02 January, 2007

I'm Sorry, But I Really Have To Address This...

I know 90% of the blog world is going to react to this, and I hate that I'm not being original. But whenever Pat Robertson says something like this I think it's sort of my duty as one of his siblings in Christ to say "Whoa, buddy!"

In what has become an annual tradition of prognostications, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would result in "mass killing" late in 2007.

"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said during his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network. "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."

According to Robertson, he heard from the Lord at a prayer retreat that the 4th Quarter outlook for a few U.S. citizens would be a little bit less than rosy. Since I personally was not at this "prayer retreat" I cannot vouch for the presence of the actual Lord in Robertson's conversation.

I will say that the record I have of the Word of the Lord says things like "fear not, for I am with thee" and "for God has not given us the spirir of fear, but of power and love and wisdom." Granted, it is impossible for Man to fully know the mind of God. I do think, however, that the parts of His mind He has chosen to reveal to us speak of a just God, a loving God, and a God who would sacrifice Himself to save us. In that context I really don't understand Robertson's purported snuff-film conversations with the Holy Spirit.

We are all going to die someday. It is the inevitable truth of being alive, to know that life will assuredly end. Some of us will die in our beds, others of us will meet our ends in hospitals or cars or at the business end of a knife wielded by a psychotic clown. When some Christians predict mass-destruction it's a sort of prognostic Schadenfreude that allows them to feel superior. It bugs me because that attitude is the life-and-death version of the Parable of The Unworthy Debtor--or whatever it's called.

Jesus tells this story about a guy who owes a whole bunch of money to a powerful king-type. He begs the powerful king-type for mercy, and the king forgives the guy's debt. Once he's had his debt forgiven, the guy tracks down a beggar who owes him like the equivalent of five bucks. The guy then basically beats the five bucks out of the beggar. To my mind Pat Robertson's Doom 2007 is just like that. Pat's smug because he's been forgiven for his sins. He then goes to what he views as Godless Wicked America and threatens GWA with his "vision" of mass destruction. Robertson wants to see people punished for their debts.

Yes, I too would like it if America would clean up its act a little bit. We could stop trafficking in sex slaves. We could make sure that the poor have enough to eat, a place to sleep. We could be responsible with our money and our lives. But I'm not rooting for whole chunks of our countrymen to be blown away. I'm sad that Robertson's message seems to take pleasure in that bleak vision.


At 11:20 PM, January 02, 2007, Blogger John said...

I thought about posting something about Pat today, but I thought better of it. The people who believe Pat are going to believe him no matter what you or I say, and all I would be doing is giving him free publicity. (Yes, I realize it's a gross overstatement to call anything on my blog "publicity.") Pat has long since proven his true nature -- his business deals with dictators, his outrageous statements and so on. His influence has been on the wane in recent years anyway, and I've decided that I just need to ignore him.

But sometimes I just can't help myself.

I imagine that, when the promised catastrophe fails to happen, Pat will probably just turn around and claim to have prayed it away on our behalf, just as he once seemed to have taken credit for diverting a hurricane.

At 6:31 AM, January 03, 2007, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

At what point do people stop listening to this clown? Now that Channel 4 has made 700 Club part of their morning programming, I guess never.

When I was a kid, my folks used to watch Pat. One day he said that the End Times would occur sometime during Reagan's second term. He was also trying to show how ATM cards and UPC barcodes were the Mark of the Beast.

Even then, I knew he was full of shit.

At 9:46 AM, January 03, 2007, Blogger Chance said...

I felt the same when Jerry Falwell made comments after the 9/11 attacks, in which he blamed the attacks as God's judgment for the sins of America. While I think that view can be reasonable, I had a problem with the way Falwell presented it, in that it was judgment not for all of our sins, but "their" sins.

At 9:53 AM, January 03, 2007, Blogger grandefille said...

There is only one point on which I disagree with you, Ms. Coble:

Pat's smug because he's been forgiven for his sins.

He just THINKS he has.

"Once saved, always saved" doesn't apply if one keeps going back out and doing the same things one has been so graciously saved from, including Brother Pat's ongoing sin of pridefully presuming to know the mind of God. (I'd like to suggest that he closely study Job 38-41, aka God's "You Bettah Back Down 'fore You Get Smacked Down" monologue, but he won't listen to me because I am a heathen.)

God speaks to all of us every day in different ways, I believe, but I don't believe He personally briefs any of us on any proposed carnage and destruction. It's right up there with the day of the Lord coming as a thief in the night; we know it's coming and we best be ready, but we earthbound minions are not to be privy to the details.

And we were VERY alarmed to see the 700 Club on in morning prime time, especially in light of the station's "Gospel of Daniel" handling. It does amuse me that he's on right before Ellen Degeneres, though.

At 10:10 AM, January 03, 2007, Anonymous nm said...

"Since I personally was not at this "prayer retreat" I cannot vouch for the presence of the actual Lord in Robertson's conversation."

OK, I am now officially a Bad Person. Because when I read this I thought of the time in the '60s when some woman announced that God had told her to marry Paul McCartney, but George Harrison said that it was probably just someone else pretending to be God.

At 10:16 AM, January 03, 2007, Blogger grandefille said...

Scoot over, then, nm, and I'll sit with you on the Bad Folks' Bench.

Hee. Boy, I miss George Harrison.

At 11:44 AM, January 03, 2007, Blogger dolphin said...

he blamed the attacks as God's judgment for the sins of America. While I think that view can be reasonable

It's not reasonable under my understanding of Christianity. I was always taught that Jesus died (and was punished) for the sins of man (or at the very least the sins of Christians). If that is the case, then the sins of Christians (at least) have already been judged punished. The notion that god will punish Christians now seems to pretty much invalidate the entire religion.

At 1:49 PM, January 03, 2007, Blogger Chance said...

"The notion that god will punish Christians now seems to pretty much invalidate the entire religion."

Hmm, you make an interesting point. I had always believed that Christians would still be punished, although not with eternal damnation. You've given me something to think about though. I think Christians are still punished through natural consequences and strained fellowship with God, but if God chooses to actively punish Christians for their sins is an interesting question in light of your comments.

Nevertheless, my point was Falwell was totally lacking in godly humility in the manner he pointed out the sins of others.


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