TAG | Apocalypse
Cross-posted on Ricochet.
The art of writing a first paragraph is said to lie in the ability to draw the reader in.
I would say that Lily Lynch’s remarkable new piece in The Balkanist passes that test very well indeed:
Harun Yahya is said to be the messianic leader of an apocalyptic Islamic sex cult. He’s also the owner of a Turkish television station called A9, and the host of his own religious talk show, which just might make your eyeballs pop out of your skull. The entire set and everyone on it glow like irradiated ultraviolet rays. Five amazing looking women usually co-host the show, wearing things like false rainbow eyelashes, wigs, and diamond-studded Versace bondage gear. The backdrop is a blinding fake lavender cityscape. Conversations often focus on how materialism and Darwinism are dead, how to recognize the face of a real Muslim, and how Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — with whom the host is rumored to enjoy friendly relations — is “one of the important figures for the End Times”.
This is a story with everything: murky political connections, the Huffington Post, creationism, “a pair of hunky twins named Onder and Ender”, a harem, Madonna, aliens (maybe), conspiracy theories, abandoned conspiracy theories, litigation and a zoo.
Wait, there’s more…
But you will have to read it for yourselves.
The Washington Post has the glorious details:
Could a series of “blood moon” events be connected to Jesus’ return? Some Christians think so. In the wee hours of Tuesday (April 15) morning, the moon slid into Earth’s shadow, casting a reddish hue on the moon. There are about two lunar eclipses per year, according to NASA, but what’s unusual this time around is that there will be four blood moons within 18 months — astronomers call that a tetrad — and all of them occur during Jewish holidays.
Could a series of “blood moon” events be connected to Jesus’ return? Some Christians think so.
In the wee hours of Tuesday (April 15) morning, the moon slid into Earth’s shadow, casting a reddish hue on the moon. There are about two lunar eclipses per year, according to NASA, but what’s unusual this time around is that there will be four blood moons within 18 months — astronomers call that a tetrad — and all of them occur during Jewish holidays….This time, Hagee suggests that a Rapture will occur where Christians will be taken to heaven, Israel will go to war in a great battle called Armageddon, and Jesus will return to earth.
Going to be quite a year.
Include me in the ranks of those who are skeptical about what the US is trying to do in Syria. This particular analysis, however, forms no part of my thinking:
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) over the weekend accused President Obama of arming al Qaeda militants in Syria and said it was evidence “we’re in God’s end times.”
“This happened and as of today the United States is willingly, knowingly, intentionally sending arms to terrorists,” Bachmann said in a radio interview with Understanding the Times that was first reported by Right Wing Watch. “Now what this says to me, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, as I look at the End Times scripture, this says to me that the leaf is on the fig tree and we are to understand the signs of the times, which is your ministry, we are to understand where we are in God’s end times history.”
“Rather than seeing this as a negative, we need to rejoice,” she continued. “Maranatha, come Lord Jesus, his day is at hand. When we see up is down and right is called wrong, when this is happening, we were told this; these days would be as the days of Noah.”
Comments off · Posted by Andrew Stuttaford in culture
Cross-posted on the Corner:
To my disappointment, I missed this event:
Uncivilisation 2013 is a gathering of people searching for answers to questions about our collective future in a rapidly-changing and depleting world. For one long weekend in August, the woods and chalk downland of the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire will be home to a festival of literature, music, art and action. It will be a place of encounters and conversations, learning and sharing, stories, ideas, music and performance. There will be campfires, wanderings in the woods, children’s activities, and workshops in everything from writing to scything.
The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, artists and thinkers who have stopped believing the stories our civilisation tells itself. We see that the world is entering an age of ecological collapse, material contraction and social and political unravelling, and we want our cultural responses to reflect this reality rather than denying it.
Something tells me that the “cultural response” that the Dark Mountaineers are planning does not involve the acquisition of heavy weaponry, canned goods, a comfortable, yet invulnerable, mountain redoubt and the recruitment of Resident Evil’s Alice, a handy companion in the event of any apocalypse I can envisage.
