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Apocalypse Now? Christian Fundamentalists and COVID-19

  • Opinion by Jan Lundius (stockholm / rome)
  • Inter Press Service

After rebuking his Christian brethren, John’s language grew to become more and more bewildering, telling the receivers of his letter {that a} gate had opened within the sky, whereas a mighty voice commanded: “Come up here and I will show you what happens next.” Standing by God’s throne John witnesses his wrath placing the earth. Four demonic riders sweep down. One of them, “followed by the Kingdom of Death”, is given energy over 1 / 4 of the world, killing its inhabitants with famine and plague.

We are far faraway from the teachings of the carpenter from Nazareth, the Jesus who preached love and compassion, answering violence by turning the opposite cheek and declaring that: “All those who draw the sword will die by the sword.” However within the Book of Revelation he’s depicted as carrying a scythe which he makes use of “to cut down his harvest”. Blood flows throughout the earth “in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle.” The sea turns into blood, whereas the solar scorches the earth. In anguish people chunk their tongues into bleeding flesh, whereas carbuncles cowl their our bodies. The earth is cracked open by earthquakes, hail combined with blood rains down and falling stars kill off the struggling people.

Page after web page is crammed with horrors, whereas the “saved ones” rejoice. Not with out motive, students who through the second century CE chosen books to be included within the Christian Bible had severe doubts about this vengeful scripture. Dionysus, patriarch of Alexandria, wrote by the start of 200 CE: “Some before us have set aside and rejected the book altogether, criticising it chapter by chapter, and pronouncing it without sense or argument, and maintaining that the title is fraudulent. For they say it is not the work of John, nor is it a revelation, because it is covered thickly and densely by a veil of obscurity.”

It is obscure how good and pious individuals truly imagine that this abominable and spiteful guide is the unequivocal “Word of God”. I’m acquainted with in any other case wise individuals who imagine that the vindictive Revelation advices them to keep away from the COVID-19 vaccine and thus expose themselves – and even worse – their fellow human beings to mortal hazard.

On web pages fundamentalist pastors and doomsday prophets check with their favorite scripture – the Book of Revelation – specifically its thirteenth chapter, which amongst many oddities proclaims that “the second Beast” will drive “all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so they could not buy or sell unless they had the Mark, which is the name of the Beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the Beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.” It is uncertain if this assertion actually “calls for wisdom”, for certain it has referred to as for idiocy.

For greater than two thousand years individuals have counted letters in innumerable names to show that the bearer truly is an incarnation of the Beast. Someone even assumed that former U.S. president Ronald Reagan was the Beast, since a letter rely of his full identify – Ronald Wilson Reagan, resulted in 666, whereas his personal residence deal with had been 666 St. Cloud Road. It just isn’t solely individuals which might be related to 666 – Corona has six letters and the invoice introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives for offering funds for COVID-testing was coincidentally labelled H.R. 6666. Anyone may discover unusual coincidences by combining numbers and accordingly some individuals has tried to seek out the hidden message of the Number of the Beast. They have for instance identified that if 666 is written with Roman numerals it turns into DCLXV and thus incorporates each Roman numeral besides M (1000) whereas their worth decreases from 500 to 1, D = 500, C = 100, L = 50, X = 10, V = 5, I = 1. Does it imply something? I don’t assume so.

Almost any image has by one or one other crank been interpreted because the Mark of the Beast. During the final fifty years any serial quantity; social safety numbers, bank card numbers, passport numbers, submit codes, financial institution accounts, SIM playing cards, in addition to bar codes just like the Universal Product Code (UPC), and all kinds of comparable markings just like the Aztec Code, knowledge matrices, QR codes and a bunch of designations and symbols with comparable features, have been interpreted as Marks of the Beast.

It is nearly inconceivable how non secular fundamentalists choose implausible delusions and deceptions as a substitute of easy explanations. As every other letter, John’s Revelation was written inside a selected temporal and geographical context. If we have a look at the Greek phrase charagma, which John makes use of for “mark”, it equalled any mark engraved, imprinted, or branded, in addition to stamped paperwork and cash.

