Apocalypse Fever: Kurt Anderson Talks about the Zeitgeist

Back in the Fall of 2006, Kurt Anderson wrote a column about apocalyptic fever in New York Magazine. In it he goes over the “new” fashion of apocalyptic thinking and worries — but not too seriously — that such thinking, particularly when it spills over into mainstream news analysis of perhaps taking us over the edge. I post it now because, a) if anything, I think he underestimates the power and ubiquity of these ideas, and b) we need to think about this material much more subtly than his rather ham-fisted approach — all this stuff is nutty, stay away.

The End of the World As They Know It
What do Christian millenarians, jihadists, Ivy League professors, and baby-boomers have in common? They’re all hot for the apocalypse.

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By Kurt Andersen Published Sep 25, 2006

The week of September 11 (two weeks ago, not five years), I noticed a poster up at Frankies, my sweet neighborhood trattoria in Brooklyn: It advertised a talk on 9/11 by Daniel Pinchbeck—the former downtown literary impresario who has become a Gen-X Carlos Castaneda and New Age impresario. My breakfast pal nodded at the poster and said, “The guy is selling his apocalypse thing hard.”

“Apocalypse thing?” I knew of Pinchbeck’s psychedelic enthusiasms, but I’d somehow missed his new book about the imminent epochal meltdown. In 2012, he interprets ancient Mayan prophecies to mean “our current socioeconomic system will suffer a drastic and irrevocable collapse” the year after next, and that in 2012, life as we know it will pretty much end. “We have to fix this situation right fucking now,” he said recently, “or there’s going to be nuclear wars and mass death … There’s not going to be a United States in five years, okay?”

2012 is big. Google 2012 Crop Circles and see what you get. In an age when our leaders — Republican and Democratic — seem to be flailing around without any sense of what to do, the younger generation can take “comfort” in these kinds of “promises.” It’s a form of “counter-knowledge” that’s particularly appealing as “reason” commits suicide.

The same day at lunch in Times Square, another friend happened to mention that he was thinking of buying a second country house—in Nova Scotia, as “a climate-change end-days hedge.” He smirked, but he was not joking.

On the subway home, I read the essay in the new Vanity Fair by the historian Niall Ferguson arguing that Europe and America in 2006 look disconcertingly like the Roman Empire of about 406—that is, the beginning of the end. That night, I began The Road, Cormac McCarthy’s new novel set in a transcendently bleak, apparently post-nuclear-war-ravaged America of the near future. And a day or so later watched the online trailer for Mel Gibson’s December movie, Apocalypto, set in the fifteenth-century twilight of, yes, the Mayan civilization.

So: Five years after Islamic apocalyptists turned the World Trade Center to fire and dust, we chatter more than ever about the clash of civilizations, fight a war prompted by our panic over (nonexistent) nuclear and biological weapons, hear it coolly asserted this past summer that World War III has begun, and wonder if an avian-flu pandemic poses more of a personal risk than climate change. In other words, apocalypse is on our minds. Apocalypse is … hot.

Millions of people—Christian millenarians, jihadists, psychedelicized Burning Men—are straight-out wishful about The End. Of course, we have the loons with us always; their sulfurous scent if not the scale of the present fanaticism is familiar from the last third of the last century—the Weathermen and Jim Jones and the Branch Davidians. But there seem to be more of them now by orders of magnitude (60-odd million “Left Behind” novels have been sold), and they’re out of the closet, networked, reaffirming their fantasies, proselytizing. Some thousands of Muslims are working seriously to provoke the blessed Armageddon. And the Christian Rapturists’ support of a militant Israel isn’t driven mainly by principled devotion to an outpost of Western democracy but by their fervent wish to see crazy biblical fantasies realized ASAP—that is, the persecution of the Jews by the Antichrist and the Battle of Armageddon.

I’ve addressed this aspect of the problem — one person’s messiah is another’s antichrist — in this post, and especially in this comment.

