“Each to their own” is a softening phrase expected to calm polar opposites
engaged in any battle of partisan / religious views of a potentially
destructive nature. Religion and politics are man’s favorite, yet most toxic
dialogues. Not to be taken lightly, conflicting “R & P” views have resulted
in most wars experienced in world history, thus most unnatural, unnecessary
Imagine Galileo nearly sentenced to death for the “heresy” of discovering the Earth revolved around the sun. The conflict of visions was the point of contention – science vs. religious myth. Naturally, myth won out since Western culture had not evolved from Medieval times. But why do we continue to weigh science vs. religious tradition in the 21st century?
Falwell insisted for decades the Earth was only 6,000 years old based on his personal scriptural interpretation. Nowhere in the Bible does it state such, but neither does it state the universe revolves around a flat planet. It’s a perpetual battle of visions, not logic. Facts vs. fiction.
Even in this 21st century, flat-earthers abound. And they will not listen nor compromise; it’s their way or the highway. And they own a Republican Party to back them up.
“Talking religion and politics is banned in this house,” Grandma dictated. “So, don’t bring them up at the dinner table or I’ll have your hide.” The only time she ever washed anyone’s mouth out with soap was when someone was caught violating her cardinal code: no cussing, no politics, no religion. Wise woman. Sure, we could talk the love of Jesus, but never the controversial parts of the Bible certain to spark disagreement.
However (especially in contemporary times), polarized conversations inside families are almost universal. One would think the Civil War is starting all over. The cantankerous atmosphere at the holiday table where a grumpy old uncle tuned to Limbaugh starts belittling progressive kinfolk is common across the states, not just my household. It’s the battle of views, the conflict of visions.
Modern Republicanism is both politics and religion; they’re inseparable. The wedding of the two materialized when GOP consultants invited the Moral Majority and the religious right into the party in an effort to secure Southern and Midwestern states. It was a marriage made in hell.
Viewpoints of the left and right concerning our common future are at the extremes in America. But there is one common focal point in the vision. Progressives and social conservatives both believe in an imminent Apocalypse. That’s where the commonality ends, however.
The religious right (social conservative movement) believes in the literal interpretation of biblical symbolisms and prophecies upon which they base their world view. Any other vision, in their assessment, is heresy derived from satanic influence.
The rightwing Apocalypse narrative goes like this: (1) Christ the Messiah returns unexpectedly in the upper atmosphere to catch the true, born-again Christians away from Earth. Christ escorts to saints into Heaven. This is referred to as the “rapture,” although the word never appears in the Bible. The “saints” or “chosen ones” are whisked away to Heaven while sinners remaining on Earth are left to face the wrath of God.
(2) For the first 3 ½ years of the 7-year “Great Tribulation” there is
relative peace and calm on the planet – as the Antichrist world dictator rises
to power and succeeds in making peace in the Middle East between Israel and its
neighbors. The world government dictates that all humans be imbedded with the
number 666 in their forehead and right hand. Anyone that refuses, starves, and
cannot buy nor sell. It’s a cashless society where only a person’s body is
scanned. In addition, the signing of the historic peace treaty is the key opening
Pandora’s Box and the revelation of the Antichrist.
(3) But at the middle of the 7-year period, the world leader makes a visit to Israel and proclaims himself to be the Messiah while desecrating Jewish holy sites. It is at that time Jews recognize him as anti-God (or Antichrist to Christians).
(4) Massive earthquakes, plagues and wars break out globally as the entire Earth unites to destroy Israel. Hail, meteors, floods, pandemics, and tremors occur at once. The oceans and seas crash shorelines, wiping out millions.
(5) After 3 ½ years of wrath, all armies of the world gather on Israel’s northern border to annihilate her. The army numbers 200 million. This is referred to in the Bible as the “Battle of Armageddon,” whereas the whole period is called “Apocalypse” or “End Times.” The “Battle of Armageddon” is named for the Valley of Megiddo in northern Israel.
(6) The entire army is destroyed, their eyes melt in their sockets as they gaze on the melting mountains of Lebanon, Syria and northern Israel. Two-thirds of the planet’s population is wiped out.
(7) Christ returns physically to the world for the actual “Second Coming” (not simply the “Rapture”). He sets up his theocratic kingdom on Earth with Jerusalem as its capital. He reigns for 1,000 years with his saints (those returning to Earth after being sheltered in Heaven for 7 years from God’s wrath). This period is known as the “Millennial Reign of Christ.” The “chosen” rule over the survivors which are forced into servitude.
Now, this is the VISION of a majority of Republicans, not just the fringe.
The clash of visions is what’s tearing America apart, not just partisan politics that has been going on for over 200 years. The right is set in their dogma, and no other world-view or doctrine is tolerable. Scientists’ proposals for climate cures are, thus, rejected – blocked and filibustered in Congress. The religious right’s view of the world’s future is the only one accepted by the majority of Republicans – and they determine who wins primaries to become the party’s leaders. Since one out of two major political parties in this country are dominated by the religious right, America is in permanent gridlock – unable to move in any direction.
The History Channel’s portrayal of Barack Obama’s likeness to Satan fits this narrative.
On the other hand, progressives believe in another “Apocalypse” soon to devour the planet – climate change. They believe in science and research that proves the planet is at its breaking point due to mankind’s’ pollution, over-population, and greenhouse gasses. Most Republicans have determined climate change (affected by human activity) is a hoax and that science is subjective and hypothetical, at best.
Both visions, however, are gloomy. At least there should be agreement on that. And both warn the coastlines to be prepared for invading waters.
But the right’s view of the left is hostile. They firmly believe Democrats and progressives are of the devil, allied with Satan and soon to be in allegiance with the rising Antichrist. (20% of Republicans believe Obama is the AC). In their prophetic view, progressives will be left behind to suffer God’s wrath.
Where did they arrive at such delusion? From Republican political operatives exploiting their mythological narrow views for the good of the party (not the country or world).
And that’s where we are today as a nation. It’s indisputable and it’s disheartening.