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Praying for the Apocalypse

Posted on Apr 9, 2007
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AP Photo / HO / The Bohle Co.

Hell on Earth: The Christian video game “Left Behind: Eternal Forces” uses advanced graphics to depict a battle between good and evil.

By Chris Hedges

The Gilead Baptist Church, outside Detroit, is on a four-lane highway called South Telegraph Road.  The drive down South Telegraph Road to the church, a warehouse-like structure surrounded by black asphalt parking lots, is a depressing gantlet of boxy, cut-rate motels with names like Melody Lane and Best Value Inn.  The highway is flanked by a flat-roofed Walgreens, a Blockbuster, discount liquor stores, a Taco Bell, a McDonald’s, a Bob’s Big Boy, Sunoco and Citgo gas stations, a Ford dealership, Nails USA, The Dollar Palace, Pro Quick Lube and U-Haul.  The tawdry display of cheap consumer goods, emblazoned with neon, lines both sides of the road, a dirty brown strip in the middle.  It is a sad reminder that something has gone terribly wrong with America, with its inhuman disregard for beauty and balance, its obsession with speed and utilitarianism, its crass commercialism and its oversized SUVs and trucks and greasy junk food.  It is part of our numbing assault against community and connectedness. 

Ten or fifteen minutes of negotiating the traffic down South Telegraph Road makes the bizarre attraction of the End Times—the obliteration of this world of alienation, noise and distortion—comprehensible.  The manufacturing jobs in the Detroit auto plants nearby are largely gone, outsourced to nations with cheaper labor.  The paint is flaking off the cramped two-story houses that lie in ugly grid patterns off the highway.  The plagues of alcoholism, divorce, drug abuse, poverty and domestic violence make the internal life here as depressing as the external one.  And those gathering today in this church wait for the final, welcome relief of the purgative of violence, the vast, bloody cleansing that will lift them up into the heavens and leave the world they despise—the one that was devastated by corporatism—to be racked by plagues and flood and fire until it and all those whom they blame for the debacle of their lives are consumed and destroyed by God.  It is a theology of despair.  And for many, it can’t happen soon enough.

The guru of the End Times movement is a small, elderly, gnome-like man with dyed coal-black hair, a battery-powered earpiece and a pedantic, cold demeanor.  He is Timothy LaHaye, a Southern Baptist minister and the co-author, along with Jerry Jenkins, of the “Left Behind” series of Christian apocalyptic thrillers that provide the graphic details of raw mayhem and cruelty that God will unleash on all nonbelievers when Christ returns and raptures Christians into heaven.  The novels are the best-selling books in America, with over 62 million in print.  They have been made into movies, as well as a graphic video game in which teenagers can blow away nonbelievers and the army of the Antichrist on the streets of New York City. 

The global nightmare that leads to the end of history is a visceral and disturbing expression of what believers feel about themselves and our world.  The horror of apocalyptic violence—the final aesthetic of the movement—at once terrifies and thrills followers.  It feeds dark fantasies of revenge and empowerment.  This theology of despair is empowered by widespread poverty, violent crime, incurable diseases, global warming, war in the Middle East and the threat of nuclear calamity.  All these events presage the longed-for obliteration of the Earth and the glorious moment of Christ’s return.  But until then believers are told they must battle Satan.  And Satan comes in many guises.  In churches across the United States believers are being girded for a holy war, one as self-destructive as that preached by radical Islam.

“We are at war with the religion of Islam,” Gary Frazier, another popular leader, tells the crowd in the church outside Detroit,  “and it is not a handful of radical Islamists who are taking over the religion and hijacking it.  The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, today if you read the Koran, and any person who reads their Koran, the holy book of the Muslims, and believes what the book says, over a hundred times it calls for the putting to death of any person that does not embrace the teachings of Mohammed.

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“Can you explain to me how in the West that we would understand a person who would strap dynamite upon themselves and blow themselves up along with innocent men and women and children with the promise that they would have 70 brown-haired,  I mean blond-haired, blue-eyed virgins for their unlimited sexual pleasure in this place called Paradise?  And the parents of that person then throw a party celebrating the destruction of their child.  You want to tell me you understand that kind of mentality?  Because I don’t believe that.  There’s no one in the Western world that can comprehend that kind of mind-set, but, ladies and gentlemen, that is the mind-set of the religion of Islam around the world. 

“Islam,” Frazier says dramatically, “is a satanic religion.”

He warns of Muslim “sleeper cells” in America waiting to carry out new terrorist attacks.

“You may have a Muslim doctor, and he may be a wonderful person,” he says.  “He may love his family, but you know what’ll happen?  One day, they will come to him—I’m just using this as an illustration—they will come to him and they’ll say, ‘We have a mission for you, and you will either do as you’re told,’ [or,] and they’ll whip out the pictures, ‘Here are your three children.  We’ll send their heads to you in a box.’ Now, the difference is, is that if somebody told you that, you’d call the FBI or Homeland Security or somebody like that.  They’re not going to do that.  Do you know why?  Because they know the Muslim will do just what they say, and when it comes right down to where the rubber meets the road, boys and girls, they’re going to save the lives of their own children before they’ll save your own.  And you most likely would probably do the same thing yourselves.”

He pauses and slowly scans the crowd, which sits silently, expectantly awaiting his next sentence.

“I thank God for our men and women who are fighting over there because if they weren’t fighting there, we’d be fighting right here in the streets of America.  I’m convinced of that,” he says, and the sanctuary erupts in loud applause. 

America, the crowd is told, is being ruled by evil, clandestine organizations that hide behind the veneer of liberal, democratic groups.  These clandestine forces seek to destroy Christians.  They spread their demonic, secular humanist ideology through front groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, the Trilateral Commission and “the major TV networks, high-profile newspapers and newsmagazines,” the U.S. State Department, major foundations (Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford), the United Nations, “the left wing of the Democratic Party” and Harvard, Yale “and 2,000 other colleges and universities.”  All of these groups have joined forces, LaHaye has warned, to “turn America into an amoral, humanist country, ripe for merger into a one-world socialist state.”

The radical Christian right has no religious legitimacy.  It is a mass political movement. It is interchangeable, in many ways, with other traditional political movements ranging from fascism to communism to the ethnic nationalist parties in the former Yugoslavia.  It shares with these movements an inability to cope with ambiguity, doubt and uncertainty.  It also embraces a world of miracles and signs and makes war on rational, reality-based thought.  It condemns self-criticism and debate as apostasy.  It places a premium on action.  It dismisses those who do not bow down before its god—and the leaders who claim to speak for God—as heretics and traitors.  This movement shares with corporatists, who are busy cannibalizing our society for profit, the belief that there are a chosen few who know the truth and therefore have the right to impose it.  The citizen, the individual, no longer has any legitimacy in this new world.  All legitimacy is assumed by groups, whether they are corporate groups herding us over the cliff of globalization or religious groups that give popular vent to corporate-generated despair through faith in the Christian utopia.  In this paradigm—corporate and religious—we become disempowered, afraid, passive and easily manipulated.

Apocalyptic visions like this one have, throughout history, cowed populations and inspired genocidal killers.  They have enticed societies into collective suicide.  These visions nourished the butchers who led the Inquisition, the Crusades and the conquistadors who swept through the Americas converting and then exterminating the native population.  These visions sustained the SS guards at Auschwitz, the Stalinists who consigned tens of thousands of Ukrainian families to starvation and death, the torturers in the clandestine prisons in Argentina during the Dirty War and the Serbian thugs with heavy machine guns and wraparound sunglasses who stood over the bodies of those they had slain in the smoking ruins of Bosnian villages.  Those who promise to purify the world through violence, to relieve the anxiety of moral pollution and despair, appeal to our noblest sentiments, our highest virtues, our capacity for self-sacrifice and our utopian visions of a cleansed world.  It is this coupling of fantastic hope and profound despair, along with visions of peace and light and absolute terror, of selflessness and murder, which frees the consciences of those who call for and carry out the eradication of those they have banished from moral consideration.  When leaders of this movement, such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, sanction, as they do, pre-emptive nuclear strikes against our enemies, and therefore the enemies of God, they fuel the passions of terrorists in love with the same apocalyptic nightmares.  They march us to our own doom cheered by the delusion that once the dogs of war, even nuclear war, are unleashed, hundreds of millions will die, but because Christians have been blessed and chosen by God they alone will arise in triumph from the ash heap. 

