Bible studies

Examining Christian Rhetoric from the End of Time to the Time of COVID

Andrew Joseph Pegoda (@AJP_PhD) holds a doctorate. in history and teaches studies on women, gender and sexuality; religious studies; and English at the University of Houston. Previous articles are available in The Conversation, History News Network, The Houston Chronicle, Time, and The Washington Post, among others.

Albrecht Dürer, 1497-1498

Since the coronavirus pandemic brought its initial wrath to the United States in March, I’ve seen constant messages from Christians on social media warning that the end of time has fully come.

A Twitter search for “end time” Where “end of the world“brings up hundreds of recent posts, more popping up every second. For example, Twitter user” Warrior For Christ “conducted a survey and found that 89 percent of respondents believe the Earth is at the end of time. In addition, based on GoogleTrends The data, there has been significantly more research into “end times” in March 2020 than in any other month since Google started collecting such data in January 2004.

It’s clearly on people’s minds. A recent writer wrote:

Some fundamentalist Christians view COVID-19 as the fulfillment of prophecies in the Bible’s fantastic book of Revelation. They see the coronavirus as the first of the seven plagues brought by avenging angels to envelop the world. The locust swarms in East Africa and the Australian wildfires are kind of built into all of this. Personally, my bet is on science and the saving angels in the people of the researchers who are developing a vaccine quickly… We’ll be going through this coronavirus case eventually, so don’t let that get you down. This is not the end of the world.

My aim in this article is to provide a broader, evidence-based perspective on how privilege and historical illiteracy explain why a growing number of Christians, although not catholics, see our current historical moments as indicators that Christ’s return is near. My goal is not to confirm or demystify Christian theism or any other theism: I look to the past to offer a broader perspective on today’s end-time discussion.

Before moving forward, we should take a second to remind ourselves that humans through time, place, and theism have long predicted and worried about the end of the world.

Most contemporary worldviews of the Christian apocalypse and its God, Yahweh, are largely unique to the United States, and many are even rooted in fiction, especially the Left behind series. Signs of end time often understand more and more earthquakes and severe storms; increased cultural pluralism (especially when it comes to queer individuals and non-Christians); the rise of dictators, false prophets and political radicals; decrease in religiosity; and widespread death from disease, famine and war.

Of all the available evidence, COVID-19 is definitely unprecedented and deadly. And those who survive may have permanent damage to their bodies.

So why shouldn’t COVID-19 and the famine and death that accompany it not be seen as part of the end times? A look at causality points to human, and not divine, action at work.

It must be recognized that while it is not entirely preventable, the worst of COVID-19 could have been avoid whether the United States federal government had heeded the first warnings in December 2019. And COVID-19 is currently affecting the United States over almost other country because of the illusion of some that “freedomIs in danger when asked to change daily routines.

People honestly cannot use COVID-19 as an indication that the Second Coming will happen soon when COVID-19 affects the geopolitical area called the United States worse than other places on Earth due to its own arrogant and callous decisions. . The almost total allegiance of evangelicals to the Republican Party prevents many of them from seeing the COVID-19 crisis as a failure of their elected officials.

Only for those who benefit from the privilege of being sheltered, even the privilege of ableism, can COVID-19 seem like the dawn of a new and final era.

Distinct historical ignorance also obscures the frequency of mass deaths in the past, often on much larger scales.

In terms of sickness, the European plague of the 14th century (Unfortunately, better known as the “Black Death”) killed somewhere between 50 and 75 million people, up to 200 millions by some estimates. And the 1918 flu epidemic, claimed 50 million. In terms of war, World War II alone killed at least 100 million people: 10 million in the Holocaust, 20 million in Russian gulags, with millions and millions of deaths of soldiers and civilians.

At the time of this writing (August 5), documented worldwide COVID-19[female[feminine deaths total 706,000 with a total of 19 million cases.

