The Middle East, Jon Stewart, and Armageddon

Jon Stewart, the quintessential satirist of our day, had a lot of fun the other day with CNN, ABC and Fox as they covered the Middle East with stories relating to Christian fears that this could be the End Times.

In and interview by ABC’s Robin Roberts, Tim LaHaye said, “All across America, in fact, around the world, many people are calling on the name of the Lord and being saved. Because there is no alternative; you either accept Jesus or you will go through terrible times.”

Isn’t that a wonderful sample of the “good news”?

Paula Zahn even showed the “Rapture Index,” which calculates mathematically how close we Christians are to being whooshed out of here before the Tribulation. (The website actually says, “You could say the Rapture index is a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity.”)

Jon Stewart’s line is priceless: “The Rapture Index is at 156! My God! That's arbitrarily terrifying!”

And then, he does the most insightful thing: He shows clips from 1999: NBC’s Jane Pauley reporting on how Y2K was also supposed to be the end of the world.

(see the Stewart video at Comedy Central's website)
(see the Stewart video at YouTube)

I'm astonished that so many American churches make the Rapture a center-point in their teaching. The people eat up the Left Behind series like school children reading Harry Potter books.

The world looks at us and laughs. Jon Stewart rightfully satires the networks as they pander to this demographic with these kinds of stories.

What can we do, as the emerging church, to overcome this kind of laughable (and sad) cultural perception of biblical Christianity that is perpetuated by this kind of media attention?

(BTW, Aren’t these networks [especially CNN and ABC] supposed to be the “liberal media” that never covers the news from the evangelical Christians’ viewpoint? How is it that a clear-cut liberal like Jon Stewart can so easily satirize them?)

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RonMcK said...

We need an an eschatology that makes senses and gives a bit of hope. We have left it to the cranks for too long.

Matt said...

So, let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say that a pre-trib rapture does exist.

Shouldn't the index be getting higher every day? Aren't we always one day closer to the rapture than the day before?

Anonymous said...

Guess what. The "Rapture Index" is helping to fulfill the most focused on endtime "sign" in Matt. 24: DECEPTION. If the RI would add up the total numerical value of its own deception, it would self-destruct! Actually it should be called the "Second Advent Index" since the "precursors" are fulfilled during the tribulation and point to only the final advent and not to a supposed "pretrib" rapture which no pre-1830 church ever taught! At the same time, RI inventor Todd Strandberg declares that a "pretrib" rapture is "signless" - which is believable if "precursors" can't be signs! (Todd also knows that if anyone goes Googling and types in "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," he or she can find out about the long-covered-up history of the "pretrib" view.)

Matt Stone said...

My reading of revelations is that we can expect something more akin to a cosmic exorcism than a cosmic escape, a casting of of all injustice from the world rather than a rapture of the righteous. I long to be left behind...for the meek shall inherit the earth.

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