Why Christian Zionism is nothing short of outright heresy

Israel/Palestine
on 77 Comments
 
craig book2
Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict (2011).

We asked Craig Nielsen to tell us about his new book, and the following is an excerpt from the introduction of
Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict (Foundation University Press (2011).

Christian Zionism, the belief that the current Zionist state of Israel is an unambiguous portent of the imminent return of Christ, is said to be the largest growing cult in America. With some 70 million Christian evangelicals in the U.S. (a large proportion subscribing to Christian Zionist beliefs), unconditional support of Israel on religious grounds translates into massive lobbying power in a country where the “religious right” has seen itself as the leaders in a fight against the infidels of secularism, Islam, socialism and any one else in their way.

Yet few, if any, scholarly Christian theologians support this view. It is a belief advanced mostly by powerful TV evangelists and lobby groups. The average “garden variety” Christian has little to arm themselves against the deluge of almost hysterical demands on Christians that they must support the Zionists’ absolute entitlement to their colonialist project in the Holy Land with its dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs.

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict informs Bible-believing Christians with clear and easily understood reasons why Christian Zionism is nothing short of outright heresy. The book has taken inspiration from the resistance to Zionism from Orthodox Jews as well as arguments from Christian theologians over the centuries showing that both Old and New Testaments of the Christian and Jewish scriptures provide no comfort for Christian Zionist dogma. The book shows that the idea that the Israel-Palestine conflict is a basically religious conflict is false; the conflict finds its roots in European Zionist colonialism and western indifference to real democracy in the Middle East.
 

77 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    January 23, 2012, 1:47 pm

    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

    Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,

    for they will be filled.

    Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.

    Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.

    Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    —————————-
    My man Jesus. Im just gonna go out on a limb here and say that Jesus would probably not be down with the current machinations of the religion dedicated to his life – and I really dont think he was a ancient WASP capitalist who believed in the profit motive and “strong national defense” “states rights” etc. I sometimes hope that the “rapture” really does happen, because I am of the mind that the “jesus freaks” will be the ones “left behind.”

    • john h
      January 23, 2012, 3:30 pm

      Dan, the limb you went out on is strong and firmly attached to the tree of life.

      Those blessings, and those who get them, are Jesus’ answer or clarifcation of the blessing Christian Zionists twaddle on about from what God said to Abraham.

      You’re right, Jesus is not down with CZ, and probably not with those other things you mentioned either.

      As for that “left behind” stuff, there will be surprises for some then. The funny thing is that even that they get backwards; in fact, to be “left behind” is to be in the good books, and to to be “raptured” or taken away is to be in the bad books.

      • Dan Crowther
        January 23, 2012, 4:15 pm

        HA! No kiddin’ I didnt know they had “the rapture” backwards….Not surprised in the least though, I should say

      • FreddyV
        January 23, 2012, 5:44 pm

        The parable of the wheat and the tares.

        The tares get thrown in the fire……….

      • richb
        January 23, 2012, 7:06 pm

        The historic Christian doctrine is of a General Resurrection not a separate Rapture. My description: Jesus returns, roll credits. The Biblical description of the same from Daniel 12 below. The Yom Kippur greeting G’mar chatimah tovah refers to being in the book of life referenced below. As we can see below only the tzaddikim (the righteous ones) are “the people”. So Orthodox Jews and (little o) orthodox Christians agree. Zionism is heresy.

        At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

  2. FreddyV
    January 23, 2012, 1:50 pm

    Craig is a spot on guy on this subject. He did at one stage have a PDF on his site which I’d recommend if you want to gain greater understanding of Christian Zionism. I’ll be ordering this book for sure.

  3. tombishop
    January 23, 2012, 1:56 pm

    Glad to see your post Craig. The role of Christian Zionism in U.S. politics is little known by the rest of U.S. society outside of this subgroup. The momentum that Newt Gingrich has at the moment is not something that has happened overnight. The dogma of the Religious Right theocratic agenda as been an underground brush fire in American politics for 30 years which is now breaking out into the open. It will finally come under the scrutiny of every thinking person of whatever belief. It is late, however. As Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes”.

    Rachel Tabachnick at Talk to Action (link to talk2action.org) has been covering the Religious Right for years. Her column “Eight Reasons Newt Gingrich is Emerging as the Religious Right’s Anybody-but-Mitt Candidate” is important background information for understanding the source of Gingrich’s current momentum. It is at
    link to talk2action.org

  4. Real Jew
    January 23, 2012, 2:28 pm

    I’m gonna have to agree Dan. I doubt Jesus would he very pleased with his “dedicated followers’ ” lust for colonialism, racism, and to be blunt murder, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing.

    Though I have to admit, given the significant presence of Israel in the bible, it was mighty clever of the zionists to use that to garner blind unconditional Christian support for present day Israel. (regardless how atrocious it may be)

    • tombishop
      January 23, 2012, 4:54 pm

      According to a speech Netanyahu gave to Hagee’s organization Christians United for Israel in Jerusalem on March 8, 2010, he believes mid-19th century Protestant Christian Zionists were responsible for the origin of Zionism. View his speech at

      link to youtube.com

      The relevant passage begins at 5:25.

      If you are speaking about today, the Israeli government does blatantly pander to Christian Zionists in order to manipulate American public opinion. I was in Israel in November and it was quite amazing to see the evangelical groups being shuttled around to be shown a quite controlled narrative like they were visiting Disney World or that creationism theme park in Tennessee.

      • Charon
        January 23, 2012, 6:12 pm

        They were definitely responsible for dispensationalism and the rapture hoax. The rapture did not exist before then and protestants started interpreting the Book of Revelation (which in all honesty, I doubt anybody around today could interpret it) into war mongering prophecy fulfillment. Christian Zionists pressured Truman over Israel and they also made up the majority of the Zionist lobbies.

      • FreddyV
        January 24, 2012, 11:57 am

        Revelation was written as a prophetic text, but also a thinly veiled message to Christians around the time of it’s writing explaining what was about to happen. It actually warns the readers that the events were imminent in Chapter 1 verse 3:

        Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

        There are arguments for Revelation being written pre and post AD70. The pre AD70 argument also has the added benefit of the author having knowledge of current affairs as to what was happening in Jerusalem at the time, making it less of a prophetic writing, but more of a veiled message to Christians in the region.

