TEOTWAWKI, New Year’s Eve

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The angry hand of god. Or is it the hand of angry god?Some religious wingnuts aren’t planning to celebrate the ringing in of the New Year, 2017. Nope: they’re going to await the arrival of their zombie deity who, one can only suppose, will be bringing the champagne to his own party when he returns from the dead. The end of the world party, of course. And another day that, for the rest of us, will pass by with nothing happening, end-of-the-world-deity-arising-wise.

According to a story in Christian Today (which judging by the click-bait ad content and non-stop video ads is not all that serious about its religion but sure likes the income from less reputable sponsors…), a so-called “computer programmer” (no evidence of this claim is given) named Nora Roth predicts,

…the second coming of Christ will happen on New Year’s Eve, The Gospel Herald reported. Her findings, written on her blog “The Mark of the Beast,” are based on her calculations and analysis of the 70 “sevens” prophecy mentioned in the book of Daniel.

This date is apparently the result of some fancy but opaque numerology she conducted on biblical verses, maybe with the help of a ouija board, after which she decided,

In the fall of 2016 the 6,000 years of sin on earth will come to an end, everlasting righteousness will be brought in, and Jesus will come again.

Beats me how she gets the 6,000 year thing, but then I was never into magic numbers. 2016 minus 6000… that gives us a date of 3984 BCE, smack dab in the Chalcolithic or copper Age, that murky, pre-literate period between the Stone and Bronze Ages and the origins of many civilizations. This is a couple of millennia even before the earliest Egyptian pyramids and Abraham and the early Hebrew patriarchs (Abraham is sometimes dated somewhere between 1900 and 1600 BCE), but we have lots of archeological evidence of life back then in the 40th century BCE – and, of course, much earlier, too. Six thousand years is a mere hair on the world’s timeline, and even our human timeline is much, much longer than that (2.8 million years, give or take a few).

3984 BCE is about 3,400 years before the first books of the Old Testament were compiled. Long, long, long before the Hebrew god even shows up on stage. Some wingnutty biblical literalists have 3984 BCE pegged as the date for the creation of Adam, that mythical first man from Genesis, which may explain it.

Christian Today also has a story titled, “Is Donald Trump the Messiah or His Forerunner?” so you can judge its credibility by that headline alone. The site references the same story on another click-bait site, Gospelherald.com and it’s been shared online by numerous conspiracy-prone sites, plus the Daily Mail (which at least had the sense to call her idea “bizarre”).

But the real poop (an apt figure of speech given the content…) is on Nora’s own website, the Mark of the Beast (also a candidate for the least attractive website today…). It’s a rambling series of muddled statements about more magic numbers and the book of Revelation (or more properly: The Apocalypse of John, since it was written by John of Patmos, an exile, not the disciple John nor the author of the Gospel of John, all of whom were different people).*

Once rejected by the early church fathers as too nutty for inclusion in the canon, it snuck in at the last moment, before they closed the door on entries. This is the wingnuttiest book in the New Testament, and has been a source of inspiration for all sorts of lunacy among Christian fantasists (and fatalists). And look what it has spawned: the wingnutty Nora Roth and her six-sixty-six beasty boy conspiracies – among many, many others.

You can read Nora’s convoluted, tortured math in its entirety on her site. Sure, it’s a bit like having a really bad hangover after a night of non-stop binge drinking, and having someone play whack-a-mole on your head with a pair of rubber mallets while you try to cram calculus for an exam that morning. But go ahead. Please, be my guest.

The end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI) has been predicted this past decade by dozens of crackpots, including the late and very cracked wingnut, Harold Camping (about whom I have written in the past) and the followers of the zany Niburu lost planet nuttiness. But mostly it comes from fervent religious wingnuts who spend a lot too much time steeping their fragile minds in Revelations and not enough time thinking.

The “Second Coming” has been predicted for more than 1,500 years and still hasn’t come to pass (nor will it). Just go onto YouTube and look at the list of videos for predictions of dates gone by. Remember October 3, 2016? No? It wasn’t that long ago… one more wingnut predicting the “rapture” based on magic numbers. Oops, did I miss it again?

When I was reading about Nora, I found many among the wacky crowd of soothsayers who disagreed with her math. Some have predicted instead February 17, 2017 using similar numerology and the even nuttier ‘astrotheology’. Lots, in fact. And others have picked September 23, 2017. And others September 30, 2017. Seems no one can work the numbers in conjunction with what others come up with. Well, no matter what date they pick, you and I know it ain’t gonna happen. And after those dates have passed, these folk will scribble new dates on their websites and predict away.

So if this stuff never comes true and is so patently absurd, why does it continue to gain traction? Aside, that is, from the leave-your-brain-at-the-door effect of the internet. Why does anyone fall for it again and again and again? Why does anyone put any reliance on an arbitrary calendar date cooked up (incorrectly) by a sixth-century monk called Dennis the Short? The end of the world has been touted since at least his time, and it still hasn’t happened. Over and over and over the predictions fail. Why does anyone fall for it now?

American JesusBecause a huge number of Americans believe it will happen. A 2006 survey done by Pew Research found 79% of Americans believe Jesus will come back to Earth. And not just “some day” – one in five Americans believe it will happen within their lifetimes. Based on the thousands of images online about this event, I gather this returned Jesus is a young, bearded white guy who wears a white toga and doesn’t look anything like the Middle-Eastern Jewish rabbi he was. Apparently in heaven while waiting for resurrection you get your skin bleached and your nose bobbed. And when he does appear, it’ll be scorched earth for the rest of us.

Well, I still plan to raise a glass to the outgoing year on New Year’s Eve and fully expect to wake up, in my bed, again, on January 1, 2017. You should, too. Not wake up in my bed, I mean: raise a glass and forget the whole TEOTWAWKI silliness. Well, not forget it – mock it in the proper fashion it deserves.
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*Wingnuts use an English translation for the source of their calculations, not knowing if the translations are even accurate in terms of language and word choices. And it’s often the King James’ version – a lovely, poetic but flawed and inaccurate translation. These wannabe prophets can’t read or speak any of the original biblical languages, so they don’t realize that the KJV translates the Greek word aeon as world, when it really means age (kosmos is world): the end of an age, not the world is what was written. And the “rapture” isn’t mentioned once in the bible: the whole notion is made up and seems to be a particularly American invention.

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