Apocalypse Soon

There’s a good article in the LA Times about some of the more extreme members of the three great monotheistic apocalypse cults of the Middle East (in chronological order, Judaism, Christianity and Islam) who take their religion so literally that they are actively trying to hasten the end of this world because, presumably, they just don’t like it very much.

some Jewish groups in Jerusalem hope to clear the path for their own messiah by rebuilding a temple on a site now occupied by one of Islam’s holiest shrines.

Artisans have re-created priestly robes of white linen, gem-studded breastplates, silver trumpets and solid-gold menorahs to be used in the Holy Temple — along with two 6½-ton marble cornerstones for the building’s foundation.

Then there is Clyde Lott, a Mississippi revivalist preacher and cattle rancher. He is trying to raise a unique herd of red heifers to satisfy an obscure injunction in the Book of Numbers: the sacrifice of a blemish-free red heifer for purification rituals needed to pave the way for the messiah.

So far, only one of his cows has been verified by rabbis as worthy, meaning they failed to turn up even three white or black hairs on the animal’s body.

Interestingly, this phenomena is largely confined to the US and the Middle East. Yes, of course there are apocalyptic cults in other regions (Japan’s own Aum Shinrikyo being one near and dear to my heart) but they are hardly a mainstream phenomenon over there. In fact, according to the article as many as 40% of Americans believe that an apocalypse is not merely coming but imminent. Now, some people believe that some of the more obscure foreign policy moves engaged in by the US governmental leaders can be traced to this very belief in the end time-and I myself have even engaged in some joking speculation of such a nature-but of course when examined logically the argument falls apart. After all, how could anyone who believes that the world is coming to an end in a couple of decades time be so enthusiastic about being midwife to the creation of a landed hereditary aristocracy by enouraging the repeal of the inheritance tax?

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