When apocalypse preoccupations leach into less-fantastical thought and conversation, it becomes still more disconcerting. Even among people sincerely fearful of climate change or a nuclearized Iran enacting a “second Holocaust” by attacking Israel, one sometimes detects a frisson of smug or hysterical pleasure.

As in the excited anticipatory chatter about Iran’s putative plans to fire a nuke on the 22nd of last month—in order to provoke apocalypse and pave the way for the return of the Shiite messiah, a miracle in which President Ahmadinejad apparently believes. Princeton’s Bernard Lewis, at 90 still the preeminent historian of Islam, published a piece in The Wall Street Journal to spread this false alarm.

That last sentence is ambiguously phrased. Lewis didn’t publish the piece to spread this false alarm, but to warn about something he feared. It’s also not clear whether publishing it did not have an effect on Ahmadenijad’s plans. In all these matters elaborate chess games are afoot. And Ahmadenijad does not “apparently” believe in this miraculous material, he does.

And as in Charles Krauthammer’s column the other day: He explained how a U.S. military attack on Iran would double the price of oil, ruin the global economy, redouble hatred for America, and incite terrorism worldwide—but that we had to go for it anyway because of “the larger danger of permitting nuclear weapons to be acquired by religious fanatics seized with an eschatological belief in the imminent apocalypse and in their own divine duty to hasten the End of Days.” In other words: Ratchet up the risk of Armageddon sooner in order to prevent a possible Armageddon later.

Here’s where the bien-pensant liberal can mock both ends of the spectrum. The sticking point becomes apparent when we translate this into a scene from the 1930s: “despite the dangers and the warfare and the resentments that it might lead to, we must confront Germany, given the larger danger of permitting the Nazis to rearm, seized as they are with the millennial belief in a tausendjähriger, dritte Reich and their own fore-ordained duty to bring it about.” It’s not enough to invoke the first law of apocalyptic beliefs — one man’s messiah is another’s antichrist — and then withdraw into secular, non-superstitious “reason.” You must remember the second law: “Wrong — as all apocalyptic and millennial believers end up being — does not mean inconsequential.

I worry that such fast-and-loose talk, so ubiquitous and in so many flavors, might in the aggregate be greasing the skids, making the unthinkable too thinkable, turning us all a little Dr. Strangelovian, actually increasing the chance—by a little? A lot? Lord knows—that doomsday prophecies will become self-fulfilling. It’s giving me the heebie-jeebies.

Alas, we are going to have to live with the heebie-jeebies for quite a while, and learn how to distinguish the really noxious kinds of apocalyptic beliefs — active cataclysmic — from less dangerous ones, and mobilize firmly and consistently against the latter, rather than smirk at them all.

Declinism is the least-troubling species of end-days forecast, but still, it’s apocalypse lite. These forecasts are grandly gloomy, commonly depicted as a replay of the disintegration of Rome that ushered in the Dark Ages. “As Rome passed away,” Pat Buchanan writes in his new anti-immigration best seller, State of Emergency, “so the West is passing away.”

Not so long ago, it was only right-wingers and old crackpots making decline-and-fall-of-Rome claims about America. But Niall Ferguson is a young superstar Harvard professor, and he argues that we—undisciplined, overstretched, unable to pay our bills or enforce our imperial claims, giving ourselves over to decadent spectacle (NASCAR, pornography), and overwhelmed by immigrants—do indeed look very ancient Roman. He suggests, in fact, that Gibbon’s definitive vision—the “most awful scene in the history of mankind”—is about to be topped.

Jared Diamond made his name back in the fat and happy nineties with Guns, Germs, and Steel, explaining why the West ruled. His second best seller was last year’s Collapse, about how irrational religion and environmental recklessness destroyed previous societies and how America looks to be on the same suicidal path. Meanwhile, the unambiguous trend lines of everyday economic life—China’s rise, the dying-off of Detroit and old media—become the reinforcing background beat that makes the new declinism feel instinctively plausible.

