A fun walk down apocalyptic memory lane. 30 years ago, Edgar Whisenant published 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. The short pamphlet was one in a long line of "save the date" apocalyptic literature, predicting that Jesus would return in September of 1988. While the date of Whisenant's prediction came and went and his book drifted into obscurity, he did publish and distribute millions of copies of his opus in churches all over America. For this episode, Coyle Neal of the City of Man Podcast and Nathan Gilmour of the Christian Humanist join Danny Anderson to discuss the history, theology, and rhetoric of conspiratorial prophecy like 88 Reasons. The book provides a template for how these fringe ideas operate and Danny tries to make a case for how that template applies to our political discourse as well.
88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will be in 1988
Jumping back into the world of conspiracy theory, this episode of the show finds Danny and Coyle Neal discussing a book called Sacred Scroll of Seven Seals, by the pseudonomous author, Judah (link below). The book has a rock-hard prophetic Christian worldview (very reminiscent of "Rock Music Seminars" and End Times preachers. It constructs an all-encompassing theory of history as a Satanic plot by elites (called "The Order" here) to control and manipulate God's natural creation and order. The book shares much with secular conspiracy theory, but twists common conspiracy tropes into a peculiar religious box. The show explores the patterns of conspiratorial thinking as well as its connection to a prophecy-driven approach to Biblical exegesis. In what ways do prophecy-minded people share a conspiratorial style? Aren't we all susceptible to this type of thinking?
Danny's four qualities of the Conspiratorial Style:
1. Conspiracy as an instrumental reading of current or historical events.
2. Obscuratism in style (an insider's Gnosticism)
3. Research with an "outward trajectory." Rather than seeing a thing as in and of itself, the conspiracist will point outward to broader, global connections.
4. A twisting of logic and fact to suit an a priori conclusion.
Sacred Scroll of Seven Seals
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