Back in May, I wrote a post titled A Special Kind of Crazy, where I showed that the religious right has a special soft spot for a certain chapter of the Bible - Ezekiel 38.
The problem with the chapter is that it doesn't even remotely say what these nutjobs think it says. They think it talks about Russia and arabs states attacking Israel, nuclear weapons, and Jesus coming back. But it doesn't say any of that - if you need to check, go ahead, but I can guarantee you that the words 'Russia' and 'nuclear missile' appear nowhere in the Bible.
Now that Israel's in a border skirmish with Lebanon, the people I call 'rapture moonies' are convinced that the events they think are described in Eze 38 are coming to pass - despite the fact that Lebanon is mentioned there, either.
A few selections from the Rapture Ready Message Board will give you an idea where these people's heads are:
Is it time to get excited? I can't help the way I feel. For the first time in my Christian walk, I have no doubts that the day of the Lords appearing is upon us. I have never felt this way before, I have a joy that bubbles up every-time I think of him, for I know this is truly the time I have waited for so long. Am I alone in feeling guilty about the human suffering like my joy at his appearing some how fuels the evil I see everywhere. If it were not for the souls that hang in the balance and the horror that stalks man daily on this earth, my joy would be complete. For those of us who await his arrival know, somehow we just know it won't be long now, the Bridegroom cometh rather man is ready are not.
it has been quite a day today, if you caught all the news; I'm getting the feeling world tension is gonna be high for a long time with increased terrorism and nations being defiant. I don't think it will cool down until after the rapture when the peace deal is confirmed.
How can we not be excited, our redeemer cometh. We should pray always for the lost. But he is coming. Amen Amen ever so come lord Jesus.
your brother in Christ,
I had to link to google's cache of the page. According to the Rapture Ready Homepage, "The heavy traffic load has fried the board's old server. The propagation to our new server should take a couple days." Although, a lot of this traffic is probably from outside the cult - the thread's been cited on several skeptical blogs and more than one lefty radio show.
According to the BBC, it's not a small group of people who share these unbiblical beliefs. They are the people who buy books like the Left Behind series and books by professional lunatic John Hagee:
John Hagee is the pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, and a long-time fervent supporter of Israel.
His latest book, Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World, interprets the Bible to predict that Russian and Arab armies will invade Israel and be destroyed by God.
This will set up a confrontation over Israel between China and the West, led by the anti-Christ, who will be the head of the European Union, Pastor Hagee writes.
That final battle between East and West - at Armageddon, an actual place in Israel - will precipitate the second coming of Christ, he concludes.
I hate to break it to them, but not only isn't China mentioned in the Bible, but they really couldn't give a hot bowl about Israel.
Another thing that's not in the Bible is this whole 'rapture' thing, According to Barbara Rossing, a New Testament scholar and an associate professor at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, "Whether prescribing a violent script for Israel or survivalism in the United States, this theology distorts God's vision for the world. In place of healing, the Rapture proclaims escape. In place of Jesus' blessing of peacemaking, the Rapture voyeuristically glorifies violence and war. [...] This theology is not biblical. We are not Raptured off the earth, nor is God. No, God has come to live in the world through Jesus. God created the world, God loves the world, and God will never leave the world behind!"
In fact, the Bible speaks of God's love of the world in at least one verse I can think of - John 3:16. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
This verse is a cornerstone of christian belief, obviously. But the verse does not say 'God so loved man', it says God loved the world. We have to assume that the Bible means what the Bible says - a logical connection those who believe crazy shit the Bible doesn't say fail to make.
Of course, the real problem isn't that a whole bunch of kooks believe something crazy - there's never been a time when this wasn't true. The problem is that there are no shortage of political whores with a woody on for war with Iran who are willing to exploit these rapture moonies.
"The Jerusalem Post reported this week that remarks by Newt Gingrich and John McCain that the Israel-Lebanon violence marks the beginning of World War III have their roots in Hagee’s book," writer Sarah Posner tells us in American Prospect, "'Knesset member Benny Elon told the Post that Gingrich and McCain "said this because they think it will lead to Iran getting involved, which they believe will set off World War III,"' adding that their 'comments originated with American evangelist John Hagee.' As Hagee and his minions from CUFI descend on Washington this week to lobby Congress, armed with Hagee talking points claiming that Iran will have a nuclear weapon in six months, could it be a coincidence?"
So a bunch of religious nuts are trying to bring about the end of the world and a bunch of warmongers - who, in their defense, don't want the end of the world - are willing to pretend to help them.