The Summer of Our Discontent

Earthquakes. Hurricanes. What’s Next?

The last several weeks have seen some serious damage done to North America: hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean; then earthquakes in Mexico. There was even a small quake a few days ago whose epicenter was only two miles from me. I shouldn’t be surprised if a volcanic cone started pushing up through the ground the way Paricutín did in Michoacán back in 1943.

Of course, the one really, really serious volcanic event on this continent would be for the Yellowstone Caldera to blow, the way it has three times before: 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago, and 630,000 years ago. Each explosion made major changes to the map of North America. If Yellowstone did in fact blow, the only good news is that it would take out Washington, DC, along with everything else east of it.

I’ve already written about Nibiru, though I disbelieve most Christian projections of doom. I merely think it’s wishful thinking on the part of Evangelicals, who, just perhaps, may be realizing that they’ve f*cked up really bad this time. They want to be raptured up quickly so they don’t have to take any more blame for destroying what once was a perfectly viable country.

 

 

A Brummagem Martyrdom

Kim Davis, Going for the Brass Ring

Kim Davis, County Clerk, Going for the Brass Ring

It’s not often that I have occasion to quote Oprah Winfrey, but this time it fits: “If you come to fame not understanding who you are, it will define who you are.” The clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky—Kim Davis—is making her run for fame as it is understood in the Tea Party and Evangelical Christian worlds. By refusing a Supreme Court order to allow for same-sex marriages, irrespective of her religious beliefs, she is seeking a brummagem martyrdom which will enable her to cash in by appealing to her ever-outraged fellow religious and political cohorts. At the same time, she will find herself swirling in clouds of infamy which will probably sink her little boat.

Gay Activist Dan Savage has the lady all figured out:

I think Kim Davis is waiting to cash in. I predicted from the beginning that she would defy all the court orders, defy the Supreme Court, she would ultimately be held in contempt of court, lose her job, perhaps go to prison for a short amount of time. And then she will have written for her, ghost written books. She will go on the right-wing lecture circuit and she’ll never have to do an honest day’s work ever again in her life.

If Kim Davis aims to be the champion of heterosexual marriage, she has certainly enough experience, having been wed four times and borne children out of wedlock. By gum, it’s great to be born again: It wipes the slate clean and allows one to commit fresh infamies without being called to account.

I think she is following the example of the twenty-odd Republican presidential candidates, most of whom don’t stand a ghost of a chance (Thank God!) running this country … into the ground. As long as American political conservatism is going through this vampire phase, people like Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee will be able to make a living by lining their wallets with cash from the voters in the Bible States who persist in being ignorant, outraged, and relatively well off. Look at Sarah Palin: Why should she have to work at being Governor of Alaska when she get get people to pay to listen to her?

 

The End Times

Last Chance to Commit Depredations

Your Last Chance to Commit Depredations

I’ve always seen a preoccupation with the so-called “End Times” in the same light as James Bond’s license to kill. For one thing, the people claiming that the end times are near act with a sense of moral smugness that permits them to do whatever they want without being called to account for it. And, of course, they will soon be saved and their guilt will be a moot point.

That is particularly true in the case of ISIS. According to a recent post on CNN’s website:

A key window into understanding ISIS is its English language “in-flight magazine” Dabiq. Last week the seventh issue of Dabiq was released, and a close reading of it helps explains ISIS’ world view.

The mistake some make when viewing ISIS is to see it as a rational actor. Instead, as the magazine documents, its ideology is that of an apocalyptic cult that believes that we are living in the end times and that ISIS’ actions are hastening the moment when this will happen.

The name of the Dabiq magazine itself helps us understand ISIS’ worldview. The Syrian town of Dabiq is where the Prophet Mohammed is supposed to have predicted that the armies of Islam and “Rome” would meet for the final battle that will precede the end of time and the triumph of true Islam.

If there is any branch of Christianity I distrust, it is the Evangelical sects, whose chief preoccupation is to take whatever parts of the Bible they choose to concentrate on and use it to make their followers not only cower in fear, but continue to support the preachers who are working on their susceptibilities.

Perhaps we should send a delegation of Evangelical preachers to Dabiq and kill two birds with one stone.

Jesus Is Not Your Good Buddy

Whenever I think about it, I get disturbed by my country, which I love, being destroyed by people who really think that Jesus cares for their sorry asses. Generally, these are “Left Behind” people—not in the sense of the Left Behind novels of evangelical wordhacks Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, but people who are isolated by the winds of demographic and economic change and need something to hug.

If your children have moved out because they can’t stand your old-fashioned ways, and if the job you’ve held since the end of WW2 has moved to Asia or Mexico, you’ll want to pray to someone who really cares for you. That is the story in large swaths of the rural South and Midwest. It just happens to be breaking our country apart because these Glorioso Jesusites all vote: They have nothing else to do.

No, I am not an atheist. (In fact, I don’t think very much of people who profess to be atheists.) I just don’t think that we know anything about God. When He has spoken in various sacred works, they pretty much contradict each other or urge followers to do things which now look pretty loony. To be used at all, one has to cherry pick what look like universal truths and omit all the crazy stuff, like for instance various parts of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. (Check out Deuteronomy 13:12-15 for a divine command that I’ll bet you haven’t followed lately.) That carries over into Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and so on. So while many Americans rant against Sharia law, they are blissfully unaware that Christianity has its own equivalent in the Mosaic books of the Old Testament.

You can probably guess (and guess rightly) that I’m not a churchgoer. Although I have a certain nostalgia for the Roman Catholic Church, and a leaning toward some of the more enlightened teachings of the Asian religions, there isn’t any “comprehensive package” that I endorse from soup to nuts. My belief is that God wants us to keep asking questions, not necessarily expecting any answers from on high. We need to recognize that we know nothing. Perhaps, if God is watching us at all, He wants to see how we behave in a moral vacuum.

People who pretend to have all the answers are just trying to control you. If Jesus is the answer, you are probably not asking the right questions.