The End Times Are Here! Again.

livelyWhat does the future hold? It’s difficult to say, really, when the future isn’t, as Doris Day once so very wisely expressed it, ours to see. That doesn’t stop Christians from claiming they can though. They know exactly what the future holds, they insist, because the Bible tells them so.

There are at least two problems with this claim, the first being that the Bible’s predictions were written by men with as little ability to see the future as anyone alive today. The second is that their prophecies, like all other predictions, are suitably nebulous. It’s easier to see vague, non-specific claims come true when you can add the details yourself at a later date.

So it is for anti-gay pastor Scott Lively, who, incidentally, wishes to make it known that he’d prefer not to be referred to as anti-gay. This, of course, rests entirely in the anti-gay pastor’s own hands, though you’ll not be able to tell him so as he doesn’t allow comments on his blog. Christian leaders must never be contradicted!

The Reverend Lively, as well as being anti-gay, reckons that abortion, multi-culturalism, international discord and gay marriage are, in all likelihood, paving the way for the Anti-Christ and, ultimately, the end of everything. God is going to get so angry with the good ol’ US of A for all these things that he’s going to bring about the end times prophesied in the Bible.

The Reverend is quick to say he doesn’t know this for certain because God hasn’t actually told him so directly (why not, Scott?) so he’s just making an ‘educated’ guess. He does this by cherry-picking verses from all over the Magic Book – from Daniel to the gospels and Revelation – and shows, or thinks he does, how the USA is really the focus of God’s concerns in these last days. This is an impressive feat when the Bible doesn’t say anything of the sort, not least because its writers were completely unaware of the entire American continent.

From there, anti-gay Scott outlines how the world’s woes, but chiefly gay marriage in the USA, are going to allow the Anti-Christ in. That’s the Anti-Christ of which the Bible doesn’t speak. It doesn’t say, anywhere, that there is one almighty Anti-Christ. There are only four uses of the term in the entire Bible, all in the letters written by a John (not the same John credited with John’s gospel) in the New Testament. Letter-writer John whines about those in the early church who, two thousand years ago, were fomenting dissent; these people, he says, are literally anti Christ. And that’s it; you won’t find the all-powerful Anti-Christ that later fantasists like Scott Lively believe in, either here or anywhere else in ‘God’s Word’.

That’s because Lively and fanatics like him confuse these long dead dissenters with a figure from one of the Bible’s nuttiest books, Revelation. Known as ‘The Beast’, this pantomime villain is actually a caricature of barking-mad Emperor Nero, who began the first wave of persecutions against the early church. But that’s not good enough for nutters believers like Scott. The anti-gay pastor insists that the Beast, whom he mistakenly calls the Anti-Christ, is actually a politician of future times – our times in fact. He – that’s the Beast, not cuddly old Scott – is going, pretty soon, to exploit the mess the world is in, put things right and then take over. In so doing he’ll be usurping Christ’s position as ruler of everything. (You didn’t know Christ was ruler of everything? Just think what a mess the world would be in if he wasn’t.) This, the Reverend warns us – with capital letters to show how significant it all is – will be only the Beginning of Sorrows. Oh, and there’ll be Blood Moons too, just to add a splash of colour.

God is going to be so pissed off with this state of affairs that after a while he’s going to destroy everything, just like Jesus predicted he would be doing around about AD30, and Paul said would happen soon after AD55 and Revelation’s John (no relation to the crank who wrote the anti-Christ letters) claimed was still going to happen soon after AD95. Just as thousands of others have predicted in the 2,000 years since; every one of them wrong.

Statistically, rationally and empirically it isn’t remotely likely that current events in the USA mark the beginning of the end either. The Bible’s writers had absolutely no idea of what the future held, as their disastrous track record shows. Their rambling, vague prophecies didn’t come true when they said they would and they’re not going to now, even with an anti-gay pastor’s US-centric gloss on them. Which isn’t to say the world might not end some day. If it does, however, it certainly won’t be because it is following an expired Biblical timetable, open to a multitude of interpretations.

Better to stick to what you do best, Scott, being anti-gay. Though that’s not exactly going your way at the moment either, is it?

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