So I googled the phrase “Christianity without eschatology“ and I was surprised that nobody has used this term in a positive way on the internet before. Only 10 results. Every reference I found was negative.
Like in some book on google books Immense Unfathomed Unconfined: The Grace of God in Creation blah blah blah by Sean Winter (have no idea who that is) from 2013 “Yet, as the pivotal debates of twentieth-century theology showed, a Christianity without eschatology is itself likely to be a distorted Christianity.4” Really interested to find how that is so, I immediately looked down at footnote 4, only to find its a kind of “Karl Barth said so” fallacy.
Barth is quoted as saying “If Christianity be not altogether thoroughgoing eschatology, there remains in it no relationship with Christ.” Absurd.
Another book, by Carl E. Braaten, says “Christianity without eschatology and Marxism without transcendence are two heresies fighting each other.”
These people must think they’re really smart, but its clearly the opposite.
A Presbyterian website says “Christianity without eschatology is no good news for the world.”
A thesis on Scribd says “Is a Christianity without Eschatology still Christianity? Diving into Revelation immerses oneself in the grandiose tradition of mystical apocalyptic writings but also…”
So, let’s ask the simple question, Can there be Christianity without eschatology, and would it be a good thing, or a bad thing?
Well, of course there can be. Its pretty much what I grew up with. Yes, there was eschatology, the whole “Jesus could return at any moment thing” but nothing like the rapture and Left-Behind and all that nonsense. But in reality, despite the few sermons that attempted to scare the crap out of the kiddos that Jesus could return at any moment and catch you with your hand in the cookie jar, mostly, it was a Christianity without eschatology: Christianity is about going to heaven to be with Jesus when you die, not about some kingdom on this earth, not about waiting in the grave for the second coming and the resurrection. You die, and if you’re saved, you go to heaven, and if not, to hell. No waiting period. That’s Christianity without eschatology, and its the only Christianity I find worth beleiving in today.
Eschatology is fantasy. Its Jewish fables, like Titus tells us to avoid. Yes, eschatology is all over the New Testament, but I’m growing more and more to see it as interpolations by Judaizers. After all, when people get off on their eschatology kicks, they begin diminishing the gospel and pushing Judaism, Judaizing, Jew World Orders, Kingdoms on this earth for Jewish Supremecists, etc. The gospel gets lost.
Also, let me ask a simple question…should I be more scared that Jesus might come back tonight and catch me watching a dirty movie? Or that I might have a heart atack and die while watching the dirty movie and miss heaven? In other words, eschatology of the sort of “Jesus can return at any time” is used as a scare tactic, but one that is lame, and really doesn’t work for long. It works for kids…for a few years. It doesn’t work for adults. After 10, 20 years of him not coming, you begin to realize he ain’t coming back for another 100, 200, 300, 1000, 2000, etc. years, and you slack off. Better to build your faith on what is real; live the Christian life because of judgement after death, not because a second coming might sneak up on you while you’re sinning.
Eschatology is ruining Christianity everywhere you turn. I’ve decided to just tune it out. Christianity is about going to heaven to be with Jesus after death, not awaiting a physical resurrection (Jesus rose physically, but sorry Paul, that doesn’t prove we all will too), not waiting for a Jew World Order (we’ve already got one anyway), not waiting for any number of loony end time scenarios from Revelation. All of this clownish stuff just cheapens the reality of Christianity, that Jesus saves souls to take to be with him in heaven after death. I’m going to just focus on the latter and let the unbalanced focus on all the circus gimicks.
When I was probably 16, I began going to religious discussion forums online. Places like Baptist Boards, and Christians Forums. Even had my own board on 11o’clock forums for a while before it got hacked, and they closed down. It was the golden age of discussion forums, before blogs came, and went. (Yes, I think blogs are more or less dead now, since google shut down the Blogsearch, and since the idiotic invention of Patheos, very little discussion goes on in blog comboxes compared to before.)
But I want to talk about the aging of religious discussion forums online. They’re still there. Baptist Boards is still online, as is Christian Forums. But basically the only discussion going on there seems to be mickey mouse stuff, and morons arguing that homosexuality is ok with other morons actually bothering to argue with those heretics. Its like these places are only for millenials, and not millenials anywhere close to my age (I’m in my mid 30s), but the much younger ones, 20s, teenagers. Losers and idiots.
So in trying to find an online outlet for discussing some theology, the only place I’ve found aside from the youtube combox, which is way too hard, is Carm Forums. Yes, Carm, the Calvinist Nazi site that is all about calling everyone who doesn’t worship John Calvin a cultist and every group that doesn’t bow the knee and confess that John Calvin is Lord to the glory of Predestination is a cult. That place. The last discussion forum for any serious religious discussion seems to be their forum!
