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BlueKota

(1,895 posts)
Fri Oct 13, 2023, 08:14 PM Oct 2023

I have to admit I always kind of brushed off the whole idea

of Armageddon, and the end of days, but now I am genuinely frightened that this is what is happening. Trump and the way his followers are putting him above the words of Christ, his followers taking control of the House, the situation in the middle east, climate change, Russia and China cooperating with each other.

I am praying trying to calm myself and I even had a near death experience years ago where I had the strongest sense of being enveloped in peace, and love, with the words I'm going home, echoing in my brain. But then I heard my Mom begging me not to leave her, and I was revived seconds later. She died the following year. Part of me is saying I shouldn't be scared and I should trust, but I am afraid.

Afraid that what if I did something in these intervening years that changed God's mind about me. I mean I hate Trump and his buddies with a passion and keep wishing bad things will happen to them, and I know as a Christian I am not supposed to think like that, but I just get so angry at how awful they are. Or what if my unconscious mind was just dreaming. I don't want everything to just end.

I don't know why I am sharing this. It's just I really don't have that many outlets to talk about it. I have heard other people say they think the end is coming and just enjoy what life is left, but the fear gets in the way. Then there are others who say, I am letting my anxiety make mountains out of molehills, and maybe I am.

I just wonder if anyone else has been struggling, and if so how you combat it? I was in therapy, but the place where I was going said I didn't need it, any more, and right now I am trying to find a new therapist because I disagree, but not many are taking new clients.

Oh by the way I am a lapsed Catholic. I still believe I'm God, Jesus, and the Saints, I just don't believe in the Church anymore.


23 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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I have to admit I always kind of brushed off the whole idea (Original Post) BlueKota Oct 2023 OP
I know how you feel, BlueKota. arkielib Oct 2023 #1
It's hard to walk away from something that was a part of your life BlueKota Oct 2023 #2
Same with the Baptists and other evangelicals. They have lost all credibility. arkielib Oct 2023 #3
In some ways, that kind of teaching in Catholicism wnylib Oct 2023 #15
I always had the feeling that what they taught in the school BlueKota Oct 2023 #16
Early childhood teachings are hard to break away from. wnylib Oct 2023 #17
Joseph Campbell with whom Bill Moyers held a series of discussions on The Power of Myth, summer_in_TX Nov 2023 #23
An Orthodox ☦️ priest reminded me a long time ago that after we are afforded the sprinkleeninow Oct 2023 #4
Thank you! BlueKota Oct 2023 #20
Well, in the Lutheran church that I grew up in, wnylib Oct 2023 #5
Thank you so much. BlueKota Oct 2023 #12
Have you read Armageddon by Bart Ehrman? tanyev Oct 2023 #6
This sounds fascinating. ShazzieB Oct 2023 #7
He's written quite a few books in a similar vein. tanyev Oct 2023 #8
I recommend looking up Bart Ehrman on You Tube. There are wnylib Oct 2023 #11
Bart Ehrman does a great job of explaining Revelation. wnylib Oct 2023 #9
I have not read it yet BlueKota Oct 2023 #13
It's true that mankind's ability to destroy has far outpaced the ability tanyev Oct 2023 #19
Many years ago -- more years than I care to admit -- I read a theory that Revelations was actually shrike3 Oct 2023 #18
Does God change His mind? WDLAL Oct 2023 #10
Thank you! BlueKota Oct 2023 #14
Some very different thoughts on Armageddon: progressive, sensible, Biblical, anti-war hvn_nbr_2 Nov 2023 #21
Fascinating - and different from any interpretation I've heard before. summer_in_TX Nov 2023 #22

arkielib

(145 posts)
1. I know how you feel, BlueKota.
Fri Oct 13, 2023, 08:27 PM
Oct 2023

Especially about still believing in God and Jesus, but I’ve had it with the church as well. I have - or had- been a Baptist my whole life, but am too disgusted with their embrace of Trumpism to ever go back.

BlueKota

(1,895 posts)
2. It's hard to walk away from something that was a part of your life
Fri Oct 13, 2023, 08:33 PM
Oct 2023

for so long. I couldn't take the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church any longer. Here they used to tell us in parochial grade school that we were going to hell for even thinking something bad, and look what some of the priests were doing.

wnylib

(21,889 posts)
15. In some ways, that kind of teaching in Catholicism
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 11:17 AM
Oct 2023

is the same as in fundanentalist evangelical churches. Maybe that's why Catholics and fundies have become allies in RW religious political activism.