        Revelation fits very well with the events of AD70 and was the majority understanding for centuries until Dispensationalism crept in.

        Nowadays, we’re deluged with the end of the world Omen / End Of Days / apocalyptic imagery, the future reading of Revelation seems very plausible, even if highly speculative, which is why so many evangelicals fall for it.

      • homingpigeon
        January 24, 2012, 12:52 am

        It’s true, Christian fundamentalists started on modern Zionism before Herzl was born, and there was more than one source to this unfortunate stream. Scofield was one. There was also a stream within the Anglican Church which manifested itself in Christ Church in Jerusalem, built in 1830 or so in the design of a synagogue, with Hebrew scriptures on the walls. Its mission was, and still is, to preach Christianity to returning Jews.

      • Real Jew
        January 24, 2012, 1:08 am

        Exactly! And what better way to manipualte American public opinion then through religion. To make them believe that Israel’s colonial enterprise is approved by God himself. That their spiritual and religious salvation is determined by the realization of a Greater Israel.

      • dahoit
        January 24, 2012, 11:34 am

        Unfortunately none of the adherents actually believe in God.
        Or else they wouldn’t act the way they do.

      • seanmcbride
        January 24, 2012, 11:42 am

        They believe in an Old Testament ethnic nationalist and aggressively territorial God of hatred, war and genocide.

      • seanmcbride
        January 24, 2012, 11:50 am

        This is why neo-Confederates and crypto-Confederates are natural born Christian Zionists — they are barely aware that the New Testament exists. They are Old Testament-centric. Old Testament ethnic nationalism provides them with a pretext to express their brutal racism.

      • eljay
        January 24, 2012, 12:02 pm

        >> Unfortunately none of the adherents actually believe in God.

        Or perhaps they, like most religious people, believe in a “flexible” gawd that suits their purposes.

      • patm
        January 25, 2012, 8:39 am

        It’s enough to make your head spin! Can we summarize it this way:

        There are Christians; there are Christian Evangelicals who support Israel for unknown reasons; there are Christian Evangelicals who support Israel because they believe in dispensationalism, i.e. a pre-tribulation rapture.

  5. DICKERSON3870
    January 23, 2012, 2:29 pm

    RE: “Christian Zionism, the belief that the current Zionist state of Israel is an unambiguous portent of the imminent return of Christ, is said to be the largest growing cult in America.” ~ Nelson

    FROM ANDREW LEVINE, 01/20/12:

    (excerpt)…It is a stretch to attribute coherent thoughts to the other GOP contenders, but to the extent one can, it would be fair to say that, in some vague way, they share Paul’s views on limited government; after all, they say they are libertarians too. But they are also, in varying degrees, in the thrall of a strain of anglo-Protestant evangelical theology, dispensationalism, according to which, for the end time to come, there must be a real world Jewish state in the Holy Land. Before the Israeli Right decided, in the 1970s, to cultivate the crackpots now running the show in evangelical circles, dispensationalism was a fringe, indeed heretical, line of thought. By now, it is almost mainstream in the evangelical community, the most vocal and active component of the Republican base. And so each of Paul’s rivals pay Israeli governments homage, whether from genuine conviction or sheer opportunism is impossible to say.
    To the extent that they care about consistency, they, like the faithful whose votes they covet, simply assume that the commandments of the market somehow accord with the will of their Almighty God. To entertain the possibility that Paul might be right would require too much thinking. But, to listen to them talk, on the off-chance that he is right, as they might well conclude if they understood their own positions better, their good pal Netanyahu’s wishes would take precedence every time. It’s the least they could do since he was the one who pioneered their strategy of contemptuous obduracy for putting Obama in his place. Besides that, what God hath given, let not Mammon take away…

    SOURCE – link to counterpunch.org

    • teta mother me
      January 23, 2012, 7:41 pm

      I don’t know how deeply Craig Neilson excavates in his history of Christian Zionism. The roots go back much farther than the last 20 or 30 years, even farther back in time than Blackstone & Scofield, who were influenced by Untermyer.

      Christian Zionism was an impulse that was at the heart of British Christian expression. In the 18th century, the British considered the Old Testament and New Testament were, equally, the ‘British national epic.’ Lord Shaftesbury wrote and worked diligently, through Lord Palmerston, to “return Jews to their rightful home, Israel,” which, just incidentally, Shaftesbury & Palmerston figured would be beneficial to the empire interests of Great Britain.

      The “strain of anglo-Protestant evangelical theology” that has an affinity with zionism is more pervasive than dispensationalism, which is a genuine man-made bastardization of Christian theology.

      Roman Catholics have been drawn into the evangelical movement through the work of many, many converts from Protestant evangelical denominations to Catholicism, such as Richard John Neuhaus; professors at Franciscan Univ. Steubenville, OH, Christendom College in Front Royal, VA, and the college founded by the Dominos Pizza guy (what is it about pizza?), who modeled their ‘ministries’ and teaching styles on Robertson’s and Falwell’s Christian colleges. As far as I can determine, Rick Santorum has only an arm’s length association with these Catholic evangelical movements; certainly, he appeals to and panders to the pro-life set of Catholic & evangelicals, but not so sure how closely he’s committed to evangelical Christian zionism. He just hates Muslims and Iran.

  6. Justice Please
    January 23, 2012, 2:47 pm

    “Christian Zionism is nothing short of outright heresy.”

    This message us much appreciated. I think there are many Christians who don’t read the Bible thoroughly and follow their leaders Zionism. But if they are informed of the true content of their sacred book, maybe they change their mind.

    “It is a belief advanced mostly by powerful TV evangelists and lobby groups.”

    Which raises the question: Are those TV clowns and lobby groups created by Jewish Zionists in the first place? Wasn’t there the story that Jerry Falwell got private jets paid by some Zionist organization?

    And might I add: For all the 70 million evangelicals who surely would provide much-needed votes, Ron Paul never catered to them by spouting “we must kill Muslims and protect Israel” bullshit.

    • tombishop
      January 23, 2012, 5:32 pm

      See my comment to Real Jew above.

      • Justice Please
        January 24, 2012, 1:16 pm

        tombishop,

        you mean concerning Netanjahus belief that it were Christian Zionists who started the whole shebangbang? I don’t think so. Does Herzl mention them? Or Weizman?

