Filled with doom and gloom are our days, thanks to the fear mongering of Religious Right figures. By all accounts, that we should have been “vomited forth” (Lev 20.22-25; Jer 3.2-3) by this point, thanks to our many sins. Certainly, there have been warnings enough that this would happen if we did not immediately get right with the god of the Religious Right.
I can’t name this god. I can’t call him the God of the Old Testament because as presented by the Religious Right, it can’t be the same guy. Too much is missing. This god only cares about gay people and uppity women who think they own their own uterus. He is a god obsessed with sodomy and reproduction to the exclusion of all else. In other words, he is suspiciously and conveniently like his self-appointed spokesmen.
And I can’t call him the God of the New Testament, this Jesus guy they talk about but don’t ever really talk about, if you get my meaning, because the Religious Right god doesn’t care about love and forgiveness, and he certainly doesn’t care about turning the other cheek. Nor does he despise the rich and love the poor, but rather the reverse. Apparently, THIS god thinks only the rich are going to heaven, and that’s certainly not what #The Real Jesus, the guy in the New Testament, said.
But I am perplexed by my continued existence. I mean, supposedly, my gods don’t exist, and supposedly, if this Religious Right dude smites us all, I’m going down with all y’all. I don’t really believe that, but at the very least, a whole bunch people should be gone by now, smote out of existence, or at least out of this new Land of Milk and Honey that is America.
And guess what? The city is still standing.
That’s right – no tornadoes, earthquakes, meteors or plagues of locusts have descended upon the community. Everybody got through it.
How can this be, you ask? Good question. Maybe this god guy, whoever he is, is less pissy and uptight about this stuff than his earthly, self-appointed spokesmen.
By all rights, Hunstville should have been Katrina’d, at least. Or God should have killed all the birds. Something should have happened to show his divine displeasure with all this sinning.
Though it’s hard to see how any reasonable being could be offended by Wiccan priest Blake Kirk’s prayer:
Let us pray. O gentle Goddess and loving God, we thank You for the beauties and the wonders of the day that You have given to us, and for the opportunity we have this evening to assemble here and work together to make Huntsville a better city for all of its residents. We ask that You grant to the councilors and other officials present here tonight the wisdom they will need to make the best decisions that they may for the governance of our city.
And further, we ask that You visit upon these chambers a spirit of peace and comity, so that all who need to speak before the Council this evening may do so in an atmosphere of courtesy and respect, without needless anger or hostility. These things we ask of You as children would of their loving parents, trusting that You will give unto us those gifts we truly need. Amen.
After all, the God of the Old Testament even admits to other gods (Exodus 15:11, 20:3), so it’s not like Kirk invented some. And it’s the Jews who were told to have no other god before him, not us gentiles. And it’s a good, loving prayer. Fine sentiment.
Right Wing Watch reported earlier this month that,
Anti-gay activist Stacy Swimp, a Michigan pastor, claimed last month that a Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality throughout the country would bring America into the biblical Last Days. If the Supreme Court were to issue a favorable marriage equality ruling, Swimp told Cleveland anti-gay activist Molly Smith in a September 23 interview, “I see America looking like what Jesus said the world looking like. He said, ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the Son returns.'”
And here a whole month nearly has gone by after this warning, and still we sit here sinning, and soon we will be skating as well, at least here in the north. Skating and sinning, no doubt.
And this past August, as Americans United relates, a child removed by parents from the public school system in Texas (big surprise, I know right?) to be homeschooled was overheard saying, “they did not need to do schoolwork because they were going to be raptured.”
Going to be raptured…
Technically speaking none of this should have happened, because Harold Camping had irrefutable proof that the rapture was coming in 2011. Camping died in 2013. I’m still here. Presumably so are you, if you are reading this.
But since we dodged that divine bullet, how about all the others?
Last year, George W. Bush keynoted an event promoting the end times (sounds like a real downer to me). We know already that a third of Sarah Palin’s supporters expect the rapture to happen soon, even though the rapture isn’t even in the Bible, which may, when you think of it, be part of the problem.
Heck, back in 2010, Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin even called for the rapture to come now rather than later, in order to save us from giving people the right to healthcare.
Obviously, his god ignored his pleas, because here I sit writing about it, my own alheithinn (that means utterly heathen in Old Norse) self. And I mean, I am utterly Heathen, jack, as surly an old son of Odin as can be. And yeah, Ásatrú has its own end-time stories, but we don’t even necessarily believe they are more than stories, let alone use ’em to frighten children.
All this makes me technically dead already, I suppose, if these Religious Right folks are to be believed. I mean, my death warrant was signed the minute I became an apostate in 1979. I even survived heart disease and heart surgery in 2010, when I very nearly died, it would have been very convenient for this angry old god guy to step in and snuff my Heathen *ss if he’d had the power and been so inclined.
Whatever will be next?
The rapture is big business, so you know the hits will keep on coming. I mean, even though Rick Wiles said in August that it’s too late to save America (which, less face it, isn’t much of an encouragement to change our ways), and you might be saying in response that America isn’t even mentioned in the Bible, they’ve figured out WHY, by gum! Why you ask? Because so many Americans are going to be raptured!
Oh, well that explains everything!
The future is wide open, and the sky is the limit, as Tom Petty famously said.
I mean, it’s not like I’m shaking my fist at the Christian god or any god and daring them. I have nothing against any god since I believe, like a good polytheist, that all of them exist. It’s just that, like the Jews of the Old Testament, most of the gods aren’t mine. My god Thor has, as one of his many epithets, “friend of man.” I don’t know about you, but I like that kind of god a lot more than one who wants to destroy me because I think the wrong thoughts.
So I don’t care what this monotheistic god guy says, by whatever name you prefer to know him. It’s just his supporters that I sometimes have trouble with. I mean, bring on the rapture already. All the idiots would disappear, from what I can see. We’d have true freedom of religion finally, and think of the real estate opportunities for those of us “left behind”!
You would think all the talk would go away after all the repeated warnings resulting in…nothing. After all, even children begin to realize you aren’t serious if all you do is threaten them. But Christian eschatology has been with us for two thousand years and no matter how often the end doesn’t come, even mainstream Christians have shown an incredible capacity to continue to believe it eventually will.
No, this is a god – the god of the Religious Right – who has been invented out of whole cloth in order to support the culture war. It is a god that exists nowhere in history outside of this place, and this time (which come to think of it, explains why he didn’t smite Bill Maher). It is fitting, I think, that they have invented a god to go along with their invented rapture.
Jesus thought the end would come in his life time. Paul thought he same. It never came, and gradually, as you can see in the New Testament, thinking turned away from the end times and to establishing an actual religion.
But now end time hysteria is back in full force, with a new cast of characters and a new god, and I suspect no matter how many times we are warned by his self-appointed spokesmen, we will continue to be here, doing our thing, until we somehow manage to destroy ourselves.
If some of us somehow manage to survive, and this god does not put in an appearance, I imagine they will go back to the drawing board, and continue to warn of the end times to come, and the rapture that awaits the faithful.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.