When I was an exchange student in St Petersburg, Russia, I dated a girl named Irina. I distinctly remember the date that we had on November 10, 1993, to the Hermitage, the art museum that previously served as the home of tsars starting with Peter I (“the Great”).
I know the exact date because a self-proclaimed prophet who had taken the name Maria Devi Khristos (real name Marina Tsvigun) had predicted that the world would come to an end on that date. When I met Irina on that date, I told her I was glad to have seen the museum in time for the end of the world. By this time, my command of the Russian language had gotten good enough to express that thought with all of the requisite sarcasm.
(Later, I underscored this language proficiency when we saw two small paintings, by the same artist, called The Sitting Room and Letter Reading, when I joked that we could probably switch the labels on these paintings and nobody would notice…)
Miss Tsvigun is but one of a very long line of Christian eschatologists who have predicted the so-called second coming, rapture, tribulation, or end of the world in a climactic battle between good and evil. Indeed, her incident isn’t even listed on the Wikipedia page that lists such events.
Let’s ignore the legitimate scholarly debate over whether the historical Jesus even existed. Those who believe in him are commonly called “Christians”. Not all Christians believe in a second coming. But wouldn’t you think that, after so many obviously wrong predictions of such an event, they’d have given up on the possibility that it would even happen? Why do they continually fall for the obviously misguided notion that it will happen?
I realized something earlier today, though. A lot of people who oppose Hillary Clinton for president are predicting that she’ll make Christianity illegal, or that she’ll take away your guns, or who knows what blatant and overtly unconstitutional act she might commit on poor, innocent, persecuted Christians. There are no shortage of people making such dire predictions and Right Wing Watch has chronicled the lion’s share of these predictions.
But you know what’s funny? In some cases, the names of the people making these predictions have changed, but they said the same things about Sen. Barack Obama in 2008 and again in 2012. And also about Sen. John Kerry in 2004. And about Vice President Al Gore in 2000. And Governor Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. And every democratic candidate for the presidency at least since Governor Franklin D Roosevelt in 1932.
The fearmongering is the same. And the people who buy this oft-repeated claim that is both inconsistent with the candidates’ positions and their records if they achieved the office of the presidency, are the same people who believe it when some preacher says the world is about to end.
I feel sad for the educational system that let them down and left them as gullible as this, well into adulthood. I would hope that an opposition vote would be based on an actual set of policy positions and not the strawman policies that the political right has set up in their stead.
When will people stop believing baseless predictions of, well, anything?