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Old 4th July 2019, 02:53 PM   #1
luchog
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Republicans mired in death cult

Some of the language in the article tends toward the inflammatory, but it's pretty accurate overall. I grew up in Evangelical Christian communities in the '70s and '80s, and was involved in them through most of the '90s, before I finally saw them for what they were (the old JREF forum was very helpful in that regard, although I'd already begun to discard the theology by that point). My parents were (and are) staunch Republicans as well, and I saw a lot of what is described in the article close up (although, again, I had started to discard GOP politics and was involved in libertarianism before it was taken over, first by Randroids then the alt.right, which itself is closely tied to the death cults).

Apocalypse Now: Why Republicans Are Destroying the World

Excerpt:
Quote:
Most of the world was baffled by the Trump Administration’s decision to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Sure, Republicans had been threatening to do this for two decades, but Trump was the first President sufficiently unconcerned to carry out this self-sabotage unilaterally, with nothing in return. It was a provocative statement, destroying the last remnants of US credibility in the Mideast peace process, signaling a new commitment to permanent enmity with the Islamic World. The US joined exactly zero other countries in making this puzzling move. What did the American people gain? Nothing, it was a pure loss for the US, and a dangerous escalation of tensions in the wider world.

So why did Trump do it? Beyond that one decision, why is one of the most unapologetically racist leaders in our history, a man lauded by KKK leader David Duke for his anti-Semitism, such an enthusiastic supporter of Israel?

Trump moved our embassy to Jerusalem to satisfy a crucial element of his base, and it isn’t Jewish voters. White evangelicals, the voting bloc consisting of roughly 20% of the national electorate and about 80% of the GOP’s remaining organizational leadership, cheered this step. They see how inflammatory and potentially disastrous this simple move could be, and that’s why they wanted it to happen.

Over the past generation, white evangelicals have embraced what can only logically be described as an apocalyptic death cult. They are unconcerned about Mideast wars, climate change, poverty or of course, racism, because each new disaster brings us closer to their religious fantasies of The End. Our powerful religious nutjobs, who utterly control the Republican Party, yearn for the day when they can look down on you from a living heaven while you suffer a world of unrelenting horrors. White evangelicals, through the Republican Party, are voting to make the apocalypse now.

This is not hyperbole. I went to these churches, and this is exactly the sort of stuff that is being preached. And I'm not talking the little little backwoods hicktown one-room churches of the stereotype; these were the huge megachurches ranging from tens of thousands to millions of members who all collaborate and conspire together to spread this doctrine of hate and self-indulgence. Starting with the Assemblies of God, and graduating to the hardcore Evangelical televangelists like Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Casey Treat, Kenneth Copeland, and on and on. These were the founders of the church networks that my family and I belonged to, and the backbone of the Evangelical believer base that elected Trump and his cronies, that elected the undisguised racists in federal and state government, and tried to elect a dead pimp in Nevada and a child molester in Alabama.

Excerpt:
Quote:
Ask an American evangelical today about Armageddon or the End of the World, and you’re likely to hear a story gleaned from popular literature that descends not from the early church or the Bible, but from the colorful imagination of a 19th century English cultist.

After being seriously injured in a fall from horse in 1827, lapsed cleric John Nelson Darby began to write down the theology God had revealed to him. Most of his work was forgotten, and his teachings flopped entirely in Europe. However, one element of his cult mythology caught fire in the US, especially in the South. By crafting together bits and pieces of Biblical text like the disconnected words on refrigerator magnets, Darby invented a story of The End Times perfectly suited for the needs of slaveholder religion in the South. It was called Dispensationalism.

The theology of Dispensationalism is complicated, but can be effectively summed up as G-D making different rules for different times, and as we are now in the end times, believers are no longer bound by the rules of love and compassion as they once were, but by a more elitist, militaristic separatist theology. A theology that dovetails very nicely with existing racist and anti-Semitic worldviews.

Excerpt:
Quote:
Belief in The Rapture encouraged an inversion of Christianity, in which all the powerful, difficult elements of traditional Christianity that encourage compassion, humility and positive engagement in the world are dismissed as irrelevant. The universe becomes a grand trash bag, to be used and discarded, with no hope of improvement. It produces a worldview in which goodness is defined-down to mere cult loyalty.

