BORN ATHEIST
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Chapter 22. The end times.

    The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has
    commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and
    that has never been under a yoke. Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside
    the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its
    blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting.
    While he watches, the heifer is to be burned--its hide, flesh, blood and offal. The Bible


The combustive mixture of religion and politics, especially in the volatile Middle East, is frightening.
That Christians and Jews see building a new temple on land now occupied by a Muslim Mosque as
essential to bringing out their messiah is more frightening still.

Jews, Christians and Muslims have similar end times myths. Each predicts that soon world conditions
will worsen, international leaders will rise, major battles will be fought and a messiah will appear,
rewarding believers with everlasting heavenly life.

For Jewish people, a necessary step to bringing about the end times is a purification ritual using a
red heifer born in Israel and conducted at a special new temple to be built on the Temple Mount, in an
area now occupied by the Al-Asqa mosque–the same mosque Osama bin Laden mentioned in his
letter in the previous chapter. As weird as it sounds, breeding and sacrificing a red heifer is
considered essential. The Temple Institute says:

    Perhaps it would be difficult for some to believe that a cow could be so important. But in
    truth, the fate of the entire world depends on the red heifer. For G-d has ordained that
    its ashes alone are the single missing ingredient for the reinstatement of Biblical purity--
    and thereafter, the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. . . . [T]he ashes of the red heifer rectif
    [y] humanity’s most basic flaw: despair. The despair brought about by the loss of the
    Temple and the Divine Presence amongst us.

Around the time of building the temple, the story says, there will be a great battle involving Gog and
Magog, a messiah will be recognized, and 40 years later, all the dead in Israel will be resurrected. All
Jews will return “home” to Israel. Everyone will recognize the Jewish god and as the only god and
Jewish religion as the correct religion. The world will live in peace.

The Temple Institute, located in Jerusalem, already has prepared ritual vessels to be used at the new
temple, as well as garments to be worn by the high priest. They also are working on raising a special
group of boys, who have never touched the ground where people are buried, to serve at the temple.
An American Pentecostal preacher is helping the Israelis to breed a red heifer in their “holy land.”

The Temple Mount is home to the Dome of the Rock, where Muslims believe Mohammed departed
the earth with the angel Gabriel and left behind a footprint. The FBI has warned, “A simple act of
desecration, or even a perceived desecration of any of the holy sites on the Temple Mount is likely to
trigger a violent reaction.” In 1990, a rumor that Jewish extremists would lay a cornerstone for the new
temple resulted in riots with 17 dead. In 1996, Israel’s opening a tunnel under the Temple Mount lead
to riots with 80 dead. The Dome of the Rock appears, crossed by swords, as part of the symbol of
Hamas, the political party that calls for armed struggle with Israel and controls the Palestinian
Parliament (Figure 17). The end times myths involving the Temple Mount show a great possibility of
becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy, but with human destruction instead of everlasting life as the final
result.










    (Figure 17.  Hamas symbol, including the Dome of the Rock)

One might think that Christians have no motivation to help the Jews in this enterprise, especially since
according to the Jewish myth, only Jews are spared in the end times. But, after Jews, evangelical
Christians are the strongest supporters of Israel in the U.S., and 63% of them feel that Israel’s
establishment fulfills a biblical prophecy about Jesus’ second coming. In the Christian myth, the end
times evolve in the same area, but the result is different:

    When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation
    is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get
    out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in
    fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant
    women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against
    this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.
    Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

    There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish
    and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror,
    apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At
    that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
    When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your
    redemption is drawing near.

Christians believe the Jewish messiah is the anti-christ, but that his arrival is a necessary step to
bring about the Christian end times. In the Christian version, Christians get to live with Christ and non-
Christians go to hell.

It will probably not surprise you that the Muslim end times story agrees on some of the details but has
a different outcome from that of the Jews and Christians. The Muslim end times story gets confusing
with a mixture of information from the Koran, Hadiths, and modern propaganda. Jews did not figure
widely in the original story, but through a modern lens, they are a focus, as is the United States, which
serves in some interpretations as the anti-christ (Dajjal).

