Following is what came to mind when I read Bishop Forsyth’s statements on devout Christian’s fears if same sex marriages were to be made lawful. The article to which I am replying can be found here (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-anglicans-fear-devout-christians-will-be-forced-to-celebrate-gay-marriage-20150929-gjwzby.html)
“Dear devout Christian bakers, florists and photographers,
According to one of your bishops you fear that if marriage legislation were to change you could be forced to “… engage in effectively celebrating same-sex marriage against their conscience”. He also fears for your religious freedom, strange as this may seem, considering that same sex couples wish to marry according to the law, rather than live “in sin” so to speak, and surely their act of commitment is far from a threat to your freedom to follow your Christian beliefs. Citing a possible attack on freedom of religion will instantly gain sympathy for you and gives you the opportunity to claim the status of the victim in a victimless crime. In reality you and your preachers are only concerned about increasing the power of your institutions and enforcing your particular views.
However, should marriage equality ever become a reality, you might want to consider displaying your stance in advance. The shopkeeper from Royston Vaysey, a true master in scaring off unwanted customers, comes to mind as a suitable example you could follow. You could amend his catchphrase ‘This is a shop for local people’ to “This is a shop for straight local people” and display your new slogan for all to see. If you wish to be more blunt “Same Sexers are not welcome here” could be an option to ensure that your premises would not become a den of complicity against your will. In doing so, you would not only do yourselves a favour but also keep away those members of the public, who support same sex marriage or who are favourably disposed towards anyone you despise.
At the same time you would be doing the community a service by openly advertising your opposition to marriage equality as it would enable tolerant and accepting citizens to avoid you and the wedding-services you offer. The benefit for you would be no longer having to make decisions affecting your religious conscience, or to give it its real name, bigoted dogma. You would no longer have to interact with customers who do not share your belief system. They in turn would not be forced to “… engage in condoning or supporting fanatical devoutness against their conscience” as they would no longer feel comfortable about receiving goods and services from you or your fellow self-proclaimed guardians of rather dubious ethics and morals.
You can then cry ‘persecution’ and ‘discrimination’ against you and your faith and will be able to blame the loss of income on those awful, godless non-believers out there and being even more convinced of the righteousness of your prejudice and fanaticism. You will blame same sex marriage, secular law makers, the anti-Christ, Satan, liberal Christians, Muslims, political parties and anyone else whom you consider and enemy of your faith, for your misfortune and liken yourself to a martyr bravely facing the lions in a Roman arena.
For decades you and your proselytising lot have imposed and spread irrational belief, rules and dogma, often resorting to vilification and destruction of those who object, dare to disagree or whom you deem evil, dangerous or inconvenient. You judge others by their belief not their behaviour. Your institutions, as those of other religions, have no qualms establishing a rule of religious law based on nothing more than personal convictions sanctioned by a deity .
You considers it a right to interfere in political decisions, purely because you are convinced your rules are to be followed. You have no scruples accepting government money for your chaplains to get easy access to vulnerable young minds, giving no consideration or thought at all to the damage your subjective and prejudiced advice can cause. But then, your conscience has no room for those whom you consider evil or wrong because you are in no doubt at all that you are right. You certainty and lack of self-doubt make you a ruthless in your divinely sanctioned mission to destroy whatever you think is a sin or to demonize whomever you consider an unrepentant sinner.
Considering that you feel the need to voice your opposition to marriage equality as if it were to lead to the destruction of Australian society you ought to put your money were your mouth is. Put up shop signs, carry placards, do what you think you have to. Why would you fear discrimination and persecution? History shows that you love proclaiming martyrdom and persecution, as this seems to give you instant justification of lashing out or vilifying those who dare to question your beliefs.
Of course usually anyone vilifying and denigrating a person due to their religion, sex or ethnicity, ought to face the consequences, but it is clear that you do not agree with such repercussions as far as you being discriminating is concerned. You are very aware that new laws mean could mean new vilification regulations and as you are not prepared to live by those rules or amend your beliefs you will do everything in your power to give you the right to openly discriminate with impunity.
Hopefully decent, caring, moral and ethical people will recognise your supposed conflict of conscience for what is, namely an attempt to exercise power and control by spreading fear, exploiting prejudices and creating doubt.
Those of you who, without a moment’s hesitation and with complete conviction, are prepared to use issues such as marriage equality in order to fabricate a campaign to convince people that their freedom of religion is at stake, are unlikely to ever consider themselves in the wrong or question their motives. You demand respect by all for your belief system, yet at the same time you only give respect to those of your choosing. The most disturbing and frightening aspect however is your utter lack of insight that that it is you who are discriminating against others, that it is your attitudes which are discriminatory. Anti-discrimination laws are in place for good reason and are intended to prevent the horrors of persecution. Your bishop says you fear being ‘caught out by these laws’, a statement which indicates that some churches consider themselves to be above the laws by which everyone else has to abide thereby absolving you of all responsibility.
Claiming that you could possibly be asked not to discriminate against a same sex couple does not constitute persecution of your beliefs it constitutes a dangerous and wilful misrepresentation of facts. Should marriage equality ever become a reality in this country, and I sincerely wish that this happens soon, I hope that Australia will be a better, more inclusive place where your disgraceful self-righteousness and your self-serving utterances will attract neither approval nor support but be dismissed with the disdain and disapproval they deserves.”
Dylan at the Mt. of Olives, Jerusalem.
Bob Dylan has made a reappearance in the public eye this past year with the release of his album Shadows in the Night and the issuing of a set of outtakes from his classic mid-1960s LPs. The state of Israel—situated in the Middle East, allied with the U.S. government, idolized by millions of American Christians, and at odds with most of its neighbors—has been in the news virtually non-stop since 1967.
Given Dylan’s identity as a famous Jewish American with a reputation for lyrical sociopolitical commentary, is there confluence? Do Dylan and Israel intersect?
Christian Zionism is a mixture of theology and ideology in which evangelical Protestants support the modern nation-state of Israel. More specifically, Christian Zionists support the Israeli government in its hawkish foreign policy and domineering domestic policy. Christian Zionists in the United States have difficulty discerning a difference between the national interests of the U.S. and those of Israel. In practice, the two are merged and support for Israeli interests becomes a test not only of sound U.S. policy but also of loyalty to God. Identification of born-again Christians with Israeli politicians and the Israeli military is of relatively recent origin. It was intertwined with Cold War ideology in the 1960s and 1970s but has its roots further back in dispensational premillennial theology.
Part of the late 1970s evangelical revival in the U.S. was a growth of Zionism among American Christians. It dovetailed with the migration of millions of ex-passive and ex-Democratic voters into the hawkish Republican Party. It was also connected with the popularity of Hal Lindsey’s book The Late Great Planet Earth, which depicted Israel and the communist Soviet and Chinese governments as military opponents in the soon-to-occur Battle of Armageddon. Hence politics and religion, nationalism and exegesis, were combined into a potent movement. The Moral Majority of Jerry Falwell and the 700 Club of Pat Robertson were two institutional manifestations of this movement.
This was the national religious context at the time Bob Dylan was converted to Christ in 1978-79. It would have made some sense if he had become a new leader of the Christian Zionist movement. He is Jewish. Even before his conversion, he believed in God and was familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures. In Hibbing, Minnesota, his parents were leaders in the local Hadassah (a women’s Zionist organization) and B’nai B’rith. He spent some of his boyhood summers near Webster, Wisconsin, attending Herzl Camp, a Jewish summer camp with a Zionist focus. He visited Israel in the early 1970s. He was interested in End Times prophecy and embraced the premillennial dispensational interpretation of Lindsey. And yet Dylan did not become a leading Christian Zionist. Why not? There are three reasons.
Dylan’s newfound Christianity was in many ways less-culture-bound than the average American evangelical at the time (partly because it was new and he approached the Bible with the fresh eyes of a convert). The type of Christianity to which Dylan belonged during his early months as a believer was the latter-day Jesus Movement. The Jesus People had a Christ Against Culture theological ethic which meant that they strived to be less culturally-co-opted (worldly) than mainstream Christians in America. Of course, the Jesus People had their own cultural traits but support for the Israeli government and support for Cold War militarism and U.S. imperialism were not among these traits.
A second reason that Dylan did not go the route of Christian Zionism is that he had a more-spiritual, less-politicized understanding of Bible eschatology (study of the Last Things or End Times). The late nineteenth-century/early twentieth-century theological movement known as dispensational premillennialism is often credited or blamed for post-1967 Christian Zionism among American evangelicals. But this is not accurate. The Scofield Reference Bible has little to do with the devotion to the Israeli government—mostly to the Likud Party—that is so prevalent among evangelical Christians belonging to the Republican Party.
From the perspective of Bob Dylan and similar premillennialists, C.I. Scofield and the dispensationalists (including Lindsey) were correct in saying that God has not forgotten his promises to the Jewish people. The Old Testament promises cannot simply be spiritualized or applied to the Church. That is too self-serving and not faithful to the scriptural record. Israel as an ethnic and historical entity did not disappear with the first advent and promises given to Israel did not simply vanish. Traditionally, Christians believe that in the Last Days there will be a consummation of those promises in a way that includes not only the Church but also Israel. Dylan and other believers think that Jesus Christ will reign from Jerusalem but it will not be a specifically Jewish kingdom. It will be a universal Kingdom that includes the believing remnant of Israel. According to Revelation—one of Dylan’s favorite books—the New Jerusalem will bear the names of the twelve apostles of Christ and the twelve tribes of Israel.
A.C. Gaebelein was a consulting editor for the original Scofield Reference Bible (1909), a contributor to The Fundamentals (1910-15), and a prominent Bible teacher at
premillennial conferences. He was an evangelist to Jews in New York City and was very pro-Jewish in the sense of having a love for Jewish people. He was knowledgeable in Hebrew, was an Old Testament scholar, and edited Our Hope, a Bible prophecy magazine that looked forward to God’s eventual restoration of the Jews to Palestine. However, unlike fellow dispensationalist William Blackstone, Gaebelein “consistently warned against alliance with the Zionists.” In 1905, he wrote, “Zionism is not the divinely promised restoration of Israel . . . [It] is not the fulfillment of the large number of predictions found in the Old Testament Scriptures, which relates to Israel’s return to the land. Indeed, Zionism has very little use of argument from the Word of God. It is rather a political and philanthropic undertaking. . . . The great movement is one of unbelief and confidence in themselves instead of God’s eternal purposes.”Gaebelein exemplified a type of premillennial eschatology that had apolitical or anarchistic implications. As George Marsden notes, “Premillennialism taught that no trust should be put in kings or governments and that no government would be specially blessed by God until the coming of the King who would personally lead in defeating the forces of Satan.” This perspective not only dampened Gaebelein’s enthusiasm for Zionism but it also led him to oppose U.S. involvement in World War I, in 1917, before he eventually succumbed to worldly pro-war jingoism.
Today, few Christian Zionists are taking their marching orders from the Scofield Bible. It is not a common item of study or interest. Dispensationalism is a small subsection of evangelicalism. Since the 1970s, far more evangelicals have been influenced by the teachings of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Paul Crouch, John Hagee, et al., than by C.I. Scofield, J.N. Darby, Lewis Sperry Chafer, John Walvoord, et al. It is true that the televangelists have embraced a watered-down version of dispensational eschatology, but even that was not handed down directly from Scofield. It is mostly just an emphasis on “Jesus is coming back soon. Israel’s re-founding in 1948 was a sign of the End. America must be Israel’s friend.” There is not much theology there.
For most evangelicals, glorification of the modern state of Israel comes much more out of a few verses in Genesis 12 than from the Day of the Lord chapters in Daniel, the rapture passage in I Thessalonians, or the tribulation/millennial chapters in Revelation. Even the Genesis passage is often a scriptural pretext for worldly geopolitics that centers on devotion to specific governments—namely, the United States and Israel. Whether in the context of the Cold War, the War on Terror, anti-Arab/Muslim sentiment, or Jewish ethnic (not religious) loyalty, this is more political than theological. God is being used in service to Country.
Modern Israel is not ancient Israel. Many Orthodox Jews opposed the pre-1948 Zionist movement because they believed that the re-creation of Israel must be effected by the Messiah himself. Israel is officially a Jewish state but this refers to ethnicity, not religion. Theodor Herzl (father of modern Zionism), Chaim Weizmann (founding president of Israel), and David Ben-Gurion (founding prime minister of Israel) were secularists if not atheists. They did not embrace the religion of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Yet, blank-check support for the Israeli government is the norm among Bible-believing white Protestants.
The national anthem of modern Israel—and before that, the anthem of the Zionist movement, adopted by the First Zionist Congress in 1897—is “Hatikvah” (The Hope). Its lyrics are secular, with no mention of God, Abraham, Moses, or the Torah. The song uses the biblical word Zion twice but, removed from its context and divorced from God, its meaning has lost its spiritual dimension. The Zionist/Jewish folk song “Hava Nagila” is also secular.
Even when the ancient Hebrew governments were officially linked to Judaism, unthinking support for political leaders was folly, with the prophets being a continual reminder of this fact. After the united kingdom of Saul, David, and Solomon split into southern and northern kingdoms, the majority of the subsequent rulers were bad, according to Scripture. In Judah, 10 of the 18 kings “did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.” The track record in Israel was even worse: 19 of the 19 kings were evil. It is unclear why Jews or Christians should assume that Begin or Netanyahu are any better than these ancient rulers.