In this new world, where those who seek to do us harm will soon have in their hands cruder versions of the apocalyptic weapons we possess, dirty bombs or chemical or biological agents, the vision of those among us who welcome catastrophic warfare, indeed seek to hasten it, who fervently await the apocalypse and the end of time, who believe they will be lifted up into the sky by a returning Christ, forces us all to kneel before the god of death.  The prayers these “Christians” near Detroit—and tens of millions across the nation—utter for deliverance and apocalyptic glory only hasten our flight from reality and ensure our self-annihilation. 

Chris Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School and was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades for The New York Times, is the author of “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.”


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By Herk, June 25, 2008 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

Since it’s an imaginary path, it should be easy to follow. Just make things up like everyone else does.

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By John P., June 25, 2008 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

I believe the most difficult path in this world to walk is the path illuminated by jesus of nazareth. That is why so many people who call themselves Christian choose to reinvent or follow those whom have reinvented the Christian message. It is easier to hide behind our fear and judgement then it is to love. Yet fear, like love, will grow. When we grow in love we reach out to one another in peace,when we grow in fear we reach for a way to escape from one another. This search for an escape is like drug seeking behavior and when we find our fix, it offers the release that we need. A blise that may feel very real but is pure illusion.
JPB

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By don knutsen, April 12, 2007 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Where have the true believers in the teachings of Jesus been while the religous right has supported all this lunacy these past years. Why have the only voices we’ve heard been the inane ramblings of the carnival barkers called religous leaders like Falwell, Robertson and Dobson. Anyone who professes taht they are a true christians should be the most vocal against our current dictator causing aall this damage. But they have been mysteriously silent, and in doing so, brought us all further towards a more secular society in the end as more and more people become discusted with organized religion, atleast as its practiced in this country….and if that day comes then maybe we as a society can begin to move forward again towards a better future… instead of following bu$h’s lead in worshipping ignorance. These right wing christian fanatics are no different the their muslim counterparts, except that they are typically much more affluent and so can prosecute their wars long distance. Whenever you see a “born-again”..its probably a good idea to run the other way.

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By TAO Walker, April 12, 2007 at 12:57 am Link to this comment

And here comes Douglas Chalmers(#63478) to really drive home the point.  His “brief history” of U.S. history adds more much-needed relief to the “portrait” of an americanpeople trapped in the toils of that deadly web-of-self-deceit so many of them mistake for a story about “liberty and justice for all.”

That he traces its Turtle Island strands all the way back to the quintessentially civilized Aztecs, who hacked out human hearts on a wholesale basis, without all the clap-trap and misdirection meant to hide the same operation on an even bigger “global” scale today, suggests he might be familiar with Leslie Silko’s “Ceremony.”  This Indian recommends it to anyone looking to get right down to the roots of the near-terminal condition the civilized peoples’ condition is in….including the god-of-war-worshipping death-cults still billed by the mass-media as being among “the world’s major religions.”

Then please join in the ceremony all us free wild natural human beings are doing to get our Mother Earth and her children, all our relations, through the last of this ten-thousand-year attempted mass murder alive. 

HokaHey!

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By Douglas Chalmers, April 11, 2007 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment

Wow, what do they feed you guys on at those seminaries, ha ha? There is no doubt that we are at the end of the era of US imperialist expansion which started with the Spanish-American war and the gunboat diplomacy (domination) of China and Japan in the late 1800’s.

As Americans know, though, that is not ancient history because they are still living its illusory fantasy today. The difference is that they have now over-reached the realistic limit of their self-assumed authority. In other words, they are no longer useful to the rest of the world – that is, the majority of people on the Earth.

What is worse is that they are not the Christians they imagine themselves to be – and the more they insist, the further they remove themselves from any connection with their Creator or their founder. As a result of their civil war and their even earlier invasion and usurpation of “their” country, though,  Americans do sadly believe in bloodshed and the right to kill.

That is the result of past wrong thought and action which is still with Americans today in their hearts and obviously in their violent and ignorant culture. The present phase could be said to have started back in 1970 when the US National Guard fired on anti-war demonstrators at otherwise peaceful universities killing and wounding their own fellow citizens.

Ever since, issues of control and security have been seen as paramount and the state has abruptly sequestered the rights of its citizens who should, instead, be its masters. That was the culmination of an earlier phase which began with the fire-bombing of Dresden and Tokyo and then the nuclear WMD attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – all mass murders unnecessarily carried out by the US air force.

As the state has taken all rights unto itself and is seen as being capable of attacking and murdering as many as half of its own citizens in a hypocritical righteous frenzy (the US civil war) and covert land-grab, most citizens of the USA now find themselves very fearful of the consequences they might face if they as much as “step out of line”, never mind complain or criticise their government.

Thus, the endless blood-sacrifice rites of the ancient Aztecs still rule the land as the dominant religion. Whether the victims are found at home or in another country is now of little significance as the urge to kill is both the main imperative and the highest justification imaginable for the continued existence of the most worthless civilization on the face of the planet today.

It is now clear that the motivations of fear have been used to manipulate many citizens in a country which foolishly imagines itself to be brave while it monstrously threatens all other nations with pre-emptive attacks and its nuclear arsenal. Thus, individual BRAVERY must be learned and applied by those citizens who are concerned enough to free themselves and others from the apparently inevitable mindless descent into violence and destruction which could destroy the entire human race.

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By TAO Walker, April 11, 2007 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment

If Bob Bennett (#63439) is any example, the mothers of Lick Skillet, Alabama, are not raising their children to grow-up to be fools.  He illuminates an aspect of the “end-timers” phenomenon that helps put it into better perspective.

It appears, too, that within the evidently sizeable contingent of run-of-the-mill “Revelation fixated” believers there are a core group dedicated to the proposition that John’s dream journal, exactly as written, makes one helluva movie script.  We’d best assume these filmy-eyed fanatics mean to produce, in true “Wag the Dog” fashion, and with the full cooperation of government and industry, using live ammunition with a cast of billions and actual blood, the real-life story of Jesus of Nazereth giving holy hell to “the brightest of all the angels.” 

But….there’s a snag.  How do you get the stars (ie:  Jesus Christ Super…., and The Bright and Morning….) to appear in this mother-of-all-epics as themselves?  Obviously nobody at the studios has anywhere near enough leverage to guarantee it.  Even the occupier of “the most powerful office on the planet” can’t command the performance of these cosmic warrior chiefs (in the one for-all-the-marbles smack-down that might save his own sorry ass from at best an ignominious retirement to the scrublands of west Texas…..with even less attractive endings a lot more likely).

This looks like a job for the special effects department, and with their no-limit, cost-plus budget they might even carry it off.  It’s rumored that Disney’s already working on the animatronic versions of The Lord of Hosts and The Lord of the Flies.  Welcome to Armageddon World.

Maybe this Indian is only joking, but it’s not so funny that there are people who’re dead-serious about getting everybody here but theirownselves “seriously killed.” 

HokaHey!

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By Steve Meikle, April 11, 2007 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If this breed of evangelical (for want of a better word, I call them avenge-all-ical) believed that the rapture (I Thessalonians 4:17) happened at the END of the tribulation just as Christ was returning, as I hold, they would know that they would have to go through the creat Crisis at the end of the Age, and would be martyred by the million, (Daniel 7:21)
as I expect to be if the Great Tribulation happens in my lifetime.

And if they actually interpreted the Bible properly on this issue and expected to go through the tribulation they would not be so cocky about it, nor long to bring it on.

It is not the Bible’s fault that they are so gladly twisting it and blaspheming God’s name in the process.