I grew up in a neighborhood that was overwhelmingly Catholic in a city that was predominantly Catholic. So I heard a lot from friends about what they were being taught, and received some criticism for not belonging to the "true faith." But, overall, we got along outside of occasional religious comments. I also have some Catholic relatives through marriage, and was once married to a Catholic myself.

But there are also some Catholics whose beliefs transcend simplistic heaven or hell doctrines. It seems like there are fewer of them these days. Some have left religion altogether for the reasons you mention. Others have switched to a different denomination. I once had a pastor in a Protestant church who had grown up as a Catholic and switched. His wife was also a former Catholic.



BlueKota

(1,895 posts)
16. I always had the feeling that what they taught in the school
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 11:42 AM
Oct 2023

and the priests said in their sermons contradicted the gospels. Christ's actual message seemed to me to be about love, and forgiveness, and not judging others, while their messages always seemed to be , you're all nothing but pieces of trash, who don't deserve the breath God gave you, so you should live a life filled of suffering, and guilt, and maybe just maybe you might earn his forgiveness. I don't know whether all parishes taught this way, but ours sure did.

In college I had a friend studying to be a priest who told me and others that he thought the New Testament was like a codicle to a will. That it was meant to be accepted not as an addition or continuation of the old Testament, but an entirely new reality and a new path to our destination to the divine.

A part of me believes he's right, but the self doubt that was drilled into me as a child is stubbornly always trying to break back out.

wnylib

(21,889 posts)
17. Early childhood teachings are hard to break away from.
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 12:34 PM
Oct 2023

For a short time my family went to a church that belonged to the Missouri Synod branch of Lutheranism. They are literalists and somewhat fundamentalist, although they were also the ones who taught us not to take Revelation seriously for modern times.

We only went there because that congregation was founded by German immigrants and my German-born great aunt lived with us after her husband died. She had old friends at that church. After she went to a nursing home, my parents joined the "mainstream" Lutheran church that my cousins belonged to. It was theologically and socially liberal.

But, even the more literalist Missouri Synod church adhered to Luther's teachings about grace, faith, and forgiveness. As a child, I did not buy into the idea that non Christians were condemned. I was spiritually oriented even then. Maybe I was just born that way. I did not have the words or exposure to philosophy to put my views into words at such a young age, but literal heaven and hell were not real to me. I did not know the word "metaphor" then, but that was how I took those teachings. Kind of like fables with a spiritual message on how to live. So I Iooked at religions as various spiritual paths that people could take in life.

In grade school, a teacher read us the story of the blind men and the elephant. Each one feels a different part of the elephant and describes what an elephant is according to the limited part that he touches. I figured that's what religions were - limited understandings of spirituality. St. Paul said basically the same thing at the end of First Corinthians, chapter 13. "We know in part, and we prophesy in part."








summer_in_TX

(2,786 posts)
23. Joseph Campbell with whom Bill Moyers held a series of discussions on The Power of Myth,
Tue Nov 21, 2023, 01:19 AM
Nov 2023

Campbell's seminal book, on PBS in the late 1980s, said that all origin myths (religious myths) are attempts to explain something that is a mystery beyond our human capability to put it into words. And that all myths contain elements of the truth that are beyond our putting into words.

I'd been raised as an agnostic (really prejudiced against Christians).I only began going to church in the late 80's myself not because I suddenly believed but because I hit a rough patch and was finally willing to explore whether or not there was a God. Also I was lonely in my new town after moving there a couple of years earlier so started attending a Methodist Church.

A study group in the church began watching the Joseph Campbell Power of Myth interviews and invited me and my husband. It was mind-blowing to hear him explain that myths are a way (or metaphor) of getting at the truths that are part of a mystery (we typically call God) that is impossible to truly put into words. But people can't help but try.

I started wondering what truths about God were being explained in the Christian myth. That curiosity has made all the difference in my life. That isn't to deny the truths of other religious myths, nor to hide from the evil some have done in the name of Christianity that directly contradicts what Jesus taught and said. But unexpectedly I found this one contained powerful and life-affirming truths that were exciting and rewarding to learn about. It's odd, I believe both literally and metaphorically.