When talking about his Jewish roots with Martin Keller in July 1983, Dylan said, “I ain’t looking for them in synagogues with six pointed Egyptian stars shining down from every window, I can tell you that much.” Dylan apparently views the Star of David as a pagan or occult symbol rather than a biblical symbol of the historical King David. The Star of David was the symbol of the Zionist Movement, beginning in the 1890s, and was placed on the flag of Israel when the modern state began in 1948.
Dylan’s views on peace and international relations are partly motivated by his understanding of eschatology. When it was released in 1983, “Neighborhood Bully” was widely seen as a pro-Israeli-government song and it fueled speculation that Dylan had returned to Judaism. This appears to be an incorrect interpretation. In a 1984 interview, Dylan said, “You can’t come around and stick some political-party slogan on it [the song]. If you listen closely, it really could be about other things.” He claimed ignorance regarding Israeli politics. Asked if he had resolved for himself the Palestinian question, Dylan said, “Not really, because I live here.”
Dylan suggested that the song was referring to Israel during the days of the future Battle of Armageddon rather than to the current Israeli government. Quoting the lyrics of “Neighborhood Bully,” Kurt Loder of Rolling Stone asked Dylan if he felt that the U.S. should send troops to help Israel in the Lebanon War (1982-85). Dylan responded, “No. The song doesn’t say that.” Loder asked if the American Jewish community should be more supportive of Israel. Dylan refused to identify with contemporary political Zionism, saying, “You’re making it specific to what’s going on today. But what’s going on today isn’t gonna last, you know? The battle of Armageddon is specifically spelled out: where it will be fought and, if you wanna get technical, when it will be fought. And the battle of Armageddon definitely will be fought in the Middle East.”
Despite his much-publicized visit to Israel in 1971, this 1984 distancing of himself from political Zionism was nothing new for Dylan. In the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War (1973) between Israel and Arab states, rumors circulated that Dylan’s 1974 tour with the Band was a pro-Israeli effort. The rumor was unfounded. After a concert in Atlanta, Governor Jimmy Carter hosted a party for Dylan and his entourage. Carter brought up his own visit to the Holy Land a couple years before. He later recalled, “When I mentioned Israel, Dylan changed the subject and said he and his wife had recently been to Mexico and had enjoyed that country, too.”
“Neighborhood Bully” appears on Infidels. The inner sleeve of that album features a photograph of Dylan kneeling on the Mount of Olives above Jerusalem. The Old Testament book of Zechariah prophesies that the LORD, in the person of the Messiah, will stand on the Mount of Olives during the Battle of Armageddon. Not only will God come to rescue his people but he will be accompanied by “all the holy ones [saints].” This leads to God becoming “king over all the earth.” This passage is paralleled by the New Testament book of Revelation. The Mount of Olives imagery and the Rolling Stone interview indicate that “Neighborhood Bully” had less to do with the current Lebanon War and more to do with the future Battle of Armageddon.
Dylan’s son-in-law, singer Peter Himmelman, is a Zionist. Supporting Israel’s widely-perceived disproportionate military response against Hamas and civilians in Gaza, Himmelman directly rejected Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount. He told a reporter, “For Jews, turning the other cheek is a sin.” His pro-Israeli-government song “Maximum Restraint” was reminiscent of “Neighborhood Bully” in its biting tone but was clearly about contemporary events, not about the coming Day of the LORD prophesied in the Hebrew scriptures.
A third reason that Dylan did not go the route of Christian Zionism is that he remained an anarchist in his ideology after his conversion. As a Christian anarchist, he remained uninterested in human governments, elections, laws, and policies—even those of the Israeli government. He recognized his Hebrew heritage and paid homage to the heroes of Israelite history but he was not interested in a movement characterized by narrow ethnic identity and the power of government. Entering into Christianity through the latter-day Jesus Movement, Dylan shares not only the movement’s American counterculturalism and premillennial eschatology but also its anarchism, which serves as a counterweight to politically-minded Zionism.
Dave Kelly, Dylan’s personal assistant in 1979-80, recalls the singer’s dealings with the Lubavitch (Chabad) group from Brooklyn. Kelly recalls, “I saw when the rabbis first were sent to him—[they] were the cutting edge people in America, among the Orthodox Jews, and pretty much pulling the strings in Israel at the time. And he [Dylan] was very much against them at the time. He used to go to Israel himself, no security and just turn up, just wander around. . . . [But] he wasn’t pro-Israel [in a political sense] at all, that I can see. Not at all.” Kelly continues, “I know they had a lot of power in Israel, to move the election in favor of one politician over another. And I don’t think he [Dylan] liked that. And that sort of made him very resistant. Because these were just The Man again. Just the Jewish rabbi version of The Man. He was very, very resistant because he’s a rebel.”
It should go without saying that Dylan’s disinterest in political Zionism has nothing to do with anti-Semitism but it must be added because some—although not most—anti-Zionists are motivated by dislike or fear of Jews as a race of people. This motivation has often been exaggerated and exploited by supporters of militaristic Israeli governments, but it is a real motivation for some critics of the Israeli state. Anti-Jewish sentiment plays no role in Dylan’s rejection of the glorification of modern Israel. Not only is Dylan ethnically Jewish, but he has remained interested in this heritage following his embrace of evangelical Christianity. Becoming a Christian does not mean a rejection of one’s Jewish heritage since Christ himself and all of his original disciples were Jews.
Bob Dylan did not reject his Jewishness when he knelt before Yeshua, whom he saw as the Jewish Messiah. From a spiritual point of view, Dylan did not see Christianity as a rejection or replacement of his Jewishness. He saw it as a completion or fulfillment. From the perspective of traditional Judaism, this is a patronizing or insulting thing to say but it is, nonetheless, the perspective of Jesus and the first-century Jews who followed him. This is the teaching of the New Testament, which was composed almost entirely by Jewish writers. Dylan’s 1980 gospel album Saved featured Jeremiah 31:31 on the inner sleeve: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.” It is significant that he chose a Bible passage that bridges the gap between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, between Judaism and Christianity.
Since the early 1980s, Dylan has maintained some ties to the Orthodox Jewish community in the United States, but he has shown little interest in contemporary Israel. For him, the truths of Judaism are spiritual not political. In a 1984 interview, Dylan remarked, “I think politics is an instrument of the Devil. Just that clear. I think politics is what kills; it doesn’t bring anything alive.”
This article is adapted from the new Palgrave Macmillan book The Political World of Bob Dylan: Freedom and Justice, Power and Sin by Jeff Taylor and Chad Israelson. © 2015. All rights reserved. The book was reviewed by Ron Jacobs for CounterPunch in October.
 David A. Rausch, Arno C. Gaebelein, 1861-1945: Irenic Fundamentalist and Scholar (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1983).
 Paul C. Merkley, The Politics of Christian Zionism, 1891-1948 (Portland, Ore.: Frank Cass, 1998), 66.
 The Old and the New Testaments of The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version (Camden, N.J.: Thomas Nelson, c1946/52), “Bible Study Helps” (c1962), 12-15. (The Kings of Judah and Israel)
 Knockin’ on Dylan’s Door: On the Road in ’74 (A Rolling Stone Book) (New York: Pocket Books, 1974), 56.
 Matthew 5:38-48; Renee Ghert-Zand, “Jewish Rocker Sings Israel Support,” The Times of Israel, July 25, 2014; Jonathan Mark, “Gaza: With God on Our Side,” The Jewish Week, July 30, 2014.
 Interview with Dave Kelly by JT, November 1, 2014. Kelly may be inadvertently overstating the influence of the Lubavitchers on Israeli politics but Dylan’s negative reaction to the perception of politicized religion makes sense.
Disguised as love, Christian Zionist friendship, rather than helping, is the Jewish peoples’ worst nightmare.
You are seeing the King of the South come together with lightning speed. Egypt has an army of one million men armed with 1500 Abram Tanks which are America’s best. We sold them to Egypt along with hundreds of our latest and greatest fighter jets because Egypt was controlled by Mubarak who was America’s friend. Can you imagine what Israel faces with Iran, Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Russia coming after them? The prophet Ezekiel clearly predicted this battle thousands of years ago and you are watching the players get into position with lightning speed. Jesus said: “When you see these signs, lift up your head and rejoice.” John Hagee, Founder, Christians United for Israel (CUFI)
Christian Zionism has been around since the 1600s when England’s deeply religious King James I was studying a book of bible commentary that suggested that the End of Days would take place in what was then Palestine. A pre-condition of the final battle of Armageddon, he read, was that 12,000 members of each of the twelve Hebrew tribes must return from the diaspora to Zion.
Now, four hundred years later, when John Hagee, Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee talk about the “ingathering,” they are speaking a coded language that refers not just to this return of the Jews, but also to the Christian Zionist yearning for the battle they believe it prefigures. Within their eschatological vision lies the very potential for Israel’s undoing, for it is a vision fueled by a deliberate intent to incite sufficient hatred to set the Muslim, and ultimately the entire world, on fire. And thanks to the efforts of John Hagee, the founder of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas and of the million-member Christian Zionist lobby (CUFI), the final battle may well come in the form of a nuclear holocaust that Christian Zionists both desire and encourage.
Pastor Hagee is the best known of the many Christian Zionists on the scene today. He has spent decades raising millions of dollars to bring Russian and Ethiopian Jews to Israel’s disputed territories. In so doing, he has gone a step further than Christian Zionists before him: By providing the means to settle religious Jews on the precise lands that must one day be ceded to Palestine if there is ever to be peace, he creates nearly impossible conditions for a two-state solution. From Hagee’s perspective, these are lands that God gave to the Hebrews, the Chosen People, and so therefore, they rightfully belong to them. Having built his career and legacy on Genesis 12:3, Hagee has put together a multimillion-dollar empire preaching Christian support for Israel. The size of his CUFI following alone makes him an important political player.
When the issues of the division of Jerusalem or the return of land in the disputed territories come up, John Hagee and other leading Christian Zionists call on an army of ready foot soldiers to put political pressure on their representatives. Should you think End-Times fans are a fringe group, a 2004 Newsweek Poll found that 55% of Americans believe in the Rapture, in which godly, born-again believers are whisked up to be with God in the blink of an eye. With 42% of Americans believing that Israel was given to the Jews by God, there is more than enough demographic reason for politicians to support Israel, even when that support might not be in the best interests of the United States.
What is also of deep concern is the passive acceptance by Jews of Christian Zionism. Far too many Jews know little or nothing about the Christian Zionist agenda. All they know is that Jewish Federations, The Anti-Defamation League, The American Israeli Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and other institutional Jewish groups have chosen to embrace Christian Zionists, giving them legitimacy in the international Jewish community. The tragedy of this interfaith marriage is not that the love isn’t real—it’s real enough in its own way—but that one day, when the greater world fully understands the alliance between the Hagees of the world and the Jewish community, it will no doubt turn Gentiles against Jews, both in Israel as well as in the diaspora.
There is a circular nature to the relationships between Christian Zionists, AIPAC, certain members of the U. S. Congress, and the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Together their influence breaks down any general congressional will to stand up to Israel even when her actions sabotage efforts to build a much-needed peace. It is why Netanyahu was able to slap Vice President Joe Biden so soundly on the diplomatic face when, in 2010, Israel welcomed him with the announcement of the planned construction of 1600 housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of East Jerusalem, even though the U.S. had sought a freeze on all such building. It is also why, despite the fact that 61% of Israeli Jews and 79% of American Jews support a two-state solution, the chances that Israel will cede enough contiguous land to create a Palestinian state are rapidly dwindling. Potentially most tragic of all, it is also a key stumbling block to why Secretary Kerry’s valiant peace efforts may fail. For be not deluded: extremists on both sides are at this moment, upping the violence ante to do whatever it takes to preclude a two-state solution.
In this light, Christian Zionist interference can hardly be seen as good for the Jews, especially once the role of political Christian Zionism with regard to U.S. foreign interests is more widely understood. On its own, Hagee’s interference within the disputed territories alone qualifies as contrary to Israel’s interests. Owing to demographics, the window for a two-state solution is fast closing—as the growth of the Arab population outpaces that of the Jews, Israel will either have to cede its Jewish identity or become an apartheid nation. Unfortunately, should anyone offer advice or criticize Israel’s actions, they are instantly—and often wrongly—accused of being an anti-Semite or a self-loathing Jew. And whenever the United Nations tries to intervene, Christian Zionists immediately resort to biblically inspired name-calling by declaring the UN to be the precursor to the one-world government alluded to in the bible.
It is understandable from a psychological perspective that the Jewish people, with their long history as victims of persecution, would welcome their Christian Zionist defenders. When John Hagee offers the Jewish people the support of fifty million evangelical Christians, it is more than seductive; it’s irresistible. Hagee generally stays true to his word not to evangelize the Jews, believing it to be “fruitless, inasmuch as God has blinded them to the identity of Messiah.” But with this sleight of hand he conceals the elephants in the room—the underlying Christian Zionist truths that those who do not take Jesus as their personal savior shall be doomed for eternity, and that Jewish ownership of Palestine is a prerequisite to the realization of their eschatological vision.