This is the trouble, all their noise makes people think that their ranting is what the Bible actually says.

It is not. I appeal to you not to reject the Bible because of nonsense from evangelicals of this heretical ilk

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By RobertBennett, April 11, 2007 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

Revelation Fixation

Some Christians seem to feel the Book of Revelation is the most important book in the Bible.  They are suffering from an insidious disorder known as Revelation Fixation.  The primary symptom being an astonishingly intense desire to destroy the world.

In the name of the Prince of Peace.

The Gospels speak of actual events, and therefore, are a legitimate historical record. The Book of Revelation on the other hand, is an account of a Dream had by a man named John.  Many of the Revelation Fixated believe this was the Apostle John, but there is no evidence to support this.  In fact, Biblical Scholars have good reason to doubt the belief. 

Like his Dream, John’s identity is a mystery.

In the Book of Revelation Jesus says, “I hate..”.  This is clearly a radical departure from the Jesus depicted in the historically relevant Gospels.

The mysterious nature of Dreams leaves enormous latitude for interpretation.  The Dreamer is free to see what he wants to see.  The Jesus of John’s Dream is just that, John’s Dream Jesus.

The purpose of the Book of Revelation is not to reveal the truth about Jesus, but rather to reveal the true heart of the reader.

Have you read the Book of Revelation?

What did you learn about yourself?

Peace,
Bob Bennett
Lick Skillet, Alabama

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By Ben Takin, April 11, 2007 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fear and depression—now all you need is some religion:  “Members of ‘Christians United For Israel’ (CUFI) lobby for, among other things, a US or Israeli nuclear attack on Iran they hope will provoke catastrophic war and trigger the ‘Rapture’ of Christians but also kill most Israeli Jews or even most Jews on Earth.”
http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/49027/

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By Bukko in Australia, April 11, 2007 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

The “bring on the Rapture” crowd reminds me of something else in the Bible—Samson. Not the bit about his hair, but when he was finally chained up in the Philistines’ temple.

By then he was blind and exhausted from being enslaved to pull a miller’s wheel. His life was crap. So he asked God to give him strength one more time and pulled down the pillars of the temple, crushing himself out of his misery and taking a lot of Philistines with him. Self-destructive vengance.

The end-timers—shades of Ronald Dumsfeld’s “dead-enders” in Iraq—tend to be the ones who have lost in modern secular society. They resent the smarty-pants liberals who have gotten ahead. So they’ll be glad to destroy everything on this Earth to bring about the next one, even if it means supporting a genocidal fascist like President Cheney, who would use nuclear weapons on Iran. Better to bring Jesus back with. Of course, when the mushroom clouds dissipate and there is no jesus, all we’ll be left with is mass casualties and a poisoned planet.

I hope that a lot of the Rapturites live through the carnage they create, if such an event does happen. (And I REALLY hope it doesn’t.) Maybe then they’ll realise how stupid they were. Ah, but that’s bloody unlikely. They’ll find some way to justify it in their minds.

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By Janwillem Vandewetering, April 11, 2007 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

too late. 6 billion folks on a planet that can, maybe, sustain one billion (which is still too many products of a failed experiment) - does anyone think we will diminish by ourselves? Let’s be patient, a giant wayward heavenly rock is looking at us right now, or some virulent virus. Soon we’ll be gone and forgotten: nothing more to gripe about. And the creation? It will still be mysterious, beautiful, home to future species. Intelligent and self-efacing this time. There’ll be music and advanced technology and beautiful women,animals, dance, mathematics. So this thing here went wrong. So what?

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By Zena, April 11, 2007 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges reported this man saying: ...”“Can you explain to me how in the West that we would understand a person who would strap dynamite upon themselves and blow themselves up along with innocent men and women and children with the promise that they would have 70 brown-haired, I mean blond-haired, blue-eyed virgins for their unlimited sexual pleasure in this place called Paradise? And the parents of that person then throw a party celebrating the destruction of their child. ...”

Yes, I can. And what has he done for America’s children lately? Is there really a difference in those who believe in a GOD of vengence, and those who worship money and power? These Con-Men, these workers of inequity that call themselves ‘Christian’ neglect to mention that they are sending and supporting the soldiers who are willing to sacrifice their lives for Corporate interests, whose main agenda is to grow richer and fatter off the broken backs of poor and suffering Americans. THEIR CHURCHES ARE THE CORPORATIONS THAT ARE THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF THE ARMS FACTORIES AND OTHER DEALERS OF DEATH. Our Soldiers say they are fighting for Christianity, yet their preachers misrepresent the religion of Christianity. For usury’s sake. No virgins for them. To destroy human rights and violate the Constitution that many Americans still hold dear; which I might add is alot closer to Christianity that True Christians know and love than their vision of death and destruction for the sake and worship of Mammon. It becomes very clear, when we take all the facts and add them up and see there is no more danger to us from those we kill than the ones who are sneaking into our country. These workers of inquity, this Den of thieves cares no more for GOD’S children than does Satan. When a person calls himself a preacher and preaches death and destruction, it’s plain to me what god he is worshipping. No wonder they deny people like me to practice my religion in the way I SEE FIT! And I bet they thank their GOD everyday, that their members don’t read the bible for themselves, for it would mean the end for their evil plans. Christ once overthrew the money-changer’s tables. And I believe he can do it again.  “Those who diggeth a ditch for others, shall fall into it themselves.”

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By GrannyGeese, April 11, 2007 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One day, a block was cleared, construction crews moved in and what promised to be a monstrous building began to emerge from the mounds of dirt and noise of construction equipment. Was it going to be a new Wal-Mart? An Auditorium of some sort ... what?

Community members descended on City Hall demanding to know why there had been no public hearing on this monstrous new Sports Arena or Wal-Mart, or whatever that was coming to City Center. Only to find there had been, but nobody had showed up. Apparently nobody cared that there would be a new Church in town.

But they care now. Easter Sunday, “members” of the new congregation stood in the road and stopped traffic for the 45 minutes it took to empty their Church parking lot. Cars and trucks were backed up into the next town and up the freeway exit, and a lot of folks are hopping mad!

This kind of complete indifference to the reality of “others” around them seems to be a hallmark of these Mega-churches. Perhaps it is motivated by a feeling of desperation and hopelessness. But that’s not what it looks like!

It looks like plain old-fashioned selfishness.

This building is so huge and so glitzy, if it weren’t for the cross on top you really would think it was some sort of “for fun and profit” super center.

[But then, maybe that’s exactly what it is, the profit part anyway.]

This building has a name I can not recognize or identify with the handful of wealthy and traditional Christian organizations. But does have that cross on top.

This community is not big enough to fill that building, so obviously thousands of people came from all over the area Sunday to fill it up. Which tells me the following.

This church is doing a lot of area “marketing” to bring the numbers in.

The building was funded by person or persons with a lot of money and more than likely a personal agenda.

And, the building was designed to appeal to the person attracted by glitter and glitz and the in-your-face flaunting of wealth.

OK, I’m the first to admit I haven’t been inside and I don’t know the gist of their message. But, I’ll bet it’s pretty similar to the message blared on the Holy Roilers TV channels 24/7. Gold chairs. Dyed wigs. Velvet clothes. Precious gems and precious medals. And a clear message. Send me money and I will send you to heaven.

[Following the great destruction of everybody else, of course, particularly those folks in the Middle East.]

Carefully wrapped in Gods word, hate in the name of love.

Perhaps the obvious success of packing them into this new Church reflects a feeling of desperation and hopelessness in the population, but that’s not what it looks like.

It looks like a lot of people need to be surrounded by the trappings of wealth. Need to see the lights and the noise and the glitz to feel comfortable. And most important need to be part of a huge crowd elevating wealth and opulence in the name of God. And, pushing around the other’s.