But why? My guess, its the only place actual adults (i.e. over 30) still post.
And for those more than perhaps 4 years younger than me, they grew up with such a dumbed down Christianity, they don’t even have the slightest clue what Christianity is.
Again, from the same defunct blog (of mine) as my last post:
I said in the last post (broken link) “And this is the only saving grace that Christianity has — its heretics.”
If it were only for the so-called “orthodox” like Augustine, Jerome, Luther, Calvin, Christianity would be dead.
Arius, Nestorius, Pelagius, Arminius, Socinus, and a whole bunch of so-called “heretics” whose names escape me; without them Christianity would be dead.
Rigid orthodoxy has a fossilizing nature. It turns off the brain. It outlaws thought. The heretics are the intellectual vitality of the tradition. They are the ones that raise the questions, and pose solutions to those question; and many times their solutions are good. And if the heretics didn’t raise the questions, and provide their own solutions, the orthodox wouldn’t have ever touched those questions. The orthodox can’t squash a question that was never asked. The orthodox can’t hide from a truth that was never made plain. Orthodoxy’s function is to hide the truth, but without heretics digging for the truth, how would the orthodox know what to hide?
Without Arius, Christianity would be dead. If Trinitarianism were the only option, so many churches wouldn’t exist. And if all Christians agreed its either believe in the Trinity or leave Christianity behind — if Arianism were not an option — at least half of Christendom would be Jewish or atheist or whatever it would be.
Without Pelagius, Christianity would be dead. If determinism were the only option, if it were accepted by everyone in Christianity that you must either be a determinist or leave Christianity behind, then at least half of Christendom would be Jewish or atheist or whatever it would be.
Christianity’s very survival is dependent on the heretics. The heretics give it an air of respectability that orthodox does not have, has never had, and never will have.
The orthodox like to think that there was this golden age of orthodoxy when everyone believed their nonsense, and then came the dreaded enlightenment and rained on their parade. But the fact is it never worked that way — nobody ever believed in orthodoxy but murderers. The reason it seemed that so many were orthodox was because the murderers in control of governments forced people on pains of death to pretend and play at orthodoxy. But in their hearts, even the majority of the orthodox have always been heretics.
Even the staunchest of Trinitarian preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is an Arian.
Even the staunchest of Determinist preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is a Pelagian.
Even the staunchest of Penal Substitutionary Atonement preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is a Socinian.
If it were not so, he would have left Christianity already, for only “heresy” has any vitality to it.
Something I rediscovered on an old defunct blog (of mine) you can only get to via the internet archive:
From an eschatological view that takes into account the fact that Paul thought the second coming was going to happen in his lifetime and wrote and preached accordingly, the elect means nothing but those believers who will “be alive and remain” at his coming, It means only the eschatological generation. Paul, of course, turned out to be wrong about when the second coming was going to take place, and the expectation had to be pushed into the super-distant future by the later generations of the church; there is no reason why the corresponding notion of the elect should not be dropped as another mistake from Paul’s mistaken eschatological views.
What do you think? Was this musing from back in 2013 correct on the meaning of “the elect”? I agreed with it back then, but today I’m not sure. I’ll be re-reading the Pauline epistles soon. I guess I’ll let you know.
A comment I posted on The Gospel Project’s article The Temple Was Completed which will never see the light of day:
For those not interested in reading the article this is a response to. Basically after rambling about how he can’t relate to his kid who plays Star Wars Battlefront (the original on PS2 and PC in the Windows XP days was really good by the way, although I know nothing about the new one), and then finally somehow that segways into talking about the temple (weird, right?) and finally the author spins the usually line about the temple typifying Christ, and ultimately comes to the statement: “Help your kids see the importance of the temple and how it pointed to Jesus.” Yes, please, teach your kids that God didn’t originally want Jesus but finally allowed us to have Jesus because we wouldn’t shut up about wanting him, because that’s what happened with the temple, so its time to rethink your “the temple prefigures Jesus” mal-theology….or is it?
From page XIV of the introduction of Heikki Raisanen’s book Paul and the Law:
The problem of understanding
I agree, of course, that one should not too hastily jump to the conclusion that Paul is inconsistent. The question is simply: when is such a conclusion no longer too hasty? More to the point, why should Paul be granted special treatment, different from that given to everybody else? Ought we to have more patience with apparent inconsistencies in his writings then with those possibly found in, say, Philo, Augustine, or Marx? When at one time I was studying the idea of divine hardening in the Bible and in the Koran, it struck me what different standards people could use in assessing their own tradition and an alien one. It sometimes seemed that what is called a contradiction in an alien tradition is called a paradox in one’s own tradition. As I pointed out (below, p. 15) I am most of all concerned with fair comparison.
