1.09.2006

your comment here

I'm all blogged out this morning, having spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon and evening in a lengthy discussion in comments.

David Cho has a very interesting post about Pat Robertson's statements about Ariel Sharon - and, more importantly, what's behind it. To those of us who don't worry about the return of a certain preacher who was born 2,000 years ago (give or take), it's bizarre to say the least. But it's also fascinating, and something I'd know nothing about were it not for David.

While you're over there, check out some pictures of Noah, after whom the blog is named.

Debates tonight! The headline in today's Globe And Mail was very disturbing: Tories Surge In Polls. I'm comforting myself by remembering that (a) the election is still two weeks away and, (b) even if the Conservatives win, they won't be able to make major changes.

Despite some people's assertions that the Liberals and the Conservatives are cut from the same cloth, I cannot stand Stephen Harper. I smell that "return to old-fashioned family values" crap all over him, and it reeks.

26 comments:

James said...

It is vitally important to remember that a lot of the US conservative support for the state of Israel is based on a genuine desire to help bring about the End of the World in a very literal sense. Israel has to exist for Jesus to come back.

Of course, one of the big parts of the Apocalyptic return of Jesus (in the beliefs of the Dispensationalists) is the deaths of 3/4 of the Jews in Israel and the conversion of the survivors to (Fundamentalist Protestant) Christianity. The Dispensationalists are pulling for this just as much as they are pulling for Israel.

Slacktivist has been running a series of commentaries on the first book of the Left Behind series, which is based on Dispensationalist "theology". Well worth reading, though you need to start from the bottom of the page.

If you're not familiar with the series, it's what Slacktivist calls "Dispensational porn". To give you an idea of the mindset behind it, one of the authors is the husband of the head of "Concerned Women for America" (often spoofed as "Ladies Against Women"). The books made a minor headline recently when a major newspaper wrote about the final volume of the series, with a quote from a 15-year-old fan about how is favourite part was when Jesus tore the guts out of all the non-believers and burned them alive with hellfire. (Dispensationalism teaches, among other things, that the Sermon on the Mount is no longer important, so forget about all that "Blessed are the peacemakers" stuff.)

Here's a very scary quote from E Magazine I found on Slactivist:

In his book The Carbon Wars, Greenpeace activist Jeremy Leggett tells how he stumbled upon this otherworldly agenda. During the Kyoto climate change negotiations, Leggett candidly asked Ford Motor Company executive John Schiller how opponents of the pact could believe there is no problem with “a world of a billion cars intent on burning all the oil and gas available on the planet?” The executive asserted first that scientists get it wrong when they say fossil fuels have been sequestered underground for eons. The Earth, he said, is just 10,000, not 4.5 billion years old, the age widely accepted by scientists.

Then Schiller confidently declared, “You know, the more I look, the more it is just as it says in the Bible.” The Book of Daniel, he told Leggett, predicts that increased earthly devastation will mark the “End Time” and return of Christ. Paradoxically, Leggett notes, many fundamentalists see dying coral reefs, melting ice caps and other environmental destruction not as an urgent call to action, but as God’s will. Within the religious right worldview, the wreck of the Earth can be seen as Good News!

Some true believers, interpreting biblical prophecy, are sure they will be saved from the horrific destruction brought by ecosystem collapse. They’ll be raptured: rescued from Earth by God, who will then rain down seven ghastly years of misery on unbelieving humanity. Jesus’ return will mark the Millennium, when the Lord restores the Earth to its green pristine condition, and the faithful enjoy a thousand years of peace and prosperity.

L-girl said...

It is vitally important to remember that a lot of the US conservative support for the state of Israel is based on a genuine desire to help bring about the End of the World in a very literal sense. Israel has to exist for Jesus to come back.

That's what David's post is about.

The best thing about Left Behind is the Simpsons' spoof "Left Below", in which Homer discovers he is a prophet. It just might be my favourite Simpsons episode. Hilarious.

sharonapple said...