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By lawright, April 11, 2007 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m two-thirds of the way through Chris Hedges book “American Fascists.”  Raised in rural upstate NY, I attended a fundamentalist Baptist church, a liberal Congregationalist church, a moderate Methodist church, and a Unitarian church. (Woo hoo!)
My grandparents were fairly liberal preachers who went to seminary AFTER retiring. In Brooklyn, as a young adult I wnet to a Catholic church.I now live in Northern VA where there are more churches than McDonalds. (well, maybe) The last church I attended was about 10 years ago—a fairly liberal Lutheral church in Alexandria VA. I’ve seen A LOT of churches, and met people of all stripes.  One of my closest girlfriends is a Jehovah’s Witness, an miraculously we get along.

What I am getting from Chris Hedges’ book is something very important—that in a democracy, we do not have to tolerate the intolerant.  The rampant hypocrisy of hard-over religious types is legendary—how many church scandals have become public?  In my little life, there were scandals in almost every church I attended!  Pastors who stole from the collection plate!  Leering preachers, cheating, spouse swapping preachers, gay folks jumping out of the closet after preaching for years how sinful gays are.  There was even a cross-dressing gay man who left his family to live with his lover after participating for over a decade in the church and with a missionary daughter—in my small town! 

It would all be quite funny if these warped people didn’t have power—but they do. Jimmy Carter, a few years back, rang some alarm bells about eschatology and the end days folks who want to bring it on. His worries have been justified. But the people in power who believe they can create their own reality need to be forced to succomb to a higher power—the rational American public. We need to step up or keep getting stomped on.

I’ve seen a lot of

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By Doug Tarnopol, April 11, 2007 at 5:36 am Link to this comment

Re: #63207 by Kol Klink on 4/10 at 4:59 pm

All too true: we face many serious, potentially civilization-, if not species-threatening problems. The US cannot forestall all of them, but note how this wing of evangelicals (but not all evangelicals) not only do not accept the reality of global warming, they seem not to care. Nor do they worry about rampant militarism, including, especially, in the Middle East. It’s all pre-Rapture stuff.

Since global warming and nuclear war are the top two threats, I’ll venture to guess, and since, as you rightly point out, these folks have already far too much influence on our politics, I think it’s worth fighting them.

As for population control, it’s mandatory, and inevitable. It can happen voluntarily or involuntarily, but the curve cannot be maintained. Not being particularly strong in biology, these yahoos tend not to get that, and decry abortion, contraception, etc.

So, I agree. As for colonizing space, well, it’s certainly not going to happen any time soon, and it would seem that many will be “left behind,” even if it got going. We’ve got a perfectly good planet here for another few billion years, if we can avoid self-destruction or the stray comet or two.

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By Steve Meikle, April 11, 2007 at 2:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The ghastly caricature of Biblical prophecy the author here presents is not entirely his fault, for it is a ghastly caricature that the followeres LaHaye and his ilk luxuriate in.

But it is still a ghastly caricature, an egregious straw man fallacy.

And of course Mr Hedges totally misses the possibility that one can believe the literal scriptures as the inspired word of God and still be opposed to the Religious Right.

As such therefore his piece only contributes to the hatred and the mutual incomprehension, for he only encourages the Religious Right in their error with his own misrepresentations of Biblical Endtime prophecy as a doctrine of despair.

The issue is too important for such poor thought as this

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By Akwekon, April 11, 2007 at 1:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There has been some incredible studies done on this Right Wing Authoritarians and the Religious Right. Everyone should read Bob Altemeyer’s - The Authoritarians. You can find it free, at http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

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By Finii, April 10, 2007 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The hate they hold is so strong they cannot see the truth.
Once you know the truth, there is no doubts who are the criminals and murderers.Bosnian

http://www.haverford.edu/relg/sells/reports.html
http://www.ichblog.eu/content/view/1097/2/

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By Finii, April 10, 2007 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The hate you hold is so strong you cannot see the truth.Once you know the truth, there is no doubt who are the criminals and murderers.

We Bosnian paid the price just for being Muslims. Yes, 250.000 slaughter and 50.000 raped Muslim Women bay Christian Serbs and Croatians.

http://www.haverford.edu/relg/sells/reports.html

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By Kol Klink, April 10, 2007 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Doug Tarnopol, Tao Walker

I believe Doug would be correct to call for a mobilization of a ‘grass roots’ movement to combat the forces of right wing christians if curcumstances were ‘normal’; ie, if America faced a threat such as a Hitler or a Stalin with no looming mitigating circumstances. In the very short run we do face a fascist christian threat but the right wing christians will not have the time that they need to carry out a complete fascist take over of our government. Notice the word ‘complete’ for they have already made progress in that direction. Their efforts will be overwhelmed by much larger events lurking on the near horizon. Global warming, peak oil, resource wars, and a great die off of the human species will utterly destroy the fascist christians, or most of them, and any ambitions that they have on gaining complete political power. Any fascists left after the destruction of humanity as we know it in industrialized and so called first world societies will perhaps create a new threat to the remainder of humanity, but that is for the remainder of humanity to deal with. I see no need for me or anyone else to go out and mobilize against these christian nuts. Mother Earth is going to take care of them in short order.

I understand Tao Walkers desire to remove himself and the rest of us from the ‘pressure cooker’ in order to get a better perspective on what the problems of ‘civilization’ are and what we might do to remedy them. He would like to see all of us be able to exit this catastrophy that we lable civilization all together and alltogether. So would I. I would also like to ‘reach out of the pressure cooker and turn down the heat.’ Unfortunately I dont have that capability and I dont see that happening. There are not enough rational people to counter the onslaught of ditto heads of all stripe.

In about 1955 the brilliant scientist and writer Fred Hoyle made an observation that has remained with me over many years. He said that we have about a 200 year supply of raw materials to use in any manner that we see fit. He reccomended that we use them to perfect a means to get off this world and start colonies on other worlds. This was quite a startaling recommendation if you consider when he made it. No man had yet orbited the earth. The raw materials contained in the earth are a one time find for us, once gone, they will not be replaced. Of course, we have disregarded what Dr Hoyle and other rational thinkers have advocated. We have squandered our resources on wars, suvs, and all manner of other useless material items. At the same time we have created ‘overshoot’ of the Earth’s human population. The earth cannot support 6 1/2 billion people indefinitely. The subject of population control is taboo in almost every religion and culture but it is the main reason for the monumental problems that we now face.
Welcome back to Oldavi.

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By Lefty, April 10, 2007 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: #63102 by Kol Klink on 4/10 at 6:29 am
(Truthdig Guest)

“I admire Mr Hedges work but when it is placed in the larger context of what is going on in the world I cannot help but ask myself ‘why sweat the small stuff?’”

“We humans now number 6 billion and counting. The earth will support about 2 billion people without the long tail supply of big agribusiness. To sustain its food production big ag needs huge quantities of chemical fertilizers made from natural gas and equally huge quantities of pesticides made from petroleum. Both natural gas and petroleum are growing scarcer. The discovery of new oil deposits peaked in 1963. Peak oil is real and that is the main reason that we are in Iraq. Any supply disruption of natural gas or petroleum will be accompanied by disruptions in world food production (not to mention the accompanying destruction of world economies). As if this were not bad enough we are facing the problem of global warming which will cause a monumental battle for remaining resources, especially water.”

“My point is, why worry about some christian nuts when we are faced with problems magnitudes greater? I feel the christians will certainly get their wish of a mass die off of humans, probably back to the point that the earth can sustain without petroleum.
Whether the die off is of christians, muslims, shintos, or any other sect will be a matter of luck of the draw and dependence on technology. America is not particularly well positioned to withstand a die off. Indigenous people that have remained close to the land and do not depend on modern technology for their sustenance have a much better chance of survival.”

“But, dont throw away that bible. It has some uses that have nothing to do with religion.”
—————————————————————————-
The best post yet!  A dose of reality!

But, you can’t just leave me hanging.  Tell me, to what use can I put my newly discovered “utilitarian” bible?

