Take a look at the State of the World. Look at the role of religion in world events. Look at the disparity of faiths represented by the candidates for President of the United States. Who or what is running this show?
The term, Anti- Christ, is mentioned in the Bible very briefly. I think it is in the Book of Revelation – that insanely metaphorical diatribe of apocalypse. Various leaders of man throughout history have been granted the title – usually the losers of wars. The winner gets to write the history books. The Anti-Christ mantra is consistently used in current events to demonize anyone who opposes the current popular social message. Just convenient name calling, trash talk.
Most people in the world today, about 6 billion, believe in some form of God. Most are monotheistic, believing in one God, the one true God. But many take the thought one step further – you are either with us or against us – believe in my God or we will kill you. That seems like a silly statement, but the evidence is all around us.
Are Islamic terrorists different than Christian terrorists. What? Christian Terrorists? Yes there are – from the Arian Nation and the KKK to those who bomb abortion clinics to those who use Christ to justify the Death Penalty and War.
The Religion sanctioned terrorism becomes subtly acceptable. Subtle if you live in the culture, blatant if in another culture. Some religious cultures degrade women with no education, kill their citizens for anti-state-sponsored-religion commentary or action. We in America do the same – but we have some rational justification. We punish in the name of Jesus – so that makes us right.
We criminalize behavior based on Christian morals – is that not religious terrorism, sponsored by the State? We criminalize the illness of Drug Addiction in the name of Jesus – and send the desperate addict into a spiral of downward despair and hopelessness – terrorizing the sick. The pregnant teen is discarded as unworthy of support, ostracized for social regulation.
The proponents of the Prosperity Gospel inadvertently endorse class warfare. The logic follows – Jesus wants you to prosper, thus if you are poor then you must not believe in the right Jesus. Prosperity becomes the stamp of faith – sanctioning the entire belief system of the prosperous. Material wealth becomes a measurement of faith. There is some distorted moral imperative to punish the poor and afflicted based on a gospel of wealth.
The Mormons have said in the past that a man can have many wives – as long as they are white and under the age of 15. Baptists believe in total immersion – both in water and in their brand of Christian life. Anything less and you are branded with big red letters – to be ostracized and minimized – discarded as a non believer. ‘Suffer not a witch to live.’ Leave your brains in the vestabule out front when you enter the church.
The liberal Christians are as adamant in their belief system. Support their cause or be labeled an ignorant buffoon to be discounted and dismissed. Leave your hearts in the vestibule out front when you enter the church.
I see great kindness and generosity at one-on-one human levels. I see a smiling clerk at the Grocery store. We occasionally see a generous tip left in the restaurant. A lost purse is returned with the contents intact. A school teacher stays late to help a troubled student. A Youth Minister struggles to find the most virtuous material for his Sunday Class.
Religious ideals seem to work with individuals – they work less well with organizations of individuals, and they don’t work at all when government sponsored. ‘Wherever two or more are gathered, there am I.’
Who is the big ‘I?’ Is it Christ, or the Anti-Christ? That depends on which tribe in the forest we call home.