The author's explanation of the history of Dispensationalism is, while sensationalist in its wording, essentially correct, and very details. I highly recommend reading it.

The upshot of it all is that that religious worldview, starting in Nixon's time, rapidly came to define the politics of the Republican party.

Not going to quote from the rest of the article, since it's hard to do so in the sort of "sound bite" form that is so popular here and elsewhere. It gets very detailed in the progression from Dispensationalist theologians, to the believers in this theology taking over leadership of the GOP, and their efforts to implement this worldview world-wide.
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Old 4th July 2019, 03:12 PM   #2
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I'd say America is going to resemble Brazil more and more in the decades to come, who have an evangelical fascist as President BTW.
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Old 4th July 2019, 03:32 PM   #3
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That's a long article, and it's going to take me a while to read it all. But the thing that continues to amaze me is that the evangelical rank-and-file believe whole-heartedly that Trump is one of them. He's no more a Christian than I am, and certainly not of that sort. Evangelical leadership, of course, can see that; but are happy to use him to further their own ends just as he uses them to further his.
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Old 4th July 2019, 03:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
That's a long article, and it's going to take me a while to read it all. But the thing that continues to amaze me is that the evangelical rank-and-file believe whole-heartedly that Trump is one of them. He's no more a Christian than I am, and certainly not of that sort.

Yeah, the reaction of the Evangelical rank-and-file to Trump is... complicated. Some fully accept him as a sort of quasi-messiah, and those tend to be of the more racist, anti-LGBTQ sort. Some do not necessarily buy into his claim to be Christian; but still support him because they believe that he is "chosen by God", and therefore "serves God's purpose" and should not be questioned, even if the man himself doesn't come up to their exacting moral standards (my mother is one of these).

Quote:
Evangelical leadership, of course, can see that; but are happy to use him to further their own ends just as he uses them to further his.

Given that the bulk of the Evangelical leadership these days are mere con artists, they are more than willing to accept Trump as one of them.
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Old 4th July 2019, 03:52 PM   #5
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Unfortunately, helping these sons-of-bitches get to heaven faster isn't legal. But I'd be quite happy if they'd all drop dead so the rest of us can get on with ensuring a long future for mankind.
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Old 4th July 2019, 04:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
Yeah, the reaction of the Evangelical rank-and-file to Trump is... complicated. Some fully accept him as a sort of quasi-messiah, and those tend to be of the more racist, anti-LGBTQ sort. Some do not necessarily buy into his claim to be Christian; but still support him because they believe that he is "chosen by God", and therefore "serves God's purpose" and should not be questioned, even if the man himself doesn't come up to their exacting moral standards (my mother is one of these).
Usually they make references to King Cyrus of Persia.

From the Wikipedia entry on King Cyrus the GreatWP:
Quote:
According to the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament) in Isaiah 45:1, God anointed Cyrus for this task, even referring to him as messiah (lit. "His anointed one") and he is the only non-Jewish figure in the Bible to be called so.
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Old 4th July 2019, 04:31 PM   #7
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It is no surprise that with Pence and the Evangelical influences on Trump that End Times beliefs are in that mix.
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Old 4th July 2019, 04:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
Unfortunately, helping these sons-of-bitches get to heaven faster isn't legal. But I'd be quite happy if they'd all drop dead so the rest of us can get on with ensuring a long future for mankind.
But they need Armageddon to show us they were right and punish us for not believing them, plus then Jesus comes back to rule over a peaceful Earth for 1,000 years.

Or they all get raptured. I get my Bible nonsense mixed up.

