Last night we watched Channel 4’s documentary, The Doomsday Code – which was one of the most worrying television programmes that I’ve seen for a long time.
The programme was about the groups of christian fundamentalists who believe that we are now living in the end time predicted by the Book of Revelation and who are conducting their lives as though they expect the Rapture to take place at any moment.
This is all very well. They are, of course, free to believe any ridiculous nonsense that they choose to believe. It’s nice that they have a hobby and it gives the rest of us someone to laugh at. But in this documentary Tony Robinson demonstrated that it’s a little more serious than that. End-time believers are in very powerful positions in the US and their actions can effect us all. Some examples:
- As the Book of Revelation clearly mentions Israel as a nation, Endtimers are strong supporters of the Zionists and will fight anything that they see as a attack on the Israeli state. This is clearly a big problem when trying to address the problems in the middle east. Some go further and believe that an all-out war in the Middle East can only hasten the arrival of the Rapture.
- If the End-time is just around the corner, why would you care about any detrimental effect you are having on the enviroment? You’re not going to be around to deal with the problems, so leave it to the unbelievers to deal with it. it’ll just add to the problems of the Tribulation – which has to be a good thing, right?
- The Book of Revelations also mentions that at the End-times the word of god will be preached to all countries. So missionaries are out all over the world trying to make this prophecy come true. The documentary picked on the example of Uganda, where End-time preaching is so endemic that large parts of the population seem to have almost given up the will to live as all they have to do is to be true to god in order to be ensured of a place in heaven when the Rapture comes.
These are just a few examples. The documentary was full of many more. It also had plenty of smug American christians telling us how wonderful this all was and how if we embraced dangerous philosophies (like evolution) then we were in for a whole bunch of trouble on judgement day.
It’s a nasty, pernicious belief and, of course, it’s all based on a misinterpretation of what the Book of Revelation is trying to say. There’s no evidence that it was written by Saint John and it’s far more likely to be a criticism of the Roman Empire than a book of prophecy (“666”, for example, is just an encoded way of refering to Nero).
So what we have here is a powerful sub-sect in the christian church who are wilfully misinterpreting the bible in order to support their owen warped view of the world. As I said above, this would just be amusing if it wasn’t for the fact that some of the most important people in the US either hold these views or are influenced by people who hold these views. It seems a bit trivial arguing whether or not Islam is a peaceful religion when christians are busy cheering on the end of the world – and some of them are doing what they can to hasten its arrival.
Update: If you didn’t see it, it’s repeated late tonight (Monday 18th September) – 1:30 tomorrow morning on Channel 4. Set your video.