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Apocalypse Soon: Why Are Christians So Obsessed With the End Times?

In the summer of 2010, I saw him several times a week: a portly gentleman, leaning against a pillar in Penn Station and holding out two fistfuls of pamphlets to the disinterested commuters. He wore glasses and earbuds connected to an MP3 player in his coat pocket, and always had a serene, almost bored expression that was in sharp contrast to the urgency of his message:

Apocalypse pamphlet
© n/a
He was one of the devotees of Harold Camping, a formerly obscure Christian preacher who started making headlines in 2009, when he announced his discovery of a numerological code hidden in the Bible that foretold the exact date of the end of the world. As the appointed date grew nearer, Camping's devotees became increasingly zealous in their race to get the message out. In addition to their leafletting volunteers, I saw billboards and subway ads. Their Web site had a form you could fill out to request free literature, bumperstickers and desk calendars for 2011 that ended the third week of May.

One day, I stopped for a brief chat with the fellow.

"May 2011," I observed. "That's soon."

"Uh-huh," he said, uncertain whether I was making fun of him.

"What happens on that day?" I asked.

"The universe will cease to exist," he explained, as calm as if he were delivering a weather forecast. (I have to admit, I was hoping for something more dramatic: boiling oceans, rains of fire, rivers turned to blood, that sort of thing.)

"What happens if that date comes and you're still here?" I persisted.

"I'll be in big trouble," he said calmly.


Spanish Unemployment Hits Record 5.64 Million

widespread protests in Spain
© Reuters
There have been widespread protests in Spain against labour market reform.
Spanish unemployment has hit a new record high, official figures have shown.

The number of unemployed people reached 5,639,500 at the end of March, with the unemployment rate hitting 24.4%, the national statistics agency said.

The figures came hours after rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Spanish sovereign debt.

Official figures due out on Monday are expected to confirm that Spain has fallen back into recession.

Earlier this week, the Bank of Spain said the economy contracted by 0.4% in first three months of this year, after shrinking by 0.3% in the final quarter of last year.

Other figures released on Friday showed that Spanish retail sales were down 3.7% in March from the same point a year ago, the 21st month in row sales have fallen.

Arrow Down

Christianity is like the Titanic

Sinking Ship
© China2Valley.com
Christianity is like the Titanic - sinking fast and panic is every where!

Ever since God revealed himself to Abraham at the burning bush, four thousand years ago God has been investing himself in mankind. Two thousand years ago he sacrificed himself for us. But he still continues to lose on his investment. This year alone potentially at least 4.5 billion people are going to hell, some of them will be unborn foetuses, some of them will be Muslim children, Hindu children, Atheists etc that don't care anything about differences between religions. This figure does not count Christians that Jesus does not "know", even though, they cast out demons in his name or those that are "Luke warm" that he will spew out of his mouth and send them straight to hell.

Christians make up one third of the worlds population. But they are totally confused and the reason is easy to find. It is in the interpretation of the scriptural text; it is so ambiguous and weak, that it is open to any, interpretation you would like to give it, according to your own fancy or pet theory. This observation is true, for if it was false, there would be fewer denominations, and more Christians in the world. Gods return on his investment would increase. That is not the case and there are 33,000 Denominations.

As defined by World Christian Encyclopaedia by Barrett, Kurian, Johnson Oxford Univ Press, 2nd edition, 2001 world Christianity consists of 6 major ecclesiastic-cultural blocs, divided into 300 major ecclesiastical traditions, composed of over 33,000 distinct denominations in 238 countries, these denominations themselves being composed of over 3,400,000 worship centres, churches or congregations.

God has been in the red since day one and is nearly bankrupt as the once mighty unsinkable ship of Christianity begins to list after it has hit some huge icebergs that have rubbished the claim that it is unsinkable. Liberal Christianity has jettisoned many obsolete doctrines (weights) in order to keep afloat and stay relevant; Genesis creation account, Original sin, Virgin birth, Hell, New Testament miracles and the Resurrection etc. have all been dumped.