H/t: David Thompson, who anticipated the event in a possibly sarcastic fashion:
Who here could resist a congregation of climate catastrophists and unemployed poets – sorry, “artists and thinkers” – who tell us their words “will be elemental” and will “weave reality,” and who also tell us they will write these elemental, reality-weaving words “with dirt under our fingernails.” These brave People Of Tomorrow™ will gather in tepees and fiddle with twigs, while awaiting the end of capitalism and bourgeois decadence. They will dine on halloumi burgers and Fair Trade carrot cake. Women will blossom in a “creative making and conversation space.” Men will be helped to “reconcile their polarities.” Oh, and there’ll also be a scything workshop. Poetry and scything is clearly the way forward.
Then again, what good is the apocalypse without a grim reaper?
Cross-posted on the Corner:
Here we go again.
The Daily Telegraph reports on the approach of the latest doomsday:
Ahead of December 21, which marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year “Long Count” Mayan calendar, panic buying of candles and essentials has been reported in China and Russia, along with an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America. In France believers were preparing to converge on a mountain where they believe aliens will rescue them.
The precise manner of Armageddon remains vague, ranging from a catastrophic celestial collision between Earth and the mythical planet Nibiru, also known as Planet X, a disastrous crash with a comet, or the annihilation of civilisation by a giant solar storm.
In America Ron Hubbard, a manufacturer of hi-tech underground survival shelters, has seen his business explode.
“We’ve gone from one a month to one a day,” he said. “I don’t have an opinion on the Mayan calendar but, when astrophysicists come to me, buy my shelters and tell me to be prepared for solar flares, radiation, EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) … I’m going underground on the 19th and coming out on the 23rd. It’s just in case anybody’s right.”
I’m going out to dinner that night. Hoping that it’ll be easier to get a reservation.
Cross-posted earlier on the Corner:
And while we’re on the topic of doom-mongering, at least one enormously wealthy, lavishly consuming, aristocratic idler has (reports the Daily Telegraph) a few dark words for the peons. Warning that the human race itself could be in danger, Prince Charles has repeated earlier demands that (other) people should consume less. Changes need to be made to our economic system “so that Nature sits at the very heart of our thinking”. The prince also took the opportunity to remind his audience that he felt a “spiritual connection to nature”. Of course he does.
The Queen, thank heavens, is only 85. Her mother lived to be 101.
Posted earlier on the Corner:
It helps sell religions, movies, political agendas: Is there nothing that the prospect of apocalypse cannot do?
Abel Ferrara made his new film “4:44 Last Day on Earth” to serve as a wake-up call to humanity over impending ecological disasters.The movie, by the director of 1992′s “Bad Lieutenant,” focuses largely on one couple — played by Willem Dafoe and Shanyn Leigh — passing their final hours on Earth as they Skype their goodbyes to loved ones from a New York City high-rise.
“The bottom line is this film is about man’s destruction of the Earth,” Ferrara told reporters Wednesday in Venice, where the film is being shown in hopes of snaring the top Golden Lion prize later this week.
“This isn’t about a meteorite, this isn’t … some horror show. This is about humanity not coming to terms with its carbon footprint,” the director said. “It’s on us. It’s our responsibility.”
The time in the title is the exact hour before dawn when humanity ceases to exist. The exact calamity which befalls Earth’s citizens isn’t ever spelled out, although there is an “ozone-hole” theme. At one point, viewers see, as a backdrop, an image of environmental advocate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore projected on large screen TV giving an interview. “We reached out to Al, we reached out to Gore, definitely,” Ferrara said.
Of course he did.