It would behoove those Jews who are taken in by a Hagee-style love to dig deeper and find out about the kinds of things Christian Zionists say about Jews in other contexts. For example, in his apocalyptic best-selling book, Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude to War, Hagee shows himself to be rooting for Israel and not the Jews themselves. “How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God,” he writes, “for his chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings he had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.”
Additionally, despite the vast gulf between Jews and Christian Zionists on all issues other than Israel, such as abortion, the environment, marriage equality, and so on, it takes but one nihilistic comment from Iran’s Right Wing to erase issues that would otherwise be taken as contrary to Jewish beliefs. Speak to anyone in major institutional Judaism and you won’t hear reason, you’ll hear fear. And in today’s hair-trigger world, accepting friendship from those whose ideology is based on the annihilation of everyone who hasn’t taken Jesus as endangers the Jewish people more than rejecting it ever could. In holding hands with Christian Zionists, whose goal is to provoke a nuclear Armageddon, Jews have set themselves up for the very anti-Semitism they fear.
In a complicated public relations dance, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, an organization whose primary concern is anti-Semitism, has switched his position on Hagee and Christian Zionism so often he must suffer from whiplash. In 2005, he urged major Jewish organizations to stand up to the Christian right, which, he warned, wants to establish a theocracy in the United States. After much back and forth with his colleagues, he ceased his public criticism. Then, in 2008, in answer to Hagee’s comment that God had sent Hitler in order to hasten the ingathering of the Jews in Zion, Foxman retracted his support again, calling for Jewish organizations to put the alliance on hold. “It’s now necessary for us to look at the totality of (Hagee’s) views.” This time, after a series of letters between Foxman and Hagee, Foxman once again recanted, saying, “American Jews should not be apologetic or defensive about cultivating Evangelical support for Israel. The need for support by an Israel under siege is great. Fortunately, Evangelical support is overwhelming, consistent, and unconditional.”
Around the same time, in 2008, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, then president of the Union of Reform Judaism, offered a very different perspective on Jewish consideration of Christian Zionism. Speaking at a conference of Reform rabbis in Cincinnati, he said, “On Israeli-Palestinian politics, John Hagee and the CUFI are extremists. . . In expressing contempt for other religions and rejecting territorial compromise under any and all circumstances, their views run against the American grain.” Yoffie’s speech should have given the rabbis in attendance the courage to go back home and tell each of their 900 congregations that allying with Christians Zionists would ultimately prove damaging to the Jews and to Israel, but whether or not that happened, nothing changed. It seemed that the moneyed and politic Jews had the issue sewn up in favor of the alliance. Five years later, it’s the spring of 2013 and Rabbi Yoffie, trusting that Hagee has abandoned his virulent Islamophobia, has thrown in with the Christian Zionists. Perhaps Hagee has modulated his language but his desire for the final war between Muslims and Christians has never diminished.
American Judaism has made itself complicit in Christian Zionism’s dangerous actions. To be seen as having held political hands with Christians Zionists to the detriment of U.S. foreign and military policy will one day most certainly oil the engine of Jewish persecution. The danger of a John Hagee is that he is just politically connected enough to coax the world toward a self-fulfilling nuclear apocalypse. The geopolitics of the Arab region, complex and difficult as they are, demand that cool, clear heads prevail, heads that are neither biblically nor Koran-ically driven.
As Hagee’s words indicate, it is probably safe to say that while Christian Zionists love Zion, they most certainly don’t feel the same way about the Jewish people. A prescient Harry Truman wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt in 1947, “The actions of some of our American Zionists will eventually prejudice everyone against what they are trying to get done.” To see Israelis willingly ignore human rights abuses in Gaza speaks to what fear can do to a moral and long-persecuted people. Truman’s letter continued, “I fear very much that Jews are like all underdogs. When they get on top, they are just as intolerant and cruel as the people were to them when they were underneath.” Again, rather more than prescient. Yet, a religious man himself, he still believed in and endorsed the creation of the state of Israel.
When Truman cited the Book of Deuteronomy as the basis for Israel’s creation, then-Secretary of State George Marshall was outraged that an American president based such an important policy decision on the Bible. In the circular spin of history, Jews today find themselves aligned with a people whose idea of foreign policy is based on the Book of Revelation.
Rabbi Barry Block of Temple Beth-El in San Antonio spoke wisely in 2006 when he said, “The extreme religious right has the privilege to lobby for its beliefs. Let them do so, as they wish, as Christians, without the involvement of the organized Jewish community. Let us keep far away, with our eyes open. For our own future as Jews in America. For our souls. For Israel.”
But if Christian Zionists like John Hagee, along with Israel’s influential and unreasonable right wing, continue to have their way, voices like those of Block, Steinitz, Olmert, Dagan, and Kerry will be lost and Israel will indeed be cursed. That is, unless the heretofore-silent Jewish and Christian majorities find the will to address the big issues, moral as well as military, that is necessary to take back their voice and reclaim their once historically respected high road. To do that though, Jews in both Israel and the Diaspora will have to find the political courage to look the John Hagees in the eye and say, ‘Thanks, but no thanks. Only then can diplomacy have a chance.
By K. C. Boyd
Reprinted with permission from K. C. Boyd
Crooks and Liars August 8, 2013
Zionism and Pseudo-Christianity, usually refered to by its proponents with the oxymorons “Christian Zionism” and “Restorationism“, is a concept developed by some alleged Christians that Talmudic Jews should be given complete control of the Holy Land, and that establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy. This is generally regarded as a heretical disposition and has been condemed by the Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism, published in 2006 with Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Episcopalian and Lutheran signees.
Some gentile Zionists who hold to the ideology also believe that the “ingathering” of the Talmudic Judaics in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus. This belief is. The oxymoron “Christian Zionism” was popularized in the mid-twentieth century. Prior to that time the common term was “Restorationism” and has had some proponents since the advent of Protestantism, though in earlier times their number were far more obscure.
According to some this specifically theological belief, does not necessarily entail sympathy for the Jews as a nation or for rabbinic Judaism as a religion, though it is certainly in a de facto form of shabbas goyism in that it carries out the agenda of the synagogue. Some of these gentile Zionists hold that once the Talmudic Jews are gathered in the Holy Land, a significant number will accept Jesus as their Messiah, and that in the last days, such “Messianic Jews” will practice a thoroughly “Hebraic form of Christianity”.
Many proponents of this ideology hold to the Dual-covenant theology heresy, in which Talmudic Jews are a “chosen people”, in a covenant with God in contemporary times, along with the ingrafted (based on Romans 11:17-24, Holy Bible) Gentile Christians. This is widely regarded as heresy and has been condemed at numbers Church councils, such as the Council of Florence, as well as speficially in the New Testament itself. This misconception has the added effect of turning such Gentile Zionists into supporters of Jewish Zionism.
The Zionist Cuckoos in Christianity’s Nest
Corrupting the Biblical Message: it’s a propaganda classic, and the indoctrination has lasted 100 years.
(LONDON) – If you are as puzzled as I am how a true Christian could possibly be taken in by Zionism, a short paper on the phenomenon is available from Sadaka http://www.sadaka.ie/Articles/Papers/PAPER-Christian_Zionism.pdf.
“The destiny of the Jewish people is to return to the land of Israel and reclaim their inheritance promised to Abraham and his descendants forever. This inheritance extends from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. Within their land, Jerusalem is recognised to be their exclusive, undivided and eternal capital, and therefore it cannot be shared or divided.
At the heart of Jerusalem will be the rebuilt Jewish temple, to which all the nations will come to worship God. Just prior to the return of Jesus, there will be seven years of calamities and war known as the tribulation, which will culminate in a great battle called Armageddon, during which the godless forces opposed to both God and Israel will be defeated.
Jesus will then return as the Jewish Messiah and king to reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and the Jewish people will enjoy a privileged status and role in the world.”
The scary US-based Unity Coalition for Israel brings together more than 200 partners claiming to represent more than 40 million Americans in the largest network of Pro-Israel groups in the world. Their Mission is “to focus the efforts of secular and religious organizations and individuals for whom the existence of the State of Israel is central and essential to the future of the free world. We educate these organizations and individuals on security issues and radical ideologies, including global Islamic terrorism… reaches millions of people through more than 200 Christian & Jewish organizations, including churches, synagogues, prayer networks, think tanks and thousands of individuals.
“Christians owe debt of eternal gratitude to Jews”
Pastor John Hagee is founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, which claims to be the largest pro-Israel organization in America, with over 850,000 members. It holds at least 40 pro-Israel events a month in towns and cities across this country. “We’re building support for Israel from coast to coast!” is the sort of proclamation that reveals the real agenda.
What does Hagee’s CUfI believe in?
We believe in the absolute authority of the [sacred] scripture to govern the affairs of men.
We believe in the promise of Genesis 12:3 regarding the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. We believe that this is an eternal covenant between God and the seed of Abraham to which God is faithful. Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed.” Point: God has promised to bless the man or nation that blesses the Chosen People. History has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the nations that have blessed the Jewish people have had the blessing of God; the nations that have cursed the Jewish people have experienced the curse of God.
We support Israel because all other nations were created by an act of men, but Israel was created by an act of God! The Royal Land Grant that was given to Abraham and his seed through Isaac and Jacob with an everlasting and unconditional covenant.
St. Paul recorded in Romans 15:27 “For if the Gentiles have shared in their (the Jews) spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.”
Christians owe a debt of eternal gratitude to the Jewish people for their contributions that gave birth to the Christian faith… the Jewish people have given to Christianity:
a) The Sacred Scripture
b) The Prophets
c) The Patriarchs
d) Mary, Joseph, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth
e) The Twelve Disciples
f) The Apostles
It is not possible to say, “I am a Christian” and not love the Jewish people.
Hagee pretends the relationship between Christians and Jews in biblical times still applies today. He uses ‘mushroom management’ methods – keep ‘em in the dark and keep shoveling horse manure at ‘em. If his Cornerstone church followers bothered to take an independent trip to the West Bank and Gaza – and I do mean independent, not an Israeli bus tour with guides trained by the Tel Aviv propaganda department (or by Hagee) – they’d quickly discover the unatable truth. The glitzy Hagee empire, and others like it, would then crumble.
An effective riposte to the biblical distortions used to support Israel’s lust for supremacy is The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism, a statement by the Latin Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem issued in 2006 http://imeu.net/news/article003122.shtml. They are on the ground, in the front line, in the Holy Land. They know the score. They put the genuine Christian case. And it is summed up in the first sentence:
“We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.
“We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine. This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of world.
“We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!”
The Declaration, explains Sadaka, asserts that “Christian Zionists have aggressively imposed an aberrant expression of the Christian faith and an erroneous interpretation of the Bible, which is subservient to the political agenda of the modern State of Israel… Christian Zionism thrives on a literal and futurist hermeneutic in which Old Testament promises made to the ancient Jewish people are transferred to the contemporary State of Israel in anticipation of a final future fulfillment.”
For the posh churchy word ‘hermeneutic’, read ‘interpreting the Scriptures’.
Corrupting the Biblical Message
Not only does Zionism cloak itself in the Jewish faith, it hides its ugly face behind Christianity’s skirts. And, believe it or not, there is even a movement calling itself the World Muslim Zionist Organization.
In Christianity’s case the rot set in way back in1909 when the Scofield study bible was published and became the standard religious text in the United States.
It’s a propaganda classic.
And the indoctrination has lasted 100 years.
Cyrus Scofield, a convicted criminal and described by one American newspaper as “a shyster”, was commissioned to re-write the King James bible by inserting Zionist-friendly notes. The idea was to change the Christian view of Zionism by creating and promoting a pro-Zionist sub-culture within Christianity. The Oxford University Press appointed Scofield as editor, and the Scofield Reference Bible was born.
It introduced a new worship icon, the modern State of Israel, which did not exist until 1948 but was already being ‘prepped’ on the drawing board of the World Zionist movement.
American journalist Grace Halsell explained the re-hashed Biblical message: “Simply stated it is this: Every act taken by Israel is orchestrated by God, and should be condoned, supported, and even praised by the rest of us. Never mind what Israel does, say the Christian Zionists. God wants this to happen…
“Scofield said that Christ cannot return to earth until certain events occur: The Jews must return to Palestine, gain control of Jerusalem and rebuild a temple, and then we all must engage in the final, great battle called Armageddon. Estimates vary, but most students of Armageddon theology agree that as a result of these relatively recent interpretations of Biblical scripture, 10 to 40 million Americans believe Palestine is God’s chosen land for the Jews.”
This belief that Old Testament promises made to the ancient Jewish tribes are transferable to the largely unrelated people that make up the modern state of Israel is what underpins their hope for the final battle they call Armageddon, in which Israel’s enemies (and God’s, of course) will be defeated. After that Jesus will return as the Jewish Messiah and King to reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and the Jewish people will enjoy privileged status in the world.
That is the Zionist dream of world domination in a nutshell. What’s in it for non-Jews? Blessed if I know. Yet armies of non-Jewish politicians have become eager stooges.
My reading of history is that the Jews were expelled from Palestine by the Roman occupation in 70AD, when the second temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. They were expelled again in 135AD.
Nowadays return is regarded as an inalienable right. But it must be exercised as soon as the reason for expulsion (e.g. foreign occupation) ceases. In the Jews’ case an opportunity would have occurred in the 4th century AD as the Roman Empire collapsed. But they didn’t take it. They can hardly expect to change their mind 16 centuries later. Their right expired a very long time ago.
