Friday, October 5, 2007

Foolish and Dangerous

I'm watching Bill Moyers review of John Hagee and other such mainframe nuts who can hardly wait until conflagration overwhelms the Middle East to usher in the last days and the second coming of Jesus.

In a vitriolic speach, Hagee calls for a preemptive strike against Iran, yet in the next breath, tells his audience that Iran will attack Israel, Russia will enter the fray, and then Jesus will come. In one moment, he's telling us to defend Israel, yet believes that only when Israel is attacked will the final age be ushered in. Sadly, such confused thinking is endangering Israel all the more, even as Hagee thrills to the idea of holy war, reminding his audience that we're reliving history - it's 1938 all over again, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Hitler. So what does Hagee want? Shall we defend Israel or welcome it's attack?

This is the worst kind of Dispensationalism and end-times thinking, both foolish and dangerous.

Foolish because it's an amalgam of contradictions, playing upon fears and a misconstrued view of Israel's place in the world, and end-time scenarios derived from a defective reading of Revelations. Dangerous, because it fires the convictions of a small and thoughtless group of Christians, Neo-cons, Theo-cons, Hyper-capitalists, militarists, American fascists and pro-Israel factions who currently hold the ear of certain elements in our government.

Fortunately, Hagee's place in the sun is being eclipsed by a more progressive, thoughtful and liberal Christianity which sees the world in the light of hope and faith, not warfare and violent end-times scenarios.

This form of Christianity has long been the silent majority, but not much longer. The sheer willfulness of folks like Hagee, claiming center stage in the last ten years, has awakened thoughtful Christians to get busy studying Scripture, reading widely and learning to articulate a more reasoned and reasonable message, joining together and reminding our government that the majority of Christians in this nation have a profoundly different take on things, a positive, humanitarian, progressive view that builds up rather than tears down.

The second part of Moyers' program - the Amish and the power of forgiveness - a reminder of another world for war mongering Christians like Hagee, a better world, a world where love governs the heart, forgiveness guides relationships and faith relies upon God more than upon fear and retaliatory strategies. Thank God for the Amish!