There is something of the appeal of pornography here: sensational, shocking, simultaneously appalling and riveting, brutally frank and fantastically stylized. As with porn, it was mainly a fringe taste that has lately gone mainstream. And as with real porn, too, apocalypse porn comes hard-core (Krauthammer) and soft (Diamond), in fiction ranging from the hideous (The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion) to the absurd (the “Left Behind” series) to the merely dopey (The Day After Tomorrow).

One of the problems with Europe today is that they resolutely refuse to take seriously the “apocalyptic” prophecies of their own downfall. Fergusen may think that the USA is equally vulnerable, even if Steyn doesn’t. All such warnings need to be considered seriously and soberly. Too often, smug “liberals” and “progressives” think that civil society is immortal and invulnerable.

And now, with McCarthy’s The Road, something else again. I resisted. A nameless father wandering across a dead, denuded, anarchic America with his son, hiding from roving packs of monstrous killers? Not my usual cups of tea.

But the novel is awesome, a kind of reality-based Beckett, moving and unbelievably believable in its portrayal of horror and dread and hopelessness in the next Dark Age … with an announced first printing of 250,000, a gigantic number for any work of literary fiction, let alone one that barely has a plot. McCarthy is a high-end brand name, but The Road will be a best seller propelled by an end-times Zeitgeist that has smart people as well as fools and freaks in its thrall. As fine a book as it is, I still felt a little ashamed to enjoy its grisly what-if jolts; the pornographic aspect is there.

From a commercial point of view, The Road’s lack of any detailed backstory will be a boon: Because we never learn anything about the precipitating cataclysm, every reader can fill in the blank—nuclear war, meteor collision, attacks by extraterrestrials, or Gog and Magog. It accommodates an apocalypse of your choice.

Even the young people will find things to like in The Road. There are zombies, more or less—lots of cannibals, anyway, and “bloodcults.” “We’re not survivors,” the hero’s late wife said before she died. “We’re the walking dead in a horror film.” (The booming zombie genre is, of course, a pulpy subcategory of apocalypse porn.) And The Road also has marauding “roadagents” and a small army of slaveholders with spears made of repurposed auto parts—Mad Max touches.

Apocalypticism is one of those realms where the ideological spectrum bends into a circle and the extremes meet.
It was in those movies, as a lone ranger in post-nuclear-apocalypse Australia, that Mel Gibson became a star. Then he won an Oscar for glorifying a Scot leading his people to a kind of Armageddon,

Actually, that’s millennial — the just and free society that results from the forces of evil (here the English under the ruthless Edward I)

then became the Evangelicals’ favorite movie star with The Passion of the Christ. And now the very eagerly awaited Apocalypto. “The parallels,” his co-writer told Time, “between the environmental imbalance and corruption of values that doomed the Maya and what’s happening to our own civilization are eerie.” Mel himself goes further: “The fearmongering we depict in this film reminds me a little of President Bush and his guys.” Mel Gibson, meet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—runty, Bush-bashing, anti-Semitic, 50-year-old fundamentalist religious mystics with an abiding visionary interest in apocalypse.

Apocalypticism is one of those realms where the ideological spectrum bends into a circle and the extremes meet. The nuttiest Islamists and Christians agree that the present hell in the Middle East is a hopeful sign of the end-times, that an Antichrist will temporarily take control of the world. Muslims expect him to be a Western Jew; in many Christian versions, he comes to power through the European Union—although on his “Bring It On: End Times” Web page, Pat Robertson says Islam itself is an “antichrist system.”

For both sects as well as the New Age psychedeloids, apocalypse still has its original meaning—revelation, the appearance of God following destruction. The subtitle of Pinchbeck’s book is The Return of Quetzalcoatl, referring to the Mesoamerican Über-god. After the awful existential reboot in 2012, people will develop psychic superpowers to solve global warming and achieve communistic bliss. Not all people, alas, because just as the Rapture is strictly for Christians, and Allah will know his own exclusively, Pinchbeck apparently believes that only people like him—“those who have reached a kind of supramental consciousness,” according to a Rolling Stone profile—will achieve paradise.

