My wife's grandparents recently purchased a house near San Antonio. Their reason? To be closer to megachurch pastor and general lunatic Ted Hagee, who has been preaching Christian Zionism for decades and, like any good evangelist, reminding people to repent because the end times are very close. The latest sign? That's right: the so-called "blood moon", which is just a spooky-sounding name for a lunar eclipse.
Not long ago my wife brought home a book, written by Hagee, that her grandparents had given her called Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change. The gist of it is that the blood moon(s) are signs from God that significant end-times shit is gonna go down, so you better be ready!
Okay, but don't quit your job just yet. Based on past end-of-the-world predictions, it's a pretty safe bet that the world is not going anywhere. Fortunately for him, Hagee has retreated from any bold, sweeping proclamations about when the world will actually end to weaselly hints that "something" will happen, probably at some point. For example:
Get this: if the United States went to war with Iran (not likely right now), they'd probably patch together some UN coalition and count Israel among their allies. Presto, prophecy fulfilled! It's probably no coincidence that Hagee was really pissed off about the Iran nuclear agreement, because that means resolving disagreements through peaceful diplomacy instead of war, and Hagee didn't exactly predict that the end times would be heralded by international diplomacy.
Obsess Much?Why are evangelicals so fixated on the end of the world? The tribulation? The Second Coming of Christ?
Coincidentally, years ago when I first launched The A-Unicornist, one of my very first posts was about the hoopla over the world ending in 2012. What I found in my research is that end times predictions are actually a romantic idea; see, it's not really the end of the world. That would mean everyone dies, like maybe in about 5 billion years when the sun becomes a red giant and vaporizes the entire planet. But that's not particularly dramatic, since none of us — and likely not even humans (or whatever we'll evolve into), unless we've long moved into outer space — will be around to see it.
End times predictions are really more like a purge. All the bad people go away. They're killed by a blazing asteroid, giant tidal waves, earthquakes, or whatever. But the true believers live on, hiding away below the earth (or in Heaven) awaiting the fires to recede. In time, they'll rebuild their new utopia, completely free of pesky out-groups who don't share their loony religious beliefs.
This makes all the more sense when you realize just how much religion — particularly more fervently evangelical ones — divide the world into in-groups and out-groups. Evangelicals are afraid of 'the world'. They fear the corrupting power of popular culture, of false religions, of deceitful politicians, of really anyone at all who doesn't share their ideology. Anthropologist Pascal Boyer, in his book Religion Explained, observes that while religious belief strengthens solidarity among members of a group, it also fosters a distrust toward non-members [p.285]. Logically, when this belief is more fervent and passionate (and, I would say, irrational), so too the distrust of outsiders grows insidiously. It is any wonder that conservative evangelicals in the United States seem so terrified of immigrants, Muslims, and atheists?
Don't worry: the world is not going to end. Christ is not coming back, because he does not exist. Just as the authors of the Bible seemed convinced of Christ's imminent return and were dead wrong, so too are the current crop of end-times 'prophets' doing little more than spreading hot air and duping people into buying all kinds of stupid shit like "tribulation food". My wife and I actually have this great idea of starting a business in which we promise to take care of Christians' pets after the rapture. If people are stupid enough to believe it, other people will be smart enough to make money off of it. Even if the end times never come, one thing is for sure: Hagee and his ilk will have plenty of gullible people's money.