Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Michele Bachmann, Ignorance, and the End Times

Why anyone would give a rat's ass what Michele Bachmann thinks about anything these days is a foul mystery.  Unfortunately, there are many people in the U.S. who are as screwed up as is Ms. Bachmann.  Steeped in ignorance and paganism, they tear the Bible to shreds as they attempt to give credence to their political religiosity.

Most all of these people despise President Obama.  These are the "birthers," the ones who call him a Muslim, a socialist, a Marxist, or worse.  But all of that is merely to disguise their racism.  They hate Obama because he is only half-Caucasian, or more importantly from their point of view, half-Black.

Bachmann's pronouncements become "news" because she is not alone.  The United States, during the years that I've been alive, has become a nation of pious, pompous ignoramuses - people who vote for the totally unqualified, George W. Bush for example; people who think Mr. Trump would be a good president; people who ignore Ben Carson's inane nonsense; people who would vote for Christy, or Santorum, or Jeb Bush, or Mario, or any other of the creepy-crawlies who have lined up to seek the golden ring.  There are millions of Bachmanns by other names!

Just recently, Bachmann did an interview on a Christian right-wing radio program.  Bachmann has a history of warning that Obama's actions are going to bring about the "end times."  If he plays a round of golf, takes a walk on the beach, or reads a book, Bachmann will find a reason (and a Biblical passage) to "prove" these actions are the catalyst for the "end times."

Ironically, scientists have recently concluded that there will, indeed, be an "end times."  But it has nothing to do with pagan prophecy or deluded ex-Congresspersons, or Israel, or the U.S., or Russia, or Slovakia.  Scientists have determined the universe is dying.  It won't happen for eons, but the death throes have begun!  

Bachmann and her minions, however, worry not about the universe for their world is encompassed by the small empty areas of their brains.  As reported by Right Wing Watch, in this radio interview, Bachmann proclaimed that the Iran nuclear agreement is "proof" that we're living in the "end times."  The vote by the United Nations Security Council was "the most important national security event of my lifetime" and a fulfillment of Zechariah 12:3 where the prophet sees the nations of the world uniting against Israel, says this moron.

She went on to say, proving again how dense she is, that God would use "heaven's armies," which includes "groups like AIPAC to defeat the deal in Congress and in doing so 'prove to the world His power and His strength.'"

If God's going to defeat the deal, then the "end times" must certainly be delayed or postponed.  So we won't be living in the "end times."  Consistency has never been one of Bachmann's strong suits. 

It's all nonsense, of course.  Bachmann is neither Jew nor Christian.  Maybe she's Paulinian.  Her religion is light years away from what Jesus taught.

Zechariah, along with Haggai and Malachi, constitute a triad - the last of Israel's prophets.  The book of Zechariah derives in part from "the early years of the reign of Darius I (522-486 BCE)."  It is concerned with "the restoration of community in the Persian period ... and legitimizes the rebuilding of the Temple."  It emphasizes repentance and urges the people to follow God's will so they can "avoid the fate of their ancestors."

It looks forward to an "ideal future in which the remnant of Israel will grow and prosper, Jerusalem will take its proper place, the Temple will become the focal point of worship for the entire world, and the kingship of the Lord [Yahweh, not Jesus] will be recognized by all nations."

Zechariah is not about the "end times" or the "Rapture."  It's about "future glory" for Zion.  The prophet sees much turmoil, a "cosmic upheaval" even, which will result in a new Jerusalem.

But there's more.  Many scholars are quite certain that originally, the book of Zechariah included only chapters 1-8, and that at a later time, the rest - chapters 9-14 - were added to give the book its current arrangement.  Each of these two sections are by different authors and the latter chapters derive from the Hellenistic period

While Christians early on interpreted certain messianic passages as applying to their Christ, they did so wrongly and do so wrongly today.  The writers of Zechariah knew not of Jesus or any other particular messianic figure.  And while many in the rabbinic community felt these texts may have referred to a messianic time of the future -a time when the Lord (Yahweh) would rule and Jerusalem would be the center of the world - this messianic time was not thought to be, in any sense, the "end times" but the beginning of a new time!

Zechariah chapter 12 begins with a poem which is a prophetic "word of the Lord":

"The utterance of the Lord,
Who stretched out the skies
And made firm the earth,
And created man's breath within him:

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a bowl of reeling for the peoples all around.  Judah shall be caught up in the siege upon Jerusalem... [verse 3] when all the nations of the earth gather against her."

But this again has nothing to do with the "end times" and in fact, will be a joyous time, for the Lord says, "I will make Jerusalem a stone for all the peoples to lift; all who lift it shall injure themselves."  There's more along those lines but the end result is that those who fight against Jerusalem will be "devoured" and "Jerusalem shall continue on its site, in Jerusalem."

None of this has anything whatsoever to do with current events, or the United States, or Iran, or Canada, or Turkey, or Iraq, or Syria, or Greece, or Obama, or the United Nations, or nuclear war or my cat, Cleopatra!

The UN Security Council vote does not fulfill "the prophecy of Zechariah."  

God and "heaven's armies" (e.g. AIPAC) will not be used by God to defeat the Iran deal in Congress.

