(note: I know and love people affected by mental illness. I respect them and sympathize with their struggles, the extra difficulty it takes for them just to get through the day. I use the word "crazy" to denote people whose world views are so far outside reality, they're basically in another dimension. No disrespect intended to the mentally ill.)
Another note: I really don't like Jill Miller of Beliefwatch. As a (mostly) Atheist (having been raised Catholic, I can't entirely let go of my love of the arcane, baroque and Gothic), I find the tone of her writing to be smug and superior, and her articles always contain the condescension of a Christian blueblood slumming it with the heathen hoi palloi. Be that as it may . . .
A review of Is Obama the Antichrist?
I'm not an actual journalist because this article, written by me, would have been all of one word in length:
OK, so I have to fill up some space:
NO! What the fuck is wrong with you people? Have you all gone insane? Have you even read the damn bible? (Go ahead, read Revelation/Apocalypse. We'll wait. "Antichrist" comes up never. Not once. The Beast gets a lot of play, but no antichrists in sight.)
But after that, I'd be done. It's so ridiculous, it's not worth discussing. It's like debating whether Voldemort would beat the Silver Surfer or not. Marcus Fenix v. Batman. (For the record, Voldemort ends up in a death match with Marcus Fenix, who chainsaws him in half in the first 10 seconds.)
Apparently, Jill Miller thinks this is not only worthy of discussion, it's worthy of serious discussion, giving equal time to anyone with the slightest hint of an idea. (Next week, I interview my dog. Woof.)
On Nov. 5, Todd Strandberg was at his desk, fielding E-mails from around the world. As the editor and founder of RaptureReady.com, his job is to track current events and link them to biblical prophecy in hopes of maintaining his status as "the eBay of prophecy," the best source online for predictions and calculations concerning the end of the world.
To call what Todd Strandberg does a "job" is like saying that a paranoid schizophrenic devising aluminum foil caps for the squirrels in the park in order to keep their thoughts out of his head has found a "vocation." While I find RaptureReady freakin' hilarious, it's not a website with actual useful, verifiable information. Ms. Miller makes it sound like wikipedia. (All you need to know about premillenial dispensationalist craziness, all in one place!)
Already Barack Obama had drawn the attention of apocalypse watchers (crazies) after an anonymous e-mail circulated among conservative Christians in October implying that he was the Antichrist. Former "Saturday Night Live" ingénue Victoria Jackson (amazingly stupid) fueled the fire when, according to news reports, (Ms. Miller couldn't verify this why?) she wrote on her Web site that Obama "bears traits that resemble the anti-Christ." (Show your work) Now Strandberg was receiving up-to-the-minute news from his constituents in Illinois. One of the winning lottery numbers in the president-elect's home state was 666— (Obama determines the winning lottery numbers? Why didn't anyone tell me this?) which, as everyone knows, is the sign of the Beast (also known as the Antichrist) (That's not in the freakin' bible either). "It is very eerie, and I take it for a sign as to who he really is," wrote one of Strandberg's correspondents. my brain just tried to leap out of my head much like the goldfish in Amelie.
OK, ummmm . . . when did being a "former Saturday Night Live ingenue" make you a reliable source for anything? I was unaware that a tenure on Saturday Night Live made you an expert on the bible or the apocalypse. Guess the Pope feels stupid now. All that studying and service, and all he had to do was ham it up on TV for a year or two. (Although, the Pope as an ingenue would certainly be a lot funnier than most of what happens on SNL these days.)
So, what are the traits of the Antichrist? Not being a Premillenial Dispensationalist myself, I can only go by what the bible says. (King James Version)
1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time No help there.
1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Obama is a Christian, so he clearly does not deny that Jesus is the Messiah.
1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Again, since Obama is a Christian, he believes that Jesus is the son of god. Maybe the next one?
2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Nope, no help here. (also note, antichrists in the plural, not the singular. it's not quite so special when the world is filled with them.)
OK, so now we know what these people aren't talking about. So what are they talking about? And why am I, the random blogger, doing all the research here, and Ms. Miller, the freakin' expert, didn't do any? (Talking to random crazies is not research.)