In the Muslim end times story, the anti-christ, or Dajjal will arise from a road between Syria and Iraq
and take on the characteristics of a god, but the legend says, he is a false god. Finally, after a period
of forty days (in which time the first day will be a year), a battle will occur between the Dajjal and the
Muslim forces near Syria, when Isa (Jesus or the messiah) will come down from heaven and kill the
Dajjal and “destroy the cross, kill the swine and abolish the tax.” This statement is seen to mean that
Christians and Jews will not be accepted. Now, if they pay a tax, they are tolerated by Islam. But in the
end times, only converting to Islam will allow a person to survive. The Muslims will thereafter wipe out
the Dajjal’s army which may consist of 70,000 Jews. According to one source, “The Jews will not be
able to hide behind anything on that day. Every time they try to hide behind a stone, a wall, a tree
(except a boxthorn tree), or animal, Allah will make these things speak and they will say, ‘O servant of
Allah there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come kill him.’”

An example of the modern spin on the Dajjal comes from the ilaam.net Website, whose author finds
all Muslim prerequisites for the end times met by current events:

    DAJJAL is not a person with one eye, “chained” at unknown islands (as claimed by
    many so-called Aalims, taken from Daeef-Hadiths). In fact, DAJJAL is an evil concept or
    mission (Anti-Allah and its commandments) which will be carried out by a powerful
    group, not by one country but almost every country of the world. A powerful leader
    whose string will be controlled by the Jews will be the leader of this group.

    DAJJAL with “one eye” means “new world order,” a concept initiated by former
    President of United States George Bush Senior during the war against Iraq. This
    concept works only in one direction. For example, whatever the United States says “is
    the law.” No question, no argument. Hence this is considered the “one eye order.”

    If you compare the current situation of this world, it’s clearly understood who are
    DAJJAL and its followers. This is the first time in the history of this world where all so-
    called civilized but in fact criminal minded people joined hands together to fight against
    Allah and his commandments. All former enemies joined together (Russia, China, India,
    Japan, Germany, virtually all so-called “Muslim States” (surprisingly even Iran)) with
    DAJJAL, [leaving] aside their differences. They changed their constitution if it [was] an
    obstacle to join DAJJAL (Example: Germany, Japan–were not permitted by their
    constitution[s] to send their troops overseas.)

    Support for DAJJAL in not only within the Governments, but you may notice the attitude
    of the newspapers (even media from so-called Muslim countries), television, radio and
    all other media are supporting DAJJAL by providing one-sided stories.

    DAJJAL was predicted to rain-down fire to its enemy and throw food to its supporters.
    This is exactly that was happening in Afghanistan. DAJJAL planes are throwing bombs
    (fire) and food side-by-side, one for the enemy and the other for “friends.”

Lest you think that such crazy interpretations are the sole province of Muslims, Christians produce
similar evaluations.

The details of the end times myth of each religion vary from sect to sect and even from time to time.
What is important is that true believers think there will be a day of reckoning when believers are
rewarded and non-believers are punished. For Christians and Muslims that punishment is eternity in
hell. In each religion, the end times are preceded by a time of turmoil and a great battle or
Armageddon. For Christians and Muslims, the myth that non-believers spend eternity in hell magnifies
the tribalism described in the previous chapter. If the non-believers are doomed to a life in hell
anyway, adherents see little wrong in hurrying them to that end by killing them now.

The ultimate expression of religious tribalism is found in its end times stories. The monotheisms even
warn that a single world government is a precursor to the end times. The Book of Revelation is the
last book in the Bible and contains such gems as this, “[The anti-christ] forced everyone, small and
great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no
one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his
name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is
man’s number. His number is 666.” Christians use this story to  condemn organizations like the
United Nations and unified currencies like the Euro. It is amazing that anyone repeats these myths,
especially the incredible ones like the red heifer and the mark of the beast. What is even more
frightening is that a survey of Americans showed that 59% believe that the Book of Revelation will
come true. A poll of Christians showed that 85% believe they are living in the end times. These beliefs
are dangerous.