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Old 4th July 2019, 05:09 PM   #9
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I think it was around the early presidency of Bush Jr. where I learned of this stuff. Christian conservatives backing the US's support/protection of Israel because they needed the Jews to control that region in order for the Rapture to come. While insane, I shrugged it off because almost all politicians, especially those claiming religious beliefs, end up being the biggest hypocrites. They seem to use religion and single issue votes to build a support base of the most easily duped public, rather than actually hold moralistic beliefs. I suspect many Republicans and even Democrats who claim to be religious, are actually atheists/agnostics who believe in Capitalism above all else. Of all the politicians, who don't openly identify as atheist/agnostic (which is few if any), Trump is the fakest religious person of them all.
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Old 4th July 2019, 05:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
That's a long article, and it's going to take me a while to read it all. But the thing that continues to amaze me is that the evangelical rank-and-file believe whole-heartedly that Trump is one of them. He's no more a Christian than I am, and certainly not of that sort. Evangelical leadership, of course, can see that; but are happy to use him to further their own ends just as he uses them to further his.
I am guessing that, like most people, if he has any religious convictions (who knows?) they are probably based on the church that he grew up in. In his case, they would be based on the cult of positive thinking of Norman Vincent Pearle. I'm assuming that such convictions (if they exist) would be very different from those of the folk referred to in the OP's article.

Mainly, he's a conman (and the Christian Right doesn't care).
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Old 4th July 2019, 06:31 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bouncing Bettys View Post
I think it was around the early presidency of Bush Jr. where I learned of this stuff. Christian conservatives backing the US's support/protection of Israel because they needed the Jews to control that region in order for the Rapture to come.
It's certainly nothing I'm hearing for the first time.

But for a country with so many end-times fantasists, we really don't have much stomach for full-blown war. The public soured on Iraq pretty quickly. Does anyone think another Vietnam would be tolerated in this era? I don't, and I hope I'm right.
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Old 4th July 2019, 06:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by cosmicaug View Post
I am guessing that, like most people, if he has any religious convictions (who knows?) they are probably based on the church that he grew up in. In his case, they would be based on the cult of positive thinking of Norman Vincent Pearle. I'm assuming that such convictions (if they exist) would be very different from those of the folk referred to in the OP's article.

Mainly, he's a conman (and the Christian Right doesn't care).
Your last sentence is correct. Trump worships only himself. And he's a conman.
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Old 4th July 2019, 06:57 PM   #13
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21st of May 2011 again?

Zzzzzz

https://www.good.is/articles/more-th...ture-is-coming
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Old 5th July 2019, 01:17 AM   #14
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This article sums up why Trumpists shouldn't be pandered to in an effort to win them over, nor should they be treated as a viable alternative. They need to be repressed and shut out of politics through any means necessary. These people will destroy the world if able.

Democrats need to win back the Presidency in 2020, but that won't be enough. They also need to win locally in the states and districts and then abuse gerrymandering like the GOP has in order to completely shut the Trumpists out of any possibility of gaining power. SCOTUS has said they won't do anything about political gerrymandering, so Democrats and other patriots need to step up to the plate.
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Old 5th July 2019, 07:20 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
That's a long article, and it's going to take me a while to read it all. But the thing that continues to amaze me is that the evangelical rank-and-file believe whole-heartedly that Trump is one of them. He's no more a Christian than I am, and certainly not of that sort. Evangelical leadership, of course, can see that; but are happy to use him to further their own ends just as he uses them to further his.
If they could see they were being manipulated by a charismatic leader for their own goals then they wouldn't be evangelicals.

Trump is just another old testament God to them.

And, as you noted, despite the fact that Trump can't walk past a church without bursting into flames he's gotten them within walking distance of turning America into a theocracy.
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Old 7th July 2019, 01:08 PM   #16
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Here is a much more sensible analysis of why evangelicals support Trump: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...cal-supporters

The rapture nonsense is a handy red herring to cover the overt racism and misogyny. I'm sure some believe it, but probably fewer than believe Obama is actually an alien lizard.
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Old 7th July 2019, 04:23 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Here is a much more sensible analysis of why evangelicals support Trump: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...cal-supporters

The rapture nonsense is a handy red herring to cover the overt racism and misogyny.

I'm guessing you actually didn't read the article in the OP, because the highlighted bit is actually a very large part of its point, although it's not quite accurate. Dominionist Christianity has always been extremely racist and misogynist; but that's doesn't mean that the rank and file are not also True Believers. Having grown up in those churches, I can say that the membership, at least, are very much believers in the Rapture and the End Times, and all the nonsense surrounding it. That doesn't make the racism and misogyny and other forms of bigotry any less potent, that's been a profound part of any politicized form of Christianity in this nation, going back to well-before its most blatant manifestation in Confederate states' religious propaganda.
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Old 7th July 2019, 04:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
I'm guessing you actually didn't read the article in the OP, because the highlighted bit is actually a very large part of its point, although it's not quite accurate.
You guessed wrong, and it's not the first time I've seen the premise, and while it highlights the racism and misogyny, your thread concentrates on the rapture. They believe in it, but the number who actually think trump is part of that endgame is vanishingly small, and completely irrelevant.

