Jesus On Acid is Really Stupid Just Ask Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel, meet Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series. It represents everything that is most deranged about religion and thus about your confirmation hearing. Call this Jesus on acid.

It’s one reason why you’re being asked about your “support” for the State of Israel instead of being asked about your support for the United States. Sure McCain is a senile bitter jerk (who, BTW I worked for in his 2000 primary race against an even jerkier man called W) but the evangelical community is Hagel’s real problem.

When the final destruction of the State of Israel takes place – and it will unless they make peace and soon — blame American Evangelicals and Israeli intransigence fueled by right wing Christian fools who have folded their “biblical” ideas into American foreign policy by proxy if not directly.

The Left Behind novels have sold tens of millions of copies while spawning an “End Times” cult, or rather egging it on. Such products as Left Behind wall paper, screen savers, children’s books, and video games have become part of the ubiquitous American background noise in rube America that is. And that end times noise is being cashed in on – again and again – by the far right and xenephobic Israel lobby. It’s their passport to the people who think Israel is the “key” to the end times and that somehow we Americans are the key to that key.

Less innocuous symptoms include people stocking up on assault rifles and ammunition, adopting “Christ-centered” home school curricula, fearing higher education because it deals in facts, embracing rumor as fact, and learning to love hatred for the “other,” as exemplified by a revived anti-immigrant racism now cloaked as “protecting” our borders.

Feeding the paranoid delusions of people on the fringe of the fringe has been a gold mine for the evangelical movement. It’s why outfits like Christianity Today magazine are making money off advertising lots of junky stuff to the not-very-bright. It’s why a flake like Ralph Reed still gets on TV from time to time while not ripping off donors to Republican casues assuring them he can “win” elections for the far gay-bashing right.

It also contributes to a dangerous climate that may provoke violence in a few individuals. And convincing folks that Armageddon is on the way, and all we can do is wait, pray, and protect our families from the chaos that will be the “prelude” to the “Return of Christ,” is perhaps not the best recipe for political, economic, or personal stability, let alone social cohesion. Just ask some poor abused kid being raised in a “survavalist’s” benighted “home.”

It may also not be the best philosophy on which to build American foreign policy. Ask Chuck Hagel

The momentum toward what amounts to a whole subculture seceding from the union (in order to await “The End” and/or take American back from the black man who stole it) is irrevocably prying loose a chunk of the American population from both sanity and their fellow citizens. It crops up in the gun debate, support for Israel, hatred of the “liberal” media and their inconvenient facts and is the tune the Tea Party Republicans in Congress who are ready to destroy our economy to make a point, dance to.

The End Times death wish is built on a literalist interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Too bad. It’s a really silly book.

This weird book was the last to be included in the New Testament. It was included as canonical only relatively late in the process after a heated dispute. The historic Churches East and West remain so suspicious of Revelation that to this day it has never been included as part of the cyclical public readings of scripture in Orthodox services. The book of Revelation is read in Roman and Anglican Churches only during Advent. But both Rome and the East were highly suspicious of the book. The West included the book in the lectionary late and sparingly. In other words, the book of the Bible that the historical Church found most problematic is the one that American evangelicals latched on to like flies on you know what.

Given that Revelation is now being hyped as the literal—even desired—roadmap to Armageddon — when Evangelicals take time out from hyping their Creation Museum and/or anti-gay initiatives — it’s worth pausing to note that it’s nothing more than a bizarre pastoral letter that was addressed to seven specific churches in Asia at the end of the first century by someone (maybe John or maybe not) who appears to have been far from well when he wrote it. In any case, the letter was not intended for use outside of its liturgical context.

The evangelical/fundamentalist literalistic “interpretation” of Revelation is symptomatic of a larger problem: make-it-up-as-you-go-along biblical interpretation to mine the vein of fearsome End Times gold. How many millions of dollars has some outfit like the “respectable” Christianity Today magazine made over the last 35 years selling publishers advertising that in turn hafe fed America a steady diet of paranoia ?

A book called The Late Great Planet Earth was the 1970s incarnation of this nonsense. It was written by Hal Lindsey, a “writer” who dropped by my parents’ ministry of L’Abri several times. Even back then Dad called Lindsey a dangerous flake.

