L.B.: Why this matters

I get an e-mail newsletter from a Christian nonprofit that has been outspoken in its criticism of the war on Iraq. In response to this criticism, they received the following letter:

I believe that we are in the last days as indicated by the Revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostle John. We will be in Iraq and other areas of the Middle East because it is in God's plan. To condemn President Bush … is naive. Muslim terrorists will not respond to the love of Christ because they are evil, they have always been evil and they will remain evil. Their hatred cannot be assuaged by compromise, gift, or any form of negotiation. We should kill them and continue to kill them until their blood flows through the Valley of Megiddo as high as the horse's bridles.

– Ron Schott, Counselor/Consultant

I present this as an example — albeit an extreme one — of why the "end times" mania and wretched theology of the Left Behind series is dangerous for everyone, within and without the Christian community.

Swap around a few of the words in this letter and you've got a standard piece of al-Qaeda fundamentalist propaganda. Same world view — different religions. Actually, that's not true. Kill-the-irredeemable-infidel fundamentalism is always the same religion, no matter what faith it masquerades as a form of.

  • Chris

    It is scary that people believe policy should be made based on Revelations, Daniel, or whatever prophecy their alleged pastors tell them about. They not only rejected the teachings of Christ (love your enemy, etc.) but they have no faith in God. Why should we mortals take it upon ourselves to act out the final days? If Revelations and all the rest are clear on one thing it’s that the endtime is created by God, not humans, not the Antichrist, not the Devil. God is the cause.
    So killing the infidel won’t move the divine timetable up one second. People have been pushing the idea of killing the infidel to bring on the End of Days since the Crusades. Seem to be a very slow timetable if it’s working. More likely it just adds misery to the world without any redemption.
    Also I’m confused. Isn’t Babylon supposed to be the center of evil? And who controls Babylon now? The U.S. So maybe George Bush is the Antichrist. Hmmmmm.

  • Ron

    And we’re back to another old joke, maybe only about 1000 orso years old; “kill them all and let God sort them out.”

  • BigRoad

    As Ahnold would say, “Believe me now, or believe me later.”
    When I was teaching Sunday School to 12 yrolds a few years ago, an Episcopal Church mind you, one of these evanjebbicals was running the education program. She came in and wanted the kids to read this garbage.
    Of course, she made it a point that this was certainly not a “fact based” novel, but that it would make Sunday School more interesting. I said I really didn’t understand why we’d want to get kids to read something that we knew was garbage just to get them interested in spiritual matters.
    I agreed to teach it, only if I could also teach “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
    After that, she didn’t seem to consult with me that much.
    That’s a good part of what I have a problem with in the “evangelical” or “renewal” movement in some mainstream churches. In the rush to gain more and more membership, to make church more hip and fun for the kids, they’ve ended up with simple pandering.
    And then one of the founders of the church told me how much he hated that bastard bishop for ruining his church. I left that church soon after.

  • Chris

    The joke about “kill them all and let God sort it out” is a mere 700 years old, not 1000. It dates back to the Cathar (Albigesian in some books) Crusade, a crusade against heretics in southern France. Concerned about killing fellow Catholics, one of the crusaders asked how you could tell a Cathar from a Catholic. The bishop responded, “Kill them all. God shall know His own.” Of course it wouldn’t be surprising if someone had used it before that.
    Nothing plays as good as the classics.

  • Scott

    What I think is interesting is the pride evangelicals show in ‘preparing the world’ for the second coming. Remember when Reagan announced that everything was now in place for the battle of Armageddon? How about the Zionist Christians who support Israel only out of an imagined requirement that Israel must exist before Christ returns?
    Its the same problem I see with people that have bumper stickers that read ‘In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned.’
    The problem is of course, Pride. The sheer hubris involved in thinking that God will function on a human timetable is staggering.
    Someone forgot to tell these folks that Pride is a sin.