Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 17:54:17 EDT
Subject: [Atheist] re; AANEWS for September 29, 1998
from: AMERICAN ATHEISTS
subject: AANEWS for September 29, 1998
Robertson Spreading More Millennium Panic__Armageddon as a Cash Cow
From American Atheists News, No. 484
29 September 1999
Televangelist Pat Robertson rolled out his latest fund-raiser this week,
announcing "Mission Millennium" and urging supporters to open their wallets
for an ambitious evangelizing project. The operation, under the aegis of
Robertson's Christian broadcasting Network, is design to "blizt the most
troubled parts of the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ" and "Flood four
strategic areas" (Asia, Africa, India and the Middle East) with literature,
Bibles and other proselytizing materials by the end of the year 2000.
"Make a difference," implores the CBN website. "Join CBN WorldReach in the
goal of winning 500 million souls to God's kingdom by the year 2000." Those
contributing $100 or more are promised a video of the latest CBN News
production, "Preparing For the New Millennium," as well as a paperback edition
of Robertson's "futuristic novel, The End Of The Age."
The CBN report highlights topics which have become standard fare on
Robertson's "700 Club" program, including the Y2K computer bug, "natural
disasters and weather patterns," political and economic problem areas and the
"cashless society," a concern for many evangelicals who fear that it will lead
to the rise of a premillennium antichrist and the "mark of the beast."
Contributors also receive Robertson's "The End of an Age," an apocalyptic
novel where a meteor heads for earth and "unleashes a chain of prophetic
events predicted in Revelation." A broadside for the Millennium promotion
says that Robertson's fiction is really "a possible scenario of a future
The tone of "Mission Millennium" echoes Robertson's penchant for attempting
to fit natural and man-made events in an eschatological template where storms,
floods, monetary crises and other occurrences become "signs" of the coming End
Times. Unlike many evangelists, though, who have discredited themselves by
predicting specific dates for the end of the world, the wily Robertson
carefully hedges his predictions saying that they "might" take place in the
"Mission Millennium" also underscores the growing dread and excitement
reverberating through America's fundamentalist, evangelical and Pentecostal
ranks over the approach of the year 2000. Robertson has declared that the
formation of the state of Israel in 1948 triggered a series of prophetic
events described in the Book of Revelation, and the onset of a new calendric
millennium is an event laden with eschatological significance. Reviewing "The
End Of The Age" in the New York Times, writer Christopher Buckley observed
that as we approach the year 2000 and beyond, "there will be Elijahs on every
street corner, cable channel and web site urging us to repent, repent, for the
end is at hand."
"There's just something about an impending millennium," added Buckley,
"that brings out the doom and gloom."
Robertson is one of the most conspicuous examples on the American religious
landscape of "premillennialism," a doctrine which holds that Christ and his
legions will arrive on earth for the Second Coming and establish a godly world
order; some hold that this will last for a one thousand year period, after
which there will be a final battle between good and evil, and the Last
Judgment. Another group of believers, postmillennialists, hold that
Christians must first "conquer the world" for Jesus Christ as a necessary
prelude for the Second Coming. Most Christian Reconstructionists hold to this
latter view. But all seem to agree that it is necessary for Christians to
proselytize as many people as possible; many see the events such as the year
2000, an alleged increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters,
political or financial chaos and other occurrences as "signs," and an urgent
call for action.
Exporting Religious Bigotry and the 10/40 Window
But all of this is more than just a science fictionesque scenario for
Robertson that many of us would dismiss as nonsense and religious delusion.
"Mission Millennium" is directed mostly at that those nations of the globe
which are home to non-Christian civilizations. Asia is primarily Confucian,
Buddhist and Shintoist. Africa has numerous indigenous religious systems
despite centuries of aggressive proselytization by Christians, and Islam is
popular throughout the Continent. India remains stubbornly and assertively
Hindu, and a nationalist coalition now threatens the secular institutions in
that society. In the Middle East, Islam is the religion of choice and
The failure of Christianity to penetrate these cultures and overturn
centuries, even millennia of deeply ingrained religious belief is not
discouraging Robertson and others, though, from launching ambitious projects
like Mission Millennium. In addition to the Robertson scheme, there are other
missionary efforts to "pray through the 10/40 window," a reference to the
geographical band around the globe which includes this non-Christianized zone
of nations. All of this has fueled calls by religious groups to enlist the
United States government in ensuring that these nations open their borders to
foreign religious-missionary activity. Many of the countries in the 10/40
Window have laws restricting proselytizing by outside religious groups, and
see efforts by American and European based missionary organizations as a form
of cultural interference.
The approach of the year 2000 is sure to be accompanied by a proliferation
of the "street corner Elijahs" predicted by Mr. Buckley. It is also likely to
see Robertson continue to emphasize the new millennium as an excuse for more
energetic political and religious activism, and a good excuse in calling for
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