Friday, June 23, 2006

A Slaughterhouse Hope

Fascinating article in the LATimes about attempts by various Abrahamic cults to bring about the end of the world. Some of it's pretty damn harmless -- who cares if some poor old cattle farmer wants to raise a "few head of red heifers for Jewish high priests. Citing Scripture, Lott and others say a pure red heifer must be sacrificed and burned and its ashes used in purification rituals to allow Jews to rebuild the temple." But, as the article notes, "Generations of Christians have hoped for the Second Coming of Jesus, said UCLA historian Eugen Weber, author of the 1999 book "Apocalypses: Prophecies, Cults and Millennial Beliefs Through the Ages." 'And it's always been an ultimately bloody hope, a slaughterhouse hope,' he added with a sigh. 'What we have now in this global age is a vaster and bloodier-than-ever Wagnerian version. But, then, we are a very imaginative race.'"

In a sane society, people who ran around trying to bring about the end of the world would get therapy and good drugs.

Here's what I find so fascinating about these three (xians, jews, muslims) related cults. They're all monotheistic cults devoted to an angry thunder sky god who is the ONLY god. And, in the end, they're all devoted to being anti-life, anti-body, anti-Earth. Hastening an end to life is really the only logical goal that such a religion can espouse.

What if we had religions that recognized diverse deities and that worshipped sex, the Earth, life? How different would almost everything look?


left rev. said...

I tend to go for more of a realized eschachology, myself. As a faith tradition, Christianity tends to be fairly schizophrenic on this issue, leaving lots of theological and doctrinal wiggle room (can't speak to the other Abrahamic faiths, although I suspect that there is more depth in all of them than is indicated by the public face and voice). Really, one can understand apocalyptic literature as referencing a future event, or one can understand it as refering to concurrent (as in when it was written/redacted) events. Obviously, I tend towards the latter as I've never taken either prophecy or eschatology to be future referential only. When one understands these hopes as I do, and as many other Christians do, they represent hope for the present and knowing Christ among us and with us now in ways that point us to God.

And so forth and so on....

But one can see why REPENT!! FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND! is the better known stance. Hell, at least that one fits on a bumper sticker...

left rev. said...

I will confess though, I used to have a bumper sticker that said "Jesus is coming...look busy!"

garampani said...

It is not simple. As in the picture of the white haired father God. The artist Michaelangelo probably ,towards the end of his life, embraced an austere dualistic Christainity . Pope Julian II, who commissioned it, embodied a very different take on the body and the soul,time and eternity.

Its not only the Abrahamic religions that can be dualistic , aggressively world weary to the point of delighting in its destruction. It is a strain in religions without a central God of any sex. The dominant form of Buddhism has been ,at times, one that preached the firery destruction of everything,soon, and the translation of the saved to paradise. Buddhist teachers have traveled Asia saying repent the end of the world is at hand and its a good thing given its current state of decay. There are Buddhist scrolls that could be scenes from the rapture.

Interrobang said...

I'm not a rabbi, or even Jewish, but I can tell you with some degree of certainty that the rebuilding of the Third Temple doesn't signal the end of the world in Jewish theology; it signals a return to Temple or Priestly Judaism, which is a slightly different system than what exists now (you might call that Meeting-House Judaism, if you like). I'm not aware of any great cataclysmic eschaton in Judaism, as it seems that the prevailing wisdom is that things will just decline gradually and then stop. Not with a bang, but with a whimper, you might say. Are you at all familiar with the Jewish idea of the Decline of the Generations?

Anyhow, besides that, there is no explicitly-defined afterlife in Judaism, leading to some rather divergent opinions on what happens to Jews after they die. There are even a few rabbis on the Orthodox movement fringe who believe in reincarnation.

In my Hebrew class, led by the local Reform rabbi, we talked a fair bit about cultural issues surrounding the origins of many of these terms -- like that Meggido is a place, and Gehinom (Gehenna, usually translated as "Hell") was the ancient Jerusalem town dump. :)

However, consult your local listings for details, since there's also the well-known axiom "two Jews, three opinions."

Anne Johnson said...

We at "The Gods Are Bored" heartily endorse the content of this blog entry.

Unknown said...


The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
Palestinian geographer; born at Flosz, Bavaria, Oct. 22, 1804; died at Jerusalem
Feb. 5, 1865. When he was seventeen years old he graduated as teacher
from the Königliches Schullehrerseminar of Colberg, after which he joined his brother Israel at the University of Würzburg, where for five years he devoted himself to the history and geography of the Holy Land, and published a map of Palestine (1829; republished at Vienna, 1831, and Triest, 1832). It was his ardent desire, however, to study in Palestine itself the physical history and geography of the Holy Land, where his knowledge of Talmudic sources and early Jewish writers would be of more service. Accordingly he decided to settle in Jerusalem, whither he went in 1833. Schwarz then began a series of journeys and explorations in various parts of Palestine, to which he devoted about fifteen years.

The results of his investigations and researches into the history, geography, geology, fauna, and flora of that country have placed him in the front rank of Palestinian explorers and geographers. HE IS THE GREATEST JEWISH AUTHORITY ON PALESTINIAN MATTERS SINCE ESTORI FARHI (1282-1357), the author of “Kaftor wa-Feraḥ.”

(Be sure to Google this article:
614-1096 C.E.
From the Accession of the Mahomedans to that of the Europeans.
By Rabbi Joseph Schwarz, 1850

Rabbi Shallum, son of the then Resh Gelutha, in Babel, aka Abu Bachr al Chaliva al Zadik. Abu Bakr, became the first Caliph, and was in fact son of the then Resh Gelutha, in Babel, who perceiving a dreadful predicament, sent Rabbi Shallum to Mahomed, and told him to offer his submission, friendship, and services, and endeavour to enter with him into a friendly compact. Mahomed accepted Rabbi Shallum’s proposition with pleasure, conceived a great affection for him, and took his daughter, Aisha, a handsome young child, for wife; he made him also a general in his army, and gave him the name of Abu Bachr al Chaliva al Zadik, literally:

The father of the maiden, the descendant of the righteous; this means, that of all his wives, who were either widows or divorced women, this one was the only one who had never been married before, and then she was the granddaughter of the celebrated chief of the captivity; therefore, the descendant of the righteous. This occurrence induced Mahomed to give up his terrible intention to destroy the Jews in his country, and thus did Rabbi Shallum save his people.

Rabbi Shallum aka Abu Bakr and Umer had Muhammad poisoned by their two daughters, Aisha and Hafsa, wives of Muhammad. Rabbi Shallum became the first Caliph and authorized the first Quran. He was the one who instructed that apostates should be killed. He abused Fatimah and refused to give her what her father had bequeathed to her. Umar attacked the home of Ali and Fatimah and kicked the door on top of Fatimah, causing her to miscarry the grandchild of Muhammad. She died from the results of the assault. Whereas no one knows where Fatimah is buried, the two murderers of Muhammad are buried next to Muhammad. This has got to be a sick joke! The Quran is full of material from the Jewish Oral Tradition aka the Jewish Talmud.