Ever since Jesus Christ was crucified and, according to the Gospels, rose again in glory, (ya know, if you happen to believe in that) his followers have been anticipating the end of history—the time when their Lord will return to earth and reign for a thousand years. (Which would make him everyone's lord at that point, no? Or do I, as an atheist, get to ignore Jesus while he's reigning here on earth?) The question has always been when. (No, that's not the question for me. The question for me is, What the hell is wrong with you?) Most Christians don't worry about the end too much; it's an abstract concept, a theological puzzle for late-night pondering. A few, however, have always believed that it is coming—and soon. Millennialist movements, as they're called, gain prominence especially when the world grows chaotic, during wars and at the turn of every century. (So, basically, all the damn time.) According to a 2006 study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, a third of white evangelicals believe the world will end in their lifetimes. These mostly conservative Christians believe a great battle is imminent. (Research! Crazy, scary research. These people vote! And own guns! Best argument for gun control EVER!) After years of tribulation—natural disasters, other cataclysms (such as the collapse of financial markets not in the bible. at all.)—God's armies will vanquish armies led by the Antichrist himself. Again, not in Revelation. He will be a sweet-talking world leader who gathers governments and economies under his command to further his own evil agenda. She didn't even bother to qualify this amazing statement with a "as these people believe".In this world view, "the spread of secular progressive ideas is a prelude to the enslavement of mankind," explains Richard Landes, former director of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University. See "Wolf in Wolf's Clothing" by the slacktivist.
No wonder, then, that Obama triggers such fear in the hearts of America's millennialist Christians. There is nothing I have left out between the paragraph above and this one. "No wonder"? Yeah, I do wonder. For the last freakin' time: SHOW YOUR WORK! Mat Staver, dean of Liberty University's law school Founded in 1971, LU is an independent, fundamentalist Baptist university located in Lynchburg, Virginia says he does not believe Obama is the Antichrist, but he can see how others might. Having trouble seeing it yourself? Good for you! Obama's own use of religious rhetoric belies his liberal positions on abortion and traditional marriage, Staver says, positions that "religious conservatives believe will threaten their freedom." Yeah, their freedom to impose on me their beliefs. Look, other people using rights you do not care to use does not threaten your freedom. The people who believe Obama is the Antichrist are perhaps jumping to conclusions, but they're not nuts Yeah, yeah they are. If you tell me that you were arrested last night, I might jump to the conclusion that you broke the law. It's possible you were wrongly accused. These people go straight from MUSLIM!TERRORIST!HE's BLACK! to ANTICHRIST! That goes past jumping to a conclusion: "They are expressing a concern and a fear that is widely shared," Staver says. The belief that the sun revolved around the earth was widely shared, as well. Doesn't make it reasonable.
Before Christ comes again, those who are saved will ascend to heaven (naked!), according to this end-times theology, in a huge, upward whoosh called the Rapture. Strandberg is so certain that the Rapture is coming, he's bought a number of Internet addresses in addition to RaptureReady: AntiAntichrist, Tribulationus and RaptureMe. In the event that RaptureReady crashes during the apocalypse, anyone who needs an update will, with a simple Google search, be able to get one. (If you honestly believe you will be raptured up into heaven- naked!- before all the tribulations and such, why would you bother to plan ahead like this? And, why would heathens like me do such an internet search in the first place. Presumably, we're a little clueless on the whole bible thing, or we be in heaven with you. Naked!) Strandberg says Obama probably isn't the Antichrist (maybe, maybe not), but he's watching the president-elect carefully. On his Web site, he has something called the Rapture Index, a calculation based on signs and prophecy of the proximity of the end. (Calculated with the seriousness of a Field's winner and the combined crazy of Bellevue.) According to Strandberg, any number over 160 means "fasten your seat belts." Obama's win pushed the index to 161. (Fasten your seat belts? Wouldn't you want to be whooshed right up to heaven -naked!-? Would a seatbelt even prevent that? The Lord, stymied by all the seatbelt wearing Christians, decided to table the end of days and move on to something else.)
This is not reporting. This is irresponsible. This is dangerous.