Think back to the Mormons. They believe the end times will occur in the United States, and that they
will take over the U.S. government and eventually the world. Mormons hold important political, military
and civil service posts throughout the government including Senate Majority Leader (Harry Reid) and
presidential candidate Mitt Romney, both of Utah’s Senators (5% of the Senate is Mormon) and all
three of Utah’s Representatives, Utah’s governor and Lieutenant Governor, and nine additional
members of Congress. The Mormons are preparing for their end times scenario–but the Mormon end
times myths are not as widespread, frightening or imminent as the end times myths of the people of
the book.

There are people at the highest levels of American government who say they believe the Christian
end times myths. For example, born again Christian General William Boykin, Deputy Assistant
Secretary for Intelligence, a key player in America’s military strategy, believed god made George W.
Bush President. He said he prevailed in a conflict with a Somali warlord because, “My God was
bigger than his . . . I knew that my God was a real God and that his was an idol.” He said the “war on
terror” is “a spiritual battle, it’s a battle for our soul. And the enemy is a guy called Satan--Satan wants
to destroy this nation. He wants to destroy us as a nation and he wants to destroy us as a Christian
army.” A man who believed these religious myths helped plan American strategy in the volatile Middle
East. It actually makes you thankful for the hypocrites who say they believe but really do not. The true
believers are the most frightening.

Religionists and the media seem afraid to discuss the role religion plays in the horrible strife in the
Middle East. Perhaps they are afraid that discussing the religious motivation of the “infidels” will
necessitate a similar examination of their own beliefs. Every time I hear a report about religiously
influenced violence, I yell at the radio or TV, “talk about the role of religion!” But they never do.

The largest danger to the health and safety of the world comes not from the incidental acts of
terrorism religionists have performed to date, but from the monumental acts they may commit in the
future. The false beliefs that threaten the lives of virtually everyone on earth cannot continue
unchallenged. The time has come to stop looking through the lens of ancient tribalism and seeing
enemy tribes and instead start seeing a world composed of humans just like ourselves. Instead of
seeing the world as “win-lose,” let us start searching for “win-win.” Regarding the Temple Mount, it
would be nice if everyone would behave like atheists and think of it as a historical piece of real
property. But if they cannot, then maybe for the advancement of world peace, it should be closed to
everyone and left as a monument to madness.

End times myths are a bizarre element of religion. What is truly terrifying is picturing end times
believers with their fingers on the buttons that activate nuclear weapons. The U.S., India, Pakistan and
likely Israel possess nuclear weapons and Iran appears to be seeking them. Such weapons in the
hands of people who truly believe in the end times could hasten their use and heretofore unknown
levels of destruction. The most horrific aspect of ancient tribalism dragged into the modern world is
that end times believers might use nuclear weapons to bring about what they hope is the rapture. To
an outsider, end times myths sound like a joke as laughable as the flying spaghetti monster.
Unfortunately to a number of religionists, including those in positions of power, the end times are a
deadly serious reality. Atheists should challenge religious myths not only because they are lies, but
because the lies could result in the destruction of the human race. Religious violence is not a joke. It
affects our lives every day and with the wrong combination of belief, superlegal action and potent
weapons, it could end life as we know it. The time for action is now.

Roadmap.

The second section of this book is dedicated to illustrating problems with religion, small and large. I
started out with silly things, like the “miracle” of the image of Jesus on a tortilla. The following chapters
looked at bigger problems, issues like religion’s unfairness to women and gays, Finally, I have shared
my views on the dangers of superlegal actions, especially when combined with modern weapons and
end times myths. From my perspective, these are the strongest arguments against religion and for
atheist action.

I have a few more points to make about religion before returning my focus to atheism. The next
chapter contains my thoughts about how deeply religionists believe, and finally I speculate why
religion is still around after the rise of evolution science. That will complete my comments on religion
and I will conclude the book with a few thoughts about the atheist movement.
All original contents copyright 2010 & 2014, all rights reserved.
(permissions)