The End of the World, as they see it
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, its no longer the town crackpot standing at the corner of Main Street with a sign – it’s your ‘reputable’ news-source that will have you scurrying to empty your bank balance and check out that neighbour’s wife who’s been eyeing you for all these years !
On July 31, CNN’s Paula Zahn Now featured a segment on “whether the crisis in the Middle East is actually a prelude to the end of the world,” marking the third time in eight days that CNN has devoted airtime to those claiming that the ongoing Mideast violence signals the coming of the Apocalypse. The segment included a report from CNN correspondent Delia Gallagher, which showed video clips of Christian author Joel C. Rosenberg comparing apocalyptic Scripture in the Bible to modern events.
Throughout the segment, an onscreen graphic of fiery horsemen appeared alongside the words, “Is it the End?” The segment also featured images of biblical drawings interspersed with video of toppled buildings and rubble from what appeared to be the current Middle East conflict.
On July 27, ABC’s Good Morning America joined CNN in featuring a segment on the potential coming of the Apocalypse, as indicated by current conflicts in the Middle East. Interviewing Christian authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, co-host Robin Roberts asked: “You see what’s going on: the bombing in Haifa and Israel and it’s so close to the valley of Armageddon. And when you think about that, and people see this and think about [it], is it indeed Armageddon?” Jenkins replied that “it seems like we are heading toward something, and people want to know what it is and want to be ready.”
Since I do not watch TV news, I would have been blissfully unaware of such media tomfoolery. But alas, about a week and half ago I was at the Denver airport waiting for a red-eye flight. It was pretty late at night and the TV sets in the gate area kept blaring out CNN News and in particular, Paula Zahn’s shrilled plugging of her upcoming ‘news-story’ about the impending apocalypse. I was in a drowsy semi-conscious state at the time and half-expected (or perhaps hoped) that it was all a figment of my satrical imagination, fuelled by the print edition of The Onion I had been perusing recently. Unfortunately, it was all too real – as I found out while watching The Daily Show a few days later (see clip below).
And here’s another data point: Joel C. Rosenberg, who writes Christian apocalyptic fiction, told me in an interview this week that he was invited to a White House Bible study group last year to talk about current events and biblical prophecy.
Rosenberg said that on February 10, 2005, he came to speak to a “couple dozen” White House aides in the Old Executive Office Building — and has stayed in touch
with several of them since.
Rosenberg wouldn’t say exactly what was discussed. “The meeting itself was off the record, as you could imagine,” he said. He declined to name the staffer he said invited him
or describe the attendees in any way other than to say that the president was not among them. “I can’t imagine they’d want to talk about it,” he said.
“I can’t tell you that the people that I spoke with agree with me, or believe that prophecy can really help you understand what will happen next in the Middle East, but I’m not surprised that they’re intrigued.”
Post-Scripts: 1. I started writing this on Wednesday – did not get a chance to post it earlier. But Wednesday evening, the local WB affiliate was showing a re-run of The Simpsons’ episode ‘Thank God, Its Doomsday‘, which has Homer predicting and waiting for the rapture ! Coincidence ? 😉
2. If you really want to be prepared, keep an eye on the Rapture Index.
3. Finally, Jon Stewart at his mocking best, as usual.