By comparison the Palestinians’ right of return after being ethnically cleansed in 1948 (and ever since) is valid because the enemy occupation has not yet ended and the UN has endorsed their right.
Nevertheless Zionists claim Jerusalem is theirs by heavenly decree. But this holiest of cities was already 2000 years old when King David captured it.
Historians say that Jerusalem, in its ‘City of David’ form, lasted only 73 years. In 928BC the kingdom divided into Israel and Judah, and in 597BC the Babylonians conquered the city and destroyed Solomon’s temple. The Jews recaptured it in 164BC but finally lost it to the Roman Empire in 63BC. Before the present-day illegal occupation the Jews controlled Jerusalem for some 500 years, whereas it was subsequently ruled by Muslims for 1,277 years. Before the Jews it belonged to the Canaanites. And for nearly 90 years it was also a Christian kingdom. A lot of competing claims, then, which is probably why the UN declared in 1947 that it should be independently administered as an international city.
In 1187 Saladin restored Jerusalem to Islam while allowing Jews and Christians to remain. Today Jewish religious groups want control of the city for their spiritual centre and for a third temple to be built in accordance with ancient prophecies. The plan to make the Israeli occupation permanent threatens not only the Muslim but also the Christian holy places. Political and religious tensions are thus kept at boiling point. It is no wonder that the Iranian president quoted the late Ayatollah Khomeini as saying the unfriendly regime occupying Jerusalem “must vanish from the page of time”. It is no surprise either that he was immediately misquoted by Zionist propagandists as wanting to wipe Israel off the map.
The question is, are we seriously to believe that an all-powerful Supernatural Being has chosen and elevated one group of humans to a position of supremacy above all others, and has approved the use of any mean, including murder, brutal eviction and even war, to achieve their selfish goal, and now mobilizes millions of lesser mortals from around the globe, like those who regard themselves as upstanding Christians, to serve as tools and sing the praises of this ‘Grand Design’?
I’m with the Churches of Jerusalem on this. It’s a gross corruption of the biblical message.
Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine can now be read on the internet by visiting www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk
Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. Stuart’s articles are serious and revealing; they address the pertinent issues regarding Israel and Palestine and sixty years of conflict that have devasted millions of human beings. For further information please visithttp://www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk/
The Roots of Christian Zionism
Strange bedfellows: new nexus between Israel and far Right
Amid the acres of commentary on the exchange of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and more than a thousand Palestinian prisoners, one comment stands out: “Let the WORLD know about Israel’s humanity and the terrorists’ inhumanity — SHARE this one with EVERYONE you know, friends!” What makes it noteworthy is that it featured on the “Geert Wilders International Freedom Allinace” Facebook page, where supporters of the far-Right Dutch politician gather, one of many messages of fanatical pro-Israeli commentary.
The growing appeal of Israel to the world’s right-wing community has been developing for some years. Nevertheless, some examples are eye-popping. In July 2011, a Russian neo-Nazi delegation travelled to Israel, after an invitation by far Right Israeli politicians and an editor of a pro-settler news service. The Holocaust deniers visited Israel’s Holocaust centre, Yad Vashem, despite being photographed previously giving Nazi salutes and publishing songs celebrating Adolf Hitler on their website.
The pair was interviewed on Israeli TV. One said that the idea of the Jewish state “excites me” because it involves “an ancient people who took upon itself a pioneer project to revive a modern state and nation”. The TV journalist then asked how a neo-Nazi could now embrace Zionism. The other Russian quickly responded by explaining the common enemy they both faced: “We’re talking about radical Islam which is the enemy of humanity, enemy of democracy, enemy of progress and of any sane society.” In December 2010 a much larger delegation of European far Right politicians, including a Belgian politician with clear ties to SS veterans and a Swedish politician with connections to the country’s fascist past, also paid their respects at Yad Vashem. They were welcomed by some members of the Israeli Knesset and agreed to sign a “Jerusalem Declaration”, guaranteeing Israel’s right to defend itself against terror. “We stand at the vanguard in the fight for the Western, democratic community” against the “totalitarian threat” of “fundamentalist Islam”, read the document.
The signatories were some of Europe’s most successful anti-immigration politicians who long ago realised that backing Israel was a clever way to guarantee respectability for a cause that risked being framed as extremist or racist. One Israeli politician who met the delegation, Nissim Zeev, a member of ultra-Orthodox, right-wing party Shas, embraced the group: “At the end of the day, what’s important is their attitude, the fact they really love Israel.”
Yesterday’s anti-Semites have reformed themselves as today’s crusading heroes against an unstoppable Muslim birth-rate on a continent that now sees Islam as an intolerant and ghettoised religion. These increasingly mainstream attitudes have marinated across Europe for at least a decade — most starkly expressed in the writings of the Norway killer Anders Breivik, who slaughtered nearly 70 young left-wingers on Utøya island in late July this year.
Breivik’s interest in Israel wasn’t an accidental quirk of his Google search terms. It was reflective of years of indoctrination from that fateful September day in 2001 onwards. None of Breivik’s right-wing heroes openly praised his killings — politically speaking, half-hearted condemnations were the order of the day — because their vision of open war with Islam was arguably even more clinical. They cheered as America and Israel used the vast power of the state to attack, bomb, drone, kidnap, torture and murder literally countless Muslim victims in the past decade in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Palestine, Somalia and beyond.
Breivik’s admired this Israeli “can-do” attitude but equally dismissed left-wing Jews who supported Palestinian rights. “Were the majority of the German and European Jews [in ’30s Europe] disloyal?” he asked in his “2083” manifesto. He went on:
“Yes, at least the so-called liberal Jews, similar to the liberal Jews today that opposes nationalism/Zionism and supports multiculturalism. Jews that support multiculturalism today are as much of a threat to Israel and Zionism (Israeli nationalism) as they are to us. So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all cultural Marxists/multiculturalists. Conservative Jews were loyal to Europe and should have been rewarded. Instead, [Hitler] just targeted them all.” (p 1167)
Breivik mirrored the familiar separation of “good Jews” and “bad Jews” that appear in Western dialogue over the Israel/Palestine conflict. The nationalistic, Arab-hating Jew who believes in the never-ending occupation of Palestinian land is praise-worthy but the questioning, anti-Zionist Jew is a threat that must be eliminated. The commentators, journalists and politicians who receive mainstream acceptance and appear regularly in our media such as Daniel Pipes, who calls for the bombing of Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, are welcomed into the club of popular Islamophobes because they speak the language of domination and violence reflected in our media and political discourse on a daily basis.
My enemy’s enemy is my friend
Breivik’s conviction that he was a friend of Zionism created a moral challenge for many of those he had quoted in his manifesto. It was not a challenge many faced well. One of the more notorious, American blogger Pamela Geller, condemned the killings as “horrific” but not so subtly in the same post reminded readers that the young students who attended summer camp at Utøya were actually witnessing an “anti-Semitic indoctrination training centre”. How? Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store had visited the camp and called for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, apparently making him an anti-Semite by definition. Regular Jerusalem Post columnist Barry Rubin simply called the youth camp, “a pro-terrorist program”.
Geller was further incensed that he even called “Palestinians” Palestinian, because for her and her fellow travellers the Palestinians aren’t a real people deserving rights or a homeland. “Utøya camp was not Islamist,” Geller assures us, “but it was something not much more wholesome.” Thus Islamophobia seamlessly morphed into blind and racist Zionism.
In Australia likewise, the Israel lobby skirted around this uncomfortable reality, both publicly repulsed by the murders but they remain on the record as arguing for boundaries on Middle East debate. Others simply denied that Breivik’s sympathises for right-wing Zionism was irrelevant to understanding his crimes.
Of course this was absurd. Exaggerating a clash of civilisations has become the bread and butter of countless keyboard warriors in the past decade, with ever-more brutal Israel placed at the forefront of this struggle. Demonising Muslims and calling for their death on a regular basis has consequences. Muslims replacing Jews as the supposed enemy aiming for world domination will come with a price.
Israelophilia in the service of Islamophobia
The message emanating from the Zionist crowd was at times conflicted yet clear; Breivik could be forgiven for thinking that Israel was striving for racial perfection. The Jerusalem Post provided clarification after the attack in a startling editorial. It claimed multiculturalism had failed in Europe, Muslims were a threat to societal harmony and clearly implied that an ethnocracy, such as Israel, was the ideal global model:
“While there is absolutely no justification for the sort of heinous act perpetrated this weekend in Norway, discontent with multiculturalism’s failure must not be delegitimatised or mistakenly portrayed as an opinion held by only the most extremist elements of the Right.”
The Post seemed to defend the mindset, if not the actions, expressed by Breivik, as a common and understandable attitude of simply wanting to “protect unique European culture and values”. These values did not include Islam or being proud of a racially diverse land. (A week later, the paper issued an apology editorial after a massive backlash against its position. Belatedly, the editorial noted that “Jews, Muslims and Christians in Israel and around the world should be standing together against such hate crimes”.)
Anders Breivik’s real motivations may never be fully understood but his love for Israel didn’t appear out of the blue. It was because Zionism and its closest followers have cultivated an image of a country that can only survive without integration, peace with its Arab neighbours or an end to the occupation. Racial domination is the dream. Breivik took this call to a devastating conclusion and his manifesto makes clear that his support for Israel is couched in the language of survival against an unforgiving, intolerant and high Muslim birth-rate world.
You can hear these views on any day of the week on Facebook, on Twitter — and in the Israeli Knesset.
*This is an extract from an essay in On Utøya: Anders Breivik, right terror, racism and Europe, edited by Elizabeth Humphrys, Guy Rundle and Tad Tietze, an ebook to be published on October 26. The book will be launched by Senator Lee Rhiannon and Antony Loewenstein , 6.30pm Wednesday, October 26 at the Norfolk Hotel, Cleveland Street in Surry Hills, Sydney.
Michele Bachmann’s Christian Zionism
Epidemic Bubble of Discordant Faith
Charles E. Carlson Jul 1, 2011
The wave of Judeo-Christianity, popularly known as Christian Zionism, seems to be a prerequisite to American presidential candidates today. It can be best thought of as an acquired mental illness because it results in discordant actions among those who admit to having it. Unfortunately some are in public office, and then it becomes the business of each of us. Christian Zionism has grown so large that it is fair to call it a religious bubble, and is the number one enabler of the economic and moral dilemma that faces the USA and other north American states.
Most victims of Christian Zionism, like those who develop a tragic eating disorder known as Anorexia Nervosa, can not see their illness and need help to recover from it. I am told by professionals who treat them, that many Anorexics victims will eventually starve themselves to death if not treated, and most are said to resist treatment. It is has finally been acknowledged to be a disease even thought it is self induced, and I do not pretend to have a clinical replantation. But I do know what causes Christian Zionism. It is taught, and no one is born with it, but it is a sickness because those who have it cannot see it nor can most seem to get over it without some outside help or tutorage. It is a social problem because those who have it act in ways that are often discordant with and anathema to the well being of the rest of the population in several distinct ways.
Christian Zionists cannot see the lack of common sense they portray to others, and they overlook multiple Bible inconsistencies taught to them by their spiritual leaders, who tell them they and Zionists are the beautiful members of God’s society, and all others are ugly by comparison. What makes Christian Zionism so dangerous is that it is promotion by those who benefit from it politically, and by institutionalized recruitment by those who profit from it directly, the leaders. It now inflects as much as 33% of USA voters.
Anorexia nervosa seems to serves no one, but Christian Zionism serves one important national political end, it enables serial wars that serve the interests of investment bankers, Warmakers, and that state of Israel. It is in turn supported by persons, powers, and a media that would not for a moment believe one word of what Christian Zionists teach. Most obvious among these promoters are the Israel Lobby and the Serial War lobby, which overlap.
Because Christian Zionist is a mental illness, and not a coherent faith, it allow little tolerates nor debate. This is evident from many personal letter and calls I have received since I began writing about it many years ago. One recent reader wrote of the painful and inexplicable separation that developed between himself and two long time male friends who each distanced from him without a word, no longer returning phone calls or answering e-mails, over discussion of what seemed to him to be a normal political questions. My reader finally realized the nerve he had hit, without knowing it, was Christian Zionism, though he never directly addressed that topic to his friend. Many readers have told us painfully about close family members who stop communicating all together once the subject of the state of Israel is broached in religious context, sometimes broken over a single offhanded statement.
My own family was characterized by heated partisan political argument about Democrats and Republicans at family gathering. But these did not drive the family apart, rather it brought a vitality to gatherings that drew them back together at every opportunity. The arguments were strident but instructional and thought shaping for younger onlookers. Some of us looked forward to maturity when our views might be heard in these family harangues. But no such honing of views can exist in a setting where even one Christian Zionist is present. Far from crating kinship and love within the family, it creates separation.
Most Republican party candidates appear to cater to, if they are not themselves Judeo-Christians, because so many votes are at stake. Michele Bachmann from Minnesota, is said to be a serious candidate for US President and is a living example of discordant and bazaar thinker, but she will resonate with some 70 million Americas who are know to be influence by the the Judeo-Christian illness. Here are some of her words from he own website that should be carefully examined:
“Most American recognize that Israelis and American are two sides to the same coin because we share the same values…we even share the same mission, to be a light to the nations.. ”
“We learned that our Christian Faith is rooted in Judaism.” Without the laws of Moses, without the Temple (at Jerusalem) there would have been no sermon on the mount.”
