There was a hashtag making the rounds on Twitter this week that I found to be both amusing and triggering by different turns
You see, Donald Trump made yet ANOTHER historically bad decision when he made the announcement that he’s going to recognize Jerusalem as the the capital of Israel.
For those of you joining us from a not spiritually abused background, here’s why this news has several thousand millennials on edge right now: our parents and grandparents have been preparing us since birth to fight in Armageddon and/or the Apocalypse. I’ve written before about the bullshit culture wars we were raised to take part in, and really the culture wars were just warm up exercises for the main event.
Evangelicals have had a fixation on “End Times” prophecies for a few decades now. A huge part of the “signs” they have been looking for are: the moral decay of our society, Christian persecution, and literally any news from the middle east.
The church has a bit of a love/hate relationship with the concept of the End Times. They eagerly await Christ’s second coming because he’ll be doling out judgment and vengeance upon those who have been “persecuting” the church (a bullshit concept from people who think that someone wishing them Happy Holidays is just a breath away from putting a bullet through the brains of every Jesus follower on earth). Some Evangelicals believe they’ll be raptured before any of the “real” persecution starts, before the Antichrist demands worship and starts physically branding everyone with his “Mark of the Beast.”
Yet the culture wars are largely fought with the idea that if they can slow down the moral decay by criminalizing homosexuality, abortion, and women showing any amount of skin ever, that they can slow down the rise of the Antichrist and therefore…make the entire world become Christian?
The end game was always a bit vague when they went off on that tangent, so I’m not sure what their goals really were, weirdly enough.
But this is why every election for as long as I can remember seemed like a literal end-of-the-world situation. The night before Obama was elected the first time, my church had an all-night prayer vigil to try to sway the election results in a republican direction. My pastor literally thought that Obama was going to be the precursor to the Antichrist, that he would be the man who paved the way for the rise of the man who would spend seven years destroying the world and hunting Christians down like dogs. This time is what Evangelicals call the “Tribulation Period.”
We had mock raids in our church one time to try to get through our heads what was at stake.
But we all hoped that the “Pre-Tribulation” rapture as interpreted in scripture by some was the accurate interpretation. This is the belief that before the Antichrist kicks off his seven year reign of terror, that Jesus would vanish all his people from earth so they can watch the coming horrors unfold from a place of safety in heaven.
This Tribulation Period promises all kinds of terrifying events: worldwide earthquakes, inky darkness covering the earth, hell beasts terrorizing non Christians with cripplingly painful stings, literal fire from heaven, poison water, bloody water, and all kinds of happy fun times.
And the “signs” that Christians look for to give us hints about when this party gets started all center in the middle east, specifically Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, as most people are aware, has been a hotbed of contention for millennia. It is the geographical location for the history of three major religions, all of whom think they have more of a claim to it than anyone else. America, with it’s history steeped in Puritanical Christianity, still thinks that the Crusades were a good idea, that Muslims should just shut up and let Israel/America have Jerusalem.
Israel has changed hands too many times to keep track of, but Republican Evangelicals think we have a moral duty to defend Israel because “God/Jesus/Etc.” They believe America will be super extra blessed if we stand by Israel and the Jews every chance we get, regardless of how spectacularly bad of an idea it may be.
Enter Trump, who was put in office largely by Evangelicals. The capital of Israel has previously been Tel Aviv, where the American embassy is.
Trump is changing all that, officially recognizing Jerusalem as belonging to Israel and the Jews instead of Palestine and the Muslims.
And thousands of Ex-Evangelical Millennials all collectively screamed in horror.
#RaptureAnxiety became our rallying cry. The Spiritually Abused, the ones with Religious Trauma Syndrome, we who have been trying to reconcile our upbringings with the terror that is unfolding in the White House thanks to our families, we all recognized what was happening, and are helpless to stop it.
World War Three was supposed to be a precursor to the Tribulation. It’s one of the Four Horses of the Apocalypse. It’s supposed to start in the Middle East, in Israel…in Jerusalem.
Every Ex-Evangelical friend I have has confessed to me at one point or another that they used to get crippling anxiety over the prospect of being “Left Behind” in the Rapture. All of us know that people leaving the church in droves is supposed to be another “sign.” We’ve all grown up hearing testimonies in church of those who “fell away” but rededicated their lives to Christ. It was sort of the dominant narrative of my own life. Leaving Christianity was always a phase, a temporary “backsliding” that would hopefully be remedied by some come to Jesus moment.
And if you didn’t come back, it was because you were never a good Christian to begin with. Either that, or you would be contributing to bringing about the Apocalypse.
It’s dark. It’s twisted. And thousands of us are trying to navigate it while watching as Trump, whom Evangelicals praise as a “Man of God,” is actively “fulfilling prophecy.”
So if you see an Ex-Evangelical Millennial silently rocking in a corner somewhere…give them a hug.
And if you are that Ex-Evangelical Millennial in the corner, please reach out. I kept this blog full of fun and jokes because if I didn’t, I never would’ve made it through writing this without falling apart in a series of debilitating panic attacks.
But we’re here. We’re all out here, together, paying attention and listening.
And also gently weeping to ourselves while we’re silently rocking in a corner.
Blessed be, ya’ll.