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By Lefty, April 10, 2007 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: #62977 by John Lowell on 4/09 at 10:51 am
(Truthdig Guest)

“Hedges laments:

““It is a sad reminder that something has gone terribly wrong with America, with its inhuman disregard for beauty and balance, its obsession with speed and utilitarianism, its crass commercialism and its oversized SUVs and trucks and greasy junk food.””

“America’s obsession with utilitarianism? And this from Hedges? Fascinating.”

“Now I can’t be sure I’m assessing Hedges fairly on this point, but a fellow with his denominational sympathies and the type of revisionist theology he was likely spoon-feed at Harvard Divinity School, I’d bet dollars to donuts that he’s an enthusiatic proponent of embryonic stem-cell research. What say, Chris? And you’re moralizing about “America’s obsession with utilitarianism”? If I’m right about you, you can spare us at least your personal complaints about utilitarianism. You wouldn’t be entitled to them.”

John Lowell
————————————————————————
Ahhh! The old - Hedges isn’t a “real Christian” -response.  In the mean time John Lowell is busy mixing up a batch of his utilitarian Cool-Aide.

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By Lefty, April 10, 2007 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment
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Hedges said:

“. . . This theology of despair is empowered by widespread poverty, violent crime, incurable diseases, global warming, war in the Middle East and the threat of nuclear calamity.  All these events presage the longed-for obliteration of the Earth and the glorious moment of Christ’s return.  But until then believers are told they must battle Satan.  And Satan comes in many guises.  In churches across the United States believers are being girded for a holy war, one as self-destructive as that preached by radical Islam. . . . Apocalyptic visions like this one have, throughout history, cowed populations and inspired genocidal killers.  They have enticed societies into collective suicide.  These visions nourished the butchers who led the Inquisition, the Crusades and the conquistadors who swept through the Americas converting and then exterminating the native population.  These visions sustained the SS guards at Auschwitz, the Stalinists who consigned tens of thousands of Ukrainian families to starvation and death, the torturers in the clandestine prisons in Argentina during the Dirty War and the Serbian thugs with heavy machine guns and wraparound sunglasses who stood over the bodies of those they had slain in the smoking ruins of Bosnian villages.  Those who promise to purify the world through violence, to relieve the anxiety of moral pollution and despair, appeal to our noblest sentiments, our highest virtues, our capacity for self-sacrifice and our utopian visions of a cleansed world.”
—————————————————————————-
This is why I, as a leftist, liberal, so strongly support the right of all citizens to own any and all weapons that the government owns.  It was not criminals or foreign invaders that the founding fathers sought to discourage by a well armed citizenry, it was Christo-fascist government that they sought to discourage.  I submit that all Americans have not only a right, but a duty, to own and know how to use weapons in furtherance of the protections the founding fathers afforded us.

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By Doug Tarnopol, April 10, 2007 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

Re: #63158 by TAO Walker on 4/10 at 12:22 pm

I’m not at all for some kind of safety-valve solution. In fact, I don’t think anything positive will happen without grassroots organization. Nothing ever has.

In fact, I’d urge people to get organized in any way they see most fit. One option is the US Social Forum. For those interested, there is a free conference call tomorrow, 4/11. Check out http://www.ussf2007.org/ for info (Spanish and English).

One thing about fanatics of all political and theological stripes: they know how to organize, and they’re dedicated.

Part of the “civilizing process” is getting off our collective butt and actually making sacrifices of time and money to fight the “uncivilized” forces in our society. It was ever thus, and it’s a LOT easier today than it’s been in most places at most times in our species’ history.

I completely agree that the “gods”—the owners—couldn’t care less about everyone else, and they’d like nothing better than for everyone to keep their mouths shut and just buy things. Or vent on truthdig only, for example.

As for the apparent equation of faith and rationality, I part ways with TAO on that one. Collectively, our species will either maximize its ration of rationality—and that may not be enough to save us—or we will perish, slowly or quickly. Certainly, what passes for “civilization,” i.e., the liberal experiment of the past 400 years or so, is on the ropes.

I say, go down fighting. Hedges is doing his part. Are we all doing ours?

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By TAO Walker, April 10, 2007 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

Doug Tarnopol’s outwardly commonsensical recommendations and observations (#‘s 63151-2) themselves suffer from a lack of contextual specificity.  This would be remedied in some measure by making it clear they refer excusively to human beings of the “civilized” persuasion….whatever their other incidental traits and characteristics might be, among those he lists.

A careful examination of the nature and usages of the civilizing process itself would go a long way toward getting us to a much less fear-ridden place from which to consider the condition our condition is in, as well.  Granted it’s not all that easy to do from inside the contraption, but there is still enough “leakage” from the organic living arrangement, and some residual evidence left-over from the ages before the thing’s advent here on Earth, to at least provide a point-of-departure for anybody with the wits to suspect that our lives quite literally depend on getting out of this death-trap altogether….and all together.

One thing that is perfectly clear by now is that the “gods” who own and operate it are “no respecters of persons,” human or otherwise.  Maybe this-that-or-another ideology or ethnicity or nationality results in slight variations in the “taste” or intensity of captive peoples’ fear and suffering, but that is really irrelevant to their ultimate status as prey and playthings. 

Doug Tarnopol would use his native reason, it seems, only to keep conditions in the pressure-cooker temporarily within tolerable limits by damping-down those of its human contents who are especially susceptible to overheating and blowing-up.  He appears thus to concede that control of the “stove” beneath the boiling pot is beyond effective reach of the cook-ees.  Yet someone or something is obviously stoking the fire here in these latter days. 

Or maybe it’s all running on automatic now, and has become essentially just one big stress-to-destruct test….with no experimentor left even to record the results.  To effectively respond to our predicament we’d better quit taking our assumptions and presumptions, about its fundamental elements, as either “gospel” or “scientific fact.”  Both so far are serving mostly to keep the domesticated people confined to their “maximum security” (minimum freedom) nation-state and mind-body prisons.

HokaHey!

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By Doug Tarnopol, April 10, 2007 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

I guess I also need to point out that anyone from any grouping you can think of is also capable of love and right ethical and political action: Hindu, Muslim, evangelical Christian, Jew, Democrat, Republican, tennis fan, stamp collector, or any other “granfalloon” you can think of.

Which is why Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Dennett are shooting themselves and the progressive movement, of which they are very questionably a part, in the foot.

I’ll take a world full of MLK, Jr.s with myself the only secular atheist Jew any day of the week.

Can we move on now?

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By Doug Tarnopol, April 10, 2007 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Sigh. Some of these comments are just depressing. Look, *some* warnings of danger are propaganda, the use of fear to move you to action or inaction. *Some* warnings of danger are not propaganda; they use knowledge to move you to action (or inaction, I suppose, but usually action).

Thus, the “argument” that “talk” of global warming or, in this case, Christian fascism is simply scaremongering is simply factually incorrect. Go to one of these churches yourself and find out. Read a _Left Behind_ book; look at one of these nutjob video games; watch _Jesus Camp_. In other words: use your critical faculties on evidence you _confront_; then make up your mind.

Sitting at your computer and spouting your wishes is not citizenship.

It just so happens that I think Hedges is right on. I spent the summer of 1993 at Indiana U. taking Russian with at least half the student body being evangelicals who were off to Russia to convert the heathen. Many were nice. Many seemed politically sane and benign. Others were total nutjobs who fit the fascist psychological profile to a T.

I’m a secular Jew: you can see fascist tendencies in some of the super-“pro”-Israeli types (allied with the yahoos Hedges describes). There are Muslims, Hindus, atheists, [insert group name here] who have this authoritarian/fascistic strain.

It cuts across every single distinction you can think of: race, class, gender, nation, political party, religion, ethnic group, [insert distinction here].

I would have thought that the thoughts I just sketched out would be utterly obvious post-WWII. Clearly, they are not. Grow up, please! We need everyone’s maximum rationality to forestall fascism in this country. We all have our own potential personal Hitler [or insert your least favorite totalitarian] inside. This is part of the “darker angels of our nature.”