The problem with End Times, is that historically, we've always believed that we were there.

As for the Conservatives, the funniest thing about their commercials is how they've phased out Harper, or at least they have in Ontario. In the beginning, Harper and his plans were front and centre. This lead to no change in the polls. Then, after the latest Liberal scandal, they've focused on the Liberals and the notion of "change." Fine. The problem is "change" to what. They've become very quiet about that. They have to. People don't necessarily want the Conservative or Harper. But change, they might take a chance on that.

Ah, this is fitting the whole pattern of Canadian politics. The governing party gets voted out on the idea of change or less corruption. The new party is inexperienced and makes a number of errors and missteps. The former governing party gets back into power at the next election or soon after.

L-girl said...

The problem with End Times, is that historically, we've always believed that we were there.

I don't understand. Can you explain?

they've focused on the Liberals and the notion of "change." Fine. The problem is "change" to what.

That's always big in the US, too. "Time for a change" - which essentially means nothing.

redsock said...

The problem with End Times, is that historically, we've always believed that we were there.

I don't understand. Can you explain?


I assume she means that in any time period, people thought they'd be the generation to see the End Times.

People in 1850 thought it would be in 1855, for example. People now think it'll be in 5-10 years.

The End is always near.

L-girl said...

Oh. Thanks.

Jews don't think much about end times. Atheist Jews think about it even less. :)

sharonapple said...

The problem with End Times, is that historically, we've always believed that we were there.

I don't understand. Can you explain?


It's a repeating pattern, but there have been so many times when people believed that the world was on the verge of ending. From the start of the Christian church, the followers have thought that they were in End Times. It was suppose to happen in 202 AD... and then 500 AD... and then.... The "discovery" of the New World, and the fact that this brought Christianity to a new people, was a sign of the End. (Possible myth, but there is a story of one Native American, who before he was burned, was told by priests to say he believed in Christ so that he could at least go to heaven. His reponse: "I don't care about heaven if there are Christians there.")

Anyway, here's a very parital timeline of failed predictions.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_unfulfilled_Christian_Prophecy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschatology

sharonapple said...

Missed redsock's post before I posted, but yep.

The whole idea brings a new sense to the idea that the world is always ending for someone.

James said...

That's what David's post is about.

Yeah, but it's important enough that it bears repeating for emphasis. :)

The problem with End Times, is that historically, we've always believed that we were there.

I don't understand. Can you explain?


This is especially true for Christian Apocalyptic cults like Dispensationalitsm. It was founded (in the 19th century) on the premise that Jesus was going to be here immidently. Any day now. Just you wait. He's coming. Any day now. Yup. Any day...

The Jehovah's Witneses were the same way. They predicted the end of the world in 1914, and when that didn't happen, 1915, then 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994, etc. They now officially frown on putting a date on the end of the world, though. Religious Tolerance.org, an excellent (Canadian) website, has a good summary of EotW predictions.

The brilliant British comedy troup Beyond the Fringe (Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller, and Alan Bennett) had an excellent sketch on the subject called The End Of The World. A must-read, but even funnier to listen to or have seen.

David Cho said...

Hey Laura, thanks for the shout out :).

To those of us who don't worry about the return of a certain preacher who was born 2,000 years ago (give or take), it's bizarre to say the least.

Well, Christians of all denominations and sects believe in the second coming of Jesus, but not the way Pat Robertson believes, so many Christians find his circus extremely bizarre as well.

Biblical prophecy is subject to wildly varying interpetations, and the one that Robertson, and the author of the Left Behind series adhere to the particular interpetation which did not come about until the 1800's.

James, thanks for bringing up the prophecy regarding the deaths of 3/4 of the Jews. The dispensationalists want to ride the Jews on their way to heaven and to watch them get slaughtered by the anti-Christ. How nice of them.

Laura, there has been a lot of traffic to my blog from here. I said to "bring it on" on my blog to spoof Bush :-).