  7. Blake
    January 23, 2012, 3:10 pm

    100% correct.

    Christian theology totally contradicts Zionism. “Israel” is not a place, it is the worship of “God”. Christian Zionism is an oxymoron.

    • FreddyV
      January 23, 2012, 5:47 pm

      See Matthew 11 when John the Baptist’s boys go to see Jesus. He quotes from Isaiah 35 which talks about those coming to Zion. Spot on sir!

    • dahoit
      January 24, 2012, 11:42 am

      Brainwashed moonie loonie heresy gone mainstream.Remember the outcries in the 70s about the moonie loonies?Once the Zionists saw the potential of the alliance with these ignorant idiots as beneficial,we saw an outbreak of morons and apostates like Robertso,Falwell and Hagee given ample air time on the Zio networks.
      It’s wonderful to control the MSM,neh?
      The FCC,fighting every day for anti trust measures and freedom of the airwaves,as they protect the American peoples interests.Sheesh.

  8. W.Jones
    January 23, 2012, 3:38 pm

    As I understand it, the nationalist movement in Jesus’ time was the Zealots and they were a separate group from the Christians, whose political position was that His kingdom was not of this world.

  9. seafoid
    January 23, 2012, 3:42 pm

    Do not kill
    Do not steal
    Do not bear false witness against your neighbour
    Do not covet your neighbour’s house

    In what way is Zionism Jewish ? How is christian Zionism christian ?

    • john h
      January 23, 2012, 7:06 pm

      Jewishness has its origins in Judaism, which came from Abram’s encounter with God. Zionism rejects and attempts to replace key aspects of Judaism and has hijacked others for its own purposes.

      That same god said that, in wanting to be “like all the nations”, the Jews were “rejecting me that I should not reign over them”, just as they had done in the past, “they have forsaken me and served other gods”. 1 Samuel 8:5-8

      Zionism is thus a form of idolatry, the bowing of the knee to the state and the land. In that Zionism is part of Jewish history but it is never what true Jews can agree to.

      Christian Zionism is a contradiction and an oxymoron, as Blake wrote above. It is not Christian in theology, and not Christian in attitude and action. It has the voice of a false prophet and the mind of a cult. It is deceiving and being deceived.

      Christian Zionism involves approving of and encouraging a physical war to take and keep physical land, using Israel as its proxy. Jesus said his kingdom is not of this world, and that the one who takes the sword will perish by the sword.

  10. ahadhaadam
    January 23, 2012, 3:52 pm

    It is of course a cult based on ignorance. I doubt that many of them realize that by supporting the “Jewish State”, they are helping dispossess other Christians, since Palestinians are also Christian.

    • lysias
      January 24, 2012, 5:11 pm

      And our invasion of Iraq led to terrorism against Iraqi Christians on such a scale that half the Christians fled the country (and most of them have found refuge in Assad’s Syria.)

    • powzon
      January 30, 2012, 1:08 pm

      Whether they’re pretending to be or actually ignorant of this, they either focus on “good Arab” Christians who are Israeli citizens or who have been discriminated against in some way by Muslims. The honest ones, who don’t tone down their belief that Christ is the Messiah for all, Jew and Gentile, spend much effort on Jewish-Arab churches in Israel.

      The schemers and bigots go on and on with Zionist-supplied propaganda about how Arab Christians aren’t really Arabs; true Arabs are those who conquered after Muhammad’s death, imposing Arabic language and culture on their subjects. Middle East Christians are by definition not Arab at all. Informed by this, they go on to expound on Arab Muslims especially, but also other Muslims being the spiritual descendents of Ishmael and Esau, condemned by their ancestors’ choices to be opposed not only to the Jews but to everyone, and so worthy targets of condemnation and aggression.

  11. Blake
    January 23, 2012, 3:55 pm

    “Christian Zionists” believe once all the “Jews” are living in “Israel” and have “rebuilt” their temple and re-established levitical practices of animal sacrifices they will worship the anti-Christ for 3 ½ yrs, then Jesus returns with an army of hundreds of thousands strong and kills them all…well all but 144,000 who convert to Christianity.

    Onward “Christian” Zionist Muppets – Full Documentary‬

    • teta mother me
      January 24, 2012, 5:50 pm

      there is a group of christian zionists who believe that blake, but they are the fringe of the fringe. the loudest fringe, but also the dumbest.

      moreover, the christian zionists who believe this are actively cultivated by Jewish neocons such as Mitchell Bard and/or the group at Children of Holocaust Survivors who asked Bard for reassurance that “Christian Zionists will support Jews if Palestinians seek unilateral UN action” (at about 50 min) and Yechial Eckstein, who actively encourages Christian involvement in Israeli politics and solicits funds from Christians for Jewish causes.

      Don’t pin this all on Christians.

      • Blake
        January 24, 2012, 9:50 pm

        I take that to mean “Don’t pin this on all Christian Zionists” as opposed to just Christians?

        I was raised to believe in helping others , especially the downtrodden, and that we are social justice advocates, not warriors. That to me is the heart of Christianity.

      • teta mother me
        January 24, 2012, 11:04 pm

        The great confusion that occurs — deliberately, it seems — when discussing zionism/Judaism/Israel and Christianity/Christian zionism is that two or three categories get mixed up with each other: zionism is POLITICAL; Israel is obviously a political entity; Christian zionism is a political entity.

        Judaism and Christianity are religious concepts– they speak to the elements of religion, namely, a sense of the mystical; ritual; ethics; and an institutional organization.

        Zionism, Christian zionism, and Israel are concerned with controlling land, people, resources, and power. Totally different concepts from religion.

      • powzon
        January 30, 2012, 3:20 pm

        The real problem, for all concerned, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Israeli, Arab, US citizen, etc. is eschatological. Is there a God? If so, who and what is he/she/it? Has this God been doing anything, and will it do anything further, to define itself to the world? Doesn’t defining itself to the world mean affecting the world in some ways? The orthodox response of all three religions to this is ‘yes’. The trouble has been, is and will be in the details.

        Some Jews, Christians and Muslims implicitly accept that violence is a terrible but, because of human wickedness, unavoidable product of the remaking of the world. Some fewer, for now, accept it is a necessary means of furthering an eschatological program. Even fewer still–may their numbers decrease–endorse it and so are forced to precede it with calumny.