Precisely the dangers lurking behind a “new-age” mysticism that grows impatient and angry with the refusal of the mainstream to pay attention. (All apocalyptic thinking is a form of ADD II — can’t get enough attention.) This also happened in the theosophical circles of the late 19th, early 20th century (Gurdjieff with his belief that most people didn’t have souls capable of reaching the higher spheres of understanding, anti-semitism of the “Ariosophists” who eventually produced the Nazis).

Speaking of 2012: That’s also the target year, according to the influential Saudi theologian Sheik Safar Al-Hawali, for Allah’s “day of wrath,” meaning the destruction of Israel and the Muslim reconquest of Jerusalem. Which could jibe with the timeline on the Christian-porn-mongering site ApocalypseSoon.org, which envisions Israel nuking Syria in order that Isaiah 17:1 (“Behold, Damascus is taken away”) be fulfilled.

Let’s not freak out just yet. Apocalypticism has ebbed and flowed for thousands of years, and the present uptick is the third during my lifetime. Among my most vivid childhood memories are LBJ’s mushroom-cloud campaign ad, a post-nuclear Twilight Zone episode, and my mother’s (scary) paperback copy of On the Beach.

The next brief spike in apocalyptic shivers and dystopian fevers came twenty years later, coinciding with our last right-wing president: the nuclear-freeze movement, The Day After on TV, the post-apocalypse novel Riddley Walker (written in a prescient text-message-ese), Blade Runner, Mad Max.

And now, another twenty years later, here we are again—but this time, it seems, more widespread and cross-cultural, both more reasonable (climate change, nuclear proliferation) and more insane (religious prophecy), more unnerving.

I don’t think our mood is only a consequence of 9/11 (and the grim Middle East), or climate-change science, or Christians’ displaced fear of science and social change. It’s also a function of the baby-boomers’ becoming elderly. For half a century, they have dominated the culture, and now, as they enter the glide path to death, I think their generational solipsism unconsciously extrapolates approaching personal doom: When I go, everything goes with me, my end will be the end. It’s the pre-apocalyptic converse of the postapocalyptic weariness of the hero in The Road: “Some part of him always wished it to be over.”

Have a nice day.

He’s right about baby boomers. It’s a consistent pattern that some people as they near death, project their own deaths onto the culture. It’s a little like the Indian Raja’s who insisted on burning their wives on their funeral pyres: “If I can’t enjoy them, why should anyone else.” It’s a fine and ugly match with the moral narcissism of my aging generation.

31 Responses to Apocalypse Fever: Kurt Anderson Talks about the Zeitgeist

  1. [...] jasmin wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWhat do Christian millenarians, jihadists, Ivy League professors, and baby-boomers have in common? They’re all hot for the apocalypse. Add a Comment By Kurt Andersen Published Sep 25, 2006. The week of September 11 (two weeks ago, … [...]

  2. [...] Augean Stables wrote an interesting post today on Apocalypse Fever: Kurt Anderson Talks about the ZeitgeistHere’s a quick excerpt Back in the Fall of 2006, Kurt Anderson wrote a column about apocalyptic fever in New York Magazine. In it he goes over the “new” fashion of apocalyptic thinking and worries — but not too seriously — that such thinking, particularly when it spills over into mainstream news analysis of perhaps taking us over the edge. I post it now because, a) if anything, I think he underestimates the power and ubiquity of these ideas, and b) we need to think about this material much more subtly than his rather [...]

  3. Joanne says:

    It seems to me that the world has threatened to come to an end about, oh, every 50 years or so.

    RL, you’ve talked about a narcissism on the part of an individual, and about narcissism on the part of the elites of a country or region, like the U.S. or the West. (“We’re responsible for everything. It’s up to us to solve everything.”)

    But, as you imply with regard to the Baby Boomers, there can also be a narcissism on the part of a generation. Après nous, le déluge.

    Not only is it possible to lack the understanding that not all bad events and conditions in the world emanate from the West, it’s also possible to lack the understanding that conditions in the past were often far more dire than those we face today, that there were hundreds or thousands of generations that have lived before us and there will be hundreds or thousands that will live after us.

