For all their sanctimonious talk of pro-life, the Evangelical Right likes nothing better than a good war. When the bombs start falling and the bullets flying, the Christian Right becomes orgasmic at the prospect of death and destruction as many believe that war with North Korea will lead to Armageddon predicted the Bible’s Book of Revelation tied in with this foolishness is the continuing war in the Middle East.

While only 36 percent of all Americans believe that the Bible is God's Word and should be taken literally, 59 percent say they believe that events predicted in the Book of Revelation will come to pass. Almost one out of four Americans believe that 9/11 was predicted in the Bible, and nearly one in five believes that he or she will live long enough to see the end of the world. Even more significant for this study, over one-third of those Americans who support Israel report that they do so because they believe the Bible teaches that the Jews must possess their own country in the Holy Land before Jesus can return.[1]

This type of apocalyptic thinking leads many to the totally unfounded belief they will see the afterworld spoken of in the Bible, a type of fatalism that is irrational and dangerous. The peril of this catastrophic yearning comes from the idea that for many evangelicals, In their view America, as God’s instrument, should encourage wars and chaos in North Korea and the Middle East in order to “hurry up” God and His agenda. [2]

Belief in apocalyptic prophecy is widespread in the United States. During the first Gulf War, 14% of one CNN national poll thought it was the beginning of Armageddon, and “American bookstores were experiencing a run on books about prophecy and the end of the world.”[3] In 1993, 20% of those polled thought the second coming of Christ would occur near the year 2000.[4] When the United States and the Soviet Union locked in a nuclear arms race the same issues surfaced when I was attending school.

Much was made of the Russian Bear and the American Eagle fitting the same portion of the Book of Revelation, including the tying the fire of nuclear explosions to verses in the Bible referring to the flames associated with the destruction God would wreak on non-Christians. The unusual fixation with the end of the world, in particular, the details of describing how God “will then (brutally) kill the entire human race except for Christians” (for many meaning “born again” Christians). [5]

The Book of Revelation is the integral passion of their foreign policy, their belief that the founding of Israel foretells the imminent Second Coming, conversion or death for Jews and eternal happiness for themselves in Heaven. In their view America, as God’s instrument should encourage wars and chaos in order to “hurry up” God and His agenda. One of their leaders is John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel. Senator Lieberman is a friend and favored speaker at his events. I have described The Strangest Alliance in History about how each side thinks it is using the other for its own ends.

Harold Camping predicted the end of the world as May 21, 2011, at exactly 6 pm (sunset in Jerusalem). Of course, that date is long past, but the death wish of many Christians continues unabated. The number of predictions about the world’s end number into the hundreds if not the thousands; yet, the world is still here. The news has yet to sink in because many on the Evangelical Right believe that by promoting or encouraging war with North Korea, the biblical prediction will occur.

All this shows how evangelical leaders put support for wars ahead of their social values. Their support includes every new law giving Washington ever greater police powers over American citizens, such as the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act and the recent National Defense Authorization Act which tear asunder much of the Bill of Rights. Most also supported torture of prisoners of war (with the notable exception of Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship). All this comes with their “social values.” [6]

Tying this all together is a problem that came to me unannounced. I distant relative died and left a considerable amount of money to me. He also left me a deed to the Golden Gate Bridge but I can’t afford the taxes. If you know anyone that might be interested in purchasing this landmark, I’d be willing to let it go for an extremely favorable price. Take my word for it.

(This is a clip from a longer piece I did for a Dallas religious site. It was fun. I got some anonymous comments that I suspect were from closet non-believers. Anyway, my preacher friend thanked me for stretching a few minds)



[1] Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon, How evangelicals became Israel's best friend, beliefnet, http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/End-Times/On-The-Road-...

[2] Jon Basil Utley, Evangelicals, Ron Paul and War, The American Conservative,  January 20, 2012, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/2012/01/20/evangelicals...