Lindsey’s book “interpreted” Revelation for a generation of paranoid evangelicals who were the precursors to today’s Fox News believers, now reduced the dwindling band of old white haters bent on keeping America stupid. But back then there were a few evangelicals left under 60 in places outside the South.

After everything predicted in the book came to nothing, Lindsey rewrote and “updated” his “interpretation”. This would be amusing, if not for the lives touched by this crazy nonsense.

For instance, a good friend of mine was dragged—at age five—to Alaska, where his parents huddled in an “End Times” commune, a place chosen to be out of the way of major cities so that when the bombs fell, his family (and some fellow “pilgrims”) could await the Lord’s return in safety. My friend’s life was almost destroyed by suffering through years of a cruel and bizarre lifestyle in which his family was reduced to eating their goats and bear meat hunted (with the many guns kept by the members of this particular cult) on the “mission’s” garbage dump. Of course, school was not a big concern since Jesus was on the way…

Knowingly or unknowingly, Jenkins and LaHaye cashed in on years of evangelical/fundamentalists’ imagined victimhood that Fox News later built a whole news organization catering to. I say imagined victimhood, because back then the born-agains had one of their very own, George W. Bush, in the White House for eight long, ruinous years and also dominated American politics for the better part of thirty years before that with a little help from my late father and others.

Today, every sane American should work hard to make sure that these victims actually have something to complain about! It’s time to actually vistimise them and exclude the loony right from all national debates.

From gun control to the Middle East we need to NOT hear their side of the story any more than we need to consult any local village idiot about what the school board should do next. The right – as the gun debate alone has proved – is way past redemption. The moral equivicating equvalance game played by the media must end. Some views don’t deserve an “on the other hand” hearing.

But this is good news: the end of the Evangelical pretend world is on the way. Just check the latest poll numbers of the evangelical youth exodus from their churches. But like a rabid dying dog the dead-enders can still bite. Just ask Chuck Hagel about who — besides the Israel lobby — is putting presure of Senators who should know better and probably do but who serve a dead end underclass they can’t buck.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back .To book Frank Schaeffer to speak at your college, church or group contact him at Frankschaeffer.com 

 

 

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • http://patheos Threeten2yuma

    Frank, my Friend,
    I keep telling myself not to even visit your site anymore. I guess I must be like one of your flies drawn to you know what. I’d like to suggest that you next criticize Islamic End Times prophesy, but I love you too much to want to see what happens to you next. Your friend with the loopy eschatological parents is representative of a tiny rare instance of circumstance, and yet you felt completely free to unfairly tar millions of decent people whose only crime is that they don’t happen to agree with you about everything with your cynical broad brush. You are the one who needs help, Frank. You sound like a reincarnated Joseph Goebbels. Love, 3:10

    • Jay Diamond

      You are an ugly, sick, toxic individual. You are filled with HATE !

      God Bless Frank Schaeffer. If a man is known by his enemies, Frank is doing fine !!!

      • http://patheos.com Threeten2yuma

        Jay,

        How very kind of you to greet me in this manner. I don’t believe that we’ve met before, but if we have and I have forgotten, please forgive me.

        Actually, I’m rather ordinary looking, but my wife still finds me attractive, and that’s all that matters to me. Moreover, I’m in very good health, although judging from the tenor of your note to me that fact may grieve you a bit. Sorry. Finally, I’m not sure what to say about being termed “toxic” by you. This may be a first for me. Do you mean that you think that I am radioactive or filled with some sort of nasty chemical sludge? Please let me assure you that I am not . . . but probably you won’t believe me.

        Nor, I am sure, will you believe me when I tell you that I am not “filled with HATE!” Quite the contrary. But I perceive that your logic runs like this, “3:10 doesn’t hate the people that I hate, therefore, he must be ‘filled with HATE!’” Pity, that.

        Having just read an article wherein, Frank Schaeffer, only son of the kind and thoughtful Francis Schaeffer and the loving and beautiful Edith Schaeffer, just concluded:

        “Today, every sane American should work hard to make sure that these [Evangelical] victims actually have something to complain about! It’s time to actually vistimise [sic] them and exclude the loony right from all national debates.”

        you find it necessary to call me names? Could this be what some term, “projection?”