        The first group includes Christian Zionists who are completely non-violent, occupied with evangelization among Jews and Arabs alike, in order to build churches comprised of both.

        Christian Zionists in the third group have lost their view of the Gospel completely, or never had one, and take an exotic, attractively militant and supremacist religious Zionism in place of their spiritual emptiness.

        Christian Zionists in the second group are harder hearts than the first, but they don’t have the right combination of foolish guts, unfulfilled bigotry and blinding ignorance to be in the third group.

        Once advocating a Palestinian state, Pat Robertson’s CBN has been increasingly moving towards the third group, presenting all the latest rightwing and religious Zionist historical, religious and spiritual apologetics/propaganda. CBN.com even maintains links to the rightmost of Jerusalem Post columnists. That they could square this with the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ is astounding.

  12. Citizen
    January 23, 2012, 4:08 pm

    I know some fundie ladies; they are nice ladies, wouldn’t dream of hurting a fly, are honest and straightforward in their personal lives. They are not opportunists like Michelle Bachmann, or even some mini version of her. They don’t cheat, lie, or steal.
    They think they have a personal relationship with God through Jesus, and they pray for the rest of us to share the warmth and solace of this light. They all firmly believe that the bible says we are all instructed by God to support the Jews, the chosen people, and if this means sending their own kids or grandkids to go fight for Israel, they will do all they can to make this a reality. Israel to them is not a metaphor or figure of speech; it is the current state of Israel. They will caution you too that those who do not support the Jews (meaning the good Jews; they are will remind you that there are bad apples in every group of humans) will suffer God’s wrath. Another notion they use to counter any facts you try to give them regarding, e.g., the I-P conflict, is, essentially, let God sort it out since only he can, and/or some version of “God works in wonderous, mysterious ways, ways we are too small to ever comprehend, but God is God, you are not. If you reach an impasse trying to talk to them and supported by logic and facts, they will always bless you, and say they will pray for you. In their practical daily life, they are hard-nosed, and sticklers for facts about anything involving, threatening in the slightest, their economic well being. This does not at all mean they ever look closely at their own government’s special relationship with the state of Israel. They’ve never met a Jewish person they recognized as such, and they have no personal friendships with any Jew. They are legion in rural and small town America–in “fly-over country”.

    • ahadhaadam
      January 23, 2012, 5:13 pm

      It’s hard to underestimate the value of the Biblical brand name in the marketing of Israel to Christian consumers.

      Would Israel have this support from those Christian Evangelists had Ben Gurion decided to name the Jewish State Birobijan or Jewistan in 1948? Obviously not. But by hijacking a Biblical brand name, the Zionists, despite being mostly atheists at that time, were able to sell their colonial enterprise in Palestine as a continuation of the Biblical Israel and to pull on religious heartstrings across the Christian world.

    • john h
      January 23, 2012, 11:20 pm

      These are “the Jews, the chosen people” these “nice ladies” and their mates should grasp they are supporting:

      January 22, 2012

      Tel Aviv refugee froze to death. ‘Go back to Africa, it’s warmer.’

      link to 972mag.com

      The stranger who dwells among you
      shall be to you as one born among you,
      and you shall love him as yourself;
      for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
      I am the Lord.

      Leviticus 19:34

    • Danaa
      January 24, 2012, 4:10 pm

      Citizen, I’ve had some success in at least confounding, if not “convincing” some CZ’s to pause and consider a few facts. the argument I used was that the Jews who are in Israel are, for the most part, not actually the true descendants of the bibilical Jews, neither in lineage, nor in spirit. The real jews (by lineage) are, in truth, the palestinians, even if they now have other religions. By my argument, God has presented the Christians a great challenge as to who they need to cast their support with. Perhaps God cares a great deal about what happens to the true descendents of the jews , so the rapture cannot come until all the refugees return.

      At that point, they’ll mumble something about how it is not up to them to decide who’s a Jew (thus joining a great good crowd). To which I answer that in fact, that is exactly their job, since the Jews need true Christians’ help to join in the salvation exercise.

      After that, there’s usually silence. Maybe they go off to think a little, maybe they ask their priest, maybe they put it out of mind, as they must do with all other challenges. But maybe the seed of doubt has been sewn.

      It helps, BTW, that I sound awfully convincing (even to myself) and have the pedigree to supposedly know what I’m talking about (not really, but that’s just between you and me and a few lurkers).

  13. radii
    January 23, 2012, 4:43 pm

    talk about worshiping a false idol

  14. American
    January 23, 2012, 5:05 pm

    I have never heard or seen a Christian zio outside of audiences of the TV God merchants except one fellow I ran into out in the boondocks. I was asking for directions to somewhere and had to listen to his end of the world speech before I could get away.
    They must all live somewhere but I have no idea where.

    • MHughes976
      January 23, 2012, 5:44 pm

      One day I’ll get my copy of Matt Taibbi’s ‘Great Derangement’ back from the American priest to whom I’ve lent it and then I will again have access to the fullest – and in a way sympathetic – account of how CZ operates.

      • patm
        January 24, 2012, 3:28 pm

        I’ve just ordered up a copy of Matt Taibbi’s ‘Great Derangement’ from my local library, Martin. Thanks for the tip.

        Something else. You recently referred to the writer of the rapture commentaries, Cyrus Scofield as an ‘ignorant reactionary’. I’ve no doubt you’re right, and I’m wondering if you can recommend a biography (or any biographical source at all) on this man.

        He certainly has caused a great deal of trouble in the world. And I sometimes think we need someone to deconstruct these commentaries in such a way that they will prove to all Christian rapturists that they are a load of old cobblers. A tall order, I grant you.

      • MHughes976
        January 24, 2012, 6:03 pm

        I’m thinking, patm, that I may have looked as if I knew more than I really do about Scofield, but I think I may have been right in what I said! I understand Sco was a lawyer with a highly chequered career and with no real theological education, taking his ideas from others, mainly the fanatical JN Darby. I also understand that he encouraged his readers to believe in Archbishop Ussher’s seventeenth century calculations of the age of the world. In the well-informed late nineteenth century that was pretty reactionary and a show of willful ignorance both of scientific and of literary knowledge as they existed at the time.
        There’s the even more disturbing question of CZ among progressive thinkers, which I think you’ve mentioned before. I found Gabriel Piterberg’s ‘Returns of Zionism’ helpful about this. I’ve a memory that Netanyahu once expressed the view that CZ had ‘enabled’ Jewish Z.
        Let us know what you think of Taibbi.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 24, 2012, 7:53 pm

        patm, i watched a youtube video someone posted here once and it explained that the majority of the changes in scofield’s bible occurred after his death in the 1920’s when the domain was transfered tooxford university press (or some variation of that thought). if you go to youtube for a search there are numerous videos there. but i can’t recall which one i saw before nor recommend any.