(I tried to not reproduced his italicization above.) This is but a sampling of a book that I feel everyone who thinks Paul is inspired, or worse, perfectly logical, needs to read. The author was a big ole Lutheran who upon studying Paul seriously found to his chagrin that Paul is not the genius our traditions have made him out to be, but that Paul was very inconsistent in his explanations of the Law and how or why Christians must no longer follow the Law. (I’m not arguing Christians must follow the Law, by the way, and neither is this author.) This book will convince you that Paul is inconsistent and incoherent if you have a functioning brain. And yet, that wasn’t really the author’s intent. This is not written as a case for Paul being incoherent. He’s merely trying to exegete Paul’s view (singular) on the Law, but finds it to be an impossible task because Paul has many contradictory theories (plural) about the Law! What makes this book so great, and rather unique, is that rather than trying to hide that Paul contradicts himself on the subject of the Law, the author actually admits it!
In Gnosticism there are two gods.
(1) The ultra-transcendant God who didn’t create, who is viewed as superior for his non-doing of anything. This God is viewed as “good” by the Gnostics because he takes a liberal Leftist “can’t punish the bad guys” approach.
(2) The Demiurge, or Maker/Creator God. This is the practical God who punishes evil-doers, or commands humans to do so or suggests to humans that they should do so (however you want to look at it).
Gnostic Christianity sees the breakdown here as basically that the Ultra-Transcendant God is the God of the New Testament and the Demiurge the God of the Old Testament. The purpose of Jesus was (according to them) to purchase us from the Demiurge so we could escape the world to the never-never-land of the Ultra-Transcendant Leftist God.
Obviously some of this is left over in orthodox Christianity. Although Christians say that the God of the Old Testament and God of the New Testament are the same God and there is only one God, the common Christian concept of God devalues the Demiurge aspect of this God, devalues this world, and preaches up the never-never-land and the Ultra-Transcendant “goodness” notion of non-punishing (i.e. whether it be freely forgiving the worst of criminals via “grace” or some even worse Leftist nonsense).
For this reason, I’m beginning to think I should associate my religious belief to the other side. I’ve studied Gnosticism for years, since I was 16 or so when I first started reading the church fathers, and obviously I studied the Bible and Christianity for much longer than that, my entire life. And ultimately the conclusion I’ve come to is I like the Demiurge. The Demiurge, the punisher of evil who takes names and kicks ass is better than some fluffy marshmellow Leftist God. You don’t have to be a reverse-Gnostic to see that; i.e. you don’t have to say there are two Gods, the Ultra-transcendant and the Demiurge and contrary to other Gnostics I’m going with the Demiurge. Rather, as a Monotheist, you can believe the Demiurge concept of God rather than the Ultra-transcendant or Leftist notion of God. People who in a way have more of an affinity to the Old Testament or some part of it, maybe only the Torah, really are simply monotheists to whom the Demiurgic notion of God (God as maker of heaven and earth who defends his creation by kicking the bad guys’ asses occasionally) has more appeal, or they have more affinity with this concept than with liberal Pussy God notion of a God who can’t smite a rapist because of some Leftist notion that all life is sacred even that of a rapist. I’m noticing more and more that the older I get (I’m in my mid thirties), the more I realize that Christianity is based on this Leftist Pussy God ideal which ultimately is a leftover of Gnosticism. Other religions also, like modern Judaism and Buddhism are based on this. Buddhism is atheistic, but if it did have a God it would be the Leftist Pussy God who can’t punish sinners which the Gnostics preached.
In looking for a term, therefore, to describe my religious views, I’ve recently been at a loss. Deist seems the closest as far as existing terms, but it is lacking something. Because many Deists are Leftist Pussy God believers who rejected Christianity because the kick-ass God of the Old Testament triggers their manstruation and overflows their manpons. But for me, the manly ass-kicking God who occasionally intervenes in the world not to give a bullshit revelation (in that sense I’m a Deist) but to kick ass and right the wrongs of the world (like recently making sure Trump won the election), that’s my kind of God. So I supposed I’m looking for a term derived from the word Demiurge that can be combined with Deism: Demiurgic Deist perhaps?
The election of Donald Trump restored my faith in God. God as demiurge or creator, a Deistic God even, due to being a builder, a creator, does not want his creation destroyed, any more than a real-estate mogul like Donald Trump would want his buildings destroyed or his property value to go down. As such, an alliance between the two builders is the perfect alliance. Under Obama, God has seen his property value go down massively. Nobody wants to live in a world governed by Democrats or Muslims, except for scum. Finally, in bringing Trump to power, God has arisen and acted to save his creation from total property value depreciation.
Just because he says “Not-the-Momma” doesn’t mean there is no momma!
Just because Buddha says anatta (not-the-self) doesn’t mean he’s saying there is no self.