Waiting for Armageddon
I just watched the documentary Waiting for Armageddon, about evangelicals primarily in the US who believe that the end times are very near. From my point of view, literal evangelicals are complete wackos and the documentary makers don’t really project them in any other way. Or is it because I think their message and their interpretation of the Bible cannot be projected in any other way? Can they really be projected in a way that makes them seem somewhat moderate and sensible?
One of the interviewees in the documentary was a woman from Oklahoma City who kept talking about how she didn’t think she’d ever have a grandchild, how her oldest son would probably never get to graduate, and so on. Her outlook was pretty grim. How do you go about life in that family, where both parents are convinced that this world will end in the very foreseeable future? I try to put myself in the shoes of the sons and then I realize that if I’m them, I’ve been brainwashed since day one of my life.
These people are, of course, a very small part of most evangelicals, let alone most christians. It’s still scary to see fairly prominent scholars and engineers discuss how the end times will happen, agreeing on the “fact” that the last battle will take place on a field southeast of Jerusalem and that it will be with horses and swords, since modern warfare will somehow have been made obsolete. Then god will kill all the enemies in a big flash that will not be a nuclear (not nookular) bomb and this blast will not harm as much as a hair on god’s people. Jews, according to the evangelicals, because they are god’s favorites and he’s protected them throughout history.
I don’t know… I think it’s scary that people like this exist and are somewhat prominent in some societies, even if they are very few. It’s like they are completely willfully ignorant of science and history. Even though I’m an atheist, I can still get why people have faith and I respect the ones that do. Faith can be a powerful thing even if it might not be for me personally. I’d rather believe in tangible things, mainly myself. But some people need it to feel strength or inspiration and that’s cool. Just keep it to yourself and don’t brainwash your kids. That’s my big beef, that these people target impressionable kids. Check out the documentary Jesus Camp if you want to watch more about that. Again, it’s about a small, small part of a wacky, religious faction, but it’s still scary in my opinion.
Regardless, this was an interesting documentary. The big question, as I said, is whether or not it is possible to portray these people in a way that doesn’t make them seem batshit insane to someone with my sceptical disposition towards extreme religiosity.