Thursday, February 15, 2024

Unsettling Advent Devotionals Wobbly With Shaky Assumptions

It used to be that the Christmas season allowed the individual a sliver of each year to enjoy pursuits one might considered distinct and even detached to an extent from the concerns and troubles of ordinary life. Some look forward to the Advent season to reflect upon the eternal profundities of God coming into the world in the form of human flesh. Others bask more in the Yuletide side of things to wallow in pleasures that might seem unseemly or overly celebratory other times of the year. Most Americans strive to cut the difference by managing to find a position somewhere in the middle as they exhibit renewed appreciation for friends and family through the wholesome enjoyment of the good things bestowed upon mankind by the loving Creator.

Yet it seems some are so bent on the overthrow of the American way of life and the Western civilization upon which that standard of prosperity rests that they have attempted to co-opt what was intended to be one of the most uplifting aspects of an otherwise drab season to advance their own revolutionary ends.

The newsletter blog Public Witness claims that the purpose of its “Unsettling Advent” devotionals is to remind the Christian disconnected from the events surrounding the birth of Christ by approximately two millennium that the world Jesus stepped into was not exactly one exuding the charming warmth of a Currier and Ives painting or even that of a Hallmark romantic comedy.

A desire for historical authenticity is to be commended. Such a perspective can deepen an appreciation for what the Savior endured for the sake of our own sinfulness and just how far humanity has come since then.

However, from the approach advertised under the banner of this Advent series, one is forced to ask is this really so much about devotional literature or more about propagandistic pamphleteering.

For example, one set of these rants is titled “Advent In A Time Of State Executions”. As a pretext, these authors reference from the Gospel of Matthew the event known as the Slaughter of the Innocents where Herod murdered the boys below two years of age in Bethlehem one might say for the sake of convenience. But instead of drawing a parallel with abortion, the focus is shifted to those that are in most cases not all that innocent. Those are, of course, those awaiting execution on death row.

This slick political ad campaign bemoans the states that continue to move forward with capital punishment over the course of the Advent and Christmas holidays. And so what? The Lord's work is never done and bless these states.

The alleged purpose of the Unsettling Advent series is to get back to the hard truths of the Bible. Perhaps one of the hardest to accept upheld by an all-loving, all-powerful and all-just God is that there are those individuals that are no longer deserving of continued existence on this Earth if their guilt is established fairly beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The text of divine revelation reads in Genesis 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

Those attempting to co-opt the New Testament in support of a progressivist agenda will no doubt eisegete the narrative in the Gospel of John where in regards to the adulterous woman Christ Himself admonishes let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

The case can be argued that capital punishment in regards to adultery does not apply because Christ came into the world not only to fulfill the Covenant made with Israel but to extend that special kind of relationship to the whole world and all of mankind. As such, certain aspects of those obligations might no longer apply as they did in an arrangement where these sorts of moral failings and sins were to be addressed in a much more explicit or strident manner.

Christ is revealing in this narrative by this gesture that one of these areas in which moral truth would be applied in a modified manner would be in human carnal relations. For while Jesus in no way overlooked what the woman stood accused of as evidenced by His words recorded in John 8:11 admonishing her to go and sin no more, neither did Christ demand the imposition of a punishment that He as part of the triune Godhead required of those part of the covenant with the nation of Israel. If such was no longer required of those often referred to as the Chosen People, surely such a punishment would not be required of those possessing more of a run of the mill nationhood.

Yet nowhere in this particular passage or anywhere else in Scripture did Christ speaking on behalf of deity or the Father and Spirit for that matter abrogate the punishment elaborated in Genesis for the taking of human life unjustified in the context in which it ceases here in the mortal realm. The oft repeated refrain of all sins are equal aside, a criminal homicide is a much more serious transgression than an act of illicit carnality.

In the one, the typical outcome consists of broken hearts, shattered relationships, and in some instances the conception of a new existence whose life will forever be impacted by the questionable life choices of the respective parents. However, despite the hardships, each of the resultant outcomes can be overcome to an extent and even a degree of imperfect restitution made to the directly aggrieved parties.

Such is not possible in the case of unjustified homicide. Unlike the instance of adultery, the maliciously deceased cannot received an alimony check in compensation. Unlike the child conceived outside the confines of marriage, the homicide victim cannot receive a child support payment for the purposes of buffering the financial struggles that often result from a broken home or one that was never legitimately formed in the first place. Unlike a shattered heart broken after its been discarded once a body has been defrauded by someone of less than noble intentions, the slain body cannot be sustained by the hope that one day a truly loving companion will at long last be encountered.

The individual that is no longer alive possesses no such possibility or opportunity for advancement or improvement in this reality. That is because such individuals are dead. Why shouldn't a similar price be extracted from or a penalty be imposed upon those that with aforethought of one kind or another interrupt to the level of termination the corporeal viability, sustainability and potentiality of another individual?

The tone of the press release announcing the Unsettling Advent devotional comes across as isn't it terrible that those with executions scheduled during the Advent and Christmas seasons won't get to experience the joys particular to the holiday time of year. But what about the victims and their families who will themselves never get to enjoy these celebrations often as a result of crimes that in most instances they had no way of preparing for mentally or spiritually in terms of concrete chronometric specificity.

With dismay, it might be stated that, of the topics addressed by the Unsettling Advent press release, the concerns regarding capital punishment on the surface can at least be presented in terms of nonpartisan ethical reflection. Even more disturbing is the way in which issues are discussed in the section of the press release titled “Advent In A Time Of Political Anxieties”. Nearly every compelling story possesses an antagonist whose motives and intentions are at odds with and bent on derailing those of the protagonists.

The Christmas narrative is no different. Though not as developed with the literary detail of a Darth Vader or a Lex Luthor, as the Unsettling Advent press release astutely points out, Herod and Augustus as well as other prominent groupings played a similar role to greater or lesser extents across the comprehensive milieu of Mediterranean world.

The Emperor Augustus is frowned in the Unsettling Advent press release for setting into motion the tax and census scheme that prompted Joseph and Mary on the journey to Bethlehem in the first place. As discussed earlier in this analysis, Herod ranks as a villain over this story for the murder of young children in the attempt to solidify his own hold on power, prompting the Holy Family to seek refuge in Egypt. Other political actors referenced by the Unsettling Advent scribes for the purposes of allegedly providing a cornucopia of context (borrowing a decorative symbol from an adjacent holiday on the calendar) include the zealots looked upon negatively for appealing to religious nationalism in the attempt to overthrow the Romans and “...other factions [that] accepted the mixing of church and state to advance their own wealth and influence”, which must be an allusion to the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Yet the Unsettling Advent scribes are not so much history buffs with a stickling enthusiasm for academic detail. These intellectual manipulators are not content to simply be mere observers of the historical process but themselves intend to manipulate the grand narrative sweep by attempting to apply these character archetypes to the political figures of our own day. In so doing, it is hoped that the contempt felt by the devout for these villains will evoke a similar degree of revulsion in order to coerce acquiescence to a controversial partisan agenda.

For example, the press release laments, “Questions ring through the news about the health of our political leaders and the criminality of a leading contender and his plots to return to power ... Not to be outdone, our electorate is awash with QANON and Covid conspiracies, continuing delusion about fraud in the last presidential election...Throw in Christian nationalism, authoritarian calls to restrict democracy ... an its a recipe for political upheaval.”

In essence, in the minds of the Unsettling Advent propagandists, you are the equivalent of a terrorist if you notice that President Biden can barely string together a coherent sentence or place one foot in front of the other without the likelihood of possible collapse. Those wondering if there might be something to QANON claims regarding a so-called “Deep State” implementing an agenda over which average taxpaying citizens are denied any input or if there is little reason to intake into one's body an experimental concoction that did next to squat in preventing an illness these vaunted experts are disturbingly evasive as to the pathogen's likely etiology are equated with the worst tyrants of this historical era under reflective scrutiny.