      • powzon
        January 30, 2012, 1:21 pm

        Regarding Scofield, would you say wikipedia has a good sizing-up, link to en.wikipedia.org ? He may have been intelligent, dreaming, willful, rash and impetuous, esteeming himself as certain of his stances, but actually unstable and seeking, drawn to a kind of grandiosity, not reflective in a productive way. Like actors and televangelists.

        Netanyahu has been pitching to Christians for all the few decades of his career. He’s very good at a kind of cultural name-dropping: many years ago in some speech to some pseudo-intellectual, conservative political group, he referenced “George Eliot, the Christian Zionist”. Of course, if you know Daniel Deronda, his reference was accurate.

    • FreddyV
      January 23, 2012, 5:55 pm

      There’s millions of ‘em. They live nice little holy lives and are to all intents the ‘very nice ladies’ that Citizen talks about.

      Most don’t understand the full theology of it, but they buy into it as it brings a real living perspective to their belief. Jesus is coming soon and he’ll save them all from tribulation. Back in the 30’s and 40’s Many Christian Zionists believed the Holocaust was ‘The Time of Jacob’s Trouble’ and that it was ordained by God. It’s a seriously bent out of shape theology.

      • powzon
        January 30, 2012, 3:27 pm

        “Most don’t understand the full theology of it, but they buy into it as it brings a real living perspective to their belief. Jesus is coming soon and he’ll save them all from tribulation.”

        There’s far more to the theology than most of even their teachers could competently address. The whole issue suffers from one of the diseases of US Christianity: self-centeredness.

    • dahoit
      January 24, 2012, 11:44 am

      Aint too many here in NY,or at least downstate.They’d be laughed at.

  15. HRK
    January 23, 2012, 5:27 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book! Thanks in advance!

  16. GalenSword
    January 23, 2012, 5:42 pm

    In a lecture at the Harvard Divinity School two decades ago, Hans Küng pointed out that Islam provides a true witness to the life of Jesus — not the edited gentile Hellenistic version, but a genuine Semitic tradition that probably preserves the Jamesian perspective that was naturally closest to the reality of Jesus.

    Evangelicals often work hard to learn scripture in Hebrew and Greek, but unless they actually learn and study the Quran in Arabic, they will never truly understand Jesus and his messianic mission, for the Quran in Arabic represents the oldest least tampered tradition of Jesus.

    Closely reading verses of the Christian and Hebrew Bibles along with ayas of the Quran can elucidate the plain meaning of all three texts and show unexpected connections.

    Here is a typical English translation (New International Version) of Matthew 5:5:

    Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

    [Note that in some versions of the Christian Bible Matthew verses 5:5 and 5:4 interchange.]

    The above English translation is sloppy as both the Syriac Peshitta and also the Greek version of the New Testament show.

    Where the English Bibles usually have the phrase the earth, the Peshitta uses the word ar`a (Hebrew haaretz), and the Greek New Testament has the phrase ten gen, which means primarily the land and not the earth. (See versions of the verse at the end of the article.) Aramaic speakers at the time of Jesus would almost certainly have understood ar`a idiomatically as the Land of Israel or the Promised Land.

    Matthew 5:5 translates into Arabic as:

    al-barakatu lilmuslimina fasawfa yarithuna-l-arda. [native Arabic speaker’s translation]

    tas`adu-l-muslimuna fasawfa yarithuna-l-arda. [Joachim Martillo]

    The people of the land (am-haaretz) recognized that Jesus was the messiah (but not God). In return for their love, Jesus conferred upon his peasant followers the covenant of the land in a restatement of the promise to Abraham. He told the humble people (al-muslimuna, ha`anawim) that they would inherit the land (al-ard, ha’aretz) once the local religious-political elites, the local fanatics, and the imperial Romans had finished slaughtering each other.

    The Quran expresses this covenantal concept explicitly in Sura 21:105.

    wa-laqad katabnaa fi-l-zabur min ba`di-l-dhikri anna-l-arda yarithuha `ibadiya-l-salihuna 105

    We have decreed in the Psalms, from beside (in addition to) the reminder, that the land shall be inherited by My righteous (pious — salihuna) servants.

    The aya is a clear reference both to Psalms 37:11 and to the allusion that Jesus makes to this verse in the beatitudes.

    יא וַעֲנָוִים יִירְשׁוּ-אָרֶץ; וְהִתְעַנְּגוּ, עַל-רֹב שָׁלוֹם.

    11. wa`anawim yirshu aretz; wehit`annagu `al rov shalom

    11. But the humble shall inherit the land (i.e. Palestine), and delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

    The phrase abundance of peace (rov shalom) is a contrast to the violence, recklessness or foolishness (jahl) of the powerful, whose empty pointless hatreds (sin’at hinam) and conflicts victimized and ruined the peasantry. (See Ibn Ezra’s commentary on this verse in the Mikra’ot Gedolot.)

    The phrase rov shalom suggests Islam, which is the opposite of jahl or jahiliyya (the age of ignorance that precedes Islam).

    Righteousness or piety is not an attribute that Jesus associates with the rich or the powerful, who rarely perform as many good works (as-salihat) as they could.

    It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:24)

    By the 3rd century CE a large part of the peasantry of Palestine were followers of Jesus and practiced a form of Christian Judaism in which Jesus was Messiah but neither God nor son of God. For this reason the Talmud is consistently contemptuous of the humble people, who comprised the am-haaretz, and am-haaretz is a derogatory epithet in Talmudic, Yiddish and Modern Israeli Hebrew idiom.