    The daughter of a cousin of mine, a very bright girl in her mid-twenties, recently told me in all self-confidence that her generation will have to fix up the mess left behind by my generation. Also, she said that her generation is the best educated in history. I hated to burst her bubble, but I mentioned that our generation said the exact same things when we were her age, and with the exact same arrogance. I also mentioned that my generation was the best educated, according to statistics, and that education for her generation (though not necessarily for her) has been subject to “dumbing down” over the years. She wasn’t offended, but she had no answer. Point scored for us! Yeah!

  4. Diane says:

    Call me a pie-eyed optimist. Despite all the hysteria cited in this article, I detect in the tight race forming between Hillary, McCain and Obama (all candidates with their feet firmly planted on the ground) a resurgence of pragmatism and rationality. (Even large numbers of Evangelical Christians are supporting McCain.) It’s the pollsters and the pundits who can’t read the tea leaves anymore, mneanwhile the voters are going about their business with admirable focus and deliberation. I am starting to think that the MSM is the one losing its grip, flailing about for new formulas as people grow skeptical of their theatrics and fad-du-jours. Some Americans flirt with nutty apocalyptic fantasies, but the large majority of us, I believe, are becoming hardened to such nonsense as we look about for real-world solutions to our real-world problems.

  5. [...] Apocalypse Fever: Kurt Anderson Talks about the Zeitgeist On the subway home, I read the essay in the new Vanity Fair by the historian Niall Ferguson arguing that Europe and America in 2006 look… [...]

  6. Joanne says:

    It’s true that not all of these nuts should be ignored. But not fearing the end of the West is not the same thing as ignoring genuine threats. One may have smirked at Hitler’s Thousand Year Reich during the 1930s. Indeed, it lasted only 12 years, but it did a lot nastiness before it fell.

    I was thinking that boredom really does encourage support for hot-headed political movements and conspiracy theories. Being a left-of-center or right-of-center supporter of democracy and a mixed economy may be eminently sensible, but it’s also eminently boring. Who’s going to march in an anti-American, anti-globalist or anti-Israel demonstration with a placard saying, “There’s fault on both sides” or “Don’t jump to conclusions” or “Both sides have legitimate concerns” or “Don’t smash things, fix them”?

    The Chinese have that saying, “May you never live in interesting times.” We in the West seem to abhor the notion of living in relatively stable and prosperous times. Relatively, of course. We have problems. But, again, I had to laugh when I read above about “the unambiguous trend lines of everyday economic life—China’s rise, the dying-off of Detroit and old media—become the reinforcing background beat that makes the new declinism feel instinctively plausible.”

    Why plausible? China is rising? So what? Would one prefer that it continue to wallow in poverty? Is it even rising that fast? Does it have a program of world conquest? Somehow, we have survived when Japan and Germany were riding high economically in the 1970s and 1980s. The death of the old media? So what? It’s not dying, it’s evolving. And it has to share the public’s attention with new media. Nothing wrong with that. Detroit has been in trouble since the 1970s because of one thing: competition. But we’re supposed to believe in competition, right? If someone else builds a better mousetrap…then he deserves to sell more mousetraps.

    The odd thing is, we have real problems in this country that no one talks about: the inequality of opportunity, the fact that real wages and salaries have stagnated in the last 30 years, the lack of availability of medical care to large swathes of our population, the decline of our schools, the decline of our infrastructure, the public and private debt that is hurting our economy. But, somehow, these problems are too boring and too technical to command sustained attention. People will demonstrate against Israel or the USA at the drop of a hat. But talk about these other issues, and you get blank stares.

  7. Joanne says:

    Yeah, I think Diane may be right. The media tends to put the spotlight on the noisiest people, not the most thoughtful. And certainly not the vast majority who are simply going about their lives and don’t give a hoot about 9/11 Truthers.