Yet while these skillful verbal manipulators attempt to convey the impression that it is an act of high treason to question the obvious decline of one particular occupant of the Oval Office, these same pundits have few qualms about spreading blatant deceptions regarding the likely opponent to the Codger In Chief. For what exactly is the alleged criminality of Donald Trump disqualifying him from seeking elected office or even the allegedly illegal plots he intends to orchestrate should he be returned to power?

One can question the prudence of the remarks of President Trump articulated on January 6, 2021 before the kerfuffle that erupted at the Capitol. However, as of yet, Trump has not been convicted of insurrection in a court of law. For in what the media propagandists love to categorize as “OUR BELOVED democracy” whenever they exaggerate the severity of these events that took place on the scrutinized day the criteria of a ruling handed down in the judiciary is the standard by which an action such as insurrection is determined to have taken place punishable by law.

At most, there only exists Trump's oration urging demonstrators to march to the Capitol to express their opinion. What agitators chose to do there was of their own decision and volition. All Donald Trump did in the disputed instance was to encourage American citizens to exercise their constitutional and God given rights.

For is the freedom of speech and the right to petition for the redress of grievances not enshrined in the Bill of Rights? In the propaganda blowing this incident out of proportion, is not the location of the national legislature referred to as “OUR beloved Capitol”? If such verbal formulations are to be taken seriously, surely there is nothing wrong with individuals progressing along the public thoroughfare for which seizure of a significant percentage of their income and resources is claimed to be justified in order to make available and maintain.

Those claiming President Trump should be held responsible from a legal standpoint over the outcome of what ultimately took place that ballyhooed January afternoon irrespective of what the objective historical record documents him as actually saying or doing because of the solemn reality of the sway elected officials hold over their most enthusiastic supporters whether intended or not to push the ideologically imbalanced to engage in extremist behavior and subversive actions need to reflect upon the implications of what they as leaders are proposing. For if Donald Trump should be barred from pursuing elected office not so much for what he has been convicted in a judicial proceeding of actually doing but rather for the nebulous offense of lending support to disreputable activist elements that can be categorized as subversive in nature, shouldn't this standard be applied to candidates and office holders across the political spectrum?

Do those claiming to uphold the ideal of principles over partisanship intend to call for the removal of Vice President Kamala Harris from the ballet? For that particular termagant advocated on behalf of a leftwing legal defense fund for those arrested at Black Lives Matter incidents of mayhem and the destruction of property.

Likewise, should Senator Mitt Romney be barred from holding a seat in the U.S. Senate? For unlike Trump who merely told those that assembled January 6, 2021 to march in order that their opinion be heard, Mitt Romney is documented as having marched as part of an actual rally in support of Black Lives Matter. Granted, the Faith + Works march during which Romney mumbled through his plague cult muzzle the revolutionary catechetical invocation “Black Lives Matter” might not have destroyed property like those marches in which the most fanatical adherents of this movement along with their Antifa allies mobilized for destruction and mayhem. But neither did a number of those that demonstrated at the Capitol Jan. 6, 2021 but ended up arrested anyway.

At no time in their respective remarks did Mitt Romney or Kamala Harris explicitly condemn the violence clearly linked to or advocated by a significant number of those involved in these outbursts of subversive upheaval. At no time did Kamala Harris clarify that her support was specifically for those accused of crimes that they did not commit or rather simply blanket support because she agrees ideologically with those intent on toppling the United States as part of a leftwing anarchist or Communist revolution.

Those upholding historical authenticity and Biblical accuracy freely admit that the context into which the God of the universe and the Savior of mankind stepped into the world is about the most humble way possible. Often in reflecting upon the beauty of that, it can be easy to overlook the struggles that had to be overcome by the Holy Family as Christ fulfilled the obligations necessary in order to make salvation available. Yet with an awareness now made known, the believer also needs to be discerning of how activists connected to the Unsettling Advent Devotional Series have attempted to hijack these profound truths in order to advance an agenda as blatantly political as the conservatism that these these leftwing religionists rile against from their perch of sanctimonious piety.

By Frederick Meekins

Thursday, April 27, 2023

The Study Of The History Of The End Of The World, Part 10

 From this study, it becomes apparent that the End Times and consummation of all things is not solely a concern of the twentieth and twenty-first century church. Rather this outlook has been a part of the conceptual framework of the spiritually inclined since at least the earliest days of that institution and perhaps even earlier. Admittedly, interest in the apocalypse has ebbed and flowed throughout church history. However, given the fallen nature of the world in which humanity resides prone to an assortment of calamities both natural and man made, this sense of foreboding awareness stems from the fact that things as they are now known will indeed come to a climactic end. Apocalyptic thinking has become a permanent fixture of the Western mindset not only because it is persistent but also because it is elastic (Kyle, 185). Over time the understanding of how the symbolic prophetic outlines would be fulfilled has changed.

For example, those inclined towards apocalypticism at the time of the Middle Ages no doubt interpreted prophecies regarding the Beast that made war with the saints as a reference to a marauding Islamic conquerer. During much of the twentieth century, many dispensationalists held that Communism/Russia would play some role in the Antichrist's rise to power. More than one eschatologist wondered if Mikhail Gorbachev with his distinctive forehead birthmark and prominence during the closing of the Cold War was the Beast with the head wound that would deceive the world in the name of peace. Still others speculated if the much anticipated unification of the European Common Market would serve as the multinational confederacy that would succeed in imposing planetary rule upon the remainder of the world. Now, here as we approach the middle decades of the twenty-first century, it seems that this sort of speculative banter may have come fill circle with it once again becoming erudite and insightful to caution that the prophesied man of sin might be an adherent of some form of Islam.

Though the Bible makes no direct connection with the date as it is based upon calculations determined well after the close and canonization of Scripture, the year 2000 and those immediately following held enormous sway in the minds of those fascinated by some degree by the subjects of eschatology and the End Times. Because of embarrassment sparked by previous date setters, most ministers wanting to retain a degree of respectability were not necessarily explicit in terms of excitement sparked by the year 2000. However, one could not help but notice an undercurrent of anticipation if one knew exactly what to look for in terms of a subtle presuppositional framework. For example, a number of interwoven theological perspectives such as dispensationalism and literalist Biblical creationism no doubt harbored an affinity for the year 2000 given that those at the intersection of these beliefs often held that the world is approximately 6000 years old according to Bishop Ussher's chronology. The belief was further solidified through an interpretation of Matthew 24:34 that Christ would return within the lifetime of the generation that saw the reestablishment of Israel as a bonafide nation within a specified geographic location.

Despite no direct spiritual links to the year 2000 or its immediate time frame, secular futurists having been conceptually conditioned in a milieu at least nominally drawing from Judeo-Christian sources were themselves awed at the concept of this new millennium as something of a boundary dividing human perceptions or at least in terms of the tools individuals used to gather and process information. For it was around the year 2000 that the Internet became pervasive and soon thereafter followed the ubiquitous smartphone. It was through these relatively inexpensive gadgets that the average teenager had at their fingertips greater computer power than all of NASA at the time of the Moon landing and access to knowledge surpassing the library of Alexandria. Whether or not these opportunities were used for good or ill is beyond the scope of this particular analysis.

Probably the most open in explicitly embracing the year 2000 as humanity's gateway into the eschatological would have probably been those whose worldview was inspired by the psychic or occult. Those of such an orientation derived their predictions from a variety of sources such as dreams, channeling, and an assortment of ancient writings. For example, through calculations based on the dimensions of the Great Pyramid in Egypt, it was predicted that the Age of the Spirit would begin between 1995 and 2025 and that Christ would appear through a reincarnated form around the year 2040 (Abanes, 71-73). Occultists that predicted revolutionary transformation in the opening years and decades of the twentieth century included Edgar Cayce, Carl Jung, and Madame Blavatasky. The interesting thing, however, is how much their predictions differed if they supposedly came from a spiritual source superior to and even more ancient than that upon which Christianity was based.