    Nevertheless, we have reason to believe (including one origin story of the Ge’ez or classical Ethiopic translation of the Bible) that the beliefs of Palestinian Christian Judaism spread to Hijaz where they prepared the people for Muhammad’s apostleship. When Umar al-Faruq opened Palestine to Islam, the humble people of the land (am haaretz) saw the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus in the religion of Islam, which means humility or meekness and which was a minor variant of the religion that they already practiced. As the Jewish Aramaic prayer says, yekum purqan min shemayya. Salvation shall come from the heavens. Hence the Quran which was brought down from heaven by Jibril/Gabriel is called al-furqan. [Note that Hebrew/Aramaic p becomes f in Arabic.]

    By supporting the theft of Palestine from the native Palestinian peasantry and the removal or ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian peasants from their land, Zionists reject the explicit words of the Quran, the clear statement in the Hebrew Bible and the affirmation of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels. Obviously only God decides who burns in Hell for all eternity, but it is hard to conceive of extenuating circumstances for Zionists.

    Notes

    Peshitta

    ܛܽܘܒ݂ܰܝܗܽܘܢ ܠܡܰܟ݁ܺܝܟ݂ܶܐ ܕ݁ܗܶܢܽܘܢ ܢܺܐܪܬ݂ܽܘܢ ܠܰܐܪܥܳܐ

    tubihun limkika dehenun ni’rtun le’ar`a

    To the meek their happiness as they will inherit the land.

    Greek New Testament

    Makarioi hoi praeis hoti autoi kleronomesousin ten gen.
    Fortunate are the humble, because they will themselves inherit the land.

    New Testament translated into Hebrew

    אַשְׁרֵי הָעֲנָוִים כִּי־הֵם יִירְשׁוּ־הָאָרֶץ׃
    ashrei ha`anawim ki-hem yirshu haaretz
    happy are the humble because them will inherit the land.

    Biblia Vulgata

    5:4 Beati mites: quoniam ipsi possidebunt terram.

    The Latin redactors of the Vulgate often selected the least plausible least idiom-aware translation of the Greek New Testament. Those that have translated the Vulgate into English have generally managed to obscure the original text even more. In this case, a reasonable idiomatic English translation is the following.

    5:4 Happy are the meek because they themselves will possess land/a land/the land/earth/the earth.

    I have given the possible translations of terram in order of plausibility. [Note that Latin has neither indefinite nor definite article.]

    Martin Luther’s Translation

    [5.5] Selig sind die Sanftmütigen; denn sie werden das Erdreich besitzen.

    [5.5] Blessed are the meek; for they will possess the kingdom of earth.

    The translation Erdreich (kingdom of earth) is simply unjustifiable from any of the ancient sources.

    A more correct German translation resulting from a reconciliation with the Jerusalem Bible (see link to en.wikipedia.org) translates the verse into German as follows:

    [5.5] Selig sind die Sanftmütigen; denn sie werden das Land besitzen.

    [5.5] Blessed are the meek; for they will possess the land.

    References

    There Is No Crime For Those Who Have Christ: Religious Violence in the Christian Roman Empire by Michael Gaddis

    Imperialism and Jewish Society: 200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. (Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World) (Paperback) by Seth Schwartz

    James, the Brother of Jesus by Robert Eisenman
    The author writes a lot of nonsense, but he does seem to scour the primary sources.

    Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World by Patricia Crone and Michael Cook
    The book is often cited in order to refute it. The authors attempt to construct a coherent history of early Islam without the use of any traditional Islamic sources.

    Crossroads to Islam by Yehuda Nevo and Judith Koren
    The authors seem to have the intent of “debunking” Islam, but the information the book supplies tends to support the hypothesis of a connection between Christian Judaism and the mission of Muhammad.

    The Beginnings of Jewishness by Shaye Cohen
    The author provides some useful background information, but the book is uneven. Cohen may confuse cause and effect. He dates some phenomena too late and others too early.

    The oeuvre of Jacob Neusner also provides useful information about the Talmudic form of Judaism in the Greco-Roman period through the 10th century CE, but he takes texts at face value much too much. Seth Schwartz provides some correction to Neusner’s uncritical assumptions.

    • MHughes976
      January 23, 2012, 6:52 pm

      Very interesting, Galen. I went at your prompting and looked up Ge in my good old Liddell and Scott lexicon. I must say that I would have thought that the trad English translations are defensible. Isn’t there a play on multiple meanings – this land, the whole world? Just as ‘Galen Sword’ suggests both healing and warfare.

    • Blake
      January 23, 2012, 11:26 pm

      What a great comment. Of course there are many fine ones on here but this one certainly taught me something new today. Many thanks.

    • MLE
      January 24, 2012, 1:37 am

      Standing Ovation for that

    • powzon
      January 30, 2012, 2:53 pm

      This, “the Quran in Arabic represents the oldest least tampered tradition of Jesus” is absolutely ridiculous. It should be regarded as axiomatic that successfully arguing for something requires attempting to argue successfully against it, so please figure out why it might be absolutely ridiculous.

      A potpourri of hints for some essential perspectives:
      Regarding Christian orthodoxy and that Jesus is God: history and historiography of New Testament writings and the Council of Nicea.
      Regarding non-Jewish Arab Christian and Christianity in Arabia before Muhammad: The Christian non-Jewish Ghassanids, Nejdis, Lakhmids. Learn about Philip the Arab, Roman Emperor in the third century. Peter the Beduoin bishop in the fifth century. Who is surprised that there were and are Christian Bedouin non-Jewish tribes and families?

      Of course there was “a connection between Christian Judaism and the mission of Muhammad”, but why does that imply what you claim? And is the term “Christian Judaism” appropriate for the fact on the ground in the seventh century, when Jews following rabbinic Judaism, Jewish Christians, Arab Christians, pagans and monotheists all lived in Arabia? Why do you tend to be persuaded that that amateur games with etymology might decide the issue?

