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By Jonathan Kirsch

"[The ebook of] Revelation has served as a "language arsenal" in a good some of the social, cultural, and political conflicts in Western background. repeatedly, Revelation has stirred a few harmful women and men to behave out their very own inner most apocalypses. particularly, the ethical calculus of Revelation—the demonization of one's enemies, the sanctification of revenge taking, and the proposal that background needs to result in catastrophe—can be detected in the various worst atrocities and excesses of all ages, together with our personal. For all of those purposes, the remainder of us forget about the e-book of Revelation in basic terms at our impoverishment and, extra to the purpose, at our personal peril."

The mysterious writer of the publication of Revelation (or the Apocalypse, because the final publication of the recent testomony is usually identified) by no means thought of that his sermon at the coming near near finish occasions might final past his personal lifestyles. in reality, he envisioned that the destruction of the earth will be witnessed through his contemporaries. but Revelation not just outlived its writer; this brilliant and violent revenge myth has performed an important function within the march of Western civilization.

Ever due to the fact that Revelation was once first preached because the printed note of Jesus Christ, it has haunted and encouraged hearers and readers alike. The mark of the beast, the Antichrist, 666, the Whore of Babylon, Armageddon, and the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse are only many of the photographs, words, and codes that experience burned their method into the cloth of our tradition. The questions raised cross directly to the center of the human worry of loss of life and obsession with the afterlife. do we, separately or jointly, trip off to glory, or can we drown in hellfire for all eternity? As those that top control this darkish imaginative and prescient discovered, which part we fall on is usually a topic of lifestyles or dying. Honed right into a weapon within the ongoing tradition wars among states, religions, and citizenry, Revelation has considerably altered the process historical past.

Kirsch, whom the Washington Post calls "a superb storyteller with an aptitude for rendering historical stories proper and beautiful to trendy audiences," supplies a far-ranging, interesting, and surprising heritage of this scandalous publication, which was once approximately reduce from the hot testomony. From the autumn of the Roman Empire to the Black demise, the Inquisition to the Protestant Reformation, the recent international to the increase of the spiritual correct, this chronicle of the use and abuse of the publication of Revelation tells the story of the unfolding of historical past and the hopes, fears, goals, and nightmares of all humanity.

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Additional info for A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization

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15 This descriptor suggests that other precincts of the Christian right’s antigay movement are less kind and gentle, and so they are. When Didi Herman mapped the changes in the orientation of the Christian right over a period of fifty years, she found that in the early years of Christian conservative attention to the problem of homosexuality, pity coexisted with firm resistance to normalization. 16 Even as the larger Let's Both Agree That You're Really Sinful 35 Christian right movement mobilized against homosexuality, however, the ex-gay movement continued to cultivate compassionate dimensions.

In its focus on actual developmental failures, the narrative of development itself does not tend to support this hopeful interpretation, but it is a useful caveat when the movement addresses itself to the Christian conservative family members of strugglers and unreformed lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men. In a session for friends and family members of gays and lesbians I attended at the 2008 Exodus International Freedom Conference, Fryrear emphasized this caveat. So even when the psychological-developmental narratives on which ex-gay ideology rely blame parents for developmental failures, Christian parents may avail themselves of the explanation of a child’s misplaced perceptions.

Similarly, in the context of abortion, one feature of ingroup discourse that might seem puzzling to an outsider is how common it is for antiabortion groups to display pictures of aborted fetuses to each other, and not only to those they hope to convert to their cause. I have attended meetings at which the primary focus of discussion is political strategy or communicating an overview of where the successes of, and challenges to, the prolife movement lie. It is not uncommon for such meetings to begin with a viewing of photos of the aftereffects of abortions before participants move on to the specific topic under discussion.

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