This apprehension, angst, and confusion leaves the discerning Christian wondering how we as believers should approach the subject of the End Times. On the one hand, we do not want to live as those that claim not to give second thought to the reality that life in this world as now lived will one day come to a very dramatic conclusion or rather transformation. On the other, neither does the believer want to make the mistakes of the past such as those of the Millerites, in the process bringing profound embarrassment upon themselves, potentially damaging those under their spiritual influence and alienating even more from important prophetic revelation.

Foremost, care must be taken to distinguish what the Biblical text actually says from ideas that have accrued as a result of interpreting these passages. Particular note must be made whether a concept under consideration is actually Biblical in origin or if it might be derived more from occult tradition. Yet the Christian must also not be so quick to dismiss claims made in the name of science such as those regarding the dangers posed by nuclear proliferation or even climate change. For while it must be realized that these are often promoted to advance various agendas that undermine national security and imperil the country's economic way of life, these can possess enough truth to hint how events might be progressing towards the Last Days as foretold in the pages of the Bible. The portions of Scripture dealing with the climax of history as understood by the minds of we mere mortals are some of the most baffling, detailing some of the most terrifying and awe-inspiring things imaginable. As such, it is easy for even the most devout to get distracted by these essential details rather than to focus on the theme of this narrative that the Lord of all creation will one day return to this world to gather His redeemed and to impose judgment upon all who find themselves outside of that blessed throng.

by Frederick Meekins


Abanes, Richard. End-Times Visions: The Doomsday Obsession. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1988. 

Kirsch, Jonathan. A History Of The End Of The World: How The Most Controversial Book In The Bible Changed The Course Of Western Civilization. San Francisco, California: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006. 

Kagan, Donald, Ozment, Steven and Turner, Frank. The Western Heritage Since 1789 (Fourth Edition). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1991. 

Kyle, Richard. The Last Days Are Here Again: A History Of The End Times.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1988. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1996. <p>

Ladd, George. The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of The Second Advent and The Rapture. Grand Rapids, Michigan: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1956. 

Thompson, Damian. The End Of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium

Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Study Of The History Of The End Of The World, Part 9

 Concerns regarding the End Times have become such a pervasive aspect of contemporary culture that, Richard Kyle writes, “Thus in the late twentieth century the apocalyptic mindset is no longer the fringe phenomena of a few marginalized people which we can ignore (166).” No longer are the most devout or religiously pious the only ones realizing that the world as we know it will likely one day meet with some sort of demise. Interestingly, some of those now the most obsessed with looming doom are not even religious in the traditional sense. In fact, a significant number are even hostile or dismissive of the notion of a personal deity guiding history through the sorts of horrors of which they forewarn to a blissful or beatific conclusion. And unlike the eschatological speculation or reflection of their theistic counterparts, the visions proposed by the secularists offer little in terms of hope for a better tomorrow.

The most prominent sort of secular apocalypse could be categorized as imaginary in nature. Kyle writes, “Most of the ideas of how the world will end have come from the Bible, science, or the occult. But eschatology --- particularly secular eschatology --- has also been conveyed through fiction, especially novels and film (169).” This is not to say that the scenarios in such works could not happen or bear no connection to plausible reality. Rather, what these narratives present is a reflection upon the concerns and anxieties of a given day and projecting the implications of these into an hypothesized potential future.

Through consideration of these stories, the student of history and religion can actually track how these concerns change over time, occasionally even in the mind of a single author. For example, prior to the calamity of the Great War in 1914, in most literary instances the end came about as a result of a natural force beyond the control of mankind. However, after World War I the disasters and tragedies described were usually the result of human actions of some kind such as a technology that spiraled out of control or even the outcome of a deliberate act.

This conceptual alteration could be detected in the works of H.G. Wells. For example, in The War Of The Worlds, the threat posed by the forces of nature is symbolized by Marian invaders. However, in Shape Of Things To Come, it is not an amorphous threat from out there or beyond that Wells feared threatened the species but rather a powerful planetary elite. Likewise, one can almost detect a similar shift in more contemporary examples such as Battlestar Galatica. In the original version, the Cylons were a threat that originated external to mankind. However, in the updated reimagining, the Cylons were actually created by humanity, it eventually being revealed, by a grieving father who wanted nothing more than to create a virtual reality version of his daughter killed in a terrorist attack.

As outlandish as the plotlines of many movies, television series, and novels might sound, these narratives are not beyond the basis of possibility. A number also bear a startling similarity to the ways prophetic portions of Scripture have been interpreted by exegetes applying their understanding of twentieth and twenty-first science and technology.v Foremost among potential secular apocalypses no doubt ranks nuclear annihilation. This possibility has gripped the minds of devout and reprobate alike since the mid 1940's when atomic devices were dropped on Japan in the hopes of bringing a swift conclusion to the Second World War. In the attack on Hiroshima, it has been estimated that over 70,000 individuals lost their lives (Kagan, 1053). Following that, these weapons not only increased in their destructive potential but proliferated in terms of ending up in the hands of regimes and some contend even groups at odds with the United States in terms of geopolitical vision. But at least at the height of the Cold War, the desire of the powers on either side of the ideological divide to see the world governed in their respective images either along the lines of modified free market capitalism or even repressive totalitarian Communism prevented these parties from destroying it. Such an attack would have resulted in devastating retaliation or a global ecological catastrophe where the fortunate might have actually been those losing their lives in the opening round of such a conflict.

It was hoped that the diminution in direct tensions between the United States and Russia following the demise of the Soviet Union that the likelihood of a mass casualty nuclear incident would be similarly decreased. However, such a hope did not necessarily transpire. If anything, the threat merely transformed and actually became less predictable. As a failed state, it was feared that the Soviet bureaucrats that became underworld oligarchs could sell these devices to assorted rogue states and terrorist groups. In turn, many of these potential customers were of a radical Islamist persuasion --- unlike Communists with no conception of a life beyond this one --- who were just as alright with blowing up the world or converting it since the true reward sought by those of this perspective was a blissful Heaven-like paradise.

Other secularists concerned about the end of the world as we know it are not so concerned that the world is going to end in a giant explosion but it will nevertheless be the result of man's irresponsible behavior in the form of environmental desolation. Foremost among these ranks global warming or climate change. Those buying into the reality of this threat believe that the conspicuous consumption of fossil fuels results in an excess amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. This in turn, it is hypothesized, traps heat that is prevented from radiating off into the vacuum of space, creating what is referred to as the greenhouse effect. This rise in temperature could theoretically melt ice at the poles, resulting in the rise of sea levels flooding coastal areas as well as shifting weather patterns that could catastrophically impact global agriculture.

If the threat of nuclear annihilation and environmental devastation were not enough to keep the anxious awake at night, other analysts suggest it will most likely be global pandemics that will plunge the human species into an interminable death spiral. Civilization besieged by plague at an apocalyptic-level is not without historic precedent. During the Middle Ages, it has been estimated that up to a third of the population of Europe perished as a result of the Black Death believed to be bubonic plague (Abanes, 179).

Some experts believe the contemporary world with nations separated from one another by no more than a few days air travel is similarly vulnerable to the outbreak of killer disease. Such a possibility gained more widespread consideration in light of the AIDS outbreak of the 1980's. As terrible as that was, most felt protected from that pestilence to a degree since in most cases it was transmitted through promiscuous sexual activity or intravenous drug drug use. A number such as famed science fiction author Issac Asimov did contract the virus innocently as a result of a blood transfusion.

Even more frightening is the possibility of an illness such as ebola spreading unchecked around the globe. Unlike AIDS which can take years to fester in the systems of those infected by the virus, usually requires a deliberate behavioral action to contract and can now in many instances be kept in check through rigorous adherence to a strict pharmaceutical regimen, the victims of E.bola are often dead within a matter of days after exposure even while wearing what is thought to be a sealed protective biohazard suit. Kyle assures that E.bola is so overwhelmingly deadly that a natural outbreak under most circumstances would be self-limiting (181). The real danger, he assures, would no doubt be rogue states or terrorist organizations weaponing these microorganisms. With the proper technical background, such would not be too difficult and is no doubt why such bacteriological devices are even referred to as the poor man's nuclear bomb.