      First of all ancient Jews and Arabs were in continual contact, both hostile and convivial, from the times of their progenitors onwards. Yes, Jews were far more wideley settled in the ancient world than is commonly supposed, which supposition is not to be blamed on ancient sources, but on plenteous modern presumption. The most famous ancient source is the record of events on the day of Pentecost/Shavuot, sometime in the fourth decade AD/BCE. Acts 2:5, “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.” Acts 2:10-11, “Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs…” All Jews. Not non-Jews, except where specified. Arab Jews, not non-Jewish Arabs. To them and all those “God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven”, Peter said, “Fellow Israelites…let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” [emphases added]

      It is Christian orthodoxy that Jesus Christ is God; it was from the beginning of the movement. No two ways about it, no new etymological discoveries by bible scholars looking for tenure or a book to sell to pseudo-intellectual agnostics, no hearfelt, folksy-minded yearning by those of us who love Islam and Muslims and are anguished over Israel/Palestine will make this otherwise. You may accept what some modern scholars imply in their books for the general public: that all Christianities, orthodox, gnostic, Nestorian were and are equally valid, and that the early church councils were merely exercises in power; you propose that if you know nothing about what transpired at those church councils, or if you’re a scholar looking for popular book sales and TV interviews, but this is a gross, ad hoc simplification of the genesis and conduct of the councils.

      Apostle Paul spent time in Arabia, perhaps among the same Jewish communities Muhammad engaged with almost six hundred years later. Six hundred years of Christian history and writings before Muhammad and you want to claim that “the Quran in Arabic represents the oldest least tampered tradition of Jesus”? Do you also indulge in books on Urantia and so on?

      Christians of Jewish and Arab ethnicity were in much of the Arabian peninsula before Muhammad, certainly in his native region. If they didn’t believe that Jesus was God or the Son of God or both, and if their beliefs weren’t grounded in and closely identified with writings (even if they weren’t all literate), then why did Muhammad dictate,

      “O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.” Sura 4:171 [http://www.multimediaquran.com/quran/004/004-171.htm]

      As you know, in the ancient world, Jews and Muslims considered Christians to be idolaters. Nothing has changed about the orthodoxies of the three religions. To the extent they wish to get along in humility and true fear of God, their doctrines present them with some really big, goddam problems. But ignoring facts is not the way to solve them.

      • powzon
        January 30, 2012, 3:34 pm

        In light both of the events of Pentecost as described in Acts 2, and Sura 4:171, let’s label this also as ridiculous,

        “By the 3rd century CE a large part of the peasantry of Palestine were followers of Jesus and practiced a form of Christian Judaism in which Jesus was Messiah but neither God nor son of God.”

  17. atime forpeace
    January 23, 2012, 5:54 pm

    WWJK Who Would Jesus Kill bracelets ought to be sold to Christian Zionist.

    • powzon
      January 30, 2012, 2:58 pm

      To face up to their ignorance, inconsistencies, and psychological and social issues, they should be urged to wear one. The problem with this kind of Christian Zionist is the same as with any who abuse religious orthodoxies for their personal issues. Unfortunately, the current zeitgeist fosters this kind of self-therapy.

  18. RoHa
    January 23, 2012, 6:26 pm

    What a poor cover for so important a book. The words “a Christian response” are practically invisible, and yet it is those words which would induce a Christian Zionist to buy the book.

    But how many ChriZios read books anyway? It needs to be backed up with TV shows, radio talk shows, and DVDs peddled by genuine Christians.

    • MLE
      January 24, 2012, 1:37 am

      Books aren’t their thing, except the Bible

      • FreddyV
        January 24, 2012, 5:44 am

        @ RoHa and MLE:

        Christian Zionists love their books. Their Bible, The Scofield Reference Bible is more book than Bible, which is required in order to shoehorn the heretical teachings of Dispensationalism into scripture.

        They also love Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth and the series of Left Behind novels by Tim Lahaye.

        Hang on, when you said ‘books’, did you mean serious scholarly works?

        Err. No.

  19. Les
    January 23, 2012, 6:40 pm

    On its own the US media rebranded white racists as Evangelicals. Only then could they be upgraded to Christian Zionists which enabled them to be incorporated into the fold of supporters of Israel’s white Jews against non-white Palestinians. Our media, at the behest of the Israel Lobby, did this on its own. White racists are too feeble to be able to do this themselves.

    • dahoit
      January 24, 2012, 11:49 am

      I wouldn’t call white racists feeble,Hitler,white robes and lynchings come to mind.
      A little feeble minded maybe,but not feeble in their hatred.
      The Ziomonsters had better hope they continue to sleeple.

  20. mudder
    January 23, 2012, 7:04 pm

    For those wishing to understand the mindset of Christian Zionists, former insider Frank Schaeffer, now older and wiser, elucidates as no one else can. In December on a long post mostly about Gingrich’s relation to the “loony religious fringe”, Schaeffer wrote

    When it comes to the State of Israel, it’s the Christian Zionists who have driven American foreign policy over a cliff. Christian Zionists continuously jeopardize our future by putting the promotion of harebrained interpretations of biblical “prophecy” ahead of the well being of both Israel and the US.

    To the Christian Zionists “defending Israel” is just a handy pretext for indulging their obsession: egging on, even “helping” the fulfillment of “biblical prophecies” about the “return of Christ.” But their worst sin isn’t just embracing dumb “theology” but that they have enabled a nefarious group of extremist Zionists in America — the so-celled neoconservatives — to irreparably harm America and contribute to the needless killing of our men and women in uniform worldwide.

    To the neoconservatives “defending Israel” is just a handy pretext for upholding the myth of “American exceptionalism” for profit and nationalistic “glory,” of the kind that was supposed to have gone out of fashion when hubris and stupidity got half the young male population of Europe killed in World War One.

    The phrase “American exceptionalism”, of course, is now a Gingrich campaign slogan.

  21. seanmcbride
    January 23, 2012, 7:44 pm

    Christian Zionism — a few quick notes

    1. un-Jewish, anti-Jewish

    2. un-Christian, anti-Christian

    3. un-American, anti-American

    4. grounded in the Old Testament bigotry and racism that produced the Confederacy and the most bloody war in American history

    5. probably the most dangerous apocalyptic cult ever to come down the pike — some Christian Zionists have access to America’s arsenals of WMDs

    6. appeals to the dumbest of goyim — the bottom of the barrel, completely brainless and gullible zombies

    7. many people will never forgive the Israeli government and the Israel lobby for endorsing and aiding this crackpot movement

    8. many of the feelings of revulsion that people harbor towards the John Hagees and Pat Robertsons of the world have been understandably transferred to Israel and Zionism as a whole

    9. for Israel to be dependent on Christian Zionists to stay afloat politically is like an addict trying to stay alive on crack cocaine — certainly not tenable and sustaining nourishment over the long run

    10. what is utterly predictable is that Christian Zionists will eventually turn on Israel and probably on Jews as a whole in a classically anti-Semitic way — all the signs are there

    • edwin
      January 24, 2012, 10:52 am

      RE #10

      Can we say that Christian Zionists support Israel in classically anti-Semitic ways right now?