What I find most amusing is that the same story in reverse went around a few years ago as why ISIS rose so quickly. It was bollocks then as well.
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Old 7th July 2019, 05:41 PM   #19
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Five bucks says that when the Whore of Babylon shows up she'll be in the witness stand with a stack of Trump's credit card receipts.
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Old 7th July 2019, 05:55 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Here is a much more sensible analysis of why evangelicals support Trump: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...cal-supporters

The rapture nonsense is a handy red herring to cover the overt racism and misogyny. I'm sure some believe it, but probably fewer than believe Obama is actually an alien lizard.
From the article:
Quote:
“We know that there has been a change in his heart, and he respects our beliefs and values. And I believe he has some of the same beliefs and values.”
They've been conned. It's rationalizing their cognitive dissonance.

McConnell made it about overturning Roe and the core of Evangelicals went for it.
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Old 7th July 2019, 06:24 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
From the article:

They've been conned.
Self-delusion is really easy when you're getting what you want.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:07 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
You guessed wrong, and it's not the first time I've seen the premise, and while it highlights the racism and misogyny, your thread concentrates on the rapture. They believe in it, but the number who actually think trump is part of that endgame is vanishingly small, and completely irrelevant.

You mean irrelevant aside from the fact that they got him elected? In 2016 white Evangelical voters turned out in record numbers, over 80% of registered white Evangelical voters numbering in the millions turned out to vote, up from an average of around 60%. White Evangelicals constitute over a quarter (26%) of American voters. That is far from irrelevant, that is a huge political force. And they voted almost exclusively for Trump.

I'm also guessing that you haven't spent much of your life in Evangelical churches, or have substantial numbers of family in those churches. Your problem here is that you think that their racism and misogyny can be separated from their "End Times" beliefs. They can't, they are part and parcel of the same thing -- a broad, "chosen people" elitism that goes well beyond anything supported in Scripture. It's the same elitism that was used by Confederacy supporters to justify slavery, with a strong milleniallist component that has been incorporated over the last century.


Mix elitism with millenialism, throw in a politician willing to actively pander to that worldview, and you have a recipe for a great deal of irrationality and cognitive dissonance. It was painfully evident during the 2016 campaign to anyone whose head wasn't firmly lodged under a very large rock. Millenialism was very much in evidence in Evangelical voting to anyone familiar enough with the community. It informed nearly all of their reasons for supporting Trump and the other far-right candidates; from climate change, to control of the Supreme Court.
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Old 8th July 2019, 08:37 AM   #23
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The state of "new conservative" / evangelical / Republican America has often been compared to the Five Stages of Grief:

- plenty of under-educated / rural Americans simply refuse to accept that their idea of the American Dream doesn't exist anymore, if it ever had.
- those who realize that are angered by it, and will vote for a Trump or similar to spread their anger far any wide
- then there are those who are depressed by the fact of their changing prospects, and turn to drugs
- professionals who have long ago seen the demographic reversal have bargained by hacking the judicial, educational and political system via gerrymandering and groups like The Federalist Society, in effect safeguarding outsized influence in a country in which their support keeps shrinking.
- very few have accepted the new realities, but are waiting for the rest of the GOP leadership to die off so that an actual re-orientation of US conservatism can happen.
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Old 8th July 2019, 11:12 AM   #24
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Mod Warning Ton of off topic posts moved to AAH, this thread has quite a clear and understandable topic, so let's try and keep to it please.
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Old 8th July 2019, 01:03 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
You mean irrelevant aside from the fact that they got him elected?
I have no problem with agreeing that evangelicals got Trump elected. It's the percentage of them that were trying to induce the rapture that's irrelevant.
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Old 8th July 2019, 05:57 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
I have no problem with agreeing that evangelicals got Trump elected. It's the percentage of them that were trying to induce the rapture that's irrelevant.
That's actually the topic of the thread.
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Old 8th July 2019, 06:27 PM   #27
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Uh, yeah, it's the topic of the thread. It's also important.
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Old 9th July 2019, 01:19 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
That's actually the topic of the thread.
Yet my copy says: "Republicans mired in death cult".