If people had internalized the historical knowledge of how often millions more people die in a historic moment, the smaller number of deaths caused by COVID-19 would not seem unprecedented and would not seem to be a sudden warning of the end of times depicted in the rhetoric of Christian theism.

In addition, the people of the United States have been largely psychologically and physically protected from the worst recent global challenges and tragedies, in part because of the superiority complex, and partly because of its long duration (now discoloration) its status as a world leader. Dictators are and have been the norm throughout time and space. Few countries voluntarily elect budding dictators like in the United States, as it does because some voters think it is. accelerate the to finish. Starvation and disease, due to lack of clean water, safe food and medicine, are still extremely common around the world, according to decades of data collected by Our world in data, the United Nations, The World Bank, World Health Organization, and other credible organizations.

Even in the United States, widespread sickness and hunger have long been ubiquitous for those without the relationships and money– in other words, privilege. Due to the ever popular prosperity gospel and because of the systemic oppression perpetuated by the Imperialist Supremacist White Capitalist (Heteronormative Ableist Theistic) PatriarchalHello, sickness and hunger (when recognized) were seen as failures of personal faith and responsibility, not as signs of the end of time.

In other words, prosperity theology, which emphasizes the connection between moral and godly behavior, then material comfort and good health, encourages people to let go of any sense of social responsibility to one another. others (forget about any notion of social contract), and this usually encourages being blind to the plight of others. COVID-19, however, is new and infects even loyal and hardworking people and is therefore considered a harbinger of the end.

And none of this is to say that things aren’t getting complicated in the world or in the United States. They are. But, unlike the apocalypse, we have a choice.

It’s not just COVID-19 we’ve had (and still have, although with great limitations) control over: Almost all known or predicted problems the world faces today and in the decades to come are preventable. Avoidable if, as global village, we encourage more responsible human behavior, we prioritize education, we listen to the experts and we guarantee food, water and medicine to everyone, without exception, without conditions.

Indeed, many of the signs that US-based Christian theism uses to indicate the end of times are needlessly essentialist and point to a worldview devoid of human resources. free will, which is also extremely popular among the current ones Christians and United States.

Consider the following examples: unlike biblical signs that say famine is inevitable and something humans cannot control as the end of time approaches, due to the abundance made possible by technology, hunger only exists today because too many humans choose to be selfish. Due to greed and poor planning – totally solvable problems – food waste is common in the world, the United States rejecting half of his food. And compared to the last decades, the big storms strength to be where appear become more and more violent: specifically because of the way humans abuse and carelessly abuse the Earth. Maybe lessons from ecological theology would benefit people.

More responsible human behavior would indeed eliminate many signs of the end times (if that happened, would theologians develop new signs of the end times to explain new social issues that they would rather ignore or use as a goat? emissary?).

With regard to earthquakes, according to Robin andrews, the United States Geological Survey, and the British geological survey, the frequency of earthquakes has not really increased. An increasing number of earthquakes are now detected simply with more sophisticated technology. Humans now even cause earthquakes with splitting. And it occurs to me that every time an earthquake of significant degree occurs, social media sites are filled with coverage, creating the illusion that they happen more often.

And, in a nod to Big story, I must mention that countless earthquakes of a force greater than all modern earthquakes combined have occurred during the past Hadean, Archean and Proterozoic eras of the planet, especially when the plates of the Earth took form and reconstituted after major asteroid strikes. And this matters in our current discussion, as some Christians reject models of a 4000 year old Earth in favor of what is called theistic evolution and a creation story with origins dating back 4.5 billion years.

Other phenomena are taken for signs due to narrow, specific, but vague theological interpretations in certain sects of Christianity or even because of sectarianism and fear of the Other. Many Christians often do not know (or do not recognize) that queer theology exists, for example. The “Christian leftIs also often ignored and seen as mere political radicalism rather than another valid denomination.

Historical amnesia and daily privileges are what make some Christians feel like the end prophecies are actively underway.

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