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Armageddon and American Politics

As I indicated at the beginning of this thread, I am in the process of thinking my way into the next trade book, which I think will be on the book of Revelation and how it has been read by modern fundamentalists, who think it is predicting what is going to happen in our own world very soon, and how that reading has immigrated into, and even infested, the wider culture, the actual secular world, both socially and politically.

I said a few words about the social impact of apocalyptic thinking since 1945, and the advent of the nuclear age (the End really *is* near!), and now, as it has transmorgrified (a word we ought to use more often) in the post-Soviet era to issues connected with climate change, etc.  One of my theses is that the social concerns have come to affect the political landscape in America, particularly starting in the 1980s.

My ideas on this are not based on wild speculation, but on very interesting scholarship produced by American cultural and political historians, in such books (in case you’re interested in pursuing the matters), as Jonathan Kirsch, A History of the End of the World; Stephen D. O’Leary, Arguing the Apocalypse;  and Daniel Wojcik, The End of the World as We Know It: Faith, Fatalism, and Apocalypse in America.  There are lots of other studies, by experts.  What I have to say will not be “news” to these people, but I will explain what they have found to a broader readership, in light of a scholarly analysis of what the book of Revelation is really all about.

Here is how I’m thinking of a couple of issues, as expressed in my self-write up that I’ve done to crystalize where I am at this point:

 

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Relatedly, in the political realm more widely, the apocalyptic sense that our structures are falling apart with massive apocalyptic chaos very much around the corner connects closely with debates over the Second Amendment.   No one is …

To see the rest of this post you’ll need to cave in and give it up.  Joining the blog costs very little, and every penny goes to charity.  You get tons for your money, week in and week out.  So why not bite the bullet?

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The Odd Modern Way of Reading the Book of Revelation
Secular Versions of the Coming Apocalypse

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    Eric  March 28, 2019

    Hmmm. This suggests that a fundamentalist might use the current absence of a Temple to give himself permission to go on a “sinning spree”.

    Provided he could stay alive long enough to seek forgiveness before he died, he needn’t worry about the “thief in the night” catching him with his trousers down. Possibly literally.

  2. Avatar
    Rick  March 29, 2019

    One tough read for me was Bruce Malina’s book “On the Genre and Message of Revelation: Star Visions and Sky Journeys”. My wife and I knew Bruce and I meant to talk with him about it the next time we had dinner at their house but he ended up passing away before that ever happened. I’ve read other books on Revelation but that one was a doozy.

    • Bart
      Bart  March 31, 2019

      A lot of his books were tough sledding. But he was a smart fellow.

  3. Rick
    Rick  April 2, 2019

    Professor, had never thought about apocalypse believers promoting climate change denial or … whatever buying into it as the coming apocalypse is… Truly a scary concern . You no doubt have seen it but in case you have not, there is polling data at

    //climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/global-warming-god-end-times/

    Best

    Rick

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