      • seanmcbride
        January 24, 2012, 11:03 am

        Yes, we can say that, and we would be right.

      • homingpigeon
        January 24, 2012, 12:20 pm

        Actually, I would have to disagree (but in an agreeable manner). These folks are philo-semitic. It’s just as weird as anti-semitism, but just as the anti-semites will dwell on all the faults of Jews, the philo-semites in Christian Zionism dwell on the virtues and blessings bestowed on Jews. Philo-semitism is ultimately as harmful as anti-semitism. In apartheid South Africa, superstitious philo-semitic Boer officers and sergeants, upon hearing there was a Jewish soldier in the unit, would order this soldier to accompany them whenever they went on any dangerous drive or combat mission in the belief that the “lucky Jew” would protect them. The “lucky Jews” were thus exposed to danger more often than anyone. In the case of the philo-semitic Christian Zionists, their backing for the most fanatical irrational of the Israelis is as harmful as any anti-semitism. The prophetic interpretations from some Christians of a certain number of non-converting Jews dying in the final days is just one of many end-times scenarios these people come up with. It is not in itself anti-semitic as they believe just about everyone gets fried, drowned, plagued with locusts or whatever.

  22. atime forpeace
    January 23, 2012, 7:50 pm

    Dr Stephen Sizer gives an instructive presentation of the Christianzios and on the historical timeline of what turned into this movement.

    I hope someone is interested and may find it educational.

  23. piotr
    January 23, 2012, 11:36 pm

    Someone is buing this:
    link to amazon.com
    and similar titles. “Complete Idiot” is copyrighted, but perhaps

    “Inbred cretins’ guide to Israel and Palestine” or, to use more drastic epithets

    “What every GOP primary voter should know about Israel and Palestine”

    would be a title giving the book a wider readership.

    I have no idea who is a heretic and who represents orthodoxy. Perhaps God is really really weird: who are we to know? But Dr. X who preaches every Sunday on my TV knows exactly what Divine plan is, and I can participate (not forgetting about a contribution, of course).

    Sometimes I think that this people will start breeding horses of various colors and recruiting the Four Horsemen.

  24. homingpigeon
    January 24, 2012, 1:34 am

    The phenomenon that has led to modern Christian Zionism is more diverse than might seem at first glance. As humans we have a yearning to discern the future, through tea leaves, coffee grounds, the I Ching, the Kabbalah, Tarot cards, and so on. Attempting to decipher and make sense of the various prophets of the Hebrew scriptures (who were ranting, hallucinating, blessing, and cursing according to political and military crises during a specific time) combined with the mad visions in the book of Revelation is part of this phenomenon. Those most successful in this process are the ones who view current events as they happen, and then work backwards to find verses that fit. If there is a war between Egypt and Israel, a verse can be found that fits. If Egypt wins, there will be a verse. If there is peace, another verse can be found. For example, when the space shuttle Columbia crashed, one could refer to Obadiah 4, “Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.” The original verse refers to Edomites that lived on a clifftop in what is now known as Petra in Jordan who managed to annoy Obadiah, but you can titillate people, collect money, and start a cult with this technique.

    Long ago I discovered a Christian Zionist book published before WW II. Author had the name of Rice I think. (Craig did you ever come across him?) He predicted that Mussolini would set up the Jewish State, that Italy would win WWII, and the Jewish State would be the Antichrist.

    Another set of interpretations has it that Israel will be defeated and the survivors will take refuge in Petra. About fifty years ago a fellow went to Petra with Christian evangelical tracts written in Hebrew and wandered around leaving them in the caves for the benefit of the coming refugees. The bewildered Jordanian tourist police invited him to leave.

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses figured out that Jesus would return in 1913.

    The Rastafarians have found the considerable number of verses referring to ancient Ethiopia and have developed their own weird Zionism involving Jamaicans going back there. And of course every appearance of the word “herb” refers to cannabis.

    The Iraq wars and verses about Babylon drove TV evangelists into a frenzy. Money was collected!

    There is also the phenomenon of the British Israelites who discerned that the Anglo-Saxons were descended from the lost tribes (Danube = Dan?, etc). Queen Victoria is alleged to have taken this seriously. This theology survives in the Aryan Nations and remnants of the Klan in the US.

    Every crisis in Palestine, from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD through the Islamic and Crusader and Islamic conquests of the city, provoked predictions of the imminent Second Coming. In modern times it started again with the Napoleanic invasion, got another wind with Allenby capturing Jerusalem from the Turks, and continued to brew with the establishment of Israel in ’48, the Israeli capture of East Jerusalem in ’67, and every crisis thereafter. It’s a good way to make money as an evangelist, or a career as a politician.

    • homingpigeon
      January 24, 2012, 12:27 pm

      Oh and I forgot to mention the Red Heifer! That’s the best one of all. Check out the article by Laurence Wright in the New Yorker. The first step necessary for things to start happening is for a perfectly red heifer to be ritually sacrificed in the reconstructed temple in Jerusalem. As soon as this Christian fundie in Missouri genetically breeds a perfect red heifer and sends it to Israel, the Jewish part of the group will blow up the Haram to get the sequence of final events on course and speed, rebuild the temple, sacrifice and burn the heifer, and welcome the messiah!

  25. Djinn
    January 24, 2012, 3:18 am

    Pushing the proverbial uphill trying to base any argument on religious texts. The NT is riddled with contradictions, it’s possible to justify pretty much any stance by cherry picking and impossible to denounce anything because for every passage banging on about peace and love there’s another full of fire and brimstone for anyone who displeases God. Basing any stance on modern political issues on a text written by people who thought the earth was flat and edited, re-edited, translated and retranslated over the years for political expediency is lunacy. I understand the temptation to do so in a nation so bizarrely (for the developed world) attached to the Bible but it simply gives legitimacy to the notion that someone’s interpretation of a myth is a good basis to work from.

    • yourstruly
      January 24, 2012, 8:50 pm

      so to become a big macher, find the biblical interpretation that best suits you and administer it to others? something about religion being the opium of the masses?

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