Saturday, September 4, 2010

364: King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Revelation 17-19
"Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords." - Revelation 19:15-16

One of the angels that just tossed the bowls of God's wrath on humanity tells John he wants to show him the punishment of the "great prostitute". The angel then carries John away "in the spirit". So he's having a hallucination.

When they get to this woman, she's riding on the beast from yesterday (the seven-headed ten-horned bear-leopard). She holds a golden cup full of of "abominable things and the filth of her adulteries". On her forehead he has written "Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Prostitutes, and of the Abominations of the Earth".

This is the first obvious metaphor of Revelation. The woman is referred to as "the great city that rules over the kings of the earth". This is a strange kind of metaphor, though, in that John can actually see this woman. Like the other "metaphors", they seem to be physically acted out before John's eyes. Unless he's just making up the rather detailed physical description of these beasts.

The angel tells John that the beast is going to devour the woman and burn her with fire. It still isn't clear whether the beast is supposed to be a metaphor or not (people clearly interpret it as a metaphor). Nobody ever said the beast was actually a person. In fact, the word "antichrist" hasn't even made it into the book of Revelation.

John then hears many voices telling people to get out of Babylon, or they will share "her" torture. What did Babylon do that was so much worse than the rest of the cities of the world? Why are two full chapters of Revelation devoted to it?

After John hears these voices, the angel grabs a large millstone and throws it into the ocean. He says that with equal violence Babylon will be thrown down. Did he really need to throw a millstone into the ocean to illustrate his point?

After this, they are somehow back in heaven with the twenty-four elders and the eyeball covered monsters. They again fall down and worship God, saying "hallelujah". John tries to worship the angel that's been leading him around, but the angel tells him to worship God instead.

John then sees "heaven standing open". Isn't he already in heaven? Out of heaven comes a man riding a white horse. His eyes are blazing like fire, and he is wearing many crowns on his head. He is dressed in a robe that's been dipped in blood. This must be Jesus, because out of his mouth comes a large sword to "strike down nations". Why is the relatively peaceful Jesus now riding in on a white horse, covered in blood, personifying the wrath of God? Isn't Jesus's entire purpose to quell the wrath of God?

The army of the beast then gathers to try to kill Jesus. The beast and the "false prophet" are captured and thrown into a fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their army is killed with the sword that came out of Jesus's mouth. The bodies of the beast's army are devoured by birds (who somehow survived the multitude of plagues).

*News*
Apparently the Discovery Channel hostage taker was an atheist:
Another atheist extremist went on a rampage last week, taking hostages at the Discovery Channel building and demanding the network do more to proselytize evolution and fear about environmental Armageddon. Before he harmed anyone, police shot the terrorist dead.

The violence and the response of atheist evangelists, such as American shock-scientist PZ Myers, illustrate how organized atheism increasingly resembles religion.
Another? How many atheist extremists have gone on rampages recently? More importantly, do any of these people go on rampages in the name of atheism, or do they just happen to be atheists? I would contend that you have to already be completely insane to go on a rampage in the name of atheism. "I don't believe in something, therefore I must kill you", makes far less sense than "God tells me that I must kill you. I've devoted my life to God. Therefore I must kill you".

First of all, from reading this guy's writings, he's obviously insane. He wanted the Discovery Channel to start airing programs at least once a week telling people to stop having babies, and to sterilize themselves. This somehow had something to do with Darwinism(?).
The vast majority of atheists lead peaceful, moral and humble lives. They love their children and help their neighbors. A small fraction proselytize with confrontation, just as a small percentage of religious faithful proselytize and demonize others. Of the few atheist proselytizers, a tiny fraction kills people and blows things up for the cause.
It just so happens that all of that tiny percent of atheists are completely insane. Indeed, mental health experts are saying that James Lee suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Why is it that none of the 9/11 hijackers have been diagnosed with a mental disorder? Oh, that's right, they weren't insane. They had a firm belief, based on their religion, that God was calling them to kill people. Ok, maybe that is insane, but that means that all other religion is equally insane. Some religions just call for good things instead of bad things.

1 comment:

  1. I don't usually comment on blogs because I don't have one myself, but thanks for doing this. I was raised a fundie and gradually gave it up- but it's been a long journey. The crazy is difficult to get over-- especially in my own head. I read the bible cover to cover several times but always in the context of some tight-knit study group where the goal was to apply this crap to the here-and-now (and I wasn't questioning then). I found your blog earlier this summer and have been trying to read every day- each day dreading Revelation more and more. I have had nightmares about this book since I was a kid. Thanks for helping me face the fear by reading it again for me (you served as a comic/rational buffer)- I'm going to now read Age of Reason and maybe the bible (again) so I can face the terror again for myself. I think it's easier to get over the crazy if you just face it head on . . . like Alice with the Jaberwocky, "You aren't real!" Then it disappears. Phew!
    Congratulations on your accomplishment and thanks again!!

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