Thursday 14 September 2006
Middle East Ignorance
Why is it that COGism is so obsessed by the Middle East? I don't mean the Middle East of antiquity, the cradle of Judaism and Christianity; that would at least make some sense. To understand the Bible you need at least a little knowledge about the way societies operated back then, otherwise you just end up projecting modern assumptions onto ancient writings.
And of course, COGism does just that. Herbert Armstrong knew nothing about the culture of "Bible times." When someone came along who did know something (Charles Dorothy or Lester Grabbe) the old fossil quickly sidelined them.
No, you could line up all the scholarly articles WCG, UCG, LCG and the CG-tiddlers have published on the world of the Bible end-on-end and not reach the distance from the couch to the refrigerator. However, it's another matter entirely when you're talking "profussy."
COG magazines are saturated in what they call prophecy. Whole periodicals and websites are dedicated to wanton speculation parading as insider knowledge. The UCG isn't the only guilty party, but consider the not-so-subtley titled World News & Prophecy. Month after month of drivel as writers (and now even podcasters!) "cry wolf" again and again and again. If it's still around ten years from now you know they'll still be trotting out their one-trick pony.
Herb used to claim that one third of the Bible was prophecy. That's bunk. The only reason he thought so was that he knew next to nothing about the Bible (though he was pretty good at sewing out-of-context proof texts together.) What he did, at its simplest, was buy into discredited Adventist scenarios. Garbage in, garbage out.
Currently COG publications are in shriek-mode about the Middle East. One more article by Melvin Rhodes and I'll be shrieking too. Things are dire enough in that part of the world without a bunch of fringe fundamentalists racing around like Chicken Little. All that energy could surely be far better spent in doing something, well, Christian.