I think the blind men exploring the elephant is a good analogy for our limited understanding.

sprinkleeninow

(20,285 posts)
4. An Orthodox ☦️ priest reminded me a long time ago that after we are afforded the
Fri Oct 13, 2023, 09:12 PM
Oct 2023

Last edited Fri Oct 13, 2023, 10:50 PM - Edit history (1)

gift of salvation, we are also given the gift of repentence. Not left twisting in the wind, so to speak.

I'll remember you in intercessions. ✝️

wnylib

(21,889 posts)
5. Well, in the Lutheran church that I grew up in,
Fri Oct 13, 2023, 09:26 PM
Oct 2023

we were taught not to pay much attention to the book of Revelation because the images in it are coded for people of the time when it was written. People today would not understand it without studying the political and social atmosphere and writing techniques of that historical period. Modern day attempts to find "end times" significance in Revelation are therefore considered invalid and pointless among Lutherans. Martin Luther considered leaving it out of his translation of the Bible into German, but reluctantly left it in because it was part of the accepted canon of Biblical books. A few other Protestant denominations agree with Luther's view of Revelation.

Lutherans are also big on God's love and forgiveness of human imperfections. No one can lead a perfect life. But even people who screw up big time can be forgiven. If you are interested in being part of a church or finding different perspectives on religion than you grew up with, you might consider a Lutheran, Episcopal, or liberal branch of Presbyterians, known as the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church in the USA).

There are many things in religion that I do not take literally. I do believe that there is an afterlife of some kind, but not having been there myself, I can't really say what it is like. Considering the number of people who make mistakes, or even do wrong intentionally, it would be a pretty mean-spirited god who would devise eternal punishment for all of them. Your own Catholic church teaches that there is still hope of reform and spiritual growth after this life. A few other churches teach that, too.

Regarding hate and wishing ill on some terrible people in life, you're right that it is against Christian teachings. Perfectly understandable feelings, but not in line with Christian faith. It is something that I have trouble with, too. So I find that it helps to redirect those feelings into praying that people like Trump and those devoted to his way of doing things get stopped in their tracks somehow and are prevented from continuing what they do. In other words, that they meet their match and lose their ability to do more harm.

Whether or not that actually works to stop them, it does work for me psychologically to keep a perspective and not give in to hate. It also motivates me to do anything positive in real life that I can to counteract the harm that people like Trump do. That means getting people to vote against him and against politicians like him. It also means supporting groups that protect the people that Trump targets with his own hate, such as donating time or money to good political candidates, or to organizations that protect civil rights, or to charities that help people in need. That way, I can avoid wasting time, energy, and mental health on hating people and do something positive and constructive instead.

I am not saying that I am especially good, because I can get as angry and hate filled as anyone. I'm just saying how I try to cope with it and avoid getting filled with anger and hate, which do no one any good.

Good luck and hang in there. If you still want a counselor, I hope you find one that is helpful and compatible with what you feel that you need.




BlueKota

(1,895 posts)
12. Thank you so much.
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 10:42 AM
Oct 2023

Working to help try and change things in a positive direction is good advice. I need to try and do more of that and less focusing on the despair, anger, and fear. I also need to keep reminding myself that the whole reason God sent Christ was to grant forgiveness.

tanyev

(42,733 posts)
6. Have you read Armageddon by Bart Ehrman?
Fri Oct 13, 2023, 09:41 PM
Oct 2023

It puts the Book of Revelation in its proper historical context and analyzes how religious and political leaders have used it to create fear for their own benefit, for centuries. Here are a couple reviews from Amazon:

Ehrman does it again. He has taken the most incomprehensible work to have found its way into the New Testament and, putting into the context of its day, opened it up for us. Behold the materialistic believer’s guide to the end of times, a seemingly unfathomable fantasy in which Jesus is recast as the ”avenger”, a true super antihero hellbent on destroying all who fail to believe in him, but offering gold, jewels, comfort and luxury to his ”slaves”…for eternity on Earth. No longer a believer, Ehrman takes great pains to show us why the early Church Fathers were right to reject John of Patmos’ materialistic, vengeful, sickeningly cruel and violent fantasy. By comparing the Jesus of the gospels to that of Revelation, he makes an irrefutable case for rejecting the latter. Despite being a non-believer, Ehrman’s deep respect for the true message of Christianity makes this book not only acceptable but also a ”must read” for Christians and atheists alike.