OK? Are we agreed on that? Now: let’s move on to what to do, other than pound away on our keyboards while these people mobilize.

Thank you for reading.

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By Maire, April 10, 2007 at 11:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was in Godspell when I was in high school.  For some reason, whenever I read about these people and their agenda of annihilation, I hear Godspell lyrics in my head.  Originally referring to the Pharisees, suddenly they’ve taken on a whole new meaning for me.

From “Alas for You”:

Blind guides
Blind fools
The blood you’ve spilt on you will fall
This nation
This generation
Will bear the guilt of it all

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By Blueshift, April 10, 2007 at 9:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am a Christian, consider myself evangelical - and liberal. I share the fears Hedges has about the wack side of the phenomenon that passes itself off as Christianity, because the leaders are truly scary and the followers are massively ignorant. But he doesn’t describe all or even most) Christians….just the nazistic leaders who have money, broadcasting power, and ignorant masses to follow them.

I have successfully deprogrammed several (OK, four) of these lemminglike followers, generally by asking them to quote (or show me) the biblical passages that justify their position. Most will admit they have never read their Bibles….and once they do, most come to the same conclusion that I have. Jesus would not recognize the religion, moral values or the practices that claim to represent him.

Instead of diagramming Revelation into an implausible and utterly absurd timeline, they may choose to read it for what it is: a warning for the faithful to remain faithful in tough times. They may understand that Christ did indeed return in the apostles lifetimes (the apostles themselves missed it, just 50 days after the resurrection the Holy Spirit infused the church making it the body of Christ…they ARE trinitarians are they not? The Holy Spirit is Christ, as in Father = Son = Holy Spirit.).

I could go on.

But basically I have this message for Chris Hedges: the Bible warns of ‘those who think they will be heard for their many words.’ Use fewer words and less complex arguments. You might actually deprogram a few of the uneducated masses yourself. These are the people you MUST reach.

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By PaulMagillSmith, April 10, 2007 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Herk said:
#63086 by Herk on 4/10 at 1:33 am
(Truthdig Member since 04/8/2007, 2 comments)

Sorry to burst another bubble, but the mass suicide of the lemmings is yet another myth. We do love our myths, don’t we?

To which I reply:

Thanks for reading what I wrote, Herk, but of course I was speaking metaphorically regarding lemmings. Actually, since it did garner a response from you, it proves a rather effective literary tool, wouldn’t you say?

You are absolutely correct by your succinct reply; we do love our myths. Unfortunately, some myths are quite dangerous & socially disruptive to the point of being regarded as non-productive anti-social delusions. A perfect example is the “myth” of Armageddon & the ‘rapture’, but not the erroneously named ‘end times’. Nothing proves the first two, but science is on the side of ‘end timers’ in relation to the end life on this planet. Time is an eternal condition, however, and even after all life on this planet, the planet, and this whole solar system, even the rest of whatever universe we’ve detected are gone in another ‘big bang’ time will continue.

To take us back to basics there are a few items I must mention.

1st) If there is a ‘supreme entity’ that surely must be the inventor/creator of the first hydrogen atom, since that is the most plentiful element in the universe, and all other substances originate from it.

2nd) Whatever organized religion anyone subscribes to they all have common elements. A supreme being, afterlife, espousal of love as a primary guiding principle, etc.

3rd) Religions are not a naturally occuring phenomena. They are an invention (primarily of men) as a means to control populations, and make those who have a lust for power over others’ lives have a tool to achieve this control.

4th) The most sublime spiritual message, of the past uncountable thousands of years, was expressed by Rodney King when he said, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

5th) Since organized religions have morphed from spiritual inclination to political participation, for the better good of the greatest number of citizens they should be taxed.

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By Kol Klink, April 10, 2007 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I admire Mr Hedges work but when it is placed in the larger context of what is going on in the world I cannot help but ask myself ‘why sweat the small stuff?’
We humans now number 6 billion and counting. The earth will support about 2 billion people without the long tail supply of big agribusiness. To sustain its food production big ag needs huge quantities of chemical fertilizers made from natural gas and equally huge quantities of pesticides made from petroleum. Both natural gas and petroleum are growing scarcer. The discovery of new oil deposits peaked in 1963. Peak oil is real and that is the main reason that we are in Iraq. Any supply disruption of natural gas or petroleum will be accompanied by disruptions in world food production (not to mention the accompanying destruction of world economies). As if this were not bad enough we are facing the problem of global warming which will cause a monumental battle for remaining resources, especially water.
My point is, why worry about some christian nuts when we are faced with problems magnitudes greater? I feel the christians will certainly get their wish of a mass die off of humans, probably back to the point that the earth can sustain without petroleum.
Whether the die off is of christians, muslims, shintos, or any other sect will be a matter of luck of the draw and dependence on technology. America is not particularly well positioned to withstand a die off. Indigenous people that have remained close to the land and do not depend on modern technology for their sustenance have a much better chance of survival.
But, dont throw away that bible. It has some uses that have nothing to do with religion.

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By Herk, April 10, 2007 at 2:33 am Link to this comment

Sorry to burst another bubble, but the mass suicide of the lemmings is yet another myth. We do love our myths, don’t we?

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By TAO Walker, April 10, 2007 at 12:02 am Link to this comment

Meaning no offense, but it looks to this old Indian like the truly defining characteristic of this “modern” “global” civilization itself is rampant insanity….just one rather ordinary “case” of which is partially diagnosed here.  Of course it has that in-common with every civilization that has ever reared its ugly head in these parts…and there’ve been several over the last thirty million years or so.  They’ve all come to the same catastrophic conclusion, too, as looms presently before this latest of the “brand.”

Chris Hedges is obviously alarmed by the things he’s been writing so fervently about lately, but if his own particular fears should prove to stem from what is actually only one localized surging current in a worldwide flood-tide of fanaticism, he might put them at least partly to-rest by putting them into their larger context.  Sure one’s own house burning down is likely to be terribly traumatic in the event, but it sort of pales by comparison to the general conflagration that is claiming one’s neighbors’, as well, for miles and miles around.

What’s more, the variety of religious, political, economic, philosophical, and other vortices around which these tornadoes of tame two-legged madness coalesce, before tearing off across some geo-social landscape or other to wreak havoc upon “the just and unjust alike,” may be nothing, really, but psycho-emotional “flags-of-convenience” to which rootless gangs of ersatz “individuals” are drawn, in their desperate search for something, anything, greater than their own little selves to belong-to.  So the peculiar doctrinal content of this-that-or-another of these is of no real consequence, and only academic interest, maybe….and that only when the dust finally settles, maybe.

Given the stress levels to which domesticated people everywhere are subjected constantly here in these latter-days, it is no wonder at all that so many simply want to get it over with…once and for all, if possible, very much like the torture victims starving themselves today in the American gulag, no doubt.  That it’ll take some overwhelming cataclysm to get the job done must appear self-evident to at least a “chosen few.”  That something’s gotta give, one way or another, and pretty damned soon, is only plain common sense to us looking-on from here on the Rez.

There are many people among even the captive nations who sense some genuinely tectonic shift in the basic terms of Life Herownself here….particularly for human beings.  What seemed to make humans “fit” for survival in the factory-farm and feedlot conditions of “the civilized world” (eg: competitivness, beligerence, acquisitiveness, “self”-assertion, to name but a few) are in fact proving to be absolutely lethal in the conditions emerging out of that world’s already well-advanced collapse.  If civilization is itself a grotesquely abberant state, the distortions it has wrought upon the lives and natures of its human and other victims are as inevitable as they are difficult to behold….to say nothing of having to suffer them for (in just this latest instance alone) five hundred generations.  “How long, o lord,” indeed!

The good news is, not very….though things are still gonna get a lot more “intense” before they start to get less.  We’ve already seen, and lived through, the worst the tormentors have to throw at us, however.  So our chances are actually a lot better than they might look right now, from inside the pressure cooker known to its inmates as “civilization.”

HokaHey!