However conservative Christianity, especially some Charismatics and Pentecostals have clung to the Bible with all their might and have even frantically added new - seeker - friendly doctrines; to cover up the ones they do not want you to know about (till you are hooked). The doctrines of Biblical Hell, Judgement, Exclusivity, Wrath, Suffering, Pain, Back sliding etc. have been overshadowed by doctrines of Love, Health, Wealth, Prosperity, Miracles, Eternal security, Tithing, Seed planting and a more humane depiction of hell (as separation from god) etc. This has caused a movement of disillusioned and disgruntled Christians seeking excitement and miracles away from boring historical churches to the new exciting and dynamic mega churches all across the land. There they are welcomed with big smiles directly in relation to the cars that they drive - a tiny smile for a VW, a larger one for a BMW and the biggest smile is reserved for those that drive Mercs.

This is just a rearranging of the deck chairs on the stricken ship as there are not nearly enough, if any, atheists, agnostics, secular, people from other religions etc added to Christianity in order to keep it out of the red. Every day we hear about another preacher/minister/clergy that leaves Christianity to become an agnostic or atheists and every second we hear about another Christian lay person that does the same. The ship is sinking and the enlightened are jumping ship. But when it comes to Christianity the less you know the better. Just believe. Don't question anything. Just have faith. Don't doubt. Doubt is Satan's way of leading people astray and oh before I forget "Jesus loves you". However Atheism is growing at an alarming rate. There are all ready over one billion atheists and counting. Not that atheism is a religion it is just a way of grouping rational thinkers that have adopted the attitude that there does not need to be a god to explain any thing; therefore there is not a god.


Waco Religious Commune Accused of Masking Abuse

© WFAA.com
Texas - Homestead Heritage, just outside of Waco, has been revered as a model of Christian values. But is it a Utopian commune, or as some suggest, a extreme group of believers putting children at risk?

Videos posted on the Homestead Heritage web site present to the public the wholesome image, bolstering its perception as a beloved staple of the community for two decades. The estimated 1,000 members, crafting a pristine portrait of communal bliss.

But many who have left the church and its 500-acre, gated compound, paint a much different picture. One of a secretive and tightly-controlled religious environment.

The general public is not allowed inside. The commune is led by a group of elders, directed by the church founder and leader, Blair Adams.

News 8 obtained rare audio of an Adams sermon, which former members say often lasted for hours.

"He was to be feared," said former member Isaac Alexander. "You didn't talk to him, you didn't even look at him."

Others say it is that fear which allows Adams to control those devoted to his strict doctrine.

Katherine and Bob Beechner left Homestead after 15 years when Bob challenged Adams, whom he says professes to a messenger of God.

"The doctrine is that the leadership is put in place by God himself and speaks authoritatively, as speaking the very word of God," Beechner said.

Before gaining acceptance, adults go through several months of screening and ultimately must sign a covenant of silence.

According to Homestead's membership contract, the aspiring members agree "to never bring before the public outside our church... any accusations or wrongdoing or any charge, lawsuit or court action." Agreeing "that all disputes be settled within the confines of the church."... and in return... "the church agrees to never expose a member's shortcomings and sins to any outside it's covenant."


CIA Propaganda? Egypt's 'Farewell Intercourse Law'

© HBSS/Corbis
Controversial: The 'farewell intercourse' law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament.
Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives - for up to six hours after their death.

The controversial new law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament.

It will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 and the ridding of women's rights of getting education and employment.

Egypt's National Council for Women is campaigning against the changes, saying that 'marginalising and undermining the status of women would negatively affect the country's human development'.

Dr Mervat al-Talawi, head of the NCW, wrote to the Egyptian People's Assembly Speaker Dr Saad al-Katatni addressing her concerns.

Egyptian journalist Amro Abdul Samea reported in the al-Ahram newspaper that Talawi complained about the legislations which are being introduced under 'alleged religious interpretations'.

The subject of a husband having sex with his dead wife arose in May 2011 when Moroccan cleric Zamzami Abdul Bari said marriage remains valid even after death.

He also said that women have the right to have sex with her dead husband, alarabiya.net reported.

Comment: FB comment that gets to the point of this:
My Egyptian friends tell me this is a proposal from radical fringe elements, that no other Egyptians take seriously. So, some freak (probably a CIA asset, like most of the controlled opposition) suggests the most perverted, off-putting thi...ng he can think of, and then the Western media tells us that "Egypt is planning" to legalize necrophilia. The only corpses being screwed here are the American people, who refuse to wake up to their shiny, new, post-9/11 fascist regime and it's airtight propaganda machine.