Just as Dr. Ehrman has challenged conventional Christian beliefs in his previous books through his extensive biblical scholarship, in Armageddon he reveals the actual message of Revelation. Ehrman explains that the author of Revelation was writing in apocalyptic style about the destruction of the Roman empire and his belief in its replacement by a Christian empire of domination, revenge and destruction. Maybe most importantly, Ehrman shows how the message of Revelation’s author contradicts Jesus’s message as described in the four Gospels. Once again, through his extensive scholarship and expertise, Dr. Ehrman illustrates the very human nature of the Bible, a collection of writings often by anonymous authors and some even forgeries that often contradict each other.


Here's a link to the transcript of an interview with Ehrman for Fresh Air on NPR:

https://www.npr.org/2023/04/03/1167715957/armageddon-shows-how-literal-readings-of-the-bibles-end-times-affect-modern-time

ShazzieB

(16,734 posts)
7. This sounds fascinating.
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 12:09 AM
Oct 2023

I've never heard of Ehrman before, but he sounds like my kind of biblical scholar. Definitely going to look into this!

tanyev

(42,733 posts)
8. He's written quite a few books in a similar vein.
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 09:02 AM
Oct 2023

What intrigues me the most about him is that he got into Biblical studies as a fundamentalist determined to prove the literal and inerrant truth of the Bible. And as he learned the original languages and studied the historical context of the various books of the Bible, he realized how wrong most fundamentalist teachings are.

That's why fundamentalists are suspicious of education. They want their flock to have just enough literacy to function, but not so much knowledge that they start questioning what they're being taught.

wnylib

(21,889 posts)
11. I recommend looking up Bart Ehrman on You Tube. There are
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 10:35 AM
Oct 2023

dozens of videos there of Ehrman in interviews and in talks as a guest speaker at various universities and other organizations. He is a professor at UNC, Chapel Hill. See my other post on this thread about him.

Also, I'd recommend looking up Elaine Pagels on You Tube. She is a scholar and historian on religion, especially early Christianity when it was a Jewish sect before becoming a separate religion, and the various forms of early Christianity before it developed orthodox doctrines.

Both Ehrman and Pagels have impressive educational backgrounds and knowledge from their studies. But they both are good at explaining things to the average person and both have a sense of humor that makes their interviews and scholarly talks interesting.

wnylib

(21,889 posts)
9. Bart Ehrman does a great job of explaining Revelation.
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 10:16 AM
Oct 2023

I've watched several of his You Tube videos but have not read his books. He explains the use of 666 in Revelation, along with the imagery.

Elaine Pagels, another prominent scholar on Biblical history, has also written about Revelation in a book by the same name, but in the plural, Revelations. It covers and compares religious "revelations." I have not read it, but I have seen her discuss it on You Tube.

Ehrman has talked about how he went from being a Christian literalist to becoming an atheist through his studies. He uses humor often when pointing out historical facts vs. religious teachings, but in his You Tube interviews and seminars, he is not hostile to religion in general. He does speak out, though, about the political ones that use religion to attack "the other." I have only watched his free interviews and talks as a guest at various places, which are also free. He also does online seminars that he charges a moderate fee for, but donates the fees to charity.

Pagels is a historian who puts facts above beliefs and doctrines, and could be called "spiritual but not religious." She does not call herself an atheist, but also is not a doctrinaire religionist. Like Ehrman, she has a good sense of humor regarding facts vs. teachings and beliefs. Her humor is dryer and more subtle than Ehrman's, often expressed in just a facial expression when asked certain questions in interviews. She comes across as a humble, sincere, caring person with scholarly integrity.









tanyev

(42,733 posts)
19. It's true that mankind's ability to destroy has far outpaced the ability
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 01:12 PM
Oct 2023

to restrain those destructive urges, and that’s legit scary. But if things get really, really bad it won’t be because some zealous adherent of an emerging sect wrote 22 obscure chapters that accurately predicted events that would happen 1900 years later.

shrike3

(3,953 posts)
18. Many years ago -- more years than I care to admit -- I read a theory that Revelations was actually
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 01:10 PM
Oct 2023

written in code for the Christians of Nero's time. Symbols and references meaningful only to them, a message of hope during a time of persecution. I had read Revelations at that point and would have challenged anyone to make sense of the thing, so this particular theory made sense to me.

Ehrman has a different take, of course, but it, too, appeals to me. I'll pick up a copy if I can.