        Sincerely, -3:10

        • http://patheos.com Threeten2yuma

          By the way, my own eschatological views are different from the Left Behinders, but here’s an interesting thing that I saw this morning on the internet, the North Korean Communist regime just released a propaganda video depicting them annihilating New York City with a nuclear bomb all set to the tune of the late Michael Jackson’s hit, “We Are The World.” Indeed, truth is stranger than fiction, is it not! -3:10

          http://now.msn.com/north-korea-releases-propaganda-video-featuring-nuclear-destruction-of-new-york-city

  • http://patheos Threeten2yuma

    Frank, I’m gonna send you an email with the name of an artist friend of mine who may be able to help you rediscover “the Beautiful.” Watch for it, please, and don’t trash it without at least contacting my friend. Who knows. This may be one of those Jesus moments, whether you believe in Him or not . . . Jesus, I mean, not my friend. There’s no denying he’s real, unless you’re completely delusional. ;) -3:10

  • http://patheos Threeten2yuma

    And I’m only doing this because friends don’t let friends become Nazis!

  • Jeff

    Good POV on the Hagel story. Sadly, some of your recent criticism regarding the last two post seems more that of a character assassination than an intelligent rebuttal. But I suppose that’s what goes with the territory you’re covering at the time. Anyway, hang in there Frank and keep writing. I still find your thoughts meaningful and uplifting!

  • http://www.nottherealdevil.com Nicolae Carpathia

    I’m coming for you for writing this, buddy.

    Seriously, Left Behind was a great series. But I was a high school kid at the time when I read all of them. People really take it at face value? THAT is a little scary.

  • http://thewriter58.com Mark Lee

    Thank you Frank. I am a Christian, and I bought the end times drama hook, line, and sinker for years. The only thing it did for me was to keep me getting involved in seeking to help better the lives of people in need since my eyes were on getting out of here rather than seeing the Kingdom of God realized here.

  • robert kelly

    I m not sure about your Dad but you seem to hate alot of christians, ok thats fine, as even J Vernon McGee said “the most meanest people he met were church goers…”
    The End Times are here and Jesus is indeed returning..are you in the chorus of those the bible says people will mockingly say “where is his coming?”…I personally thionk you have a couple of spiritual problems, one you are trying to align yourself with whats being glorified today….well i thnk you are mad at your dad..for some reason..but he was a real man!…and so smart..no i dont know his eschatoligical position…but why do people only criticize pretribbers?…As iin the days of Noah right? so will the second coming be…Surely you noticed we are in a nuclear age?…Surely you have noticed the rise of homosexuality and the rise of morally and therefore financially bankrupt world? How do you think this will end? Hal Lindsey has tremendous ministry of teaching the prophecies of the bible which we are commanded to know about see revelation chapter 1, and receive a blessing as a result. Twenty Five % of Bible is prophetic, how can we read each word as Jesus said and not recognize it? Tim Lehaye has done a tremendous job communicating what could happen. I think you should rethink things and try to examine who you are trying to get love from, who are you impressing? Who do you want to be glorified by? Who do you want to be accepted by? Their love is a mirage my friend. Jesus said he is comng back in the clouds of heaven…but we know there are no clouds in heaven so that could mean us. He is coming back to brng him to himself at the rapture, where as his final return is where the angels do the separating…not him. The church is a mystery, and the bride of Jesus. He will not pour out his wrath on us, the church, as He declares, and is consistent with other times when he did pour out his wrath. You can mock, but you are not the Holy Spirit. We read the bible and decided for ourselves. Since most people dont read the bible, and no nothng of prophecy, we are saddened by how these intelligent people lving in communication age are missing most important message and yet have no problem in the blindness and ignorance, slander us, mock us and persecute us. Chorus is not needed from a Shaeffer. We need shelter. We dont find it in mountain tops, or 8 secluded houses across the globe but we do find it in the living God and his Word. Ps 91 He who dwells under the wings of the most High, shall abide under the wings of the Almighty. Ps 139 God you know me, you know when i sit and rise, you discern my thoughts from afar, you are familiar with all my ways. …you are my refuge..i praise you because i am fearfully and wonderfully made…where can i go from you…etc etc..

