Sunday, March 05, 2006

End times Slashdot

Well someones gone and written a book suggesting that RFID tags are the mark of the beast mentioned in the Book of Revelations. Some how the topics got posted on Slashdot or all places! As a result there is a significant number of comments about it some intelligent, some funny and most stupid. Here are a couple of the more interesting ones from the debate which can be found here.

Uhhhh, not quite. Constantine did some important stuff. For example he defined the Trinity at Nicea in 325, unified the Roman churches and outlawed the Pantheon, Egiptian, Persian and other churches. The Christian Bible as we know it today however, was compiled under the auspices of King James of Britain, France and Ireland, roundabout 1611.

Hell, when England made the Domesday Book [] in 1086 Christians probably went ape-shit over it for the same reason.
I've learned something about Christians, when something like this comes, many don't say "this is the mark of the beast" instead they say something along the line of "the end is near"... So, they're learning.
I think that the stance against RFIDs needs all the help it can get... So, let the Christians rant and rave next to the EFF... Just as long as the reasonable people raise that point that tracking technologies COULD be used for bad reasons, and encourage people to weigh the good against the bad... Or does that involve thinking?

If I were a Christian, I would be doing anything I can to hasten the return my my God.
And that explains so much of the Bush foreign policy. Starting civil wars, giving out nukes, it all makes sense in this context.

We have six billion people on the planet. Over the next five hundred years, hundreds of billions will live and die. Most of them will spend most of their lives suffering terribly. They will starve, kill each other, rape, drug themselves to death and more.
If the six billion alive today suffered through the apocalypse now, it would prevent the suffering of hundreds of billions. More, really, since you can extend this for as many thousands of years as you like. It's clear that the sooner the world ends, the fewer people will suffer, and the sooner those of us who are righteous will be in heaven.
Just one of the reasons God is clearly a son of a bitch.

The funny thing is that the whole book of Revelations is far more likely to be about events in the first century, with either Jerusalem or Rome being the Whore of Babylon and the Beast being the Emperor or the Roman Army. The Mark of the Beast probably refers to the tatoos that were given to slaves to mark them as such, usually in an easily visible place like the face or the hand. Early Christians also wore tattoos as a sign of their faith. Facial tattoos were sometimes worn by Roman Soldiers, although the Romans regarded tattoos as barbaric.
In fact, the Book of Revelations was a controversial addition to the early Bible, and several Bishops argued against including it in the canon due to the difficulty of interpreting it, and hence, its potential for abuse--particularly the type of abuse so typical of fundamentalists, who keep claiming that the end times are upon us. Other portions of the Bible specifically warn against doing this, because only God knows the time when the world will end. To this day the Eastern Orthodox Church does not consider it part of the Canon.
If you're a non-believer, like I am, all of this is moot--the whole thing is either about the world John lived in, or he got dosed with some grain ergot while in prison. If you are a Christian, however, steer clear of belief that these are the end times. It's a definite no-no in the religion. And if you believe in the Rapture, rest assured that the people who compiled the Bible would have denounced you as a heretic, and you probably would have ended up being used for sword practice by a Roman Legionnaire. This is a spin from the lunatic fringe on a single line of a book that almost ended up in the fireplace of history. It is also a morally corrosive doctrine because it undercuts personal responsibility, encouraging people to believe that God is going to solve all of their problems for them, kill all their enemies, and build them a whole new world.

In this case, the cult is Christianity. If they were any other group, we'd be laughing at them. Unfortunately, they are large enough that their crazy belief system may cause trouble for the rest of us (yet again).
Christianity does not believe end times are heralded by RFID tags, some Christians do. That is what separates Christianity from crazy cults, since it is large and diverse enough to have people make up their own minds on such things. Cults need centralized leadership to tell its adherents what to do and what to believe, Christianity hasn't got a central authority and so its adherents are free to interpret the canon however they see fit and form groups where they share crucial facts of their interpretation. Most Christians believe the book of Revelation to be a non-literal message about what kind of persecution the church has faced and will face in the time between Christ's first and second coming, others believe it is an allegorical prophecy of the history of the thousand years after it was written in about 50AD and some (like the RFID nutter) believe that it is an allegorical prophesy of the thousand years before Christs second coming (whenever that may be). What almost all scholars agree on is that whoever the beast may be is irrelevant when one simply holds to the principles that the bible teaching when dealing with the beast as with dealing with anyone, thus finding the beast is pointless. Unfortunately, not all Christians are scholars and some like to draw shaky parallels and make accusations without merit.
I know I have just bitten a troll, but someone had to clarify it.

1 comment:

Secret Rapture said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!

At: My Inaugural Address (PDF File)
At: My Site
Also at: Other Site

Your jaw will drop!