“It was this love for Israel and the Jewish state” that brought me to volunteer for a kibbutz in 1974.
“Upholding American values”…means “we must stand with Israel.” “I stand with Israel… “our policies in the Middle East must be guided by this imperative.”
It is clear to this author that Bachmann can not function in national office under oath because her first commitment is to another flag, not to USA, to another people, not to Americans first. Other irrational belief common to and defining Christian Zionist that she might or might not admit to, and that are incompatible with following a traditional Jesus Christ, include:
- Wars are just, if they are Israel’s wars…
- The present world will be destroyed by God to punish the evil doers, and the Christ followers will be save and ushered into a spiritual kingdom, the rest left behind.
- The state of Israel is God’s fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies (Jesus too).
This bubble is about to burst, as all bubbles do. Fortunately for the Americas, Judeo-Christianity is coming apart at the seams from its own weaknesses. Next time, the end of Judeo-Christianity, based on a study by the Pew Forum.
Norway massacre, Christian Zionist terrorism analysed
After the 500kg fertilizer car bomb blast Friday 22 July 2011 in Oslo, Norway, mass media groups, including Rupert Murdoch owned Sky/Fox News, and other global media outfits targeted Muslims and the Al Qaeda bogeymen for the attack for many hours. After the attack, Anders Behring Breivik, a Christian Zionist, shoot and murdered over 76 people and injuring 97.
Anders Behring Breivik (born 13 February 1979 in Oslo, Norway, also known as Andrew Berwick, Sigurd Jorsalfar, and Anders Behring) confessed to the bombing and mass murders without admitting criminal responsibility, claiming his actions were “atrocious but necessary”. His parents divorced when he was one year old. His estranged father, Jens Breivik, said his son should have killed himself, instead of killing so many people.
Oslo court charged Breivik with acts of terrorism Friday 25 July 2011, denied Breivik’s request for an open hearing in order to prevent him from publicly airing his inciting criminal views and ordered he remains in police custody for up to eight weeks. Breivik has admitted he was recruited by two English right-wing extremists at a meeting in the UK in 2002 attended by seven other people. American and European Christian extremists use any excuse to carry out their own twisted destruction and collateral murders.
European and American media outfits continued to speculate links between the attack and the Al Qaeda without any probes and irrefutable evidence to incite hatred and crimes against Muslims. After the attack, at first, the web was aflame with speculation that the attackers were “Jihadists” (strugglers) of some sort. The word ‘terrorism’ vanished from the media landscape when they discovered that the terrorist was white Christian-Zionist. Western media loves an opportunity to spread racial and anti-Muslim hatred. They should be tried for their heinous false hoods or fake news reports based on Islamophobic speculations.
Islamophobic and anti-Muslim hysteria continued for several hours on European and American media outlets and websites. So, who are those in our own western society who enable, empower and give voice to such pathology? Whenever the media outlets and politicians twist the actions of a few lone loony to be somehow representative of the majority of the faith, race or country they clearly demonstrate exactly who the haters really are, and who they support, breed, feed and nurture.
The mass murderer, Breivik, used banned (1899 Hague Convention) ‘Dum-Dum’ bullets designed to explode and disintegrate inside the body and cause maximum internal damage. The banned bullets are still being used by European law enforcement agents.
Breivik’s friends described him as a ‘mummy’s boy’ who did not leave home until the age of 30, had few friends and no serious girlfriends. He used the company, Breivik Geofarm (Norway registration # 994 089 269 on 18 May 2009), as a façade to acquire six tonnes of lethal fertilizers and chemicals.
Breivik conspired with “business and political leaders” in London years before he set about planning last week’s massacre, an intriguing connection given the fact that the gunman’s manifesto is datelined “London 2011, suggesting a clear connection to the capital as evidence emerges of a wider plot.
Breivik had a network of 5,700 terrorist friends who remain morally and legally complicit in his crime, read and passed on or forwarded his ‘2083’ manifesto as a “gift” to over 25,000,000 Christian terrorists in the USA and the EU (Denmark, Hungary, Russia, Israel, Finland, France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands (Holland), Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Australia, and Sweden, etc).
Breivik and his fans admire and are incited by people and racists groups like George Bush, Tony Blair, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Theodore Kaczynski (Unabomber), Richard Lionheart, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Max Manus, Geert Wilders, Hindutva, Shrinandan Vyas, Christian Crusaders, Knights Templars, PCCTS, Robert Spencer, Freemasons, Bat Ye’or, Anders Gravers Pedersen, Stephen Gash, the English Defence League (EDL), British National Party (BNP), blogger Fjordman, Vladimir Putin, and many other war criminals who spread hatred and fear to provoke violence against Asians, Arabs, Africans and Muslims.
Breivik said: ‘One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests’. His 2083 manifesto is largely concerned with Britain and America. Breivik used an array of internet forums to express his Islamophobic views. The Jerusalem Post also describes Breivik as pro-Israel. Breivik expressed his explicit support for Hindutva and Sanatana Dharma in India. Breivik lists the websites of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the National Volunteers’ Organisation (NVO), the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) as resources for anti-Muslim incitement and hatred, threatening carnage worst than the Second World War.
Breivik and his fans have nothing better than to get on TV to expound his fascist ideology. Breivik has delusional visions of himself as another Adolf Hitler, using his trial as a propaganda platform.
Many white Christians do not think the Christianity has anything to do with terrorism? Ever hear of the 30 Years’ War? Collateral murders in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan? The Crusades since 1095 AD? The fate of the Cathars? The Inquisition?
Breivik’s objectives and motivations resonate with those of many politicians and Christian-Zionist crusaders. These are the fruits of long cultivated major media and political hate mongering by war criminals, such as George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair and even David Cameron, etc.
Anders Behring Breivik had expressed his hatred for Muslims, a few political parties, and the youth wing of Norway’s ruling party on various internet blogs more than 75 times. He intended to bring down western civilisation by the year 2083. The tragic attacks drew public attention away from the financial crisis, the austerity measures, the massive daily swindling of public funds, and the crumbling support for the wars in Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen, and endless criminal Israeli ID frauds exposed in New Zealand and elsewhere. In fact Anders Behring Breivik, 32, a right-wing sovereign citizen or Christian terrorist with no links to any Islamic groups, was the man responsible for the terrorist attack and the murders.
Breivik’s 1,500-page ‘2083 manifesto’, written by the psychopath evil, is a blueprint for a continent-wide revolution which reflects much of the thinking of European Christian white power or neo-Nazis from Italy to Norway and from Britain to Russia.
Breivik’s manifesto, ‘2083 A European Declaration Of Independence’ provides detailed instructions for everything from making a bomb to raising funds to preparing physically and mentally with chilling detail how others can emulate the author’s planned terror attack and how to justify the criminal violence or terrorism as a jury, judge and executioner.
Breivik called for terrorism, killing of over one million European Christians and several hundred millions elsewhere. He was set to seize political and military control of Western European countries. Christian Nazis draw on primitive Knights Templar history, myths and legends. Breivik’s ‘2083’ document lays out a three-stage plan leading to the overthrow democracies in Europe. He recommends both farming and mining as good covers for obtaining explosives and advocates working alone to prevent getting caught.
Like many politicians, including Adolf Hitler, Breivik supports a Christian Europe without brown faces, Arab and Muslims. Breivik’s writing is deeply anti-Islamic. Breivik’s manifesto is reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf that was a blueprint for what is still happening in Europe, America, Australia and Canada.
Publicly many psychopathic American and European Christians and politicians would dare voice support for Breivik-Hitler’s abhorrent criminal actions but privately they approve of their acts and manifestos (2083 and Mien Kampf) of hate.
There are many within the world, especially here in the USA and the EU, that hold worship the two men and justify their perspective against brown faces from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. They are collectivists, anti-individual liberty, tribal, anti-free-market economies, authoritarian, despotic tyrants with self-sacrifice to the state as the moral ideal. That was an epic disaster which is still unfolding across America and Europe. They harbour deep rooted hatred towards brown faces, Asians, Africans, Arabs and Muslims. They harbour the same warped thoughts and ideology of the murderous, evil scum bags. They are mentally ill.
There are no justifications for the murder of innocents, whatever the cause or hateful anti-Muslim logic. They breed, nurture and foster hatred towards brown faces. When they fail to remember their past, they are doomed to repeat their mistakes.
Norway was the first UN member to voice its firm support for Palestinian Statehood. Utoya camp students demanded that Israel “finish the occupation”. Anti-Israel, pro-Arab signs were hung in the Utoya camp How many American Judeo-Christians will look the other way from mass executioner of unarmed civilians, or dodge with the with flimsy argument that the shooter is not one of them? Breivik sees Zionists as an ally of the Muslims against Israel. Yes, Breivik is a Christian Zionist, and one of the topics debated at this camp was a possible boycott of Israel. According to EuroNews, Norway was set to vote on motion calling for bombing Israel if it acts against Hamas in Gaza. According to ABC News, Norway was also considering pulling out of NATO bombing of Libya.
Anders Behring Breivik comments are long and thoughtful and show, among other things, Christian fundamentalism and sympathy with the violent Jewish movement and English Defence League (EDL). Breivik shows an extreme Zionism and Israel-love. Breivik’s fans include Hans Rustad, a former Zionist/Jewish journalist. Breivik’s role models include Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill.
So, was this a Mossad Operation? according to German journalist Ulrich Sahm “…many of the [Norwegian] youths who survived the massacre [Friday 22 July 2011] said they thought the killer, dressed as a police officer, was simulating Israeli crimes against Palestinians in the occupied territories. They believed that ‘the cruelty of the Israeli occupation’ was being demonstrated to them”.
What was the connection to the anti-terror drill being conducted on Friday 22 July 2011 in Oslo, Norway? Anti-terror drills were also conducted on 7/7 in London, and 9/11 in the USA where NORAD was ordered not to attack the aircrafts.
Wayne Madison, a strong supporter of Israel’s Right to Exist states: “(Israel had) everything to gain by attacking Norway and teaching it a lesson…”, and the Zionist Jews have a long track record of false flag terrorism. Israel’s resentment towards Norway for taking a strong stand against Israeli war crimes and supporting the rights of Palestinians is so obvious.
The combination of mental illness and firearms or drones is deadly. Whenever American drones hit children in Pakistan, please remember to feel as bad as you do for the unarmed civilians killed in Oslo, Norway.
Hatred leads to acts of violent retribution and heinous deeds; this is true of both individuals and states. Such evils only thrive when good men do nothing. Seven billion people cannot avoid the consequences of ignoring anti-Muslim hatred.
Violence from white Christian Zionists has been a clear and present danger to European and American streets for too long, particularly since 11 September 2001. It has often been ignored at worst or paid lip-service to at best as Christian politicians.
The ruling British Tory/Conservative party leader, Baroness Warsi, voiced her concern about the rise of Islamphobia earlier in 2011, she was roundly criticised by her party, media outlets and by the usual commentators who have made anti-Muslim prejudice the subject of their columns.
Millions of Muslims have voiced their heartfelt condolences, and condemnation of the tragic terrorist attacks in Norway. Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of this senseless massacre, was fuelled by a hatred of Muslims and their place in western society, their thoughts and prayers are primarily with the victims and their families.
The victims may not have been Muslims, but in Islam even the loss of a single life can never be justified at anytime, anywhere, let alone so many young lives that had everything to live for. Over 1.5 billion Muslims stand for and believe in humanity, democracy and equality. Multiculturalism is a force for common good in building cohesive societies.
In reality, religion and politics have very little to do with terrorist acts. American and European governments have failed to keep tabs on the white Christian-Zionists who write against Asians, Africans, Arabs and Muslims. Any concept of purity, be it racial or religious or political, is a volatile element as it creates a dreaded other.
WHY ARE SOME CHRISTIANS SO UNBIBLICAL(Rev. Gordon Moyes)
SERMON. WHY DO SOME CHRISTIANS BELIEVE UNBIBLICAL THINGS?
Sincere Christians in the last month have spent $100 million advertising the end of the world would end on May 21st, with Christians being caught up in the rapture and millions of unbelievers perishing. The Rapture Doomsday Prediction of Harold Camping did not occur any more than the famous predictions at Balmoral Beach Sydney in 1923. The Star Amphitheatre was founded to teach the works of Krishnamurti promoted by the Theosophical Society. It was intended as a platform for lectures by the expected ‘World Teacher’. Many people believed it was built in anticipation of the second coming, when Jesus Christ could return walking across the water between Sydney Heads.
Today , non-believers ridicule Harold Camping, but his followers and many professing Christians defend him as doing good reminding people of the coming judgment and rapture. Camping and his followers claimed to receive personal revelations through the Holy Spirit about the end times. If God leads us to some kind of insight it will never be opposite to what the Word of God states. Independent prophecies as presented by some Christians today always teach more than the Bible states.
Camping estimates only three per cent of the world’s population will be raptured while the rest will be dammed, and the world will come to an end. Last Monday an unapologetic Harold Camping made a new prediction: the rapture is actually on Oct. 21, not May 21 as he originally proclaimed due to a mathematical error in the number of days calculated since the Crucifixion.
WHERE DID THIS UNBIBLICAL TEACHING COME FROM?