  8. [...] Augean Stables wrote an interesting post today on Apocalypse Fever: Kurt Anderson Talks about the ZeitgeistHere’s a quick excerpt Back in the Fall of 2006, Kurt Anderson wrote a column about apocalyptic fever in New York Magazine. In it he goes over the “new” fashion of apocalyptic thinking and worries — but not too seriously — that such thinking, particularly when it spills over into mainstream news analysis of perhaps taking us over the edge. I post it now because, a) if anything, I think he underestimates the power and ubiquity of these ideas, and b) we need to think about this material much more subtly than his rather [...]

  9. Vince P says:

    Your article is missing one of the newest developments in Christian Eschatology (one that I subscribe to) and that is:

    Instead of the “traditional” view of European Antichrist,, revived Roman Empire.. false religion being related to the Pope or New Age or whatnot.

    instead of that view, this:

    Anti-Christ = Caliph Imam al-Madhi
    False Prophet = 2nd Coming of Isa (the Muslim Jesus)
    End Time Empire = Revived Caliphate
    2nd Coming of Jesus = Dijjal (Muslim Antichrist)
    Satan = Allah

    It’s a radical reinterptation however I think its no more radical than the reinterpation that happened once Israel was established in 1948. For all that time beforehand, a lot of people found it incredulous that there could be a Jewish state again, so they allogorized the End Time Israel into being something else.

    in the same the villan of the End Time was also allogroized to something else and usually it was Europe/America-centric due to the chauvism and the lack of there being a threat from other quarters.

    Now with the Revival of Islam, the decline of Europe it seems the traditional view is more and more implausible.

    If you read Islamic Eschatology , it’s like a mirror-image of Biblical Eschatology. Muslims believe that the Caliph of the End Time (who is also called the Mahdi.. (how he comes on earth the views very, but once he’s here they mostly agree on hs mission)) along with Isa (thier idea of Jesus) and the Muslims will wage global jihad against Jews and Christians and everyone else. That Mahdi, Isa, and the Muslims will kill all the Jews and bring the end of Christianity (break the cross) and establish justice by the world-wide imposition of Sharia.

    Allow me to plagerize one of my letters I wrote to a journalist:

    According to Surah 2:177, A Muslim must accept all these things:

    It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets

    The Last Day is the most important thing after belief in Allah.

    The Last Day consists of the coming of the Imam Mahdi along with the appearance of the Muslim Jesus. For the Last Day to come, the Muslims must go to war and slaughter the Jews

    The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.

    But the Muslims don’t stop there.. once that’s accomplished:

    al-Mahdi will receive a pledge of allegiance as a caliph for Muslims. He will lead Muslims in many battles of jihad. His reign will be a caliphate that follows the guidance of the Prophet. Many battles will ensue between Muslims and the disbelievers during the Mahdi’s reign…

    Harun Yahya, a moderate and very popular Muslim author refers to the Mahdi’s invasion of numerous non-Muslim lands:

    The Mahdi will invade all the places between East and West.

    In today’s world.. non-Muslims are not killed or forced to convert if they pay the Jizya in Muslim lands and agree to live as dhimmis. Well apparently even that wonderful option will be eliminated during the Muslim Last Day. I’m assuming the pigs in this quote means Jews.

    Volume 3, Book 43, Number 656: Narrated Abu Huraira:

    Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler, he will break the cross, kill the pigs, and abolish the Jizya tax. Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it (as charitable gifts).

    Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 1368) from The Reliance of the Traveller, the classic Shafi manual of Islamic jurisprudence states:

    “… the time and the place for [the poll tax] is before the final descent of Jesus (upon whom be peace). After his final coming, nothing but Islam will be accepted from them, for taking the poll tax is only effective until Jesus’ descent (upon him and our Prophet be peace) …”

    Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini clearly articulates this vision:

    The Mahdi will offer the religion of Islam to the Jews and Christians; if they accept it they will be spared, otherwise they will be killed.

    Sheikh Kabbani, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America clearly articulates the Islamic perspective regarding Jesus’ evangelistic role when He returns.

