I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church on the northern edge of the Bible Belt, St. Louis, Missouri.  Sometime in the late 70’s, I was introduced to the Christian Apocalypse films and then in ’81 the Jack Chick tracks and comics (I still read “The Crusaders” series on occasion), and the “End of Days” writings of authors like Hal Lindsey with his “The Late, Great Planet Earth” and other such media.

What is the Christian Apocalypse?

The basic theology of the Christian Apocalypse is that the prophesies of the books of “Daniel” and “The Book of  Revelation” with a spattering of other verses from around the Bible that foretell the end of the world and the beginning of the new kingdom of Jesus for a thousand years.

If you read any of the “Left Behind” Series or saw the films (the first was pretty good, the second was OK, but the last one SUCKED) then you have some background in the Apocalypse as they did tell the most popular view of the Christian End of Days.

In short, you have the following events taking place:

  • The Rapture – the followers of Jesus will be removed from having to experience the seven years of the tribulation. (Some believe that the rapture will occur either 3.5 years into the seven years or later)
  • The rise of the Beast/Antichrist a world leader who ushers in a one world government
  • Signs a peace treaty between Israel and its enemies for seven years
  • The Beast will rebuild the Jewish Temple then blaspheme in it by declaring himself to be God
  • The above-mentioned peace treaty will fail after 3½ years
  • The armies of the world will meet on the plain of Megiddo, often called the Battle of Armageddon, and attack Israel to end mankind, except…
  • Jesus will have his Second Coming and save mankind, set up his kingdom for 1000 years and have the Day of Judgment for all mankind

Apocalyptic Fear

People frighten me more than the idea of the apocalypse or the end of the world, actually. What does frighten me though is the collection of people that think if they destroy the planet enough, they can hasten the Second Coming.

Somehow, I really doubt that it works that way, but I have heard a few preachers allude to it, which would explain so much of what we see in the world around us.

Many self-proclaimed Christian Republicans fight tooth and nail to remove all restrictions on business and any type of oversight on environmental destruction. It is very likely that a lot of this mentality is just good old-fashioned greed, but I cannot help wonder what stops a person from destroying the world around them when they believe that their God will rescue them from dealing with the repercussions of their actions, frightening thought that.

Apocalyptic Laughter

One of the more humorous and interesting trends in popular Christian Apocalyptic stories is the idea that in Post-Rapture society, those Christians that were not “real Christians” and those who accept Jesus during the Tribulation will be social pariahs. One of the best examples is Cloud Ten Pictures 4-films series “Apocalypse” where they are constantly referred to by the masses as “Haters”.

I find this label of “Haters” for the Christians to be humorous when one looks around at the world of today and we see, self-described Fundamentalist Christians hating anyone and everyone that they do not agree with while trying to create a Christian Theocracy to enshrine their beliefs as the law of the land (yes, it is a bit redundant).

I am so often saddened by the behavior of (self-proclaimed) religious people and the directions they choose, or are guided toward, to show their faithfulness. We see those who claim to follow a teacher that taught Love demonizing others for having the audacity to love in a different way. We have people willing to kill others for every perceived slight, no matter how small, of a teacher or prophet. The saddest to me are groups that teach their children to kill themselves and others in the name of God for their faith.

So I wonder sometimes if these authors are actually making a statement about the failings of their churches or if they are just oblivious to why people might look back and ask if their religion should be abolished?

Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

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