Weekend Coffee: April 14

• My wife Elizabeth is raising funds for the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon, and has just one week left and less than $200 to raise to get to her goal of $1,000. Help out!• And if you need some motivation, anti-choicers are harassing and terrorizing the staff of the newly reopened family-planning clinic in Wichita once owned by the murdered Dr. George Tiller. One of them, David Leach from the group Army of God, calls the clinic's existence "a gauntlet thrown down by someone … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: The Religious Right’s Failed Predictions

My latest column is now up on AlterNet, Notable (and Hilarious) Examples of the Christian Right's Failed Prophecies. In it, I examine the track record of religious-right culture warriors who've claimed that their correct understanding of God's will gives them insight into the future. While some have prophesied the coming apocalypse, others have staked a claim to advance knowledge of worldly events. Needless to say, most of them haven't done all that well. Read the excerpt below, then click … [Read more...]

The Great Panic of 2012 and the Balm of Skepticism

All throughout this year, I've been hearing people excitedly claiming that December 21, 2012, one week from today, will be the date of some major world event. Amusingly, the many New Age authors who've written about this date all have completely different ideas of what specifically is going to happen - they don't even agree on whether it's going to be good or bad. (See the inset image for this post for a few of the ideas that have been proposed: "Eloheim and the council", galactic alignment, … [Read more...]

Apocalypse Soon: Why Are Christians So Obsessed With the End Times?

This essay was previously published on AlterNet. In the summer of 2010, I saw him several times a week: a portly, dark-skinned gentleman, leaning against a pillar in Penn Station and holding out two fistfuls of pamphlets to the disinterested commuters. He wore glasses and earbuds connected to an MP3 player in his coat pocket, and always had a serene, almost bored expression that was in sharp contrast to the urgency of his message:He was, of course, one of the devotees of … [Read more...]

The Prophet of Bayside

During my last trip to San Francisco, I reported on my discovery of a woman who receives messages from God in his actual handwriting. I'm amused to report that I've just found out about another holy prophet I thought I'd share with you all, and this one is a local! Her name is Veronica Lueken, and she lived in Bayside, Queens, not far from where I live now. Although most of her prophetic activity took place in the late 70s and early 80s, and she died in the 90s, she still has a cadre of devoted … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: The End-Times Obsession

My latest column is now up on AlterNet, Apocalypse Soon: Why Are Christians So Obsessed With the End Times? In it, I trace the long and ignoble history of failed apocalypse predictions in Christianity: from Harold Camping's infamous pratfall last year all the way back to prominent colonial and medieval preachers, and even the New Testament authors themselves, all of whom were equally sure that Armageddon lay just around the corner. I write about why apocalyptic expectation seems to be a more … [Read more...]

It’s the End of the World As We Know It (Again)

My friends, I have to confess an unpardonable lapse of judgment. I have some very bad news to deliver, and what's worse, I forgot to tell you until now, when it's almost too late! Please, let me explain. As you may recall, the brave and righteous Mr. Harold Camping previously predicted that the Rapture would occur on May 21 of this year, along with a massive earthquake that would cause global devastation on all those heathens left behind. Well, we all know how that worked out. But proving that … [Read more...]

The Venoms of Armageddon Evangelism and Their Antidotes

Guest post by Samantha Eliza BentenBack in May (when the world ended... remember?), the blighted hopes of those looking forward to a worldwide blight reminded me of the "disappointment" experienced by the Millerites over 150 years ago. In a book I was originally assigned for a college class (Eyewitness to America: 500 Years of America in the Words of Those Who Saw It Happen), said nonfateful day was recorded in a telling primary document. I'm including it here, though it's longer than most … [Read more...]

The Watchtower’s Apocalyptic Pratfalls

Since we all had a hearty laugh at the antics of Harold Camping earlier this summer, I thought you might appreciate a little more light comedy. Presented here for your approval are some excerpts from Millions Now Living Will Never Die, a famous the-end-is-near book published in 1920. You can download the entire book in PDF form, or read some more background about it, from this link.The emphatic announcement that millions now living on earth will never die must seem presumptuous to many … [Read more...]

I Have Returned

By EbonmuseGreetings, all. I'm back safely from Spain - actually, I was back yesterday, but pretty much went right to bed when I got home to sleep off the jet lag and recover from general sleep deprivation. (You see, we were in Barcelona on Saturday night, which was when the home team won an important soccer match. The people were very enthusiastic in their public displays of approval, resulting in neither my wife nor I getting much sleep the night before our flight...)In any case, I'm … [Read more...]


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