might be our last,” he said. “We must be prepared to be judged, be prepared to give good account of ourselves.” Then he asked each and every one of us if we were ready to meet our maker. Many nodded and shouted yes. Some, like me, looked shamefully at their knees. “The only good thing you can say about Hell,” said the preacher, “is that at least you won’t want for company.”

The Rapture that never was has been treated by many secularists and liberals as a prime piece of proof that American evangelicals are nuts. To be sure, most commentators have stressed that dating the Armageddon is germane to only a handful of churches. But the entire evangelical movement is damned by association with Camping, for they share his faith that the world is on the path to destruction. Stephen Fry called them “imbeciles”. Others have said the same in a more roundabout way. Paul Brandeis on Huffington Post wrote, “people who put their trust in these movements have a sense of powerlessness, and they need to believe in a radical solution to their current situation … The followers of Camping and the May 21 movement are largely working-class people who feel that they have less and less of a voice or place in this world. Like buying a lottery ticket, they are placing bets on a instant transformation of their personal situation where the last will become first, and the rich will be sent away empty.” That’s a classic modernist formulation: that fundamentalist belief is an idiot’s way of understanding and expressing economic pain.

The Camping misfire, like the Westboro Baptist Church’s nonsense, distracts from the innumerable benefits that evangelical culture has brought to American life. America was forged by millenarianism. The Puritans were hardcore Calvinists who shaped American attitudes towards religious tolerance but who also believed that you could tell whether or not someone was going to Hell by the way they dressed. American attitudes towards social egality were likewise shaped by the 18th century’s Great Awakening, with its emphasis upon the potential for individual redemption and personal revelation. The eruption of End of the Worldism in the early 1800s provided much of the impetus for social reform and the anti-slavery movement.

It is true that some evangelical theologians focus upon the Armageddon to the neglect of immediate, material problems. But many more have preached that Jesus would prefer to return to a world that deserved him. America’s greatest theologian, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1753), kept notes on events that suggested the apocalypse was near – an earthquake, a fire, even the French introducing a new toll. It wasn’t an idle distraction from the practicalities of being a Christian, with its essential commandment to love others actively, but a way of reading signposts to a new order founded on that very principle. The threat of Armageddon is not, as the Guardian suggests, “the fundamentalist Christian equivalent of the last helicopter out of Saigon”. Rather it is a spur to action: a reminder that God is watching what you are doing and that He expects results.

Evangelism is complex and nuanced. There are charismatics and fundamentalists, liberals and conservatives, black and white and racially mixed congregations. Its variation accords well with the free-market ethos of America, where each church is part of a thriving marketplace of ideas. Evangelicalism cannot be summarised in one glib column, or damned by the actions of one misguided branch. And while the federal government continues to break down and capitalism only entrenches divides, evangelicalism is a motor of social change. To give one example, the church I went to runs an outreach program for prisoners. Sweet little old ladies give up their time to meet and pray with rapists and murders. The statistics seem to confirm that the best way to stop criminals from reoffending is to convert them to Christianity (or something similar). One evangelical program in Texas resulted in a drop in the rate of reoffending from 55 per cent to eight per cent. “The government ought to pay missionaries to go into prisons,” a congregant told me.

Across the United States, atheists are gathering at Rapture parties to celebrate another day of life on this corrupted Earth. Their joy as Camping’s error is plain mean. While they knock back cheap imported beer and make-out in hot-tubs, thousands of evangelicals will be providing care and love to prisoners, homeless people, drug addicts and the poor. It is a noble calling worthy of a little tolerance. Telegraph

Well, just a little piss take, you'll allow me the one?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“We must live our lives like every day might be our last.” ?

I just want to celebrate another day of living.