    Like all prophets, Prophet Jesus came with the divine message of surrender to God Almighty, which is Islam. This verse shows that when Jesus returns he will personally correct the misrepresentations and misinterpretations about himself. He will affirm the true message that he brought in his time as a prophet, and that he never claimed to be the Son of God. Furthermore, he will reaffirm in his second coming what he prophesied in his first coming bearing witness to the seal of the Messengers, Prophet Muhammad. In his second coming many non-Muslims will accept Jesus as a servant of Allah Almighty, as a Muslim and a member of the Community of Muhammad.

    Al-Sadr and Mutahhari, likewise articulate this same expectation:

    Jesus will descend from heaven and espouse the cause of the Mahdi. The Christians and the Jews will see him and recognize his true status. The Christians will abandon their faith in his godhead (sic).

  10. Vince P says:

    If anyone wants more info on what I wrote, my website touches on it a little here http://home.comcast.net/~vincep312/islamlast.html

    There’s a book that my links refer to, I strongly recommend it.

    Free on-line version: http://answering-islam.org/Authors/JR/Future/index.htm

    Anti-Christ : Islam’s Awaited Messiah

  11. fp says:

    joanne,

    well, i’m afraid the politicians do what works. this society tends to produce the same kind of politicians. don’t you think there must be a reason for that?

  12. Fat Man says:

    Although Boomer narcissism is an important factor in the current outburst of apocalyptic fever, there is another factor.

    From 1789 until 1989, revolution was the opiate of the chattering classes. The end of the Soviet Union, the coming of frank capitalism to China and the general disrepute of socialism was a bitter blow to the artists and intellectuals who had sold their souls to the worst butchers in the history of mankind.

    No wonder they think the world is coming to an end.

  13. fp says:

    vince,

    iow, replace one irrationality with another?

  14. Fat Man says:

    Vince: Prof Landes did a post on Muslim eschatology last week:

    Apocalyptic Islam: Paul Landau explores the unspeakable

  15. Vince P says:

    I remember reading it. He didn’t tie into Christian belief. That was my intention here since Christian belief was the topic of this post.

  16. fp says:

    fatman,

    your argument seems to suggest that a large majority of boomers, if not all of them, are lefties who regret the soviet empire and see the end of the world.

    in fact, i suspect — and see some evidence — that the current so-called left increasingly consists of the younger generation who was not around when soviet “communism” built dream societies.

  17. fp says:

    vince,

    >Your article is missing one of the newest developments in Christian Eschatology (one that I subscribe to) and that is…

    If you are saying that you meant you subscribe to the developments, not to the Christian Eschatology (CE), OK.

    But my characterization of subscribing to the CE itself stands.

  18. Vince P says:

    fp: I couldn’t care less what you subscribe to.

  19. fp says:

    then why should anybody care what you subscribe to?

  20. Tom King says:

    Here’s a recent piece on 2012. Comments section is particularly interesting. Major players in the 2012 phenomenon/meme (authors Geoff Stray, Daniel Pinchbeck and John Major Jenkins; and several Mayanists/anthropologists) post comments following the article.

    http://www.lawrence.com/news/2007/dec/10/five_years/

  21. Vince P says:

    No one said they should.

  22. fp says:

    it was you who posted to what you subscribe, I did not. so your reaction made not sense.

  23. Vince P says:

    fp: Let recap.

    You let me know what you thought of my opinion.

    I told you I couldn’t care less about it.

    You asked me , why should anyone care about my opinion then.

    I responded.. I never said anyone had to.

    What is so hard to understand? Do you think I’m an egomaniac and that I expect everyone in the world who reads my comment to form an opinion on it and then give it to me? No.. I don’t care if people read it or not read it.. or if they agree or disagree with it. If someone wants to discuss like an adult (which excludes you), then that’s good… if no one wants to, that’s fine too.

  24. Fat Man says:

    fp: “your argument seems to suggest that a large majority of boomers, if not all of them, are lefties who regret the soviet empire and see the end of the world.”