WDLAL

(36 posts)
10. Does God change His mind?
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 10:33 AM
Oct 2023

I don't believe that you can lose your salvation. As Christians, we shouldn't wish bad things on others. Jesus paid the price because we do that and other bad things.

Things are happening that were prophesied in Revelation, but that has been true of times past as well. No one knows when the end will come, but we can be assured of our salvation.

I don't worry about the end times, except for people who haven't accepted Christ. I struggle with sadness over them.

BlueKota

(1,895 posts)
14. Thank you!
Sat Oct 14, 2023, 11:00 AM
Oct 2023

I did talk to a more progressive priest a few years ago about my fears and he said, the fact that it matters to me what God and Jesus think of me, and feel guilt when I feel I have failed them in some way, in his view means I am on the the path to salvation. He said he'd be more worried if I didn't care about whether I was pleasing them, and ignored my conscience. He also told me to listen to what God tells me in my heart rather than what anyone else may say to me, even the Catholic Church.

hvn_nbr_2

(6,494 posts)
21. Some very different thoughts on Armageddon: progressive, sensible, Biblical, anti-war
Tue Nov 7, 2023, 03:23 PM
Nov 2023

I'm a bit late to this discussion, but I have some very different thoughts about Armageddon.

In the story of Armageddon (Rev 16:13-16, Rev 19:11-21, and Rev 1:16), the only "weapon" that Christ uses to defeat all the armies of the earth is a two-edged sword coming out of the mouth of the Word of God (Rev 19:15-21). This would be a singularly ridiculous symbol for the military might of Jesus to conquer on the battlefield, if it meant that. No soldier in the history of warfare ever went into battle carrying their weapon in their mouth. It's a preposterous notion and it describes a preposterous image.

If the sword meant military might, it would be in the right hand of the Power of God or maybe the Wrath of God, not coming out of the mouth of the Word of God. In fact, if you google for images of "Christ Armageddon sword -movie" ("-movie" to filter out images from the movie), about 80% of the images you get show the sword in his right hand, in blatant contradiction of what the Bible actually says. The warmongers who want Armageddon to be a giant military conflagration blatantly contradict the Bible to make it what they want it to be!

The sword coming from the mouth of the Word makes no sense in military terms. What then could it sensibly mean? For that answer, we have to look at the other part of the Armageddon story, the call to gather for war at Armageddon (Rev 16:12-16). There, "unclean spirits" come out of the mouths of three of Satan's partners (the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet) and call all the nations to war. "Out of mouths" again!

The call to war comes out of satanic mouths, and the antidote that conquers war itself comes out of the Word's mouth. What comes out of mouths? Words, thoughts, ideas, statements, truth or falsehood, wisdom or folly. Truth and wisdom come out of God's mouth, and falsehood and folly come out of satanic mouths. The two-edged sword coming out of the mouth of the Word of God simply has the most common symbolic and metaphorical meaning, "truth is a two-edged sword." God's truth is the one thing that is powerful enough to defeat Satan's lies; Armageddon is the story of God's truth overcoming the falsehood and folly that call us to war.

This understanding of Armageddon reveals the meaning of the strange name Armageddon, which never appeared anywhere before it appeared in Revelation. There is no place in physical reality called Armageddon. The Hebrew words that are combined in the name mean, depending on the translator, something like "the mountain above Megiddo," "the heights above Megiddo," or simply "above Megiddo." Megiddo is a city in Israel where several historically important battles were fought. The name has been a mystery to scholars and theologians because there are no mountains above Megiddo.

Here is the meaning of the name Armageddon: This "battle" where God's truth conquers Satan's falsehood to set us free from war happens "on a higher level"--the moral, intellectual, and spiritual levels--than the physical level of Megiddo's military battlefields, on a higher level than Megiddo, "above Megiddo." There is also the sense that this is metaphorically an "on the mountaintop" experience for humanity.

This explanation doesn't address all the flesh-eating birds in two verses of the Armageddon story (Rev 19:17-18). That explanation would require more words than I want to write now or than you probably want to read now, but if there's any interest, I may some time address that and some other pretty cool stuff in Revelation too.

summer_in_TX

(2,786 posts)
22. Fascinating - and different from any interpretation I've heard before.
Tue Nov 21, 2023, 12:23 AM
Nov 2023

But the sword coming from the mouth of God makes complete sense, especially in light of the beginning of the Gospel of John.

I subscribed so if and when you do elaborate on all the flesh-eating birds in Revelations I won't miss it.

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