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By PaulMagillSmith, April 9, 2007 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

Persecution complexes are deviant behavior. “End timers” will go to any lengths in their attempts to prove they have the ‘true’ path to God…even to the extent of bringing untold suffering to billions of innocent souls on this Earth.

Unfortunately, none of them have ever died and come back to tell whether their suppositions were fact, or fiction inspired by what is warned against in the suspect documentthey commonly refer to as the Bible…false prophets.

Lemmings destroy themselves by running headlong off a cliff enmasse, but with the power of reason, gained through several million years of human evolution, mass suicides have come to be regarded as anti-social, criminal, even (if you believe in the man made concept) Satanic. Doesn’t it seem a bit hypocritical that these suicidal fundamentalists choose to ignore one of their basic biblical commands, “Thou shalt not kill”?

What’s the rush since we are all borne terminal anyway?

If end timers are to have any claim to legitimacy they will obey the prime directive (survival) and strive toward attaining the greatest of virtues (patience).

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By Joe R., April 9, 2007 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After watching Pat Robertson one can kind of see why King Harrod beheaded John the Baptist.

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By 2224612, April 9, 2007 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These thugs want the apocalypse so they can be off to heaven with their savior.

Fine.

I am glad I will be “left behind.” I certainly do not want to spend “eternity” (whatever that is) in their company. I quite willingly recognize that when I die, that is the end of whatever I now am.

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By Hugh E. Scott, April 9, 2007 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once again last Saturday, Born-again Bush made his evangelical mindset clear by calling the Iraq conflict a “war against evil.” So I looked up the operative term on the Internet.

One source said evil referred to the “morally objectionable aspects of human behavior and reasoning which are deliberately void of conscience and show a wanton penchant for destruction.”

To me, that sounds like Shrub the Charlatan, not just terrorists.


Hugh E. Scott, editor of http://www.King-George.biz—the only website with hardcopy proof of White House corruption.

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By john, April 9, 2007 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

as i was riding my bike to work (for environmental reasons) i was flipped off by someone driving an SUV.  i must have been slowing them down. 

it then occurred to me that the belief in hell, eternal damnation, is a very egotistical position.  it would have been easy for me to say, well that person is going to hell, because i’m right and they’re wrong.  but practicing living in the Now and loving your enemy, doesn’t mean love them and envision them going to hell.  i don’t believe in hell, i think it was invented by the morally “upright” who needed to know that they would be rewarded and their enemies would be damned.

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By rowdy, April 9, 2007 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i look forward to thermonuclear annihilation as much as the right wing KKKristians do. my reasons are quite different. this is the best way to rid the world of these fools. most of them don’t realize that their basic beliefs have nothing to do with the bible. the most extreme idiocy put forth by these fools is based on 18th and 19th century madness written by men trying to reconcile their own beliefs with contradictory passages in the bible. tax the church, this is the only step that can be taken to slow down this kind of madness. the founding fathers, those fatuous old rich white men,who didn’t want to pay their taxes to king george, had no way of knowing that some day religion would become corporatised and have world wide influence.

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By 911truthdotorg, April 9, 2007 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How anyone can still possibly believe that bush is a conservative “Christian” boggles my mind!

The man is pure evil. The anti-christ.
If you shave his head, I’m convinced you’ll find
“666” up there.

He was involved with 9/11 as the pre-text to push
his evil agenda. He made his “new Pearl Harbor” happen just like he’s going to fake another terror attack to declare martial law. He’ll blame Iran and bomb the hell out of them. At that point, this country will cease to exist.

Google video: 9/11 Press for Truth

Open your eyes and minds to 9/11 Truth!

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By writeon, April 9, 2007 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These groups are scary, growing in influence and they are on the move, but I don’t think we need to despair. If we “rationalists” must gird ourselves for “battle” then we need to remain optimistic and positive, otherwise we might as well role over now. The very fact of fighting the good fight against these dark forces give purpose and meaning to our lives, no matter the outcome, and nothing is written in stone.

What characterizes these movements is their need for a charasmatic leader and their reliance on his authority. These leaders usually have a deadly flaw, which sooner or later reveals itself and the whole ghastly edifice of their power begins to crumble and shatter. Remember Maoism and the tens of millions of Red Guards waving their littl red books and chanting for the destruction of the West? Well, at the time they seemed frightening, like a tide ready to engulf us, now where are they, who remembers them? All I’m saying is that times change and so do people.

However, the United States is entering a difficult period of adjustment, moving from an era of ease and plenty and indulgence, towards scarcity and scrifice. How will America react to this new world? Will it accept that change is inevitable, or will it rail against the times, and strike out in anger, and fall prey to the ravings of the anti-christ?

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By Hugh E. Scott, April 9, 2007 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once again last Saturday, Born-again Bush made his evangelical mindset clear by calling the Iraq conflict a “war against evil.” So I looked up the operative term on the Internet.

One source said evil referred to “morally objectionable aspects of human behavior and reasoning which are deliberately void of conscience and show a wanton penchant for destruction.”

That sounds like Shrub the Charlatan to me, not just terrorists.


Hugh E. Scott, editor of King-George.biz—the only website with hardcopy proof of White House corruption.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, April 9, 2007 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In comment 62920, I got ahead of myself and left out
my having been picked up and put in one of the Halliburton Havens, and this is what would elicit the not knowing or denial from my apocalyptist family members.

They are not stupid people and they sincerely believe this stuff.

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By hee-haw, April 9, 2007 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The threat of a fascist movement is coming from not only the religious-right that Mr Hedges has brilliantly detailed in his recent book, but also from the patriot-right.  Check out Stan Goff’s recent dig “Sowing The Seeds Of Facsism In America.”  Free thought as we know it is under vicious attack.  One of the newly emerged groups is the Gathering of Eagles who are basically frauds.  But they seem to be getting growing support by waving the flag while denying their thinley velied political/idealogical ambitions.

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By michael, April 9, 2007 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

what gets me is these people are still raving about the liberal democrats and it’s a conseverative born agian president who has sold us to the corporations.  The liberal media???  You call fox news liberal ??  most of the major media has been sold to huge corporation and wouldn’t say boo to save their souls.  They dont want to hurt the people who are helping keep them in control

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By John, April 9, 2007 at 11:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What would Jesus do if He had a trillion dollars to invest in the Middle East?  Build schools and hospitals or invade Iraq bringing death and maiming to hundreds of thousands of people?

If radical Muslims do end up fighting in the streets of America sometime during the next 50 years it will be partly due to the fact that America is fighting in Iraq now.  These radical “Christians” don’t understand their history any better than they understand Jesus.

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By John Lowell, April 9, 2007 at 11:51 am Link to this comment
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Hedges laments:

“It is a sad reminder that something has gone terribly wrong with America, with its inhuman disregard for beauty and balance, its obsession with speed and utilitarianism, its crass commercialism and its oversized SUVs and trucks and greasy junk food.”

America’s obsession with utilitarianism? And this from Hedges? Fascinating.

Now I can’t be sure I’m assessing Hedges fairly on this point, but a fellow with his denominational sympathies and the type of revisionist theology he was likely spoon-feed at Harvard Divinity School, I’d bet dollars to donuts that he’s an enthusiatic proponent of embryonic stem-cell research. What say, Chris? And you’re moralizing about “America’s obsession with utilitarianism”? If I’m right about you, you can spare us at least your personal complaints about utilitarianism. You wouldn’t be entitled to them.

John Lowell

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By James M, April 9, 2007 at 10:53 am Link to this comment
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Sadly, this is too true.  the fact that these “religions” only focus on either killing everyone else or whining about being persecuted shows that they have ulterior motives. These motives, i think, are almost all political. People who preach sermons like that aren’t there to help enlighten and build faith in their religion, but to manipulate the people who trust them. Living in a southern town myself, i have heard plenty of sermons such as the one above and have no doubt that millions would easily attach themselves to such racist, slanderous, and immoral thoughts and actions such as those. honestly, this is what the bible tells them to do, literally. if they are condemning muslims for reading scripture that tells them to kill others, they are just being hypocritical because the very bible they teach does just the same if not worse. i find it sad that these people are actually being “good christians” in a literal sense of what they are told to do from the bible they read. why dont more people pick up on the fact that this is just how religions have always been and probably always will be.

