Christianity is a messianic religion which is a belief system that features a savior or redeemer. Many religions besides Christianity have a messiah theme, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Rastafarianism and others. In a messianic belief system, the world is seen as hopelessly flawed — flawed beyond the ability for humans to correct, and thus divine intervention through a messiah figure is essential.
On the surface, this can sound harmless but it’s not. In the case of fundamentalists who view the Bible as inerrant, it is quite scary because a significant part of evangelicalism wants death. It looks forward to the end of this world (which involves death), and it looks forward to a new heaven and new earth to replace the current world. There’s a yearning for things to be over and for Christ to take the throne. You see this when you read the New Testament and you hear it when fundamentalist preachers speak of end time prophesy in the Bible.
I remember having these feelings myself when I was a Christian. The thought was often in the back of my mind that any truly horrific global catastrophe would just mean that the end was near, and that Christ would soon return and that all would be okay in the future.
In the 1990’s, a book series called Left Behind by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins caught the attention of many. I read the series as a Christian and it was well-written and fairly gripping as a story. Of course, it is wrapped up in the teaching of the rapture, which proclaims that the faithful will be called up into the air — into the arms of Jesus, while the rest of the world will enter into the great and terrible tribulation. During the rapture event, there would be horrific calamity when car drivers on highways would suddenly vanish, or when pilots of jet airliners would suddenly disappear as well, sending many to their death aboard a now un-piloted aircraft. It would make “9/11” look like a minor incident in comparison.
I used to believe it, but now I find this type of fundamentalism to be frightening. Why? Because millions have a longing for the end of this world. There’s a lack of real concern over the horrible things that many world powers are engaged in. The threat of nuclear war is real, and there are billions of human beings that believe there’s something better that could come after the destruction of this planet.
This is a belief not based in reality. It is delusional and detrimental to human progress.
Many of us worry and fear that the crazy religion-fueled actions of human beings will bring about our own extinction. Do you think that is possible? Or likely? What can we do to help eliminate the madness?