In 1843, in USA thousands of people sold their homes and businesses and went about the country preaching the imminent return of Christ. They were the followers of William Miller, a farmer and self-taught bible scholar from New York. Miller understood the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 to refer to the number of years until the return of Christ in his day. Because the “sevens” in Daniel 9 were translated “weeks” in the King James Bible, Miller assumed all prophecies referring to days must mean years. Adding 2300 years to the time of Daniel’s prophecy gave Miller a date between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844.
Despite the great excitement, March 21, 1844, came and went without the return of Christ. Miller was devastated, but one of his followers went back through the calculations and found what he believed to be the error. A new date was set of October 22, 1844.
When even 1844 did not work, some of the followers abandoned the movement. Many however tried to find a new explanation. Ellen G. White eventually led the Seventh-Day Adventists to the conclusion that Jesus had returned invisibly in 1844, and that He would soon make His presence known. Another group that tried to hold to the 1844 date was led by Jonas Swendahl who believed that 1844 marked not the date of Jesus’ return, but of the beginning of the last generation. Swendahl taught that Jesus would therefore return in 1874.
One of Swendahl’s followers was a former Presbyterian named Charles Taze Russell. When 1874 came and went, he concluded 30 years was not long enough for a generation. So he added 70 years to 1844 and concluded that Jesus would return in 1914. This and other differences led him to split from the Second Adventists and launch Zion’s Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. His followers became known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The date of 1914 was changed to 1925, 1941, and 1975.
In 1992, Harold Camping published 1994. Like Miller, he rejected the historic understanding of Daniel 8. The prophecy clearly describes the rise of the kingdom of Greece under Alexander the Great, and the division of his empire among four others. But instead of seeing the prophecy as fulfilled then, Camping transports its fulfilment to our own day. Like the Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, he focuses on the “hidden” meanings of texts, seeing pointers towards 1994 in the number of swine drowned in the Sea of Galilee or in the number of servants in Abraham’s house. Camping was wrong. September 6, 1994 came and went. Then he re-set the date to May 21ST 2011, then after that to October 2011.
Apocalyptic thinking has always been part of American religious life and popular culture. It has flowed to areas where American missionaries and Bible teachers have travelled. Teachings about the end of the world vary dramatically about how they will occur. The overwhelming majority of Christians reject the idea that the exact date or time of Jesus Christ’s return can be predicted. Jesus told us that “of that day and hour no-one knows”. (Matthew 24:36) We do not excuse them because they are sincere, for they are sincerely wrong!
There is a whole outline of dodgy doctrines believed by some Christians. Many of them are based on Dispensationalism, a Protestant evangelical and Pentecostal tradition based on a biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways. Over the next five weeks we will examine them from a Biblical perspective.
HOW DID THIS TEACHING EVOLVE?
As a system, dispensationalism is rooted in the writings of John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) and the Brethren Movement. The theology of dispensationalism consists of a distinctive eschatological “end times” perspective, as all dispensationalists hold to premillennialism and most hold to a pretribulation rapture. Dispensationalists believe that God has yet to fulfill His promises to the political nation of Israel, created by the United Nations in 1948 as God’s chosen people of Biblical times. These promises include the land promises, which in the future result in a millennial kingdom where Christ, upon His return, will rule the world from Jerusalem for a thousand years. Such believers are opposed to Palestinian land claims today, and support massive financial aid to Israel to fight surrounding countries of the Middle East.
ISRAEL OWES MORE TO ONE CHRISTIAN THAN ANY OTHER PERSON.
In the late 1890’s in both UK and USA a new political group was formed called Zionism, designed to restore Israel to the land of Palestine. With the extremely generous support of Jewish businessmen this political movement would forever change the course of Christianity and history even though most Christians did not know it at this time. The man chosen to promote Zionism in the Christian churches was a Civil War veteran by the name of C. I. Scofield. To this day biographies of this influential Christian are not sold in Christian bookshops intentionally, but a simple internet search can confirm what I write.
His first biography was, The Incredible Scofield, The Man and His Book” by Joseph Canfield. His story is indeed incredible, the kind of story they make movies about. Here are just a few of his highlights. His greatest talent was in the forging of documents. He produced his own law diploma, that made him a lawyer. Amazingly he became Attorney General of Kansas. After that he left Kansas, leaving his wife and two daughters destitute. After leaving Kansas he was later arrested for forgery involving a railroad. He then served prison time for criminal forgery and for stealing his mother’s life savings.
Upon release he produced documents concerning his degrees in Divinity and Ordination. He then became Dr C.I. Scofield D.D. and pastor of a large Baptist Church in Dallas. He knew little about the Bible. At this time, he came to the attention of Samuel Untermeyer, a wealthy New York attorney, as well as an agent of the Rothschilds and one of the top Zionists in the country. They knew then that they had found the man that could present Zionism to the Christians.
Dr Schofield and his new lady left their church in Dallas to live in the exclusive Lotus Club in New York City, where they resided for the next twenty years. All their expenses were picked up by their new Jewish friends who also funded his many trips to Oxford, England. He met with the top Zionists there to help him compile his “notes.” He was known for his lavish life-style.
Scofield compiled ideas from Darby, Miller, White, Swendahl, Russell and other Millennialists, and added interpretations from his Zionist friends to form his Scofield Notes on the Bible. This was like eschatological fluff caught on theological Velcro.With the completion of the notes, he persuaded the Oxford University Press, to print for the first time a King James Version Bible that included his notes. Linked to the 1611 King James Version, bound in black leather, the marketing gave the notes and illustrations an authoritative air. With the help of English Zionists, thousands of copies were sent free to clergymen, another marketing sensation. Clergymen preached from it to their congregations and members purchased their own copies. It didn’t take long for it to become the best-selling Bible in the world, so OUP established a New York office in 1909 to publish the Scofield Bible for American churches with free copies being sent to clergymen.
Thousands of pastors started using them without asking the obvious questions. “Who is this man?”- “Where did he come from?” – “What is his complete background?” – “What happened to his wife and daughters?” and “Why would Jews invest so much money in a book to help bring “truth” to the Christians?’
It was the greatest investment the Zionists ever made. They created a theory known as dispensationalism. These doctrines or beliefs were never found by real theologians from any denomination before, and they do not accept them as Bible truth today. These beliefs are not accepted by Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox or most other Protestant denominations. But in the USA, Scofield’s notes, portraying a time line of what God was doing in each dispensation, and what will happen in the future became the standard teaching of Brethren, Pentecostal, Southern Baptist and Fundamentalist churches and Bible colleges. Their members and pastors became the enthusiastic evangelists, missionaries and Bible College teachers that went to every country of their world. They in turn influenced others so that every radio evangelist, crusade evangelist from DL Moody on, and almost every Bible College in the world perpetuated this teaching.
In USA this included the Republican Party, the Moral Majority, and even Presidents. Political analyst Richard Allen Greene has argued that dispensationalism has had a major influence on the foreign policy of the United States including support for the state of Israel. Political commentator Kevin Phillips points out in his book American Theocracy (2006) how dispensationalists and other fundamentalist Christians, together with the oil lobby, have provided political support for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, without approval of the United Nations.
This teaching still determines the US budget’s allocation of hundreds of millions of dollars every day to Israel. It has encouraged two US Presidents to put their fingers on the button that would fire nuclear weapons.
Over the next month I will give further historical information, look at some of the involved doctrines such as the Rapture, The Left Behind books and films, the most notable exponents and colleges, the End Times prophecies, Premillennialism, Post Millennialism, Amillennialism The Great Tribulation, the Beast, and the rest. Much that is believed here is unbiblical. This will also lead into the inspiration and authority of the Bible as God’s word. Even raising these issues will cause some people to close their ears and eyes, but I encourage you to continue as Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life in spite of what Harold Camping, Cyrus Scofield and others may teach. Monday, 21st November, 2011, 12:21 pm
Father Dave’s Article Directory
THE JERUSALEM DECLARATION ON CHRISTIAN ZIONISM
Statement by the Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches In Jerusalem
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel. The Christian Zionist programme provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it laces an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.
We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.
We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine. This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world.
We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from the ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!
We call upon Christians in Churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism. These discriminative actions are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements. The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall on confiscated Palestinian land undermines the viability of a Palestinian state as well as peace and security in the entire region.
We call upon all Churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.
Therefore, we commit ourselves to the following principles as an alternative way:
We affirm that all people are created in the image of God. In turn they are called to honor the dignity of every human being and to respect their inalienable rights.
We affirm that Israelis and Palestinians are capable of living together within peace, justice and security.
We affirm that Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. We reject all attempts to subvert and fragment their unity.
We call upon all people to reject the narrow world view of Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.
We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation in order to attain a just and lasting peace.
With urgency we warn that Christian Zionism and its alliances are justifying colonization, apartheid and empire-building.
God demands that justice be done. No enduring peace, security or reconciliation is possible without the foundation of justice. The demands of justice will not disappear. The struggle for justice must be pursued diligently and persistently but non-violently.
“What does the Lord require of you, to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
This is where we take our stand. We stand for justice. We can do no other. Justice alone guarantees a peace that will lead to reconciliation with a life of security and prosperity for all the peoples of our Land. By standing on the side of justice, we open ourselves to the work of peace – and working for peace makes us children of God.
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:19)
August 22, 2006
His Beattitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah Latin Patriarchate, Jerusalem
Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem
Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land social justice
Christian conservatives are teaming with hard-line Jewish groups to transform American policy toward Israel.
But it is only in the past year—since the election of Bush and the attacks of September 11—that conservative Christians have put support for Israel near the top of their political agenda, helping to push the Bush administration to side firmly with Sharon and to pressure the Palestinians to replace Yasser Arafat. Well-known figures like Falwell and Pat Robertson have been at the forefront, but dozens of other evangelical leaders and organizations are active across the country. McAteer runs a Memphis-based political network that raises money for the Christian right and introduces candidates to Israeli leaders; in April, he and five other evangelicals sent a letter to Bush urging him to “stand with our friend and ally Israel as they attempt to defeat the same forces of terrorism that we have been battling since September 11.” A minister near Denver, George Morrison, raises support for Israel through his church and helped organize a national conference in June attended by 600 evangelicals. Also attending the event was Esther Levens, an elderly Jewish woman from Kansas City who brings together disparate groups of Christian Zionists through the National Unity Coalition for Israel. Levens founded the group after she saw a poll declaring that 70 percent of Americans supported Israel. “I knew that only 2 percent of Americans were Jewish,” she says, “so I thought, ‘Why not go and try to find the other 68 percent?'”
Some conservative Christians have visions of growing even more influential than AIPAC when it comes to American policy in the Mideast. Richard Hellman, a former GOP Senate staffer and born-again Pentecostal, hopes to organize at least 7 million followers as members of his lobbying group, Christians’ Israel Public Action Campaign. “Someone once referred to us as AIPAC’s little echo,” Hellman says with a laugh. “Maybe we’ll turn out to be the echo that roared.”
Lobbying by conservative Christians has already proved vital to Israel, especially during its recent military campaign. Marshall Wittmann, a former top lobbyist with the Christian Coalition and veteran of the elder Bush’s administration, credits evangelicals with getting their message directly to the White House and says that they are in con-stant communication with Bush’s political director, Karl Rove. “These folks are fervently pro-Israel within the high councils of the Republican Party, and their views have probably sharpened the president’s own thinking,” Wittmann says. “He personally identifies with the born-again evangelicals within his own party.”
Unlike his father, who is generally viewed as the president whose policies were least sympathetic to Israel, Bush has taken an increasingly hard-line stance against the Palestinians. In April, the White House issued what was widely seen as a halfhearted call for Sharon to withdraw his forces from the West Bank. When the Israeli leader refused to do so, the administration continued to hold Arafat responsible for almost all of the violence between the two sides, eventually calling for his removal as head of the Palestinian Authority.
Of course, the administration’s pro-Israel stance is not entirely the result of evangelical lobbying. Israel has long been the largest recipient of American aid, receiving $3 billion last year. “The evangelicals are important,” says former CIA director James Woolsey, an adviser to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, “but less in a political sense than as a reflection of the widespread support that Israel has in this country.”
Yet with the election of Bush, evangelical activists enjoy unprecedented influence among top administration officials. “No one has a monopoly on the ear of this president, but he is more receptive to the pro-Israel message than his predecessors,” says Rand Fishbein, a lobbyist and consultant for defense contractors and the U.S. Army. “And in this administration, there are more avenues to get that message to decision makers.” Conservative Christians have especially close ties to a group of hawks within the administration led by Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, two of the highest-ranking Pentagon officials after Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Feith, perhaps the administration’s most fervent supporter of Israel, has said the Israelis should reoccupy all lands ceded to the Palestinian Authority, even though “the price in blood… would be high.” Before joining the administration, Feith was honorary policy chairman of the National Unity Coalition for Israel, and chaired the board of a pro-Israel think tank called the Center for Security Policy.
Frank Gaffney Jr., an assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan who runs the Center for Security Policy, notes that hard-line supporters of Israel now find their views welcomed at the White House. “It’s the old issue of pushing on an open door,” says Gaffney. “You are seeing American government policy being profoundly influenced by beliefs that are shared by the pushers outside and the people on the inside.”
