I am writing a sequel to ‘The Christian Fallacy’ in which I apply my new paradigm for early Christianity to the concept of Apocalypse. It is gratifying to discover that some of the key elements of that paradigm unlock solutions to the identities of many of the supernatural characters that populate Jewish and Christian prophecies. Unfortunately, the requirements of research have entailed not only reading through the tiresome Old Testament prophets (as I have noted in a previous blog) but also the unbelievably naïve literature and websites of the crazies who actually take this stuff literally. I just don’t understand where these people get the propensity to believe in their forthcoming supernatural events. What experience of earthly life predisposes them to believe in these unearthly things? If there is indeed a God, I see no evidence at all that he gets involved in this world in such miraculous ways. It may be that if he exists, he will intervene at some point in the future as the prophecies say – but with trumpets, plagues, battles, beasts, horsemen et al? It’s hardly likely is it? Or is that the point? Having offered us nothing tangible by way of proof of his existence for the 6000 years (give or take a few billion) since he created the earth, God is going to make up for that with a grand finale of spectacular unlikelihood – and then throw most of us into an eternity of misery because we hadn’t the perspicacity to see through his long silence to the eternal verities that he deliberately kept hidden. Try reading some of this guff yourself. Any website will do. Just Google something like ‘apocalypse’ or ‘end times’ and dip a toe in the waters; it is utterly dispiriting to discover just how unbelievably stupid human beings can be when they believe themselves to be in possession of hidden mystery. Conspiracy theorists are but babes in arms by comparison.
One practical difficulty I have had in writing the new book is knowing what to call these people who live and breathe apocalyptic expectation – people who expect any day now for Jesus to appear floating in the clouds and to experience the law of gravity disappearing and find themselves gently floating up to join him. The trouble is that the very nature of these apocalyptic prophecies leads directly to schism and sect. The Bible does not set it all out in simple terms – it has to be put together from a variety of OL and New Testament texts, written at different times by different people with different religious agendas and with different dreams, visions and signs. From Plymouth Brethren to Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists to Pentecostals, the sects are legion and growing. Some of them have huge differences of opinion, but most of them disagree on minor issues of interpretation. Like whether the Great Tribulation comes before the Rapture. Or whether the Millennium is happening now or at some point in the future. And will it be exactly 1000 years or just an allegorical long period of time? I need a term to embrace all this lunacy. And then it struck me: there is a huge vocabulary developed by these people to discuss among themselves their hair splitting, so why shouldn’t I do the same. I have decided to coin a word for people who believe this guff. It needs to denote both ‘Christian’ and ‘idiot’ I thought, so came up with ‘Chretin’. But on reflection, this sounded just a tad insulting so I have decided to pull it back a notch or two: henceforward, I shall refer to the ‘Chredulous’. May their God help them all, poor deluded things.