Christianity and the Heresy of Capitalism

Just as, 50 years ago, liberalism was the vital center of our politics, our religious landscape then was dominated by mainline Protestants and a Catholic Church becoming less Roman and more American every year. One of the most symbolic events occurred in 1958 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower laid the cornerstone for the new headquarters of the National Council of Churches here in New York City. Before a crowd of 30,000, Eisenhower quoted George Washington, who described religion as the firm foundation of the country's moral life.

That was the decade America put God on our paper money and in the Pledge of Allegiance. And though the churchly DNA often fostered racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry and Cold War dogmatism, many thought biblical religion, in its various incarnations, was the engine driving the American future.

But then, says Ross Douthat, American Christianity went off the rails -- and now threatens to take American society with it. Furthermore, the snake in the garden is not atheism, nor is secular humanism the worm in the apple. Our fall, he argues, is the work of heresy, as you see in the title of his latest book: Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.


Epidemic of Incarceration Costs US Taxpayers $63.4 billion Annually

A sign of overcrowding at Gadsden County Jail in Florida, where there are more inmates than beds.
Is it fair to call the United States the "incarceration nation"? That's what some experts say. And even some veteran law enforcement and correction officials think something's gone wrong. Our Cover Story is reported now by Martha Teichner:

At the Gadsden County Jail near Tallahassee, Fla., there are bunks, and mattresses on the floor.

The jail has a capacity of about 150 inmates, but there are presently 230 inmates in the facility right now.

Walter McNeil, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, sees the same story everywhere he goes in the U.S.

In one "pod" of Gadsen jail, in which there are 24 bunks, there are 28 inmates - and by the time the weekend comes, there will be five or six more inmates.

That's nothing compared to California. Overcrowding was so bad there, the U.S. Supreme Court called it "cruel and unusual punishment," and last May ordered the state to cut its prison population by more than 30,000.

Nationwide, the numbers are staggering: Nearly 2.4 million people behind bars, even though over the last 20 years the crime rate has actually dropped by more than 40 percent.


Gulags in America: Profitability of our Prison Slave System

© Missouri State Parks
Higginsville Confederates Veterans Home
The U.S. Civil War, which was fought to abolish slavery, was not really that long ago. My father tells the story of visiting the Higginsville home for Civil War veterans near his childhood home in Missouri. The Missouri River was a dividing line between North and South, and so when the war was finally over, many families had veterans -- and casualties -- on both sides. My father remembers watching two old soldiers, one Union, one Confederate, each dressed up in the remnants of their uniforms, having an argument that ended up with one attacking the other with a pair of crutches. Hearing this as a little girl was the first time the Civil War seemed real to me. It is a vivid reminder of the close links that bind this country to its history of slavery, which still haunts our national conscience.


Inequality in America worse than it was in Ancient Rome

Roman carving
The 99 percent has found an ally 2,500 years in the past. It just so happens that it's with those that found themselves in the Ancient Roman plebian and slave classes.

According to research done recently by historians Walter Schiedel and Steven Friesen, cited by Per Square Mile's Tim De Chant, the income inequality gap in modern day America is far greater than the separation within the societies during the days of Julius Caesar. During the Ancient Roman Republic, says the duo's study published in Per Square Mile, the top one percent controlled 16 percent of society's wealth. If you fire up the Delorean and go from the Diocletian Empire to twenty-first century USA, you'll see that things are a little more uneven. Today, that one percent on top controls 40 percent of the country's wealth.


Bomb Explosions Kill 10, Wound 18 in Iraq's Diyala

Baghdad - Ten people were killed and 18 others wounded when two explosions struck a popular coffee shop in the restive Iraqi province of Diyala, security sources said on Thursday.

Diyala province, a fertile agricultural area, has long been one of the most volatile regions in Iraq, inhabited by a mix of Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds.

The attacks took place in a mainly Sunni village on the outskirts of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, a policeman in the village and a source in Diyala operations command said.

The sources said the first explosion, set off by a suicide car bomber, killed 10 people and wounded 15 others. The policeman said a second bomb planted inside the coffee shop wounded three more people. "We received 10 bodies and 18 wounded," Abdul-Razaq Hussein, a doctor in Baquba hospital, told Reuters, adding that the toll was final.