Coming Soon to an Apocalypse Near You

Any informed observer of religious folly knows that setting dates for the apocalypse ranks among the major pastimes of fundamentalists and fanatics the world over. (The next most-popular pastime is explaining why those dates failed to pan out.) In fact, throughout human history, the years in which the end of the world has not been predicted to occur are probably far outnumbered by the ones in which it has. But what's most astonishing is the way these prophecies, after they have failed, are often … [Read more...]

A Religion Not Made for Success

Were I inclined to believe in them, I would say that the New Testament gospels were a set of maddeningly strange and frustrating documents. Although they contain some beautiful ideas, they always stop just short of bringing them to their logical conclusions. They contain moving admonitions of universal love, but never go so far as to extend that compassion to women or the enslaved. Although Jesus is said to have had pity on the sick and the infirm who came to him and cured them of their … [Read more...]

The World Is Ending, Send Money

2006 has come and gone, and a new year is upon us. I don't know about you, readers, but I feel a mood of unaccountable optimism. There seems to be a feeling of renewal in the air, one not solely accounted for by the unseasonably warm and pleasant weather in the northeastern United States, where I live. Despite all the evils and suffering still occurring in the world, which I don't seek to deny or downplay, it seems to me as if we've been granted another chance to get things right: as if the new … [Read more...]

Watch This Space

Offered for my readers' amusement, I recently came across the following humbly named site: The True Bible Code. As with all devotees of the Bible code, this site works by randomly stringing together letters from randomly chosen chapters of the Bible until they manage to come up with one pattern that spells something and that seems applicable to future events.Their latest startling prediction runs as follows:The UN in Midtown Manhattan will be hit by a sea borne nuclear bomb sometime in the … [Read more...]

The Apocalypse Cheerleaders

As many others have observed, the right wing in modern American politics subsists in a near-perpetual state of frothing rage. This situation serves the purpose of leaders of the religious right, since after all, angry people are more easily led and less likely to think coherently; and to encourage it to continue, they whip their followers into a frenzy with inflammatory accusations and keep their rage alive through the constant creation of new scapegoats. This pattern has recently repeated, and … [Read more...]


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