If nuclear, environmental, or biological holocaust are still not enough to frighten you, there are those terrified that life here as we know it will be wiped out by an object from beyond this world crashing into the Earth. Given its vastness, it would be understandable to assume that the chance of one object of minuscule size in comparison to the comprehensive totality of the universe crashing into another nearly as small would be negligible. However, such is believed to have occurred with such regularity that the potential for just such a catastrophe to be a legitimate cause of concern.

Many paleontologists believe just such a body crashing into the Earth 65 million years ago led to the eventual extinction of the dinosaurs. Creationists squeamish about referencing an event that old need not feel left out. For other incidents of interplanetary billiards have occurred more within a time frame acceptable to ardent defenders of a literalist interpretation of the Genesis account. In 1908, something exploded over the Tunguska region of Siberia that leveled 80 million trees in an area nearly twenty-five miles in diameter. And if that is not enough, a number of astronomers are able to earn respectable livings tracking the numerous asteroids, meteors, and comets that have come as close as 500,000 miles of Earth that would have impacted with the planet had the objects had been as little as six hours sooner.

Each of these scenarios described from a secular perspective are so overwhelming in terms of their destructive scope that the mind cannot help but attempt to categorize their likelihoods as remote or near impossible. The thing of it is that every last one of them can find a parallel in the prophetic apocalyptic portions of Scripture. For example, when Babylon is described as burning in Revelation 18, one can imagine this happening in the form of a nuclear attack on a metropolis of economic and cultural significance such as New York.

And even though conservatives are correct to articulate skeptical opposition in regards to environmentalist shenanigans intended to impede or decay Western standards of living in favor of the sort of squalor endemic to the Third World, one cannot help but notice descriptions of what sounds similar to climate change in regards to prophecies of mass marine die offs and waters being turned as to blood as detailed in Revelation 16:3-4. Elsewhere in the Apocalypse, fires are described as decimating much of the planet's plant life and throughout the text millions of human beings end up dead. Of the period of Tribulation, Matthew 24:22 says that for the sake of the Elect, if Christ did not intervene during this future time, things would get so bad that otherwise all flesh would be destroyed. It is this one essential promise that differentiates the hope provided in Christ from the despair of the secularist that realizes from the standpoint of man alone all is utterly lost.

By Frederick Meekins


Abanes, Richard. End-Times Visions: The Doomsday Obsession. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1988.

Kirsch, Jonathan. A History Of The End Of The World: How The Most Controversial Book In The Bible Changed The Course Of Western Civilization. San Francisco, California: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006.

Kagan, Donald, Ozment, Steven and Turner, Frank. The Western Heritage Since 1789 (Fourth Edition). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1991.

Kyle, Richard. The Last Days Are Here Again: A History Of The End Times. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1988.

Ladd, George. The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of The Second Advent and The Rapture. Grand Rapids, Michigan: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1956.

Thompson, Damian. The End Of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1996.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Faulty Theological Interpretation Could Turn Deadly

It is not an historical or theological overstatement that a faulty eschatology can turn deadly.

Usually such a conclusion is deduced by reflecting upon sectarians that construe the passages regarding the End Times as being not only imminently literal but having to be implemented by believers themselves rather than by directly through the manifest actions of the Almighty Himself.

For example, the prophetic beliefs of the Branch Davidians played a role in the fiery raid that has become synonymous with Waco, Texas.

Earlier in American history, in what became known as the Great Disappointment, those that put their trust in the speculations of William Miller often rid themselves of their possessions in the hopes of the Second Advent that failed to materialize by the predicted date.

Yet those with a more secularized version of Christianity hoping to realize a number of Biblical promises this side of supernatural intervention should not conclude this era is no longer prone to such errors.

An article published 8/10/22 by the Religion News Service titled, “Faith leaders attend celebration of gun control law” discusses how a number of religionists were put on display by the Biden Administration to propagandize on behalf of the Safer Communities Act.

Listed among the duped lacking discernment was Shane Claiborne.

Given the length to which Claiborne has traditionally kept his hair for many years, his Biblical ignorance has often been on display for all to see.

I Corinthians 11:14 admonishes it is shameful for a man to have long hair.

However, Claiborne's lack of exegetical prowess now literally endangers the lives of individuals that may need to be protected by the literal use of force.

In the article, it is pointed out that Claiborne is “leader of an effort that melts down guns into garden tools in observance of the Biblical call to turn swords into plowshares.”

This is a reference to Isaiah 2:4 which reads, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. “

The passage is prophesying or foretelling of the time of the Millennial Kingdom following the return of Christ.

The text is descriptive; it is not telling the reader to do anything in the form of a categorical imperative reminiscent of Kant.

The Book of Revelation also expands that there will one day be a divine army that will destroy those at the Battle of Armageddon where the blood will flow so deep it will reach the bridles of the horses.

Would Shane Claiborne care to preemptively assume the responsibility upon himself implementing this particular Messianic undertaking as well?

The swords are beaten into plowshares in that blessed era because there will no longer be anymore need for them when Christ returns and sets the crooked paths straight.

There is not a single soul apart from a deluded lunatic that will insist we are anywhere near such a utopia.

One can make an argument that there are firearms in the hands of those that ought not to have them.

Yet it does not logically follow that those that have not been deemed incapable of handling the solemn responsibility of properly handling these tools should be denied access to ballistics technology.

Scripture allows for the right of self defense.

Luke 22:36 says, “...he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. “

Thus, any effort designed to compel the morally conscientious to surrender the armaments to which they have been granted a divine right could result in a number of lives lost equaling and eventually surpassing in the long run the most shocking of cult tragedies or mass casualty incidents.

By Frederick Meekins

Friday, December 30, 2022

Response To Capitol Kerfuffle An Excuse To Curtail Free Speech

 In light of the Capitol Kerfuffle, powerful elites are vociferously suggesting that those questioning the outcome of the 2020 election should be banned from social media or even forced to resign from elected office.

So what other notions considered to be historical truths should we be forbidden from questioning if we as individuals wish to retain our tenacious grip on what few diminishing liberties and opportunities we will be allowed by technocratic elites?

For nearly two decades now, it has been suggested that those that question global warming or climate change should be charged with no less than crimes against humanity.

If today one cannot question an election in which a significant number of Americans have raised a variety of valid concerns, what punishments or sanctions will be imposed upon citizens with the courage to question the legitimacy of racial reparations when such scams are pushed through the federal legislature?

In light of the Capitol Kerfuffle, progressives are at the forefront of rallying to the defense of a structure propagandists now categorize as “beloved” and as “a symbol of democracy”.

It is amazing how a comprehensive narrative can flip in less than the span of a single news cycle.

For those espousing leftwing ideology not that long ago were calling for the demolition of federal city edifices no less impressive as the Capitol such as the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial.

Even more importantly these radical activists agitate constantly for the implementation of the very revolutionary Marxism that has destroyed lives and liberty around the globe.

by Frederick Meekins

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Is The GOP Losing Its Will To Fight?

 A story in the 10/3/22 edition of the Christian Science Monitor is titled “In Arizona, a major test of GOP unity: Will Republicans follow Barry Goldwater or Donald Trump?” 

But in the contexts of their respective particular historical moments, were these figures viewed that differently by their respective Party establishments and leftwing media critics? 

After all, was it not Goldwater that intoned that extremism in the defense of liberty was no vice and that moderation in the defense of justice was no virtue? 

In retaliation, the Johnson campaign produced the infamous Daisy Ad in which a young girl was seemingly incinerated in an atomic explosion. 

Say what you will about the alleged differences between Trump and Goldwater. 

However, one is forced to admit that a wall is inherently more peaceful than a nuclear deterrence can ever hope to be.

