Tuesday, December 15, 2015

* Banish Armageddon from the Religious Canon

Letter to the Editor
The New Haven Register

Dear Editor:

The Rev. Gregory Sterling, Dean of my alma mater, Yale Divinity School, has written me in response to my claim in a letter in your paper 12/9/15 that the namby pambly teaching of eschatology( an Armageddon belief-system) as a benign academic category at my alma mater permits its poisonous impact to multiply in believers in many faiths , not excluding Christianity and Islam.

Dean Sterling informs me , " I am not convinced that eschatology is the issue with those who embrace a jihad. You should know that we have been working with the UN to try to remove religion as a rationale/cause for extreme violence. We held a quiet workshop for Iran and the US State Department last fall and had a panel session at the UN this fall. Eschatology has not been the focus of these nor is it likely to be in the future."

Graeme Wood in a September Atlantic article "What does ISIS want?" describes such bridge-building efforts by Muslims in concert with Christians as naïve, "a cotton-candy view of . . .religion ' in the words of Princeton Islamic scholar Bernard Haykel.

Mr. Wood continues, "Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature ... are rooted in [what Haykel calls] “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.”

Dean Sterling, Graeme Wood and Bernard Haykal, see the trees but not the forest: All religions which include Armageddon as a belief-system, are throwing gasoline on the inflamed minds of wannabe martyrs, terrified of eternal torment and hungry for eternal bliss.

Religious scholars need to acknowledge their cotton candy complicity in this dangerous scenario by minimizing the role of religion in turning believers into killers, at Jonestown, Guyana , at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, at the Boston marathon, at a Fort Hood Colorado Army compound and in a San Bernadino special needs facility staff gathering.

Armageddon should be banished from the religious canon as a paranoid delusion, not taught as benign theological embroidery.
Paul D. Keane

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