[3] Lamy, Millennium Rage , p. 155. See also: Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More, pp. 327-31

[4] Sara Diamond, Political Millennialism within the Evangelical Subculture, in Charles B. Strozier and Michael Flynn, The Year 2000: Essays on the End (New York: NYU Press, 1997), p. 210

[5] Jon Basil Utley, Evangelicals, Ron Paul and War, The American Conservative,  January 20, 2012, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/2012/01/20/evangelicals...

[6] Jon Basil Utley, Evangelicals, Ron Paul and War, The American Conservative,  January 20, 2012, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/2012/01/20/evangelicals...

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Comment by Michael Penn on September 15, 2017 at 6:13pm

My version of a film on the rapture would be straight out of Revelation and it would have a plot. It would piss off the Evangelicals, cause the film to be shunned by many, (while making others want to see it) not solve the god issue, and out of the 2 sides showing up for us the ugly ones would be the right choice. My film would be a sci fi bonanza.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on September 15, 2017 at 3:15pm
Jesus--Get drunk and pulease take them the wheel!!!
Comment by Loren Miller on September 15, 2017 at 12:30pm

Donald, it'd be great if there WERE a Rapture and the foolish and fatuous fanatics all went POOF at once.  Sadly, you and I both know they won't, and until they can bother either to cop a clue or leave us alone, we will continue to have to put up now and then (if not more often!) with their religious inanity.  Personally, I see that as all the more reason not to suffer those fools lightly but to confront them with that foolishness wherever possible.  No, I don't get to do that that often in Cleveland, but I work at being prepared for when such a time may arise.

Thing is, any war to them is a good war if it brings about the Parousia.  Once Yahweh takes everything over, they don't have to worry about decision-making or whatever have you because that's when Jesus REALLY takes the wheel ... and they might as well be robots from that point forward.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on September 15, 2017 at 12:17pm
Michael--I'm ready for a lot of people to succumb to the Rapture and leave the rest of us free of their silliness. I don't know what the current psychedelic of choice happens to be but Revelations shows they were available at least 1600 years ago. That and some good Port wine might have been key in producing a Timothy Leary (1960's LSD guru)wet dream. I had a friend on a bad trip and he talked of giants and angels and devils chasing him. Of course, when the drug wore off he came back to himself--sorta. Flashbacks often followed a bad trip. Revelations is a bad trip filled with CGI effects, digital sound and 3-D overlays but it would never make it at the box office. No story line.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on September 14, 2017 at 11:25am
Dammit Daniel. I don't do compliments well but I've learned to accept them. Thank you. I write what I write. Sometimes I hit a good one and other times I feel like I need some Depends. Again, thank you. I think everyone who posts here challenges us all to think and add a little humor.
Comment by Daniel W on September 14, 2017 at 10:16am

Thanks for posting, Don.  You elevate the quality of this website, with your scholarship and writing style.

Comment by Michael Penn on September 14, 2017 at 8:53am

Good article that should cause many to think. Just as many will still believe nonsense.

I'm repeating here, but why are so many people caught up in awe of the book of Revelation? This book became part of the canon around 412 AD. Doesn't that tell any thinking person anything? It seems far removed from the Jesus story by any means. Yet, the faithful make so many outrageous claims involving this book. When I was a younger man some people claimed you could find everything that ever was or ever would be within its pages. Today I take it as proof positive that nobody understands Revelation.

Comment by Compelledunbeliever on September 13, 2017 at 9:39pm

I believe it was Elaine Pages whom introduced me to the idea in one of her papers, unfortunately my memory fails me. I have looked for a book on the Nero Revelation connection for years. I did find some rather convincing articles on the internet. I do not believe everything I see on the internet by any means. I have however spent a great deal of my life studying early Christianities. If one looks at the time it was written and the context it makes much since if one applies Occams razor.   I believe Richard Carrier has touched on the idea also, again my memory fails me.    

Comment by Donald R Barbera on September 13, 2017 at 8:25pm
The review in the New Yorker (2012) talks about making an action movie with CGI effects. He even mentions who'd he cast as one of the seven whores. Those are the fun things but there is serious evaluation of the book. I'm going to read it and come back with a review.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on September 13, 2017 at 8:20pm
Bertol--You just killed 15 million voters

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