Full disclosure: I enjoy ‘end of the world’ movies. Even 2012. I’ll be off to see this one…
The Daily Telegraph’s Damian Thompson (a religious man, incidentally) weighs in here:
…I suppose if I had to boil it down to one observation, it would be that just because people say they “believe” that such-and-such a thing will happen in the End Times that doesn’t mean they invest heavily in those colourful beliefs. It’s a sort of spiritual hobby, even entertainment. St Augustine told doomsday enthusiasts to rest their busy fingers – ie, stop using them to calculate the exact date of Christ’s return (like old Harold Camping). Even in his day, people ran a huge risk of (a) making fools of themselves and (b) boring everyone else to death.
Still, remember the following should 200 million true believers fail to shoot skywards tomorrow. In the first century, most Christians believed the world would end in their lifetimes. Why? Because Jesus gave them good reason to think so:
Matthew 16:27-28: For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Matthew 24:34: I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
That sounds like a a pretty explicit doomsday prophecy to me. No wonder St Paul had to deal with Christians who kept asking: why is everyone dying naturally when Jesus said he’d already be back by now?
Inhabitants of New Zealand, scheduled to be among the first to meet the apocalypse according to a US fundamentalist preacher, this morning confirmed they were still in existence as the appointed time was reached in their time zone. There were also unconfirmed reports that Tonga has, thus far, failed to boil into the Pacific.
Eighty-nine-year-old tele-evangelist Harold Camping had prophesied that the “Rapture” would begin with powerful earthquakes at 6pm in each of the world’s regions, after which the good would be beamed up to heaven.
This morning, Kiwis confirmed there were no signs of the dead rising from the grave, nor of the living ascending into the clouds to meet Jesus Christ.
Twitter users were disappointed by the absence of Armaggedon.
Via the Independent:
The end of the world is nigh; 21 May, to be precise. That’s the date when Harold Camping, a preacher from Oakland, California, is confidently predicting the Second Coming of the Lord. At about 6pm, he reckons 2 per cent of the world’s population will be immediately “raptured” to Heaven; the rest of us will get sent straight to the Other Place.
If Mr Camping were speaking from any normal pulpit, it would be easy to dismiss him as just another religious eccentric wrongly calling the apocalypse. But thanks to this elderly man’s ubiquity, on America’s airwaves and billboards, his unlikely Doomsday message is almost impossible to ignore.
Every day Mr Camping, an 89-year-old former civil engineer, speaks to his followers via the Family Radio Network, a religious broadcasting organisation funded entirely by donations from listeners. Such is their generosity (assets total $120m) that his network now owns 66 stations in the US alone.
Those deep pockets were raided to allow Family Radio to launch a high-profile advertising campaign, proclaiming the approaching Day of Judgement. More than 2,000 billboards across the US are adorned with its slogans, which include “Blow the trumpet, warn the people!”. A fleet of logoed camper vans is touring every state in the nation. “It’s getting real close. It’s really getting pretty awesome, when you think about it,” Mr Camping told The Independent on Sunday. “We’re not talking about a ball game, or a marriage, or graduating from college. We’re talking about the end of the world, a matter of being eternally dead, or being eternally alive, and it’s all coming to a head right now.”
Mr Camping, who makes programmes in 48 languages, boasts tens of thousands of followers across the globe, with radio stations in South Africa, Russia and Turkey. After 70 years of studying the Bible, he claims to have developed a system that uses mathematics to interpret prophesies hidden in it. He says the world will end on 21 May, because that will be 722,500 days from 1 April AD33, which he believes was the day of the Crucifixion. The figure of 722,500 is important because you get it by multiplying three holy numbers (five, 10 and 17) together twice. “When I found this out, I tell you, it blew my mind,” he said
If that was really the case, his mind may not have been in the best condition in the first place, but I’ll let that pass.
This, however, is too entertaining to overlook:
Critics point out that this isn’t the first time Mr Camping has predicted the second coming. On 6 September 1994, hundreds of his listeners gathered at an auditorium in Alameda looking forward to Christ’s return.
“At that time there was a lot of the Bible I had not really researched very carefully,” he said last week.
Ah yes, there’s always that next time…