  • http://patheos Threeten2yuma

    Frank, I’m traveling at present, but first chance I get I’m sending you that email I promised. In the meantime, try and stay clear of the crack pushers like Jeff here, will ya? He and his kind will keep you strung out on this insidious political hate speech for as long as they can use you to say and do the dirty stuff they haven’t got the guts to say or do themselves. And when they’re done with you they’ll kick you to the curb like so much trash, if they don’t throw you under the bus before then! Where’s that neo-Nazi eugenicist you had on this page a couple months ago? What’d he do, sue you ‘cuz some of your readers called him what he is? Is that why you had to take down his vile piece? You gotta get out of this muck, Man! I’ll try to help you. You gotta return to a world of beauty and art. Do you really think that Jeff and his pals give a shit about you? Do you even know who your real friends are anymore? Well I’m one of them, Frank, and I always will be. -3:10

    • http://patheos.com Threeten2yuma

      I found a computer, Frank. Here’s that video. I hope I do this right, but I sent you an email with the video and the artist too just in case. Please consider my request. Go rediscover “the Beautiful!” Love, 3:10
      http://youtu.be/A8h1rUx2H-o

    • Jeff

      …yuma

      Thanks for “intelligent” and “thoughtful” response. You seem to have a lot of time on your hands while in recovery. Sadly, consideration for others may something worth working on.

      • http://patheos.com Threeten2yuma

        Praying for you too, Bro, ‘cuz Jesus asked me to. Please don’t be doing this for Frank no more. How’s that for consideration? -3:10
        http://youtu.be/hCDAfa-NI-M

  • Carol

    I read about the Patriot groups on your blog, and I looked it up on Southern Poverty Law Center. I knew a couple of people who talked that way, but I rather hoped it was just a local thing. But I am gratified that, finally, that belief about tyranny of the Federal Government over its people as a reason for collecting powerful guns and ammunition has been reported on TV news. You were brave to bring it out. If anything might provoke the Government to do such a thing (just as was done during the riots in the 60s), angry people with guns could be the thing. The armed forces has such well-trained soldiers and such tremendously powerful weapons, even the semi-automatic guns wouldn’t stand up to them. I think a plea for balanced reporting and for level-headedness is necessary. And may God guide President Obama’s leadership so that he will be safe and live a long life and our country will be calmer.

  • Mark

    Frank, I was raised with this end-times nonsense. It was only about ten years ago I found out that this end-times belief system is relatively new, about 170 years old.
    I won’t go into its long sorted history, since you already know it.
    It is frustrating that the main stream media allows these end-time false profits (oops prophets) to go unchallenged. Even the History channel did a “documentary” about the anti-Christ and only the pre-trib view was presented.
    The fact that millions of Americas belong to a death cult, including elected officials, members of the military and a few former presidents, should scare all of us.
    I believe there are two major reasons the press does not report on this, most reporters are secular and are not aware of what goes in religious communities and that most pre-trib believers are blindly pro-Israel and criticism of Israel and its supporters is also non-existent in the American press.
    What gives the end-times belief system legitimacy to its followers is the Schofield Reference Bible. Cyrus Schofield was a criminal with a fraudulent doctorate degree. “Doctor” Schofield never even attended college, yet his “reference bible” has been publishing by Oxford University Press for more than 100 years. If Oxford University Press would cease with this fraud, maybe this end-times nonsense would die off before another Christian Zionist president has his finger on the button.
    Maybe Frank exposing this end-times fraud could be the subject of your next book or documentary!

  • http://patheos.com jason greene

    Frank I don’t always agree with you but I fear that you are right…
    Keep speaking up and speaking out….

  • http://www.nature.com Agnikan

    Preach it, Frank!

  • http://plithwo.wordpress.com DaveSchell

    I really respect your work, however, I think you missed a perfectly good opportunity to land appropriate commentary on the Left Behind series. I took a class on the book of Revelation, and your statement “The End Times death wish is built on a literalist interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Too bad. It’s a really silly book.” is inaccurate. It’s not based on a literalist interpretation of the book of revelation, or on, well, anything besides their own imaginations. They frequently cite the book itself, but if you’ve read Revelation and the Left Behind books lately, you may have noticed that they bear literally (haha) no resemblance to each other. I’ve given a lot of thought to trying to figure out how Lahaye invented his theories, but the best theory I can come up with is that they stuck pages from the Bible on the wall, threw darts at them, selected the verses, ignored all context, and then invented context from their imaginations, ranking their ideas based on how bizarre they sounded.

    Short version: They’re not basing it on a literal interpretation of Revelation. It’s more like they imagined a grotesque skeleton together and stuck “skin” from the Bible on it, but not enough to cover it, and then called it Biblical.

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