Ignorant flakes like Bachmann and all the other non-Christian con artists - Mike Huckabee, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, Rick Perry, Jindal, Jeb, Santorum, etc. - are, well, full of crap!  They massacre the Bible and especially the prophets for their own misguided and sick political ideologies.

You may safely ignore anything and everything they have to say.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

It is impossible to be a Christian and a member of the Republican Party

 [Jesus and the rich young ruler]

Paul Krugman, the erstwhile economist, noted that during that so-called debate last week between the Republican wannabe pretenders to the throne, our economic problems were referred to 10 times while God was mentioned 19 times.

Many, if not most of these suits who wish to sit in the Oval Office, claim to be Christians and they're damn proud of it!  Mike Huckabee, maybe the least Christian of the bunch, is a Southern Baptist preacher, among other things.  Jeb! is a Roman Catholic.  Mario was a Catholic, then a Mormon, then a Baptist, and I think he's again given his fealty to the papacy.  Whatever religious garb they wear, they wear it with pride and often use their religion to bolster their political views.  Everyone of them is homophobic and can quote chapter and verse where the Bible says homosexuality is an "abomination."

The stories of Jesus that appear in the New Testament frequently call attention to his animosity toward the Pharisees.  Even if the story of Jesus is factual (there's no evidence to support such a claim), the men who cobbled together their stories from the first writer Mark, (who, in turn, cobbled his story from an unknown source), all make note of the difference between Jesus and the religious leaders of the time. 

This is suspect, because, in fact, the Pharisees were the good guys of the first century, doing the work of God to the best of their ability.  The priests were the ones who tended to climb over the common folk on their way to the temple.  Because the gospels were written many long years after Jesus was supposed to have walked the dusty trails of Palestine, the writers had some problems determining just what was the religious situation in Jesus' day.  And it is likely none of them were Jewish!  None of the gospel writers had met him or knew him but simply copied and modified material which had been put together in a rather shaky attempt to give a history to the Christ to which Paul and others referred. 

We don't know who wrote the gospel stories.  The names are fictitious.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, could just as well have been Samuel, Joseph, Nathan and David.  And by the 2nd Century, there had developed a good deal of animosity between the Christians and the Jews.  That animosity is reflected in many of the gospel tales.

It would be reasonable to conclude that if Jesus had been real he would not have been in conflict with the Pharisees.  They were devoted to keeping the law, as was he.  Jesus was a teacher (rabbi) as well as a healer and a prophet.  If Jesus had been real he would have worked with the Pharisees, not in opposition to them, as they mirrored his love for God and the Law.

Nevertheless, the gospels are adamant about a spiritual conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees.  Now the Pharisees were human beings, just like the rest of us.  I'm sure there were good ones, some not-so-good ones, and a few rascals.  The rascals are the ones that got Jesus' attention for they were often hypocritical, calling for obedience to God and his Law, while flouting it in their own lives.  Jesus said they liked to stand in the middle of the street and pray loudly believing that others would think more highly of them for their spirituality.  Jesus said they were hypocrites and his followers should not do that but should shut themselves in a closet when they pray!

Jesus said many other things, most of which, if not all of which, the Republican Party and its leaders pretend to believe but disavow in their principles and their actions.  One thing I've mentioned numerous times on this blog is the fact that Jesus had no use for riches or the wealthy and in fact said it would be almost impossible for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

And speaking of prayer:  The Republican Party continues to fight to force our public institutions to allow Christian prayer, in classrooms and public venues.  Rick Perry, the hypocritical former governor of Texas, was one of the leaders of a huge public prayer service in Houston a few years ago.   This was exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught!

The Republican Party is founded on greed and fed by the rich!  The Republican Party lives to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.  And they do this while claiming to be good Christians.  How can this be?  They invoke the old fears of "socialism" and "communism" and they wring their hands because so many of our problems are brought on by immigrants and the minorities.   Racism is always blatant in the Republican Party!

The Republican Party refuted the election of a black president.  This was purely racial.  We've not seen the likes of such hatred and non-cooperation.  The Republican Party, from the moment Mr. Obama was elected, swore to do everything in its power to bring him down, and welcomed into the Party all those teapot crackpots and other nuts who fearlessly proclaimed any lie about President Obama that came to their demented minds.  Even today, many in the Republican Party can't bring themselves to say Mr. Obama is a citizen of the United States!  Even today, many claim he is a Muslim!

The Republican Party in 2015 stands in open opposition to almost everything the Jesus of the Gospels taught.  Jesus taught us not to judge others, to turn the other cheek, to give our cloaks to those who are cold, to walk the extra mile, to feed the poor, to take care of the sick, to visit those who are in prison.  

The Republican Party in 2015 is a war party.  It is homophobic, judging homosexuals as deviants designed to hell.  It doesn't turn the other cheek, it puts on the gloves.  It doesn't take care of the poor, it figures out new ways every day to screw the poor and put more people in prison and then privatize the prisons so the rich can get richer!  Millions of Americans do not have health care.  The Republican Party has fought any attempt to provide health care for those without and continues to do so.  Today, Republican leaders are vowing to fight Obama's agreement with Iran, even if it leads to war and the deaths of millions of people!

It is impossible to be a Christian and a member of the Republican Party!

Note:  These thoughts were crystallized from an article in Daily Kos, "You Cannot be a Republican and a Christian."