Sam Harris On The Ramifications Of Rapture Rhetoric genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis

In the following video, an excerpt from the movie, The God Who Wasn't There, Sam Harris comments on the prevalence of those who believe in the rapture and the impact it can have on politics and global conflict. A full forty-four percent of Americans are inclined to believe that the end of days (the return of Jesus) will occur within their lifetime.

As I watched the other gentleman speak about his belief in the coming rapture, I took note of his linking of current events with verses from scripture to provide evidence of the coming end. His arguments reminded me of the rationale that has been created to suggest that the positions of celestial objects will dictate the personality traits we possess. It's virtually a never ending attempt to apply order to the random nature of our existence.

It's akin to those who state, in the aftermath of a natural disaster, that the lone survivor is a miracle, an indication that God has a plan for that individual, and a sign that God works in mysterious ways. Frankly, the only portion of that view that has a kernel of truth is the acceptance of an element of mystery that cannot be fully understood.

I equate that acknowledgment with a tacit admission that the world in which we live is primarily influenced by random events which are beyond our control. In my way of thinking, when religious folks attempt to apply heavenly attributions to these random acts of misfortune, they are merely seeking the means to accept the accompanying trauma.

While I don't begrudge their desire to establish coping mechanisms, I am troubled when they utilize these methods to judge others or to make predictions about the future. I say as much because when someone thinks they know the future, it often impacts the actions they take in the present. Hence, the fact that nearly half of all Americans believe the world will end in their lifetime is likely to modify the course of events. The blind faith they espouse may be consoling, but it is, in my opinion, embraced without any real supporting evidence.

As such, they're actions are apt to alter the future based solely upon unfounded expectations. In a number of scenarios, those actions have the potential to wreak havoc upon the lives of others as well as jeopardize the safety and stability of the world we all share. I don't believe this should be the case.

Tagged as: Bible, Conflict, Death, End of Days, Faith, Politics, Random, Rapture, Religion, Sam Harris, War

Daniel DiRito | July 9, 2008 | 8:36 PM
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1 On July 10, 2008 at 8:06 AM, postsimian wrote —

The effects are evident. We have Christians all over the place wanting more war in the middle east to hasten the coming of Armageddon.

A conservative Christian is exponentially more likely to be hostile to anything considered "environmentalist" even to the point of overt action (how many people jokingly brag about how their mega-truck is killing the environment, followed by a declaration of apathy?). Why? "There's no point! Jesus is coming back to make everything okay!"

The Christian lifestyle is every bit as licentious as hedonism. When you've got the creator of the universe in your corner, you can do no wrong.

Thought Theater at Blogged

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