Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Weird thing of the day 1 February 2005/22 Shevat 5765 (Robinson Crusoe Day)


Yes it’s that day you get to pretend you’re stranded on a desert island. To get into the mood, you can read Robinson Crusoe and The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Or watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island if you have any idea when (and if) that’s on.

Today’s weird thing was going to be Terranova: Planet of the Day, which focuses on imaginary planets. However, Barry pointed out to me an article by Bill Moyers titled “There is no tomorrow”. This is about how common the Christian belief in the imminent Second Coming of Jesus is in the United States (apparently very) and how this affects American politics. Moyers’ thesis is essentially that the current administration is able to perpetuate many of its outrages because to believers these abuses of governmental power do not matter. After all, if the World (at least as we know it) will not be around much longer, there is little point in trying to make it a better place. Some of the abuses, in fact, such as making war stupidly in the Middle East, may even be perceived as hastening the Second Coming, which also meets with believers’ approval.

If I may build on what Moyers wrote, I as a religious man also find this mixture of theology and politics disturbing. As an educated Orthodox Jew, I could easily attack Christian theology. However, even within the confines of Christian theology, regardless of whether its basic assumptions are correct or not, the logic of those who believe the Rapture will be soon and act upon it is not valid.

For one thing, the eschatology is not correct. Throughout history many have attempted to calculate end-times, yet so far all have failed. There is no a priori reason to assume current predictions of the World’s imminent demise are any more correct. This is not in and of itself a reason for a believer to suspect that the Second Coming might occur soon; many unusual events have occurred in recent year. However, considering that there is a sizable chance of being wrong, relying on the Rapture occurring soon is downright foolish.

Even worse, they have botched morality according to Jesus. While Jesus fully approved in helping others do evil to oneself (“turning the other cheek”), he did not approve of helping do evil to other people, and certainly not doing evil oneself. (Go ahead and check the Gospels. I dare anyone who disagrees.) Since Jesus is supposed to be the standard for Christian morality, the Bush administration’s efforts to benefit the greedy rich at the expense of everyone else (not to mention trying to undermine our future) are downright un-Christian. Did not Jesus himself say that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Have I not been pointing out the Bush administration’s immoral (and hence un-Christian) actions to benefit those himself and others who are highly unlikely to enter the Kingdom of Heaven on this mailing list and blog? Such behavior should not be welcomed by any believing Christian, period, and ought to be actively fought. QED.

Be scared.

Aaron, believing Orthodox Jew, hoping to see the coming of the Messiah (not Jesus) in his lifetime, though not relying on it, and hoping that the Birth-Pangs of the Messiah can be circumvented

NOTE: I have said in the past that you should feel free to forward the Weird thing of the day to others. With something like this, I seriously recommend it to better help fight the Bush administration.
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