James said...

Off (this) topic, but worth repeating: Rex Murphy had some great comments on this rather lackluster election (found at Peace, Order, and Good Government, Eh?):

So here's where we are: The Tories are pitching themselves as the bland alternative. It doesn't make for a great slogan - "Choose us and you won't be startled." The Liberals are offering amnesia and alarm. Forget sponsorship; save Canada from the Tory zealots. You can string these pieces of zirconium any way you please, but they won't turn into a pearl necklace.

Each of the two leading parties of a presumably great nation are arguing you must vote for them because of the defects of the other. Won't make for a stampede in either direction on polling day as well, voting for the one because you can't stand the other. If this is a vision for Canada, wallpaper is a movie.

L-girl said...

(Possible myth, but there is a story of one Native American, who before he was burned, was told by priests to say he believed in Christ so that he could at least go to heaven. His reponse: "I don't care about heaven if there are Christians there.")

Almost certainly apocryphal, but a fun story. It's nice to think it might have happened.

That's what David's post is about.

Yeah, but it's important enough that it bears repeating for emphasis. :)


Absolutely. :)

The Jehovah's Witneses were the same way. They predicted the end of the world in 1914, and when that didn't happen, 1915, then 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994, etc.

They're our favourites. ;-)

Well, Christians of all denominations and sects believe in the second coming of Jesus, but not the way Pat Robertson believes, so many Christians find his circus extremely bizarre as well.

I'm sure! But it's good to know.

Laura, there has been a lot of traffic to my blog from here. I said to "bring it on" on my blog to spoof Bush :-).

You are much funnier than him. Also much smarter, much nicer...

In fact, the only thing he is more than you is rich and powerful.

The duck thief said...

Man, Pat Robertson just can't seem to keep his mouth shut. I really want to say "Well, he'll be dead one day" but is that too harsh?

Kyahgirl said...

Your blog rocks l-girl. I've been trying to keep up for the last few days because the content is so important and interesting.

Kyahgirl said...

just one more thing, on the long thread from yesterday, redsox noted a few times that the media have not been helpful, and in fact have quashed a lot of information that shows how so many Americans hate what is going on. I wanted to no if you are are aware of a new News station that is trying to get off the ground. It is called Independent World Television News and is hoping to start broadcasting in 2007. Look around their website. Canadians can make tax deductible donations! :-)

L-girl said...

Kyahgirl, thank you so much. I'm lucky to have such informed and intelligent readers. Thanks for being one of them. :)

I did know about the lefty TV network, but I hadn't thought about them in a long time, didn't know how it was going. Thanks for reminding me! I've bookmarked the site. Thanks again.

L-girl said...

I really want to say "Well, he'll be dead one day" but is that too harsh?

Well, it's true. He will be.

redsock said...

The Jehovah's Witneses were the same way. They predicted the end of the world in 1914, and when that didn't happen, 1915, then 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994, etc. They now officially frown on putting a date on the end of the world, though.

Hell, they got a lot more dates in the middle of those, too.

1975 was the big one in modern times, though. It was thought that 1975 was the 6,000th year of mankind -- and the ol' 1,000 years/1 day thing would mean the 7th day was beginning. And that was God's time -- or something.

They pretty much came right out in their magazines and said it. I knew one guy (with an unbelieving wife and two kids about my age) who sold everything he had because he believed 1975 would be IT. ... Oops.

After 1975, though, they really stopped hinting at anything, feeling in some small way that they got burned. I don't know about 1994, as that was well after my time.

Part of the their problem is they put so much stock in saying that the generation that witnessed the events of 1914 -- they felt WWI was the start of the Last Days -- would see Jesus's return.

So if someone was 10 in 1914 -- and thus able to remember events -- those people would not die off worldwide before The End.

Now, in 2006, that person would be 102. So yeah, they kind of shy away from the 1914 thing now. :>)

Which is amazing, really, because they used to have that as the core of their belief. And then they dropped it. They came up with some new explanation (not sure what it was now) and saying they had received some "new light."

