A place for new ideas to settle.

17 September 2012

“Let no man deceive you by any means…”

or, the Protection Racket Behind “America’s Moral Decline,” Part the First

You might remember my previous two posts regarding a seminar about Biblical prophecy and the End Times. “Incredible Prophecies”—their emphasis on Prophecies, mine on Incredible—continues, and I went back to learn about America’s “moral decline.” It wasn’t as bizarre as I expected (no talk of “demonic principalities” puppeteering American elites, nor of the loss of the “Seven Mountains of Culture” out of true Christian control), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t nuts.

The lecture got off to a rollicking start with the assertion that America was founded on Biblical principles, including the Ten Commandments. I got a bit excited, and thought maybe this would be an extended fever-dream of Christian historical revisionism. It was more of a David Barton Lite treatment. Dan Bentzinger (the presenter, for those who didn’t click through to my previous posts) cycled through (cherry-picked) quotes from a few Founding Fathers—the most devout, arguably, and certainly Jefferson and Madison were right out—and their personal writings, to boot. The cheapest rebuttal to this mess of quote-mining is simply “Where are the references?” If the Ten Commandments really are the foundation of American democracy and law, why aren’t they (or God, or Jesus, or the Christian religion) ever mentioned in the Constitution? The Constitution is very carefully, very explicitly a secular document. Some of the Founders were quite devout; some weren’t. And the document they created transcends the muck and mire of their religion-soaked contemporary culture. That’s its strength.

Bentzinger also drew a couple quotes from later politicians like President Truman, to show that America used to be guided on Christian principles. Well, so what? That’s just Christian hegemony at work. Move on.

09 September 2012

Looking Forwards, Getting it Backwards


or, Concerning a Lecture Concerning Biblical Prophecy Concerning the End of Days and the Second Coming, Part the Second (Coming)


In the last post, I looked at the religious quirks of the “Incredible Prophecies”—their emphasis on Prophecies, mine on Incredible—lecture, entitled “…And the Time of the End.” Check it out, then check back here.

After bemoaning the lack of “true” Christians (though not as much as you might think; more on that in a bit!), speaker Dan Bentzinger unfurled a body of what he called evidence: various facts, figures, and events from recent history that prove Beyond a shadow of a doubt! that these are indeed well and truly the Last Days.

Never mind that he had just read some verses from Scripture condemning false prophets. Never mind that he had used Rapture-guy Harold Camping as an example of a latter-day false prophet. Never mind that 7DA itself is the product of a failed Rapture prophecy (called the Great Disappointment, of all things). Shhhh. Let’s just examine the “evidence.”

A Marriage of Heaven and Hucksterism


or, Concerning a Lecture Concerning Biblical Prophecy Concerning the End of Days and the Second Coming, Part the First


This evening at 7:00pm I attended one of a series of lectures on Biblical prophecy.

Those of you who know me or even those who have just read some of my blog posts might ascertain that I am neither religious nor that big into prophecy. But what you may not have guessed is that I still really like that stuff. I’ve come to understand that some of humanity’s best cultural output is in it’s weird things. The odd; the absurd; the cartoonish; the nonsense, especially nonsense that some people take very, very seriously. In the funhouse mirror of our kooks and crazy talk, certain fascinating features of the human psyche bulge out.

So there I was, at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church on North Forest Street in Bellingham.

I was an outlier.