CHRISTIAN EVANGELICALS also wield considerable influence in Congress, where they have won support for Israel even among lawmakers who represent states with relatively small Jewish pop-ulations. The two top GOP leaders in the House—Majority Leader Dick Armey and Whip Tom DeLay—are among Israel’s staunchest advocates on Capitol Hill, despite coming from Texas, a state where Jews represent less than 1 percent of the population. DeLay agrees with hawkish Israelis that the West Bank and Golan Heights are part of Israel rather than occupied territories, and Armey has advocated forcibly removing Palestinians from the West Bank and relocating them to Arab countries.
Lobbying by conservative Christians has also provided GOP leaders in the Senate with a way to wrap their support for Israel in biblical terms. In March, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma gave a speech on the Senate floor in which he said that he supports Israel because it is a strategic ally, a “roadblock” to terrorism, and “because God said so.” There’s probably no one in Con-gress closer to Israel than conservative Sen-ator Sam Brownback of Kansas—a state with 14,500 Jews, 0.5 percent of the population, most of whom haven’t voted for him. A former Brownback staffer, Shari Dollinger, now handles outreach to the evangelical community for the Israeli Embassy. “Christian conservatives provide the political base for most Republicans,” says one GOP staffer. “Many of these guys, especially the leadership, are real believers in this stuff, and so are their constituents.”
Backed by evangelical Christians, conservatives in Congress have worked to drive American policy in the Middle East to the right, taking even more of a pro-Israel stance than the administration. In April, Secretary of State Colin Powell met privately with Senate and House conservatives and asked them to withdraw resolutions in support of Israel’s incursion into the West Bank, saying they would complicate efforts to broker peace talks. Votes on the resolutions were postponed for a week, but were then approved despite White House objections.
Liberal Jewish groups, who favor a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, are alarmed by the political impact of evangelicals. “They see any concession as a threat to Israel, and in this way they strengthen the hard-liners in Israel and the United States,” says Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. “That may make it difficult for the peace process to go forward.”
But on the whole, American Jewish groups have increasingly accepted Christian support. In 1999, when Falwell declared that the Antichrist is alive and Jewish, the Anti-Defamation League charged that his remarks were “rooted in Christian theological extremism” and bordered “on anti-Semitism at best and [are] anti-Semitic at worst.” Recently, however, the ADL has remained silent on Falwell and in May ran an advertisement in major newspapers that reprinted an article written by Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, that was titled “We People of Faith Stand Firmly With Israel.” And in July, the Zionist Organization of America honored Pat Robertson for his work on behalf of Israel.
The group’s president, Morton Klein, insists that anti-Jewish sentiment among Christian conservatives is mostly a thing of the past. “You find hints of anti-Semitism among many non-Jewish groups, and a few evangelicals may have anti-Jewish feelings,” he says. “But I have spoken to dozens of Christian Zionist groups and I have never encountered any anti-Semitism, and I’m a child of Holocaust survivors. Instead, I have found a great love of the Jewish people. I’m thrilled they are helping Israel and I think they are doing a great job. They are more pro-Israel and pro-Zionist than most Jews.”
Jewish leaders also tend to downplay the theological beliefs of Christian Zionists, many of whom believe that the Jews will eventually be destroyed in Armageddon. In fact, the more devout fundamentalists say that once Jews establish complete control of the Holy Land, Christ will stage his Second Coming; then Christians will be “raptured” to heaven, and many Jews who survive the ensuing apocalypse will convert to Christianity, thus fulfilling God’s original cove-nant with the Jews.
That’s a risk that Jewish leaders like Morton Klein are happy to take, given the political clout of evangelicals. “I am willing to make this deal: If they continue to support Israel’s prosperity, security, and survival, then if Jesus comes back in the future I will join their parade,” Klein says. “Hey, if I was wrong, no problem.”
EVANGELICAL LEADERS are waging a two-front campaign for Israel, lobbying Washington while rallying financial and political support across the country. The day after attending the prayer breakfast at the Israeli Embassy, Ed McAteer returns to Memphis, where a pro-Israel rally has been organized by the Memphis Jewish Federation, a local charity that provides social services. Unlike their counterparts who had organized similar rallies in New York and Boston, Jewish leaders here in the buckle of the Bible Belt have reached out to the city’s Christian leaders for support. “It’s very important for all faiths to know the issues that unite us,” Andrew Groveman, president-elect of the Jewish Federation, says before the rally. “We’re all good people of the Book. It’s just a question about whether it is a different Book.”
The advertised speakers include as many pastors as rabbis, as well as two congressmen with solid Christian constituencies, Ed Bryant and Harold Ford Jr. As people filter in holding signs that read “Bless Israel, Bless Sharon” and “Arafat Is a Muharib” (an Arabic word for “enemy”), a video plays over and over showing gruesome montages of the Israeli victims of Palestinian suicide bombings. The Likud mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, appears live via satellite to assure the crowd that his city stands strong and “undivided.”
The Christian ranks add hundreds to the standing-room-only crowd of 2,000. Thomas Lindberg, pastor of the Memphis First Assembly of God Church, tells those assembled about a tour he led to Israel last year. “We felt that special nature that God has put upon that land, and given to his people, the Jewish people of the world. And let me say today that we—and when I say ‘we,’ I represent the Assemblies of God here in America, three and a half million of us, 42 million Assemblies of God people around the globe—we love Israel.”
After the rally, McAteer makes clear that he and other evangelicals see their role in the current conflict less as peacemakers than as unflappable supporters of Israel. Like other conservative Christians, he believes that land now occupied by Israel should not be returned to the Palestinians. “That they get caught under some unfortunate circumstances, that doesn’t change the fact that the land doesn’t belong to them and they have no right to it,” McAteer says.
McAteer and other evangelical leaders believe that Arabs and Muslims can be traced back to Ishmael, the unfavored son of Abraham, who was promised by God vast land and resources but who would never be satis-fied with what he had. No matter how much good fortune Arabs receive, McAteer says, they will never know spiritual peace. “Find an Arab 6 feet, 4 inches tall,” he says. “Have him as handsome as Clark Gable. Give him a body like Charles Atlas. Give him the title to a $50 million mansion. Put him $100 million in the bank. And then, so that his resources will not be diminished, give him the title to 50 gushing oil wells. That man should be the ideal happy man, but he’s a Muslim. Have him stand on a little piece of geography called Israel that backs up between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, and if he sees a Jew walk by, with all he’s got, all his happiness diminishes. He’s got fever in his soul.”
At day’s end, McAteer rushes over to B’rit Hadasha, a Memphis synagogue used by a local congregation of messianic Jews. This evening, evangelicals, including some from a group called Christian Friends of Israel, are meeting there. In recent years, the group raised $100,000 from local Christians to purchase an ambulance for Israel, organized a Holocaust memorial at a nearby Baptist church, and paid for 70 Russian Jews to immigrate to Israel. Now they are working with kindred spirits in Kentucky and Maine to start similar organizations in those states.
Prompted by McAteer, they rise one at a time from the synagogue’s gallery to testify to the work they have done for Israel. They speak about the letters they have written to Congress, the trips they have taken to the Holy Land, the relationships they have forged with Jewish neighbors. Here is the very engine of the vast political-religious machinery that McAteer has helped to organize—the local groups whose political activity is driven by an unwavering belief that this is God’s work. They have been charged by the Bible to love Israel, love the Jews, and await the return of their Savior. “We don’t have the answer,” says Emily Jo Greer, a member of the group. “George Bush does not have the answer. Arafat does not have the answer. Ariel Sharon does not have the answer. It’s going to be Jesus.”
Sharon Lindsay, a member of the congregation, says she looks for divine intervention when she watches the evening news. “When I see that the president of Saudi Arabia has come to make a peace plan and then has to leave because his brother has had a stroke, I wonder, ‘Is that the hand of God?’ And I am praying, not for my ideas of what should be, but for God’s will to triumph.”
“Amen,” says McAteer.
And with that, his most recent marathon of prayer and revival comes to an end. Mc-Ateer heads home, knowing that with ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and the unwavering belief he witnessed in Washington and Memphis, God’s plan for Israel and the world is right on track.
10 Reasons Christian Heaven Would Actually Be HellJanuary 29, 2015
Most Westerners are at least vaguely familiar with the popular Christian version of Heaven: pearly gates, streets of gold, winged angels and the Righteous, with their bodies made perfect and immortal, singing the praises of God forever. What’s surprising is how few people have actually thought about what a nightmare this kind of existence would be.Let me start by laying out a bit more detail about what Heaven is supposed to be.Our familiar images of Heaven come from texts written in the first and second centuries and incorporated by the Catholic Church into what we now call the New Testament. The Hebrew writers of the Torah alluded to an afterlife much like the Hades of the Greeks and Romans—a hazy underworld in which the souls of the dead neither die nor fully live. But by the time the New Testament was written, the concepts of a distinct Heaven and hell had emerged in the Jewish culture, from whence they entered early Christianity and then, later, Islam.The books of the New Testament were written at different times and for different ends, which means they don’t always agree. Although Paul, in 1 Corinthians, says that Heaven is beyond imagining, other writers offer concrete details. The popular version of Heaven today is a composite that comes from several texts but relies heavily on the book of Revelation.
- Heaven is a real place. The writer of John puts these words in the mouth of Jesus, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3NRSV). Some Christian leaders use verses from Old Testament prophets to pinpoint the location of Heaven, suggesting that it is somewhere beyond the North Pole.
- People in Heaven have bodies. The earliest Christian texts, the letters of Paul, suggest that the eternal body is pneuma or spirit, but later New Testament writers inclined toward physical resurrection of both Jesus and believers, though with renewed bodies. This view was affirmed by Church fathers and is now the predominant Christian belief. From this we get the Evangelical belief that in the “End Times” bodies of believers will rise up to Heaven in a Rapture. This belief in a bodily resurrection is even used to explain why Christian women should keep their bodies “pure.”
- Trappings of wealth abound. Many translations of the Gospel of John say that the dwelling places in Heaven are mansions, which fits with other descriptions of heavenly opulence. In the book of Revelation, the writer is taken in a vision to glimpse Heaven for himself: “And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” (Revelation 21). God sits on an ornate throne, and along with crowns, the heavenly hosts are clothed in white, a symbol of purity and a reminder that they do not need to work.
- Heaven is eternal and reserved for believers. The Bible verse that is most quoted by Protestant Christians is John 3:16, which makes both of these points: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. The author of Revelation assures that, “he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more” (Revelation 21:4). In this eternity, it is always light and there is no need for sleep.
- Children who die before an “age of accountability” also go there. Despite the belief that children are born bad, thanks to “original sin,” many Christians believe that children who die young go to Heaven because the alternative is simply unthinkable. For evidence, they point to two verses in the book of Matthew: “So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost” (Matthew 18:14). “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs” (Matthew 19:14). Although Christians have disagreed over the centuries about when a budding human acquires an immortal soul, many now believe this happens in the process of conception.
- Inhabitants spend their “time” serving and worshipping God. Even though it is always light, we are told that the saints (meaning the saved) will serve and worship God round the clock. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them (Revelation 7:15). Several passages suggest that the faithful will receive crowns, which they can then offer up as gifts to God. Some take this literally and some do not.
Please note that I have made no attempt to analyze or explain what these passages may have meant in their original contexts, given the objectives of the writers. My purpose is to demonstrate where modern Christianity got the image of Heaven so often depicted in hymns, sermons, art and pop culture.
Why This Heaven Would Be Hellish
To many people the biblical description alone is enough to make Heaven sound unappealing, especially if you add in the company of noxious public figures like Pat Robertson, Mel Gibson, Sarah Palin, Ken Ham, or Anita Bryant. (Why does God have such a bad marketing department?) But the problem isn’t just bad company. The closer you look, the more the Bible’s version of paradise seems like another version of eternal torture. Let me spell it out.
1. Perfection means sameness. Much of what makes life worth living is the process of learning and discovery, growth and change. We delight in novelty and laugh when we are startled by the unexpected. Curiosity is one of our greatest pleasures, and growth is one of our deepest values and satisfactions. In fact, our whole psychological makeup is designed for tuning in to change, including our senses. When a sound is continuous, we mostly stop hearing it; a static image on the eye registers as a blind spot. Even art relies on imperfection and newness to create beauty or to trigger our aesthetic sense.
By contrast, timeless perfection is static, as Christians are reminded in the traditional hymn, “Immortal, Invisible God Only Wise”: We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree/And wither and perish but naught changeth Thee. In the book of Matthew, Jesus commands, “Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” and in Heaven, supposedly, this ideal is finally attained. The problem is, perfect means finished and complete. It means there’s no room for improvement—for change and growth. Perfection is sterile, in every sense of the word.
2. Your best qualities are irrelevant.If everything is perfect, then many of the qualities we most value in ourselves and each other become irrelevant. Compassion and generosity are pointless, because nobody is hurting or in need of anything. Forgiveness? Not needed. Creativity? Courage? Resilience? Decisiveness? Vision? All useless. Sigmund Freud once said that mental health is the ability to love and to work, but in the state of perfection both lose their meaning. There is no need to create or produce, and little value in offering our affection and commitment to another person who is 100 percent perfect and complete without us.
3. Gone is the thrill of risk.In addition to loving and creating, some of life’s most exhilarating experiences require risk: flying down a ski slope almost out of control, jumping out of airplanes, racing cars, surfing, performing. The adrenaline rush—the high—and the euphoria afterwards surge only because, despite our skill and preparation, there was some chance we would fail.