My sister is still involved with them and I have wanted to ask her about the No More 1914 to hear what she says, but I haven't.

James said...

Well, Christians of all denominations and sects believe in the second coming of Jesus, but not the way Pat Robertson believes, so many Christians find his circus extremely bizarre as well.

I'm sure! But it's good to know.


Robertson & his ilk are very odd Christians, to my mind. The part of the Bible they pay the least attention to are the Gospels -- the bit which actually features their Christ walking and talking and doing Christy stuff. They love Old Testament fire & brimstone (and the Ten Commandments, &c -- Leviticus, Deuteronomy -- lotsa punishment involved). They love Revelations, the End of the World (more fire & brimstone). They're pretty keen on Paul, with his hang-ups about sex, women, and so on. But "blessed are the meek"? "Turn the other cheek"? Can you imagine some of these people taking this to heart:

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
[...]
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
(Matthew 19)

Or how about this, with their constant braying praying and invocations of their god:

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6)

Remember that bit next time Falafel Bill O'Reilly starts ranting about public exhibitions of Christmas piety.

I'm not a Christian myself, though I grew up (liberal) Anglican. My father is an "excommunicated" Mennonite, and my mother grew up United. As Buddy Wasisname says of the United Church, though: "De United Church, dey ain't too sure. Dey pray to whom it may concern."

BTW, if you're interested in the Bible for its impact on modern society, I highly recomment Asimov's Guide to the Bible. It's not a definitive piece of Biblical scholarship, but it does a great job of putting the Bible into a historical perspective for the secular layman.

Scott M. said...

Well, the debate is underway.

The only good thing, so far, is Steve Paikin's performance. Too bad he's the moderator and not running.

thedog said...

Pat Robertson should go on a comedy tour. Wonder what he'll say next.

I remember when the JWs were predicting the end of the world in 1975 and 1994. And we thought the waether people were bad about missing forecasts.

The mine in WV had 208 violations in 2005!! There had to be some deal between the owners and some politician. How else could they still be operating with all those violations? This was nothing short of murder!

sharonapple said...

I really want to say "Well, he'll be dead one day" but is that too harsh?

Well, just as long as you don't pray for Robertson's death, you're a better person than he is. (I wish someone would tell Robertson's God's not a wishmaster.)

The only good thing, so far, is Steve Paikin's performance. Too bad he's the moderator and not running.

Oh he's good. He hit all of the leaders with difficult questions and moved it away from it being all about scandals and into issues.

Echo Mouse said...

Noah! And Buster too!! What gorgeous critters :) Thanks so much for sharing that. It helped ease me into the political quagmire ... lol

I skipped the debates but only because my mind is made up. You're right about Harper, in my opinion. Personally, I see a stupider, slower version of Mulroney with more puppet strings. He's also the neglected child seeking favour with big daddy (the USA) so - NIGHTMARE!

Let's keep our fingers crossed. But I'm with you, if we can keep a minority gov't, that's something at least. Otherwise, if the Cons win, I fear for children, seniors, and sick people like me. Not to mention the entire Country of Canada.

L-girl said...

Greetings, thedog! Welcome to wmtc. With comments like those, I hope you stick around.

You're right - it was murder. You're also right that there were govt connections. The energy industries own the US govt. You could say the energy industry is the US govt, what with Cheney running things...

The duck thief said...

Well, just as long as you don't pray for Robertson's death, you're a better person than he is. (I wish someone would tell Robertson's God's not a wishmaster.)

No need to worry about that. I'd never wish death upon anybody. It's those who are left behind who suffer with that loss. Besides, I'm sure Pat Robertson is a nice guy when he's around family and friends and not insulting people who've been hospitalized due to a stroke.

thedog said...

Thanks...I plan to hang around.

I doubt we'll ever know the names of those involved with the mine disaster. That will be covered up. Their phones aren't being tapped either.