We must be on different pages.
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Old 9th July 2019, 02:09 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Yet my copy says: "Republicans mired in death cult".

We must be on different pages.

It helps to read the article in the OP, which is the topic of the thread.
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:39 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Yet my copy says: "Republicans mired in death cult".

We must be on different pages.
Is the rapture not a death cult? They meet the criteria.
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Old 9th July 2019, 07:11 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Is the rapture not a death cult? They meet the criteria.
The "rapture" is an event, not a cult.
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Old 9th July 2019, 08:16 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
The "rapture" is an event, not a cult.
I suppose it is a loosely formed cult, not a tight knit one. But it's hard to rationalize they aren't wishing for end times.
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Old 9th July 2019, 08:40 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I suppose it is a loosely formed cult, not a tight knit one. But it's hard to rationalize they aren't wishing for end times.
The "rapture" is not a cult at all. It's not an organisation of any kind, loose or otherwise.

The "rapture" is the event where believers are bodily taken in to Heaven. Various churches believe in it to varying degrees, mostly on the evangelical side. If you wanted to reeeeeealy stretch the definition of "cult", you could say that some of these churches may be described as cults, but you cannot - you absolutely cannot - say that the rapture itself is a cult, any more than you can say that a car crash is a school.
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Old 9th July 2019, 08:59 PM   #34
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Con-artist Preachers make money off making people fear the coming Rapture - which sounds like the core Cult business to me.
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Old 9th July 2019, 09:07 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Con-artist Preachers make money off making people fear the coming Rapture - which sounds like the core Cult business to me.
If those preachers wield absolute authority over the lives and business of worshippers, which can never be questioned under pain of punishment, then yes, that fulfils one of the characteristics of a cult.
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Old 9th July 2019, 09:14 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
If those preachers wield absolute authority over the lives and business of worshippers, which can never be questioned under pain of punishment, then yes, that fulfils one of the characteristics of a cult.
that sounds more like kidnapping/extortion than a necessary component of a Cult.

I would put "disregard all information not coming from me" and "break contact with everyone who disagrees with me" as the defining features of a Cult, both behavior End-Time predictors are known for.
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Old 9th July 2019, 09:24 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
that sounds more like kidnapping/extortion than a necessary component of a Cult.

I would put "disregard all information not coming from me" and "break contact with everyone who disagrees with me" as the defining features of a Cult, both behavior End-Time predictors are known for.
Those are indeed other features of a cult, as given in the link I provided a couple of posts ago which of course you read. There's also the idea of a "secret" teaching that isn't shared with non-members, an us-vs-them doctrine, inaccountability to external or secular authorities, and others.

There isn't a clear demarcation line that sets a cult aside from just a branch of a religion, but a lot of people define pretty much any religion as a cult, and that's both inaccurate and misleading.
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Old 9th July 2019, 10:25 PM   #38
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Awesome country you've got over there.

I'm sure this will work out just fine.
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Old 9th July 2019, 10:33 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
The "rapture" is not a cult at all. It's not an organisation of any kind, loose or otherwise.

The "rapture" is the event where believers are bodily taken in to Heaven. Various churches believe in it to varying degrees, mostly on the evangelical side. If you wanted to reeeeeealy stretch the definition of "cult", you could say that some of these churches may be described as cults, but you cannot - you absolutely cannot - say that the rapture itself is a cult, any more than you can say that a car crash is a school.
So no one's pushing for the Jews to get all of Israel and whatever else the circumstances are that they need to speed the Rapture up?

Just a distant belief?

Somewhere we are talking past each other.
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Old 9th July 2019, 11:03 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
So no one's pushing for the Jews to get all of Israel and whatever else the circumstances are that they need to speed the Rapture up?

Just a distant belief?

Somewhere we are talking past each other.
Yes, it started when you referred to the rapture as a cult.

Which it isn't.
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