History

There are many movements who believed Jesus was coming in their lifetime, like the Millerites

millerite meeting2There were hundreds of millions of people, who earnestly believed the Second Coming was happening in their lifetime. Some of these believed this with such firmness, they gave up their lives, sold everything, and waited for an event that never materialized. One example of this is the Millerite movement of the 19th century.

The Millerites were a Christian group that believed the Second Coming would happen in 1844. At its peak their movement was 30,000 – 100,000 strong. When the Second Coming did not happen as predicted, an event aptly called “The Great Disappointment”, many left the movement, while others reinterpreted the prophecies and founded the Seventh Day Adventist church.

This historical incident has served as a great illustrator of the psychological phenomenon called “cognitive dissonance reduction,” which is the act of reducing tension between beliefs (ex: “Jesus will come in 1844”) and evidence (ex: “Jesus did not come in 1844”) by introducing some new idea (ex: “Jesus did return, but it was an invisible event, to be interpreted differently”).

While it’s difficult for some to imagine how this group could believe something as incredulous, one must note that they believed this with a great deal of devotion, and suffered immense emotional difficulty coming to grips with reality. One can only read letters by Millerites of the Great Disappointment, to see the stringent emotional grief. As in the case of the letter from Henry Emmons, member of the Millerites movement

“I waited all Tuesday and dear Jesus did not come; I waited all the forenoon of Wednesday, and was well in body as I ever was, but after 12 o’clock I began to feel faint, and before dark I needed someone to help me up to my chamber, as my natural Strength was leaving me very fast, and I lay prostrate for 2 days without any pain – sick with disappointment.”

Just like Jesus, Fidel Castro also had a dove descend from heaven and land on his shoulder

In 1959, Cubas dictator Fidel Castro gave one of the most importation speeches in Cubas history. During this rousing speech, a dove descended from heaven and landed on Castros shoulder. (A second landed on his podium).

These doves remained there for two hours of his speech and caused millions of Cubans to believe that their dictator was divinely chosen for his leadership role.

This religious imagery came from two influential religions in Cuba at the time.

1. In Matthews Gospel story, a dove also descended from heaven upon Jesus to authenticate his mission, thus, Catholic Cubans saw this same symbol as confirmation of Gods favor upon Castro.

2. Also “in Cuban Santería, a religion derived from the Yorùbá people brought to Cuba as slaves, a white dove represents the divinity Obatalá, a divine king who molds humans from clay in heaven.” This caused Cubans to see Castro embodied with divine power.hbcUZUT

Todays American leaders are more openly religious than former leaders

There is a common meme that the US started as a Christian nation, and the last 70 years it has seen degradation from this. Yet, this is not true, in fact, the America of the 20th century was more “Christian” than that of the 19th and 18th centuries.

One evidence for this is that early generations of American founders and presidents had many Deists/Unitarians who did not accept the Bible or the divinity of Jesus (T. Jefferson, T. Paine, G. Washington, J. Madison, J. Monroe, J. Tyler, B. Franklin, A.Lincoln).

The last president that was not openly a traditional Christian was William Taft, in 1909, who stated that “I do not believe in the divinity of Christ” and was frequently called an atheist, just like Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln were. Since Taft we have had 17 presidents that openly claimed to be Christians and were members of Protestant/Catholic churches.

Ironically enough claims of “Christian persecution in America” have all developed during the reign of these 17 Christian presidents, not during the reign of Abraham Lincoln who was “suspected of agnosticism or atheism for most of his life” according to the eminent Civil war historian Allen C. Guelzo. (1)

Columbus was a “man of God” or a barbarous tyrant, depending on whos telling the story

There are a wide array of pictures of Christopher Columbus, some paint him as a saint with “superb faith in God” others as a genocidal maniac. Below are two of these portraits:

  • “He had his faults and his defects, but they were largely the defects of the qualities that made him great-his indomitable will, his superb faith in God and in his own mission as the Christ-bearer to lands beyond the seas, his stubborn persistence despite neglect, poverty and discouragement.” (1)
    (Samuel Morison, Harvard historian 1950’s)
  • “As soon as the 1493 expedition got to the Caribbean, before it even reached Haiti, Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape. Columbus himself wrote to a friend in 1500, “girls from 9-10…are in demand.” Bartolomé de las Casas who traveled with Columbus reported that he saw Columbus’s soldiers dismember, behead, or rape over 3,000 native people in a single day. Casas wrote “such inhumanities and barbarisms were committed in my sight as no age can parallel. My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that now I tremble as I write.” (2)
    (James Loewen, Harvard historian/sociologist, contemporary)

Evangelicals who claim “immodesty” is a modern phenomenon are ignorant of history

Its common to show the evils of modern society by a picture of the evolution of the female swimsuit, from a swimming-dress to a one piece to a bikini. This “evolution” is a complete lie.

In ancient times people swam naked. Romans, Greeks, Britons, etc all considered it normal for swimmers to be nude. Often it was even coed (women and men together) though some Roman emperors forbid the practice, which only shows how widespread it was. Some women in antiquity did wear two pieces outfits but only while doing exercise, not while swimming. (See attached picture).

So where did swimming suit “modesty” come from? It was only invented by the 17th-19th century Europeans.

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Mother Theresa was a secret atheist half of the time

Mother Theresa, probably one of the most famous Christians alive was an agnostic/atheist during most of her life. Below are a few citations from private letters that she wrote:

So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them … because of the blasphemy … If there be God … please forgive me … When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives & hurt my very soul. I am told God loves me … and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”

What do I labor for?” she asked in one letter. “If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true.” (1)