“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Becoming a Christian in the early ‘90s was an incredible amount of fun in an age of innocence. I became a Christian in 1993. Michael W. Smith was on the radio, youth groups got together at arcades and roller rinks, big concerts like the Creation festival got us camping out in the woods – church was fresh, hip, and relevant. This is the culture that introduced me to a God who’d interacted with humanity throughout history to provide redemption and a life greater than one’s self. This made a lot of sense to 17-year old me, and it still does.
Christianity came with a lot of baggage, though. Along with the powerful message of the gospel also came a lot of strange ideas that never quite sat well with me. Concepts of a literal seven-day creation, a perfect and immortal body in Adam and Eve, and especially that of a violent and demonic end-of-the-world scenario that would make any Hollywood producer look like an amateur. In hindsight, Christianity had seemed to conflate faith with magic, and offset the foundation of a redemptive God with violence, judgment and death. How odd.
This was a package deal, though, for many young Christians in the 90’s. To not have faith in a literal creation and a violent end times meant that you didn’t have faith at all. This left many Christians to either go along with the weirdness, and just ignore the obvious oddities of the Christian faith, or to fully embrace them and make your identity as a Christian based on your willingness to blindly accept even the most outrageous claims of a Bible interpreted literally.
There are many Christians still stuck here, because it is quite literally the only thing many churches teach today. As proof in fact, during the past few months many Christians have interrupted my peaceful schadenfreude to bother me with the most outrageous conspiracy theories. I have been told the COVID vaccine is the mark of the beast, that Joe Biden is the Antichrist, that the National Guard is the new world order, among other delusions. Not to even mention the large percentage of Christians who won’t wear a mask, and would rather spread disease because science conflicts with their beliefs. The world has gone full sandwich board.Continue reading “Societal Pessimism and its Impact on End-Times Theology”