During John’s lifetime, Christians have been persecuted for not making choices for the welfare of the emperor, who formally was thought of as a divine being. John’s modern emperor and fierce persecutor of Christians was undoubtedly an insensitive “beast”. Suetonius (70-122 CE) described Domitian, Roman emperor 81-96 CE, as being “hated and feared everywhere”. A megalomaniac who demanded to be known as “Lord and God”. Once he wined and dined together with his palace steward, lavishing him with kindness, solely to crucify him the day after, simply to show that “he could do so”.

With motive John and his fellow Christians thought of Domitian as “Anti-Christ” and worshipping him can be to worship the Beast. When John writes that individuals “could not buy or sell unless they had the Mark”, it’d truly imply the Roman cash, which have been stamped with Domitian’s image, in addition to official paperwork and contracts bearing his seal. However, John moreover acknowledged that the “mark” can be positioned on the “right hand or the forehead.” This prophesy finds its supply within the Jewish scripture Psalms of Solomon, which mentions how a mark is being stamped on evil individuals, although seen solely to God and his angels.

How can these historical notions be linked with a COVID-19 vaccine launched in April 2021, whereas the idea “vaccine” didn’t exist earlier than 1796, when Edward Jenner used it to denominate his treatment for smallpox? The attract of the Mark of the Beast is that it could be utilized to virtually something, one thing that the Church Father Irenaeus had found already by the tip of 100 CE. Any enemy, any concern, could also be linked with it, most lately the so referred to as RFID.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) has fairly lately made it doable to, at a distance, learn data contained in a tag. A tag could also be a microchip sufficiently small to by a syringe be injected underneath the pores and skin. Such a chip can be utilized to trace an individual and can also include important details about her/him – a particularly superior enchancment of social safety numbers and UPCs. RFID chips have been initially operated into arms, however can now be injected in virtually any physique tissue. This whereas Neuralink Corporation, a neurotechnology firm based by centibillionaire Elon Musk, is growing a “sewing machine-like” system to implant microscopically skinny threads into the human mind to create a “digital layer above the cortex”. This addition to the mind is meant to reinforce brainpower by a “symbiosis” between organic and synthetic intelligence. For a Christian fundamentalist these endeavours might undeniably be linked with the Revelation’s prophecy in regards to the Mark of the Beast as being positioned on the “right hand or the forehead.”

However, microchips don’t have anything in any respect to do with vaccinating towards a killer like COVID-19. To join nanotechnology with a sentence in a two thousand years outdated, extraordinarily convoluted textual content, which moreover rambled towards enemies of the true religion, is a dangerous approach of making use of twisted and outright harmful beliefs to well being points. To join conspiracy theories with unproven, vindictive musings, which moreover have been thought of as spurious by a number of founding fathers of Christianity, borders on prison behaviour since it could result in the loss of life of no less than 1000’s of individuals.

For 1000’s of years, bigots have imaginatively linked the Book of Revelation with present points, which at this time occur to be vaccines, chip implants, and SIM playing cards. For the advantage of humanity we ought as a substitute of falling victims to ridiculous speculations, watch out to not confuse private convictions with the assumed meanings of an historical, non secular textual content. If we’re religiously inclined it could be higher to stick to the Golden Rule of treating others as we need to be handled ourselves. A notion that truly is widespread in Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and many different religions.

Bauer, Luce Oliver and E. Marshall Wilder (2020) The Microchip Revolution: A Brief History. Piscataway NJ: IEEE Xplore. Bohlinger, Tavis (2020) Eusebius (1990) The History of the Church. London: Penguin Classics.

Jan Lundius holds a PhD. on History of Religion from Lund University and has served as a improvement professional, researcher and advisor at SIDA, UNESCO, FAO and different worldwide organisations.

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© Inter Press Service (2021) — All Rights ReservedOriginal supply: Inter Press Service

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