4. Forget physical pleasures like food, drink, sleep, and sex. Does the risen Jesus with his new and perfect body have a penis? Do angels? Eating, drinking, or fornicating—each of these physical pleasures depends on hunger of one sort or another. Ice water tastes most heavenly when you are hot and thirsty. Falling asleep is most delicious when you simply can’t stand to be vertical any longer. The reality is that our bodies and brains are made for each other and optimized for life on this planet where our pleasures are linked to survival.
To make matters more complicated, we are predators in a complex web of life. The eating that gives us so much sensory pleasure and sustenance simultaneously destroys other lives and creates waste. Christians disagree about whether there will be meals in Heaven. Some point to “feasting” in the book of Revelation and reassure foodies that eating and drinking will be part of paradise. But none dare speculate on the perfect slaughterhouse and sewer.
5. Free will ceases to exist. Some Christians explain the presence of suffering and evil here on earth as God’s way of creating creatures who would love him freely—by giving them the option to reject him. But that is exactly the opposite condition they predict in Heaven. In Heaven there is no sin, no option to sin, and so, by Christianity’s own definition, no free will. (Some skeptics point out that “love me or I’ll torture you forever” doesn’t exactly create the conditions for genuine love either. Why, they ask, would a god who wants love to be freely given threaten us with hell, even if it existed? But that is a different article.) Philosophers and neuroscientists debate whether free will is real or merely and adaptive illusion. Either way, in the Bible’s version of Heaven, even the illusion vanishes.
6. Ninety-eight percent of Heaven’s occupants are embryos and toddlers. Human reproduction is designed as a big funnel. Most fertilized eggs die before implanting, followed by embryos and fetuses that self-abort, followed by babies and then little kids. A serious but startling statistical analysis by researcher Greg S. Paul suggests that if we include the “unborn,” more than 98 percent of Heaven’s inhabitants, some 350 billion, would be those who died before maturing to the point that they could voluntarily “accept the gift of salvation.” The vast majority of the heavenly host would be moral automatons or robots, meaning they never had moral autonomy and never chose to be there. Christian believers, ironically, would be a 1 to 2 percent minority even if all 30,000-plus denominations of believers actually made it in.
The theological implications are huge. Christian theologians typically explain evil by arguing that this was the best of all possible worlds, the only way to create free will and to develop moral virtues (like courage, compassion, forgiveness and so forth), to make us more Christ-like and prepare us for Heaven. But if we run the numbers, it appears that God didn’t need the whole free will—sin—redemption thing to fill his paradise with perfect beings because no suffering, evil, or moral freedom is actually required as a prelude to glory.
The ratio of adults to embryos has social implications as well. Pastoral counselors sometimes tell a women she will get to apologize in Heaven to the fetus she aborted, which will be a fully developed person there. As a psychologist, I don’t know what this means, because the brain and mind, our individuality and identity—our personhood—develop only via experience. Imagine if 98 percent of the “people” around you had never made a decision or felt sorrow or experienced anything akin to an adult conversation. The company of Mr. Robertson starts sounding not so bad.
7. Gems and streets of gold define heavenly wealth and beauty.Our desperate, goat-herding Iron Age ancestors may have yearned for the trappings of royalty. They may have heard rumors of the gold and jewels amassed by Pharaohs or kings or tribal warlords and wished the same for themselves. Both greed and inequality are timeless, and the story of King Midas has played out in countless variations over the millennia. So, the fascination of the Bible writers with gold and precious stones is understandable.
But let’s be honest. Their gem-encrusted paradise is the product of limited imagination, an inability to dream beyond the arts, technologies, and mythologies of their own culture. The Bible’s version of paradise is like a velvet painting from a tourist shop when compared to an alpine meadow or cloud forest or coral reef (or when compared to a world that contains all three as Tracy Chapman does in her song, Heaven’s Here on Earth).
8. Take your pick of sadism or ignorance. One of Heaven’s dirty little secrets is that it co-exists with hell. Or maybe it isn’t a secret. Maybe it’s a perk. Some theologians have argued that witnessing the torment of the damned will be one of the joys of paradise. In the words of Puritan superstar Jonathon Edwards, who preached a whole sermon on the topic:
“When the saints in glory, therefore, shall see the doleful state of the damned, how will this heighten their sense of the blessedness of their own state, so exceedingly different from it! When they shall see how miserable others of their fellow creatures are, who were naturally in the same circumstances with themselves; when they shall see the smoke of their torment, and the raging of the flames of their burning, and hear their dolorous shrieks and cries, and consider that they in the meantime are in the most blissful state, and shall surely be in it to all eternity; how will they rejoice!”
If we are to believe the earnest Christian hate mail that Bonnie Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has compiled into a book, or “love letters” read aloud by biologist Richard Dawkins (watching him struggle with the word biatch is priceless!), at least some of the faithful can hardly wait for the show to start.
Many Christians, to be fair, find this thought horrifying, and some teach universal salvation or that evildoers are simply annihilated. But for hell-believers the alternatives to gloating aren’t a whole lot better: Either the faithful are blessedly blissfully indifferent to the endless suffering of the damned, or their joy depends on them being unaware, meaning ignorance is a condition of their eternal bliss.
9. Your celestial day (and night) job is to sing God’s praises. What do the faithful do in Heaven? The same thing the angels do. They worship God and sing his praises. The writer of Revelation even offers us a sample song. In one passage, 24 elders “fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:10-110).
As one graduate of Evangel College (Assemblies of God) observed wryly, “Having spent some time in N. Korea, where the incessant praise music and propaganda were required and all-pervasive, I sometimes wonder if the dynastic leaders there somehow lifted a page from an older playbook.”
It has been said that the only god worthy of worship is one who neither wants nor needs it. What are we to think of a deity who creates the earth and her inhabitants—in fact the entire universe—so a few bipedal primates, most of whom were never born, can spend an afterlife in this posture of praise and adulation?
10. This Heaven goes on forever. Most of us would prefer to live longer than the time allotted to us. Aging sucks, and losing a loved one is one of the most painful wounds we can experience.
But forever? Forever is infinity. It never ends. Think of the best possible experience you can imagine—your favorite symphony or rock concert, the most beautiful place you’ve traveled, the most intimate or intense sex ever, holding your child…any one of them, stretched to infinity becomes unthinkable.
Fiction writers who seriously explore the idea of immortality rarely treat it as something to be desired, and for good reason. Even kids grasp the problems, for example, when they read Tuck Everlasting. Author Edgar Shoaff put it bluntly: Immortality—a fate worse than death. The movie Groundhog Day is a comedy. But part of what’s funny for viewers is the insane array of suicide attempts Bill Murray makes in order to stop living the same day over and over. What might an inhabitant of the Heaven I’ve just described do to cease existing?
Could an omnipotent god create an afterlife that was actually some form of paradise? Perhaps. And without a doubt pained Bible believers who read this article will insist that their God has done just that. Some will fall back on the words of Paul and claim, on biblical authority, that they (and I) have no idea what Heaven will be like—other than eternally wonderful.
But the fact is, Christians for centuries have claimed that they do have an idea of what Heaven will be like. New Testament writers, Church fathers, monks, iconographers, crusaders, inquisitors, reformers, conquistadors, missionaries, priests, nuns, Sunday school teachers, pulpit pounders, faith healers, televangelists, Internet wonders…for almost two millennia Bible believers have sought to entice small children, the desperate poor and the trusting by promising the kind of debased, tawdry everlasting life described above. They still do today. Selling shares in this Heaven is a multi-billion-dollar industry.
Crowns and white robes and streets of gold and angelic choruses are Christianity’s carrot, with the threat of eternal torture as the stick. Millions of people have lived and died, fearing one and anticipating the other, never noticing the sleight of hand—that they are two versions of the same thing.
What Christianity without hell looks like
October 28, 2014 by
The idea that the Bible declares hell a real and literal place is no more valid than the toxic lie that the Bible condemns homosexuality.
Yet the idea that hell is real persists. Why? Because over the centuries those in positions of power within the institutions of Christianity have methodically, relentlessly, and with great art used the doctrine of hell to exploit the innate fear of death that is harbored by one and all.
Show me a Christian terrified of hell, and I’ll show you a Christian ready to pay good money for the assurance that he is not going there.
If you don’t think the “doctrine” of hell is about the accrual of money and power, then … then God bless your naiveté.
For the rest of us, it’s certainly worth asking what a Christianity without hell would look like. Well …
A Christianity without hell would be literally fearless.
A Christianity without hell would have nothing to recommend it but the constant and unending love of God. It would allow Christians to point upward to God’s love—but never downward to His/Her wrath.
A Christianity without hell would be largely unevangelical, since there would be nothing to save anyone from.
A Christianity without hell would trust that God’s loving benevolence towards all people (emphasis on all) extends beyond this life and into the next.
Bringing peace about the afterlife, a Christianity without hell would free Christians to fully embrace this life, to heed Christ’s commandment to in this life love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
In short, a Christianity without hell would be a fearless, trusting, loving, divinely inspired source of good in the world.
And this Christianity would be more biblical—would be truer to not just the words but the very spirit of Christianity—than any Christianity that posits the reality of hell.
I want that Christianity. I insist upon that Christianity.
Tell me I’m not alone.
- “No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?”“They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer.“And what is hell? Can you tell me that?”“A pit full of fire.”“And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?”
“What must you do to avoid it?”
- “So this is hell. I’d never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the “burning marl.” Old wives’ tales! There’s no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is—other people!”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit
“Indeed, where to begin. If Creationism were the brainchild of some religiously backward minds in the former Eastern Block it would die a quick death or at least be considered by the rest of the world as complete lunacy. However, as the world’s most powerful nation as well as its English speaking satellites, Australia and to some degree Great Britain, are the main proponents of this dangerously deluded and aggressive assault on reason, ethics and science, its small but very vocal leaders and followers are well on the way to influence goverments and policy decisions, thereby causing dangerous political situtaions for local and foreign affairs.
Anyone who cherishes democracy, freedom of speech and the right to reject religion ought to start worrying about the negative and very dangerous influence which creationism and evangelical religion poses to all our lives. In order to fight the relentless machinery of these anti-evolution, pro creationism theists, who more and more also support Christian Zionist dogma, those of us who fear for our children’s futuer ought to learn how to effectively debunk their well prepared rhetoric.
Following is an article from 2008 titled “Debating Creationists: Where to Begin?”, hence my heading.”
MANY OF YOU will find yourselves in a debate with a creationist. Whether it’s online, at a local school board meeting, as a caller to a radio show, or perhaps some other situation, unless you’re a professional teacher of this subject you will need to prepare yourself with useful sources of information.
It’s not that you don’t know the science. You probably do. But you’re not prepared for the lies, the distortions, the misquotes, the half-truths, the complete fabrications — in short, the utter lack of integrity which characterizes the other side. You’ll be hit with arguments that seem — and are — absolutely insane. That‘s what you’ve got to be ready to rebut. Knowing reality is one thing; dealing with intentional lunacy is quite another.
We know where the creationists go for their material — to the usual sources of creation “science” about Noah’s Ark, and purveyors of myths about the magical mystery Designer, etc. But where do you go? Sure, there are museums with excellent exhibits, and libraries full of peer-reviewed scientific papers on the subject. You could begin a literature search here: National Academy of Sciences. Or you could lug around an introductory level textbook or two.
But as we’ve pointed out before (Debating Creationists: The Big Lie) one rarely accomplishes anything in such situations by presenting facts. Nevertheless, you need handy sources of reliable information. So where are they?
You’ve come to the right place. First, we want to tell you about one that’s been available for a few months, but we just learned about it. It’s a list of informative links from New Scientist: Evolution: 24 myths and misconceptions. They introduce the list by saying:
Evolution must be the best-known yet worst-understood of all scientific theories. So here is New Scientist‘s guide to some of the most common myths and misconceptions about evolution.
There are other good sources. Most of you know about this from Scientific American: 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense , which came out in June, 2002. It’s still excellent.
Don’t overlook “15 Evolutionary Gems” (PDF), a new resource summarizing fifteen lines of evidence for evolution by natural selection, provided by the journal Nature, which is one of the most highly-respected peer-reviewed scientific journals in the world.
And (he said humbly) there is your Curmudgeon’s own List-O-Links, in which we tried to provide a link to everything that might be useful when debating creationists. But it’s been a couple of years since we updated it.
Anyway, there are plenty of good places to begin. If you do a bit of reading from reliable sources, you’ll be millennia ahead of the opposition. Now go and write that letter to the editor.
Addendum: Writing letters, making speeches, and similar activities are one thing, but we have misgivings about sharing a live debate platform with creationists. It gives them credibility and creates the illusion that there’s some kind of scientific controversy. It also generates press attention. Creationists are not deserving of this.
There is yet another reason never to engage in a live debate with a creationist: They typically use their time to make numerous rapid-fire claims, often erroneous, all spewed out in a barrage that is impossible to rebut in the time allowed. This is sometimes called the “Gish Gallop,” named after Duane Gish and mentioned in that Wikipedia article about him. We’ve seen the same technique used by others, often in the defense of exotic political schemes, but it’s a well-established technique in the world of creationism.
For a hint of what we’re talking about, look at: Creationist Wisdom — Example Nine. The letter we rebutted had errors in every sentence, factual, historical, logical, etc. It took some time — more than we intended — to refute it all. There’s no way that this can be done in a live debate where each side is given equal time.