By Frederick Meekin

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The Study Of The History Of The End Of The World, Part 8

 Though history is linear in that it is moving towards an ultimate destination rather than circular in the sense of rigid absolute recurrence, it cannot be denied that the dynamics of human development and unfolding events do often follow a cyclical path over time. For example, eventually the sects of the nineteenth century that began with considerable apocalyptic and utopian fervor such as the Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses tempered these impulses to an extent in favor of the stabilization brought about by leadership focusing more upon continuity of organization rather than the cessation of human affairs as presently known. The cultural change of the nineteenth century continued onward well into the twentieth. As such, it was to be expected that fringe movements outside the mainstream of conventional American religious life would continue to increase. But given the exaggerated pace of contemporary life, a number of these would prove to be far deadlier than their counterparts originating in what might be considered more tranquil bygone eras. In his analysis of the fringe groups embracing a form of apocalypticism arising from the tumult of the counterculture, Richard Kyle categorizes these as Western, occult, or racist.

The groups described as Western would be those that would be described as cults deriving inspiration from Christian theological terminology even if these sects no longer imbued the words with their original meanings. A number of these ended tragically in episodes of dramatic violence. Foremost among these ranked Jonestown in the jungles of Guyana and the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas.

In the early days of his ministry, one would not have necessarily thought that the name Jim Jones would become synonymous with cultic violence and abuse. Jones began his ministry loosely affiliated with the Disciples of Christ with a concern regarding what he perceived as the racism of his day. Eventually, Jones' apocalyptic views focused more upon pending disaster rather than Christ's actual return. Initially, this prompted Jones to uproot his congregation from Indiana to settle in California where Jones thought it would be more likely to survive an inevitable nuclear catastrophe. However, it was this desire to protect his flock from the perils of the world through the fanatical withdrawal from society without relying on the power of Christ that would ultimately doom this experiment in integrated communal living.

As a result of increasing allegations of abuse within the People's Temple and out of a fear that even California would not prove to be a refuge from the pending tribulation, Jones relocated to the sect's compound in the Guyanese wilderness known as Jonestown where he descended into deeper levels of insanity and evil. The straw that broke the camel's back occurred when Senator Leo Ryan and an NBC news crew arrived to investigate claims of abuse alleged by families of group members as well as those residing at the compound. The desperate there reached out to the legislator after an initial meeting actually seemed to go well. These souls confided that they had not found a sanctuary from the hardships of the world but had actually become trapped in a Hell on earth.

Fearing retaliation on the part of authorities for assassinating the Senator along with others at the remote jungle airstrip, Jones attempted to convince his followers to commit what he categorized as an act of revolutionary suicide. It is often assumed that the residents of Jonestown embraced death in this manner willingly as it is what comes to mind when admonishing someone not to drink the Kool Aid, a reference to the toxic potion concocted to bring about this disturbing end. However, many only relented at gunpoint and others were actually shot. And though Jonestown no doubt stands as perhaps the most infamous example of the tragedy likely to result when people surrender good judgment and discernment for promises of a blissful tomorrow if all they do is surrender in total to a leader claiming direct revelation from or a unique understanding of God to which other believers are not privy, it would certainly not be the last.

Another example of such a group meeting a tragic demise as a result of an out of control belief in the Apocalypse was the Branch Davidians of Waco, Texas. The Branch Davidians were themselves derived from Seventh Adventism, which adherents of this splinter group believed had grown lax in doctrine over the years as the emphasis of the mother movement switched from eagerly awaiting the pending Advent to organizational expansion. Deadbeat Vernon Howell was able to smooth talk his way into the sect's leadership by pitching woo at the elderly matriarch. With his knack for quoting Scripture (even if pulling it out of context), Howell was able to rebrand himself as David Koresh, claiming that he was the Lamb referenced in the Book of Revelation who would open the seven seals described in that prophetic text. As a result of a series of tactical blunders on the part of both Koresh and the government, eighty-eight Branch Davidians died in this attempt at actualized eschatology when the compound caught fire after a siege lasting well over a month.

Another form of fringe eschatology to gain a foothold towards the close of the twentieth century was noticeably racialist in nature. One of the early forms of what might be categorized as genetic apocalypticism could be found in the Worldwide Church of God as established by Herbert W. Armstrong. Central to the teaching of Armstrongism was the doctrine of Anglo-Israelism, the belief that the Anglo peoples of the world such as Great Britain and the United States were the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. As such, these nations were as every bit as eligible for the promises made to the Chosen People as were the Jews. Like the Jews that Armstrong hoped to mimic, his sect also held to Old Testament dietary laws, Sabbatarianism, and the rejection of the Trinity. In terms of his eschatology, Armstrong was influenced by dispensationalist notions of history spanning roughly for six thousand years with Christ returning at the Second Advent to establish the Millennial Kingdom which would follow the Tribulation during which the Antichrist would rule the world from his power base of a European confederacy consisting of ten nations.

But whereas Armstrong's form of ethnic millennialism might have admired the Jews a little too enthusiastically to the point of wanting to be part of a pan-Israelite family, the other forms of End Times speculation focused upon ethnicity actually went to the other extreme of explicit hostility towards the Jews and the exclusion of those not belonging to a preferred racial group. These movements were Christian Identity and the Black Muslims.

Christian Identity was similar to Anglo-Israelism in that both believed that the Caucasians of northern Europe were the true Chosen People of God. However, Christian Identity parted ways with the Worldwide Church of God in insisting that those now categorizing themselves as Jews in fact had no connection to Biblical Israel genetically. Instead, the vast majority now identified as part of that nation or ethnicity are actually descendants of a group known as the Khazars that converted to Judaism in the seventh century (Kyle, 160). Unlike traditionalist Christians who (despite instances of racial animosity or misgivings) admit that all humanity shares a common ancestry back to Adam and Eve and most directly from Noah following the Deluge, Christian Identity believed that non-Whites are not fully human in that such groups are the result of carnal relations between Satan and Eve in the case of the Jews or the result of a creation prior to the divine intervention resulting in Adam and Eve.

Interestingly, the tyrannical government known as the New World Order warned of by adherents of Christian Identity sounds quite similar to that of the Tribulation period under the Antichrist probably described in the greatest detail by dispensationalist scholars. However, beyond that, the two schools of eschatological interpretation have little else in common. For example, Christian Identity rejects the Pretribulational Rapture outright. Perhaps most disturbingly, in order to being about the Kingdom of God the faithful will be required to wage a race war, a prospect most often eagerly anticipated rather than dreaded by those mired in this spiritual delusion. The hope of the practitioner of Christian Identity is not that the Jew will be brought to Christ during the time of upheaval but will instead be eliminated so that the Earth and the surviving bloodlines might be spared genetic contamination or purified.

At the other end of the spectrum of racialist Armageddon could be found the Black Muslim movement. Despite being called the Nation of Islam, the sect was rather more of a cult than an expression of of orthodox or mainstream Islam. The Nation of Islam was founded in the 1920's by Wallace Farad, a mysterious figure many within the sect believed to be a theophany or God manifested in human form. His chief prophet and successor as leader was Elijah Muhammad.

In terms of eschatology and doctrine, the Nation of Islam advocated a militant anti-Caucasian Afrosupremacism. Whites are believed to be a genetically engineered inferior subspecies that will be obliterated when pious Blacks are taken up in a Rapture-like event to the Motherwheel --- a craft reminiscent of a UFO inspired in part by the Book of Ezekiel --- which will rain nuclear annihilation down upon those remaining upon the Earth at that time. Unlike orthodox Islam, the Nation of Islam held that there was no life after death and thus no literal Heaven or Hell. The religion's golden age would consist of the Black subjugation of the planet Earth.

The third variety of apocalyptic group to arise in the contemporary world could be categorized as New Age or occult. The groups, sects, and teachers falling into this particular category foretold of a pending golden age often proceeded by cataclysmic upheaval. However, unlike those drawing their prophetic inspiration from Christian sources, the primary focus of those in the occult or New Age was not so much the Second Coming of Christ but rather more about communal or personal transformation. Richard Kyle writes, “The coming New Age will be based not on some doomsday scenario but on a paradigm shift (154).” Through this paradigm shift, humanity will actualize the deity within. The result will be a new order characterized by equality, ecological restoration, international cooperation and galactic harmony.

