Posts Tagged “antichrists”

89 - Cry Baby!The nation’s Christianists have been whining and fuming for the last 5 years about Barack Obama’s election as president. They’ve made numerous accusations about him … such as that he’s a Kenyan citizen and not American, he’s a Marxist, a “secret Muslim,” a minion of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that he’s the Antichrist.

Although some Religious Right figures are willing to make statements of this sort openly, a lot have been more circumspect about it. They prefer to wink in the direction of such ideas rather than espouse them explicitly. It’s a kind of triangulation that maintains their appeal among angry, militant Rightists who genuinely believe in one of those insane Obama hypotheses, without appearing nutty, themselves, to the rest of us.

One Religious Rightist who recently decided to engage in this sort of triangulation, as the Religion News Service reports, is famed Texas megapastor Robert Jeffress (WebCite cached article):

Already no stranger to controversy, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, a Dallas megachurch pastor, is coming out with a book that claims President Barack Obama is clearing the way for the Antichrist.

Jeffress, head of the 11,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, writes in his book “Perfect Ending” that he does not believe Obama is the Antichrist, yet he links Obama’s support of gay marriage to the coming of the Antichrist. Many Christians believe Jesus’ Second Coming will feature a confrontation with an enemy called the Antichrist, based on interpretation of passages 1 John and 2 John.…

“While I am not suggesting that President Obama is the Antichrist, the fact that he was able to propose such a sweeping change in God’s law and still win reelection by a comfortable margin illustrates how a future world leader will be able to oppose God’s laws without any repercussions.”…

Jeffress wasn’t claiming that Obama is the Antichrist, and said he was not questioning the president’s faith. “But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist.”

Jeffress’s crybaby gripes center around the two current bogeymen of the R.R.: gay marriage and the contraception mandate. While it’s true he explicitly said he doesn’t think Obama is the Antichrist, that he connected Obama with this terrifying figure out of Christian legend can only be a potential appeal to other hateful Christianists who view the president as being in league with Satan.

The RNS article mentions the word “antichrist” was coined by the author of the Johannine epistles (specifically, it’s found in 1 Jn 2:18, 22; 1 Jn 4:3; and 2 Jn 1:7). But it’s not clear it refers to a single person or spirit. 1 Jn 2:18 reads:

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

Clearly the Johannine author is saying there are many “antichrists”; but all the other mentions of “antichrist” are in the singular, and appear to refer only to a singular being. So which is it? Your guess is as good as mine. Although most fundamentalist Christians view “the Antichrist” as some future person, and connect him/her with “the Beast” of Revelation, the Bible itself makes no such connection, and 1 Jn 2:18 certainly contradicts that (since it mentions more than one Antichrist, contemporaneous with its author to boot).

The RNS story also mentions another stupid thing Jeffress said:

In his book, Jeffress makes his case that Christians should study prophecy more closely. “Evangelist Billy Graham once observed that ‘the most neglected teaching in the church today is the second coming of Jesus Christ,’” he said.

This is idiotic on two counts: First, because all Biblical prophecy — every last stinking bit of it — is pure, unfiltered, 100% grade-A bullshit. Simple as that. Second, that Biblical prophecy is somehow “neglected” is a flat-out lie. For the last few decades there’s been endless “End Times” talk streaming out of Christian fundamentalism. The success of the Left Behind publishing empire all by itself thoroughly disproves Jeffress’s (and by extension, Graham’s) contention that Christian prophecy is being ignored.

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jesus-facepalmChristians have lived in terror of “antichrists” ever since the author of the Johannine epistles coined the term (αντιχριστοι or antichristoi in the original Greek), around the turn of the 2nd century CE. At the moment, it’s most common for Christians to view the Beast of Revelation as “‘the’ Antichrist,” even though Revelation doesn’t make that connection (in fact, Revelation doesn’t contain the word “antichrist” at all).

But that doesn’t mean Christians can’t manage to find “antichrists” elsewhere, and it doesn’t mean they’re not willing to go as far as they can in order to fight them. A recent chilling example of this phenomenon happened in Chile, as reported by The Santiago Times (WebCite cached article):

Investigative Police (PDI) arrested four people Thursday and are looking for the remaining members of a cult that sacrificed a three-day-old last November in the Valparaíso Region.

The ongoing investigation by the PDI alleges that 35-year-old Ramon Gustavo Castillo Gaete, cult leader and the deceased’s presumed father, believed the baby was the “antichrist” and needed to be sacrificed to stop the world’s presumed end on Dec. 21, 2012.

In an interview with Chilean news outlet 24 Horas, PDI representative Miguel Ampuero said that none of the current detainees — including the infant’s 25-year-old mother — have shown any remorse for what has happened, believing the sacrifice “saved the world.”

These fine representatives of “the Religion of Love” certainly outdid themselves in exhibiting “compassion” for this little baby:

“The baby was naked,” Ampuero said. “They strapped tape around her mouth to keep her from screaming. Then they placed her on a board. After calling on the spirits, they threw her on the bonfire alive.”

The ST article explains a little about the history of this sect, called Antares de la Luz, including that some of its members are professionals. These people are not entirely stupid, and don’t have any rational excuse for their murderous behavior. Only a delusionally-hyperreligious mind could assume a newborn baby could possibly be a danger to anyone.

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