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By Ray, April 9, 2007 at 10:26 am Link to this comment
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How can they use Christianity as a front for insanity? I know, I know, they’ve been doing it for thousands of years. Above all Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself”. He changed the way we think about the Old Testament. We’ve gone so far off track, according to Christian theology. Wow. It just makes me wish that there was a God, so I could see those radicals’ faces when they’re told what we’ve been telling them all along, that they are crazy and insane. I believe if there were a Jesus, he would have supported a humanitarian effort to help those people in Iraq. Poverty is where terrorists thrive. If we eliminated the primary source of embitterment, it would not inspire the hatred that our bombs and soldiers do. Maybe we should consider humanitarian relief in Detroit.

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By davr, April 9, 2007 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
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All through history there have been religious charlatans who lead their mindless flocks with threats of damnation and promises of rapture to heaven.

These phony jerks always enrich themselves from the generosity of their sheep who they are fleecing with impunity and without shame.

These charlatan religious nuts are criminals.  They are high class con men who belong behind bars.

They are also evil persons as described in the Bible and other Holy Works.

They are the anti-Christ.

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By Pragmatique, April 9, 2007 at 10:10 am Link to this comment
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Let’s face the fact that planet Earth would be better off without humans.

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By G. Anderson, April 9, 2007 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
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Of course they want to die, because their lives are filled with misery and repression.

What do they have to live for? More rules and repression, strict codes of behavior, and the renunciation of their sexuality.

Who would want to live a life of relgious imprisonment?

Though they call themselves Christian, they are quite similiar to the Taliban.

Osama Ben Laden said it best when he said the Islamic fundamentalists value death above all else.

The apocolyptic Christians are just the same.

This is what happens when you are afraid to live life fully.  Of course you can’t let others live either, because it makes you question your own choices.

To see someone happy and full of life, creates a rage of jealousy in your soul.

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By GW=MCHammered, April 9, 2007 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
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So arm these Armageddonites and send them to fight. I know National Guardsmen who like to come home and, well, guard the nation! As for America’s ill-being see…

Reversal of Fortune
The formula for human well-being used to be simple: Make money, get happy. So why is the old axiom suddenly turning on us?

Bill Mckibben
Mother Jones March/April 2007 Issue
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/03/reversal_of_fortune.html

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By fpal, April 9, 2007 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
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Excellent article, Mr. Hedges.

I’ve always wondered why people faithful to Falwell and Robertson do not see or mind the hate and destruction that these guys spew. Aren’t they good Christians who believe in peace and love as Jesus did?

The influence of the Christian Right in American politics now personally negatively affects me and my family. This must change.

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By Diane, April 9, 2007 at 9:09 am Link to this comment
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I have a friend, or had a friend, who thinks all Muslims should be killed before they kill us. SHe really believes the whole race should be killed.
I can’t even talk to her any more.
How can they supposedly hear the words of Christ and say and think the way they do?

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By David Small, April 9, 2007 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
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I congratulate Mr Hedge’s crusade against the religous right.  After attending a Southern Baptist church for about two months fifteen years ago I swore off religion completely and became a scientist.  Everything that Mr Hedges has written over the last several years was completely apparent to me in the early 1990’s.  Instead of taking a stand, I stopped going to church.  It’s time for everyone to stand up to these people.  I’m thankful that someone with his background and passion has taken up this cause.  These nitwits are not only going to destroy America, but they are going to destroy Christianity.  Keep up the good work Mr Hedges.  You’ve helped restore my interest in religion.

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By Roy, April 9, 2007 at 8:26 am Link to this comment
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Some insight may help.

Apocalypticism is a response to the fear that one’s life is meaningless on the large scale. To realize your generation is only one in a long sequence of generations, with myriads having come before and with myriads more yet to come, means that your life doesn’t mean squat in the long run.

The fantasy of having it all end with a big bang—in your lifetime—has a huge attraction to someone who secretly knows his life is meaningless. The draw is so strong that apocalyptics will see it worth while to help things along in any way that they can.

For modern examples, look at the diehards of the Third Reich, who stuck it out to the bitter end, hoping the world would end. We had the diehards of the Cold War who wanted a preemptive nuclear strike to limit US losses to a comfortable 60,000,000. Later there were the diehards of the USSR who fervently hoped that when Russians began openly protesting, they would be brutally crushed, thereby precipitating the Third World War. And now we have apocalyptics who want to force Iran into a nuclear war.

Simply put, they want their own lives to be fun, and mean something.

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By DAG, April 9, 2007 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

Wow!  You have said what I think and feel but don’t have the writing ability to put into print.  Is mr. lahaye any different than al sadr?

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By David, April 9, 2007 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
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It was bound to happen in this country.  Its happened in nearly every other Judeo-Christian nation. All we needed to set the ball in motion was a zealous, unstable leader.  Unfortunately, these radical Christians don’t realize that they are being used. 

George W. Bush is no Constantine - despite the immage Karl Rove, his Rasputin, paints for these sheeple. GWB is simply a pure capitalist, oil man, Republican, who serves the interests of privatization and corporate business.

Maybe Bush has, afterall, snapped and will actually use nuclear weaponry against Iran.  If this is the case, the world won’t end.  God’s creation will only be damaged and diminished even more in beauty. And the blind evil minds who hold literal a collection of allegories designed to reveal universal truths of man, will continue to long for an end to their ignorant, sadistic exisence. In the absence of organized religion, power over the masses would be far more difficult.

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By fiorito, April 9, 2007 at 7:59 am Link to this comment
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Note, I’m a Chris Hedges fan..I liked American Fascists and I think he has made some great points, this is a group that I think is motivated by despair and unhappiness of what they see in the world around them…but this and other recent postings by him seem to me to do the same thing that he claims the Christian right is doing…stoking a populous’ fears and angers of which group is to blame for certain moral failings of our government or globalization…Chris seems to be espousing a doomsday scenario of his own…predicated upon the doomsday scenario of the group that he thinks wants to bring about another doomsday scenario….I just find it funny..

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By Herk, April 9, 2007 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

Where will we find enough funds in our non-socialist society to pay for the care of these mental patients? Or will reality never catch up to them?

The latest report on global warming from the UN says that even poor people in wealthy societies will be hard-hit by the repercussions of this self-fulfilling prophecy; because the same people who are hoping for disaster are rejecting the science that can reverse or slow the trends. They prefer to believe that their evil god is going to take them all home and that the fault of Earth’s uninhabitability falls to others.

Must they drag us all down with them?

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, April 9, 2007 at 7:17 am Link to this comment
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Do they scare you?

That is a sign of intelligence.

Part of my family are among these folks and, I am convinced, would try very hard not to know (they are very practiced at not knowing) or, when forced to know, would ¨tut tut, she never did know when to keep her mouth shut¨, not ¨she did not believe, just, she said, out loud, that she did not¨.

THEN THEY WOULD RANT ABOUT BEING PERSECUTED BECAUSE THEY ARE ¨CHRISTIAN¨, AND REALLY BELIEVE IT!

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By James Yell, April 9, 2007 at 7:16 am Link to this comment
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Is it any wonder that this group has been strong in support for George/Cheney and their irresponsible tricks? Can anyone with a functioning brain, not hear this and think “what is the use of religion”. Lies and Liars all. Not very nice either.

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By Steve Hammons, April 9, 2007 at 6:59 am Link to this comment
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Is another, more devastating 9/11-type event coming? Some people fear so and some people might want it to happen for various reasons.

These reasons might be religious, political, psychological or all of the above.

Food for thought at:

“Questions about 9/11 attacks include wide range of factors”

PopulistAmerica.com
September 9, 2006

http://www.populistamerica.com/questions_about_9_11_attacks_include_wide_range_of_factors

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