Unlike strict Marxist Communism with its absolutist materialism, the New Age movement allowed for the existence of higher order intelligences or spirit beings it believed would guide humanity along the path to cosmic awareness. Most often now such entities are depicted as extraterrestrials like those their proponents believe responsible for UFO phenomena. The movement that developed surrounding the study of encounters began to take on characteristics noticeably beyond that of mere scientific curiosity and more like those of a religion or form of spirituality following George Adamski's claim in 1952 that he had met and talked with an extraterrestrial (Kyle, 157). Soon a sort of gospel affirmed by a number of others also claiming to be contactees developed professing for the need of our species to move beyond crass materialism and hostility into a more comprehensive awareness of reality if we wanted to avoid widespread destruction such as that embodied by nuclear weapons the recent development of which on Earth brought the planet to the attention of interstellar authorities.

At this point, Christian and New Age eschatology seem to parallel one another but diverge in distinct interpretative directions. In Dispensationalism, prior to the Tribulation, Christ catches His saints both the living and the dead into the air so that they might escape the judgments about to be poured out upon the Earth. In the spin placed on events by adherents of the New Age, Christians are still the the ones removed from the Earth at that time. However, that action on the part of extraterrestrials is not seen as a reward for dedication to Christ but rather as punishment. For it is the tendency of the true Christian to stick to morality as described in the pages of the Bible and that belief in Jesus Christ is the only way to gain access to Heaven. These notions are perceived as a profound impediment to the kinds of changes that need to take place in order for this utopian golden age to be actualized. Likewise, the cataclysms described in passages such as the Book of Revelation will not so much be viewed as God deliberately instigating the judgments. Instead, these disasters will be viewed as the Earth repairing itself after centuries of neglect at the hands of a culture based on Judeo-Christian principles rather than the balance claimed to be found in pantheism.

by Frederick Meekins


Abanes, Richard. End-Times Visions: The Doomsday Obsession. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1988.

Kirsch, Jonathan. A History Of The End Of The World: How The Most Controversial Book In The Bible Changed The Course Of Western Civilization. San Francisco, California: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006.

Kagan, Donald, Ozment, Steven and Turner, Frank. The Western Heritage Since 1789 (Fourth Edition). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1991.

Kyle, Richard. The Last Days Are Here Again: A History Of The End Times. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1988. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1996.

Ladd, George. The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of The Second Advent and The Rapture. Grand Rapids, Michigan: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1956.

Thompson, Damian. The End Of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Pelosi Now Fawns Over Police Despite Once Backing Defunding

 Continuing to keep the January 6th pot stirred nearly two years later, the Termagant Pelosi bestowed Congressional Gold Medals on two police officers that did not die technically from any injuries sustained in the infamous kerfuffle.

One passed later as a result of natural causes and the other by his own hand in an act of suicide.

At the ceremony, Pelosi categorized January 6, 2021 as “the most staggering assault on democracy since the Civil War” and celebrated law enforcement for “staring down deadly violence and despicable bigotry.”

How quickly those that constantly harp the shortcomings of history over the heads of the American people in order to silence opposition to their particular agendas forget the events that they themselves participated in or abetted.

For Pelosi did little on behalf of law enforcement when she bent arthritic knee in submission to Black Lives Matter an Antifa terrorists as they looted their way across America hooting chants about defunding the police.

These subversives destroyed monuments every bit as historic as those Democrats constantly now describe with the modifier “beloved” in the attempt to milk these events of every drop of sympathetic propaganda possible.

From an objective standpoint, only those deluded by the most demoniac of ideologies will insist that the U.S. Capitol faired worse than the destruction inflicted upon St. John's Church just blocks from the White House in the name of tolerance, justice and inclusion.

By Frederick Meekins

Monday, December 5, 2022

Tolerancemongers Now Triggered By Comments On Triggering

 The thing about revolutions is that, unless they are opposed, they are never concluded.

Those advocating systematized social upheaval and transformation are so perennially unhappy that their particular understanding of reality can be the only one granted the sanction of recognized existence.

That is why the end game is described as totalitarian.

For example, now that the progressivist mindset is on the verge of assimilating nearly every institution in sight akin to the Borg from Star Trek, it is not enough that you comply with whatever demands are imposed upon you.

Apparently you are not even allowed to notice or point out that these demands are being imposed.

Online woketopians are unhinged that Tim Allen dared observe how it is, to use the very word invoked to intimidate traditionalists into silence regarding nearly everything else that ticks off the chronically offended but over which an actual reason as to why cannot be articulated, problematic to say “Merry Christmas”.

At, opposition to Allen daring to express himself was expounded by an article titled “Tim Allen Pulls The Santa Clauses Into The War On Christmas With A Lazy, Inaccurate Joke”.

Humor is a thing that cannot be controlled, to paraphrase a patron saint of these aspiring tyrants Chairman Mao, through the barrel of a gun.

Something is either funny or it is not.

You might feign applause to avoid interrogation either by Stalin's secret police or the administrators of the corporate human resources department.

However, genuine amusement in the form of outright laughter or even internalized agreement (perhaps the thing the thought police despise and fear the most) cannot be as easily faked.

 The column goes on to condemn the cultural meme of the war against Christmas as inaccurate, inflammatory and perhaps, most of all, a myth.

Yet Western civilization as a manifestation of what was once right with the world now totters along the brink of ruination because of the extent to which these ideological subversives have successfully harnessed the refrain often with accompanying threats of violence such as rioting and looting that no such thing as objective truth really exists and that the greatest offense of all is to question the myth or narrative through which someone construes existence.

Thus if someone believes that there is a war against Christmas, tolerancemongers that have spent entire careers insisting that the notion of an objective reality is the epitome of oppression don't have much of a leg to stand on when attempting to hand down pronouncements as to which interpretation of subjective experience is correct.

The commentary concludes, “Do I sound triggered? Yeah, I do, because this nonsense argument is one that continues to divide people more and more every year...”

Yet how is that any worse than the antics of those that have learned that shouting the allegation of “racism” is the key to getting their increasingly strident demands by spineless and facile Whites.

Thus, the advocates of the cultural revolution going on around us for decades admit that what they really can't stand most of all is the gift inherent to you as a human being to articulate basic disagreement with the prevailing herd mentality.

By Frederick Meekins

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Scanners Set To Discernment: The Progression Of Worldviews Leading To The Acceptance Of Extraterrestrials (Part 2)

 Julius Caesar, in his account of his escapades in Gaul, noted how that region was divided into three parts. Something similar might be said of the major epochs of the prevailing cultural currents in the West. Before the revelation of the one true God radiated outward towards the uttermost parts of the Earth from the Holy Land, for the most part with the exception of the Jewish people the West would be what would broadly be considered pagan. The next phase following the pagan was the Christian. The Christian was in turn followed by the Modern and the Postmodern.

To the contemporary Christian ear, the term "pagan" carries with it connotations of gratuitous violence and depraved sexuality. In part, such a reputation is justified on the grounds of the infamous excesses such as those noted in the declining days of Greece and Rome. For example, during that era, it was not uncommon to make sport of the shedding of human blood as epitomized by the Roman gladiatorial games.

Paganism did, however, go beyond that. Though existing prior to Christianity as the predominate form of religious belief and expression among Gentiles, paganism was not conceptually formulated as such until the rise of and in antithesis to Christianity. According to Glenn Sunshine in Why You Think The Way You Do: The Story Of Western Worldviews From Rome To Home, the term "pagan" is derived from the Latin words "pagus" meaning "the countryside" and "pagni" meaning "rural people" (20). This particular dichotomy came about because, at the time, Christianity was a religion concentrated in urban centers whereas those living in the countryside were more likely to hold on to the traditional ways a bit longer as the process of Christianization fanned out across the face of the Mediterranean and eventually into Europe.

Often, those not accustomed to the shades and intricacies of Christianity are bewildered by its sheer number of denominations and various theological interpretations. Technically, the same can be said of beliefs classified under the banner of paganism. Before the rise of Christianity, each culture had its own distinct set of gods (though there was often an intriguing degree of similarity in these figures and the myths about them transcending particular societies). Even within these cultures, there was a myriad of gods with particular cults and schools of devotion drawn to the adoration of specific deities presiding over a particular aspect of nature or existence.

