Religion: Coming Soon! It's the End of the World (again)!
Anyhow, the beauty of being dead is never having your wrong predictions being pointed out to you. And the beauty of the internet is the existence of your track record. Of course, when you're connonized, and have only left behind tremendously vague one-line descriptions, then true beleivers can translate them to fit reality however they wish. So you're always right! Neat, huh?
All this brings to mind some of my book collection, Apocalypse Whenever. A few of my favorites:
The Late Great Planet Earth by the immortal psycho Hal Lindsey;
When Your Money Fails... by Marry Stewart Relfe, PhD;
Arming for Armageddon by John Wesley White;
The AIDS Plague by Dr. James McKeever, PhD.
Why these and not others?
One author (Lindsay) made his nut with this book back in 1970, and he actually had people reading it. A lot of people of the New Apocalypse style got their formative ideas from him. Lots of ideas that crop up regularly are there, collected from many different works, but the popularity of this book got those ideas into the public eye. For instance Gog and Magog being Russia and the Arab states (all of them; apparently the "Arab states" are one homogenous blob that acts with a single, Borg-like will), all set to wipe Israel of the face of the Earth; the unification of Europe (ten nations only, though!), then the East, then the West; the Anti Christ coming back from a supposedly fatal wound. Boy, did that last one have folks jumping when the Pope was shot! Oh, and there are wonderful bits of writing like this, regarding the Rapture:
"Just think how excited a woman can get about a new wardrobe. How much more excited she would be about acquiring a new body!" Ah, can't you just smell the impending enlightenment?
Some of my favorite predictions:
1) The middle east will be a constant source of tension;
2) The US military will be destroyed because no one has the will to use it;
3) The US economy wil collapse because of Communist subversion and student rebellion.
4) Durg addicts will run for "high office" (no pun intended, I think) and will win via support of young voters.
I love predictions.
Whites book is a 1983 Cold War bonanza of DOOM and paranoia, and even comes with a lovely forward by Billy Graham himself. Always a plus. He spends the first half (or so) of each chapter collecting quotes about how DOOMED the world is, then the second half saying "Ain't it great? Jesus is coming!" You get the sense of Major Kong screaming YAHOO! as he rides a nuclear bomb groundwards, only it's all happening in John Whites head! Even the final chapter title, "I Will Come Again" is remeniscent of Dr. Strangeloves closing song, Vera Lynns "We'll Meet Again".
The AIDS Plague (from 1986) is further proof that having a degree hardly makes you a genius. Now I don't like "Ivory Tower" arguements much, but it's a good example of reading only those facts that fit your world view, rather than what might actually be there. Apparently, about 58 million people were supposed to have died of AIDS in the United States by 1998.
That didn't seem to happen.
But then, there is a list of how to prevent such a catastrophie helpfully listed in the book, so let's see what they are. Before God could save us, four prerequisites had to be met, so perhaps these saved us:
1) We must humble ourselves (the only way to get exalted, you know. Luke 14:11);
2) We must really pray (One of my favorite proverbs, a Russian one: "Pray to God, fine, but keep rowing to shore.");
3) We must seek His face (tough to do when you're kissing His ass...);
4) We must turn from our wicked ways (which includes "filthy language" and overeating).
Like any of those happened. Yeah, the '80s: I think of them and the word "humble" springs unbidden to my mind. Likewise "real" prayer and clean language. There are also a few references to miracles of the "A farmer in Africa prayed to God, and it rained on his crops, but not on those of his apostate neighbours'" variety, and a story of cancer beaten by prayer, but he also pulls the CYA card and says sometimes God does good stuff for folks that don't pray, too; but usually not.
But my absolute favorite is "When Your Money Fails..." written in 1981. Brilliant stuff, here: the front cover art has "666" printed on it EIGHT times; there is the forhead of what looks like a pensive, aged George Washington with a bar code (with 666) tatooed on it; even the elipsies is replaced by three sixes instead of dots. The book goes to great lengths to explain just how evil the new UPC symbol is, and how everyone is going to have computer chips installed into their forheads and/or right hands.
But the, ah, then comes the crowning glory: the name of the AntiChrist. Yep, she's worked it out, and this person fits all possible criteria. Ready? The AntiChrist is...
Anwar El Sadat. (If your first response is "Who?", then you're too damn young. Click on the link already.)
Yes, he who was assassinated less than three years after "When Your Money Fails..." was published. And he didn't come back from that fatal wound, either. She makes a rather strained comparison between Sadat and Hitler, but it just doesn't fly. Sadat admired Hitler, but was a rather pale imitation if he was trying to be Hitler.
The worst part of all of these Armageddonists is that they believe the AntiChrist will make world hunger vanish by coordinating the worlds efforts to do so; likewise ending wars between nations and helping the poorest among us. So naturally, all attempts at international cooperation are to be bitterly opposed as the workings of Satan! Unless, of course, they are to be welcomed as the workings of Satan! After all, the more Satan does, the closer the Rapture, and that's a good thing, right?