    No. I acknowledged Boomer narcissism. But I argued that the “Chattering Classes” have been dispirited by the falsification of their religion (Communism, Leftism, revolution).

    Now some Boomers are part of the Chattering Classes, and it is their angst, personal and political, that propels them into apocalyptic fantasies. But, not all of the members of the Chattering Classes are Boomers some are older, and have faded from the zeitgeist, some are younger, but they do not yet set the agenda. And, finally, a very small number of Boomers are members of the Chattering Classes. It may seem to be more than a few, because the CC members are the talking heads on TV and the columnists in the papers etc. But most Boomers are just working class Joe Sixpacks.

    “in fact, i suspect — and see some evidence — that the current so-called left increasingly consists of the younger generation who was[sic] not around when soviet “communism” built dream societies.”

    The only evidence to available to me is that the hardcore left is mostly aging. There is a blogger Zombietime, who does photo essays on SF Bay area leftist demonstrations. By his pictures the protesting crowd looks to be well past middle age. Nor have we seen much in the way of student demonstrations in the last few years.

  25. fp says:

    that falsification i have argued about here quite often. in fact i argued it with one of the lefties in another thread and he took his toys and left. but in responding to somebody else he demonstrated exactly what i argued.

    there is no question that there are left old timers, they are the old left. there is a new left, who lacks proper education, or has been indoctrinated in the univs, or has been influenced by arab propaganda coupled with fear of the islamism/jihadism and are looking for a scapegoat. they tend to be younger.

  26. Eliyahu says:

    Vince P, the Muslim fable that you quote about rocks and trees calling on Muslims to kill the Jews hiding behind them at Judgement Day is found in several versions in the medieval Muslim literature. It is now part of Article 7 of the Hamas charter. You have done good research but how are you going to reach the unwashed hordes of academic ignoramuses who “know better” about Islam. It’s funny that the Islam-is-a-Religion-of-Peace notion is expounded by both Prez George Bush and by the fanatic “left.”

  27. Vince P says:

    Eliyahu: It’s more than a fable , it’s from the Hadith. The one I quoted is Hadith: Sahih Muslim, Book 40, Number 6985.

    There are variations in Bukhari too:

    Bukhari:V4B52N176 “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘You Muslims will fight the Jews till some of them hide behind stones. The stones will betray them saying, “O Abdullah (slave of Allah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.”‘”

    Bukhari:V4B52N177 “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”‘”

    Muslim and Bukhari are considered to be the most reliable of the Hadith. There is no question of authenticity within the Muslim world regarding the Hadith in those collections.

    If you want to see how Muslims regard this today check out these Videos from Memritv.org

    http://www.memritv.org/search/en/results/0/0/0/2/0/0/0/0.htm?k=gharqad

  28. Eliyahu says:

    Vince, you didn’t answer my question: How are you going to convey this info to the mad & semi-literate throngs of academia???

  29. fp says:

    eliyahu,

    it cannot be conveyed because it’s information those so-called academics don’t want to hear it. i am sure that many of them came across it, but they dismiss it, because it is inconsistent with the dogma they have chosen. once they started believing this evidence, the
    dogma would crumble and we know what such crumbling means for lefties: they already experienced it once, they can’t stand another. furthermore, the implications regarding stance on islamism are too hard to contemplate.

  30. Vince P says:

    Eli: I have no connection with academic types, so I doubt i’ll be influencing any of them.

    I did write a letter to my congressman last year when the Nancy Pelosi’s House voted to set a deadline to leave Iraq in response to Bush’s emergency fund request:

    http://home.comcast.net/~vincep312/congress.html

    And I did write a few emails to an Islamic center and TV News station in response to a news story they ran that made a Chruch pastor out to be a bigot because he put an anti-Islamic message on his marque:

    http://home.comcast.net/~vincep312/church.html

  31. I’ve been told that the rapture is for Jews, not Gentiles and the story ends good, the antichrist and his allies lose, Jerusalem is saved. God comes to protect the Jewish people and defeat the enemy. That said, I’ll never believe any date that’s being touted as “THE” time for it all.

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