It was this connection between the forces of nature to which man was subject to the whims of and this realm of the spirit that led to the establishment of imperial or national systems of religion. The purpose of these rituals was not so much about preparing the individual for the next world or to make them a better person per say but rather about placating the entities believed to be behind the phenomena manifesting in the physical world. Glenn Sunshine writes, "Crops could be destroyed or not ripen...volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, and storms could end their lives or a slow death by starvation...Is it any wonder, then, that they saw in nature a source of transcendence, which they needed to appease in order to survive (21).” An individual’s relationship with the divine as we now understand such a notion in light of Christian theological assumptions did not enter all that significantly into the religious equation of that day.

With official religious belief so intertwined with social well-being or misfortune in the clash of empires, kingdoms and tribes, it came to be seen that those powers prevailing in arenas such as the battlefield must (it was reasoned) possess the greater favor of the more powerful gods. Thus, when a weaker nation was conquered, it was only natural that they would come to accept these new gods into their respective pantheons. For example, it has been hypothesized that the Olympians were the deities brought with tribes moving into the Greek peninsula that displaced the Titans who had been believed in by the original inhabitants of the region. The Greek and Roman pantheons so meshed together in their intertwining that today students of the Classical world often refer to these characters from these legends and myths with interchangeable names. For example, Zeus (Greek) is identified with Jupiter (Roman), Ares (Greek) with Mars (Roman), and Hermes (Greek) with Mercury (Roman).

Recognition of the multiplicity of deities came to be thought of as an essential component of a good social order to such an extent that not only did Rome require conquered people to bow to or burn a pinch of incense to the emperor as a god on earth but often Rome in turn would extend a degree of recognition to the spirits honored by these subject nations as well. Glenn Sunshine writes, “Adding one or more deities to the religious system was not a problem; in fact more educated people thought of this as being broadminded ...virtuous...cosmopolitan... People saw this inclusiveness as a source of strength for the Roman Empire...the more deities that supported Rome, the better (23).”

The thing was, this kind of system did not do all that much to fulfill the spiritual and emotional needs of the individual as a person. In fact, often these deities were little better than mere mortals in terms of personal conduct. In certain ways, these divinities may have even been worse than the average workaday pagan who, according to Romans 2:14-15, at least had the law written upon his heart to an extent to prick the conscience in cases where internal witness had not been muted through repeated violation. For example, Zeus hardly served as an example of marital fidelity towards his wife Hera. For this deity had numerous affairs with mortals catching his fancy resulting in numerous elicit hybrid offspring, the most famous of which was probably Hercules.

As a result of such an existential crisis of the spirit, a complex cultural process came into play that would result in the next great worldview epoch. Not unlike what is transpiring in our own day, the prosperity that accrued to Rome as a result of an ethos built upon early virtues such as duty and prudence eventually came to undermine the character especially of those in social classes with considerable time for leisure unprepared for the temptations brought about as a result of abundance. Rome became an extremely oversexed society. Gluttony and debauchery were rampant. What would be considered carnal pornographic images adorned nearly every conceivable artifact of material culture from pottery to the walls of domiciles. Despite the libidinous activity going on all around, one would have thought the population would have expanded. However, quite the opposite was true.

The Romans became so engrossed in the pursuit of these lusts that they had little desire to put up with the consequences of such unbridled virility. Abortion became rampant and the population plummeted. Yet at what seemed one of the dimmest periods of the light of the West, things were about to brighten in ways they never had before.

The Christian philosophy of history holds that often God works through the vilest of situations that have resulted from man’s depravity in order to bring about the fulfillment of His higher purpose. As such, the world was primed for the expanse of God’s revelation beyond the Jewish people of Israel by the time of Rome's decline as a source of spiritual strength and cultural vitality. Whereas the Romans valued administrative acumen, the Greeks intellectual aptitude and the Jewish identity based itself upon belonging to the chosen nation of God, the Christian worldview at its finest balanced each of these in a way with the potential to transcend them all in a universal manner that still respected these broad categories of cultural organization and endeavor. At first, this new creed appealed to those on the periphery of how success was construed at the time.

Borrowing heavily from the Jewish tradition in which its founder and His earliest disciples were steeped, the Christian worldview emphasized the value of each individual created in the image of the one true God. And since man was a reflection of this image and bought with the righteousness of Christ who shed His blood, died, and rose from the dead so that the redeemed might enjoy an eternity with Him in Heaven, the pleasures of the flesh were not something to be wallowed in like an animal unable to control itself no matter how strong these temptations might be to all born with a sin nature. Instead, such delights were to be enjoyed as God intended within the confines of matrimony for the sake of the children brought about as a result of such physical couplings, the emotional well being of the partners involved, and to serve as an example of the profound union between Christ and His bride known as the Church composed of all professing belief in Him.

Unlike Judaism, one did not have to belong theoretically to a particular ethnic group or to adopt its culture wholesale to become part of the new covenant open to any who would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. Granted, things would not be perfect under a civilization that took for part of its ultimate foundation the building blocks of the Christian worldview. In time, a number of the things done in its name, often though as a result of a misapplication of these principles, would be one of the justifications invoked by the critics and opponents of the faith for abandoning the creed altogether.

By Frederick Meekins

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Scanners Set To Discernment: The Progression Of Worldviews Leading To The Acceptance Of Extraterrestrials (Part 1)

At the time of this writing in the early decades of the twenty-first century, to the unsuspecting it seems unlikely that extraterrestrials could serve as the basis of an influential new world religion or at least a popular form of budding spirituality. Of the groups examined thus far, the adherents of these are for the most part along the periphery of social acceptance and interpersonal success. Even more importantly, the beliefs espoused by these sects differ among themselves in ways as significant as the incompatibilities of the theological distinctives of the already existing world religions.

For example, the Raelians revel (one might say wallow) in man’s nature as a sexual being while the Heaven’s Gate loathed the physical component of the species to such an extent that the group will be remembered in the pages of history for at first mutilating their bodily organs specifically identified with carnal pleasure through self-castration and then by ultimately destroying their earthly lives altogether through ritual suicide. The Nation of Islam has traditionally been an Afrosupremacist, anti-White sect. The Mormons are often denigrated as the whitest of the White. At one time early in its history, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints looked down its nose at those of darker pigmentation for not having sided with God in the preincarnate war against Satan.

However, as in the case of greater ecumenical cooperation between a number of the major religions of the world, under certain circumstances there could very well come a time when assorted belief systems centered upon UFO's and extraterrestrials could set aside doctrinal differences and emphasize commonalities for the purposes of providing the planetary community a sense of perspective and assurance amidst a crisis that might be described as nothing short of apocalyptic. Even now, among the movements described there exists evidence of this kind of framework and dialog being set in place. For example, Louis Farrakhan is not only the head of the Nation of Islam but he has also had an association with the Church of Scientology.

If the wider ecumenical movement is being used as a framework as to what might happen among those groups that look to life beyond the Earth as a source of spiritual inspiration, one should also expect to see at least two approaches manifest themselves as to how adherents of these sects might respond to the melding and interaction of their respective interpretations as these kinds of worldviews fan out across the cultural and intellectual landscapes. As in the case of the ecumenical movement seeking cooperation and dialog between the traditional religions of the world, there will be members of these respective UFO belief systems that will deemphasize their dogmatic particulars for the sake of broadening the perceptions of humanity to the metaphysical meaning provided by the prospect of life from beyond the Earth.

On the other hand, scholars, academics, and assorted religious professionals should also expect a number within established UFO sects to remain aloof from any amorphous "exo-spirituality" that might develop. As in the case of more literal or fundamentalist adherents of established world religions, a number might prefer --- to borrow Christian phraseology --- the distinctives of the faith handed down to the saints or, in this case perhaps, more technically space cadets. Such devotees might come to view a cosmic universalism as a dilution of the specific creeds they held to so tenaciously in times when the broader public did not herald those looking to the stars as honored prophets with a message rescuing humanity from pending destruction but rather as borderline mental cases one evaluation away from being committed to a psychiatric institution. Furthermore, from what has been presented thus far, those embracing alternative spirituality are often as every bit as much denominationally partisan as religious enthusiasts whose beliefs could be categorized as "Terra-centric".

