Another board I am on (full of rather diverse religious backgrounds including several of what I would call "fundies") recently had the topic of Christian persecution in America and whether or not it was real.  There were several posts of it not being so much a problem now on a governmental level, but that it <i>could become</i> a problem in the future <i>if</i> the government starts "forcing" people to do things that are against their religion.  An example being forcing pharmacists to provide birth control even if it goes against their own personal religion.

There were some anecdotes about personal encounters with rudeness (being yelled at or spit at because of their religion) feeling like personal persecution, but nothing widespread that anyone could specifically cite.

All that aside (as it is not the point of this post), the thing that stuck out to me was that a number of the "fundies" touted that, to paraphrase, "the bible says that followers of Christ will be persecuted in the end times" and one even went so far as to say, "Come any time Lord!  I'm ready!"

Anyway, this disgusted me on many levels.  Not the least of which is that all of these "rapture ready" folks have children!  So... they're ready and willing for the world to end, even though they have small children who (if such idiocy were actually true) would be denied the chance to live and experience life to the fullest on this Earth.  This strikes me as only a few steps away from being willing and able to happily strap a bomb to their child's chest, secure in the "knowledge" that they'd go straight to heaven for it!  Am I overreacting here?  Please tell me I'm not the only one who sees this connection (Okay, I know I'm not.  I've read Sam Harris, but still...).

Secondly, my wife had, what I thought was a very astute observation about this particular brand of nuttery, and that is:
"Maybe the fact that persecution is supposed to be a sign of the 'second coming,' is precisely why they are so eager to see persecution everywhere."  It is an excellent theory, IMHO, and it certainly fits with the circular reasoning Christians are so used to thinking in without even knowing it.

Anyway, I couldn't post there without stirring a huge shit-storm that really wasn't worth stirring up, so I'm posting here to vent and perhaps get some sympathetic feedback from fellow free-thinkers.  So there it is.

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My family members, Seventh-Day Adventists, live in fear of the "New World Order" which will force people to go to church on Sunday (the sabbath is considered to be Saturday and not keeping it is a sin according to the ten commandments). For them, persecution by the government is a very real and prophesied threat.

Regarding "rapture ready" folks, this is also a problem for society. When I try to discuss topics like the environment or future concerns with my father he is absolutely unconcerned. He has spent his life believing that the world will end within his lifetime so concerns beyond that period of time are irrelevant. Having people in positions of power with similar views is counter-productive in the extreme.
It seems like there is some interesting conclusion to be drawn from the fact that SDAs are more concerned with what day to worship on than just about any other behavior. Perhaps it is the fact that SDAs traditionally believe that you are saved by faith, not works, and yet following the old testament law about sabbath keeping is more about works than faith. Of course these days they are all about faith and works. I guess that's got it covered.


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