As fascinating as an examination of the squabbles likely to erupt among the highly-detailed interpretations of extraterrestrial spirituality might be such as to whether Greys, Nordics, or whatever other variety of alien might be humanity's interplanetary savior, going much further into that discussion alters the trajectory of this chapter's intended purpose of detailing how the intellectual and cultural climates are now such that a once fringe perspective could be on the verge of becoming one of civilization's most influential worldviews. To better understand where the world in general and the West in particular might be headed it might be a good idea to examine where we came from in terms of worldviews as a society and the path taken bringing us to where we are today in terms of the philosophical landscape. It has been said that those that do not know history are doomed to repeat it. By examining these peeks and valleys, the apologist has a better chance of arresting the downward trend most discerning Americans believe the nation to be on or to rescue a number of individuals from eternal damnation before the decay all around reaches a critical mass of no return.

By Frederick Meekins

Saturday, September 17, 2022

The Study Of The History Of The End Of The World, Part 6

 Dispensationalist premillennialism and apocalypticism held to the Biblical warning that the days are waxing worse and worse. However, in terms of the opportunity to spread such a message and the pervasiveness of its influence, there was no better time for the field of prophetic studies than the second half of the twentieth century. Increased interest in eschatology in the waning decades of the twentieth century owed much to a confluence of advances in the means of communication as well as concerns regarding trends in world affairs.

The Evangelical prophecy studies industry consisted of a number of layers rather than a single interpretative monolith. At its most rarefied, dispensationalism --- akin to Gaul --- could be divided into three parts. Darrell Brock of Dallas Theological Seminary describes these as Scofieldian dispensationalism, revised dispensationalism, and progreesive dispensationalism (Kyle, 117). Scofieldian dispensationalists maintained sharp distinctions between God and the Church with God having an unique set of promises for each. Revised dispensationalists did not distinguish between Israel and the Church to the same degree, viewing overlap in regards to the covenantal promises made to each. Progressive dispensationalists, according to Kyle, avoided the prophetic speculation characteristic of the classic forms of dispensationalism. More academic in its approach to the study of the apocalypse than the classic forms of dispensationalism, progressive dispensationalism for the most part did not filter down to the popular level to the same degree.

From this division,the dispensationalist eschatological community was further divided between what could be considered the academics and the popularizers. The most respected academics in this theological specialty often traced their roots in one way or another back to Dallas Theological Seminary. In fact, Kyle goes so far as to call the institution “the sperm bank for dispensational thought in America (118).” Typifying this tradition would be that seminary's own John F. Walvoord whose best known work would probably be Armageddon, Oil, and the Middle East Crisis. In it, Walvoord took a firm position that the Rapture and the ensuing End Time events were at hand but with scholarly caution that avoided setting any firm dates.

It is among the popularizers that the discerning begin to notice a more questionable track record. However, a number hoping to maintain respect, position, and credibility mirrored the evenhandedness of the Dallas Theological Seminary academics. For example, in Approaching Hoof Beats, Billy Graham explicitly warned of what he believed to be nuclear holocausts and plagues described symbolically in Scripture, but he was careful not to set a date. Pat Robertson, who at one time was not afraid to articulate outlandish prophetic utterances of dubious credibility over the years such as praying away hurricanes from the Virginia Beach area in order to spare his extensive ministry properties, toned his speculations down somewhat when he started entertaining political aspirations such as his 1988 presidential campaign and establishing organizations such as the Christian Coalition, the American Center for Law and Justice, and Regent University for the purposes of renewing the culture rather than hastening the end of the world.

One of the most prominent of the eschatology popularizers was Hal Lindsey. Initially as a result of his book The Late Great Planet Earth, this Dallas Theological Seminary graduate was able to present the dispensationalist perspective before evidentially non-Evangelical venues such as Congress, the State Department, and the Pentagon. Lindsey remained true enough to his Dallas Theological Seminary training to stay just on the right side of the boundary of theological respectability even though he has played it quite close to the edge at times. For example, as a result of the speculative chronologies utilized by Lindsey in his publication Planet Earth 2000 AD, Lindsey had to clarify almost to the point of backpedaling what could have been construed as an insinuation that the Rapture was going to occur sometime around 1988. Lindsey qualified his position by pointing out the qualifiers stated in his text and that the cosmic countdown might not have commenced with the establishment of Israel in 1948 but rather with the taking of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War along with modifying a Biblical generation from forty to one hundred years. In so doing, Lindsey no doubt hoped to push the pending scrutiny to a time when he himself would not care so much about being proven wrong.

The further one got from respectable academia and ministries that valued credible reputation over short term book and video sales, the more likely one was to stumble upon conspicuous date setters. For example, Edgar Whisenant could not have been more explicit in the date he set in the book titled 88 Reasons Why The Rapture Could Be In 1988 (Abanes, 93). Charles Taylor has promoted so many dates for the beginning of the end that he could make a Jehovah's Witness shake their head in astonishment.

Despite differences in time and temperament, most within the contemporary Evangelical prophecy community share a number of similar assumptions. First, the world as we know it is tottering on the brink of destructive cataclysm. Once believers are taken from the world in the Rapture, little will prevent a series of horrors from transpiring in quick succession. Interpreters are divided as to whether these will be triggered initially by some sort of nuclear attack through which God brings about His sanctioned prophetic unfolding through the actions of man or by more direct supernatural manifestions. Second, most dispensationalists are in agreement that the fuse to ignite the conflagration of End Time events is the reestablishment of the Jewish state of Israel in the Middle East. A number of eschatologists believe that this geopolitical contention will eventually result in Word War III with Russia invading from the north as believed foretold in Ezekiel and China invading from the east as described in the Book of Revelation with an army possibly numbering at one million.

Along with this theme of global war traced to tensions over Israel will be other actors on the world stage agitating against Israel once the Church is taken up to Heaven. Leading this conspiracy will be none other than the Antichrist. Though his nature and intentions are described in detail throughout the text of Scripture, the path that he will take to achieve power and his exact identity are not things the Holy Spirit deemed appropriate for believers to know prior to the exact time of the End.

Yet a number of well-intentioned but misguided eschatologists could not resist playing what amounted to pin the tail on the Antichrist in terms of enthusiastically making guesses as to the exact identity of the world's system final tyrant. For example, given his Jewish background and position as a preeminent diplomat, Henry Kissinger was often a popular choice. Because of a birthmark that resembled a head wound bringing to mind one particular prophecy and the role he played for seeming to lessen the threat played by Russia, some speculated that the Beast might be Mikhail Gorbachev. Others even wondered if John F. Kennedy would rise from the dead after three days following his assassination that shocked the world in the early 1960's.

Despite the intense ongoing debate as to the identity of this looming prince of darkness among those that believe, there is much more agreement as to the nature of his agenda. Foremost, the Antichrist will be the focal point of worship of a system that will for a short time seemingly control and mesmerize the entire world. From Revelation 13, it is declared that this will be accomplished by merging the religious, economic, and political spheres of existence. Those unwilling to pledge a degree of loyalty crossing the boundary of patriotism into the territory of devoted worship will be denied the Mark of the Beast believed to be some form of electronic currency and identification, ultimately resulting in the execution of dissidents unwilling to comply.

Isaiah 55:11 assures that the Word of God does not come back void. Though not as many accept the truth of the Biblical message as sincere believers would like in terms of prophecy, there are a significant number today aware the world is racing ever closer to the conclusion of all things. It is hoped that this awareness would inspire the individual to seek the free gift of salvation found nowhere but in Christ and His completed work. Unfortunately, given the extent to which sin has permeated the human heart and mind, there also exists a disturbing number of individuals that distort this knowledge of the End Times in order to trap the unsuspecting in tighter and tighter forms of spiritual bondage.

By Frederick Meekins