I have been moving towards Christianity again recently. I was very familar with faith in my childhood, but came to resent it gradually. My parents went to a Baptist church and I was literally forced out of bed on Sunday mornings so I could go to service. It’s safe to say that I never enjoyed it. I think part of the problem was the autism-like challenges I’ve always had. Being around people has never made me tick.
I have two elder sisters, and they seem to have been stuck with Jesus the whole time. That’s how it felt like to me. My sisters have always given the impression that everything is hunky-dory as long as you are a Christian, and as there are no challenges, we don’t talk about them either. I tried again as a young man. I took a one year course at the Baptist Seminary outside Oslo and followed up with 3 semesters of theology at a small Christian unviersity in Bergen. I found that fascinating, especially Christology. In fact, that was so interesting that it didn’t feel like work. I’m a very slow learner, and I relied on endurance, but all the all-nighters I did, didnt feel so bad because I was having a lot of fun studying alone. The 1,5 years I spent in Bergen was a good time.
Faith is another matter, though. I don’t know if I’ve ever had that. It’s more that I’ve chose to defend the Christian faith, but I have no idea what people are talking about when they express love for other people or say that they hear God. Never been there myself. I’m just doing what I think is right, but I’m not hearing any voices. I’m usually not in the mood for that, but that is probably a result of my experiences in a world that isn’t very autism-friendly.
Sometimes people get especially excited. As a child I didn’t understand what was going on. I was dragged around from house to house when my parents took part in house meetings. It was common to have a mid-week gathering of cells in people’s houses, and this looked like a bunch of weirdos to me. It was a lot of loud hallejulah, praying for miracles, talk about Anti-Christ, percecutions and the end of the world. That was popular in the 1970’s.
They never stopped talking about the end times, and I read a little about it myself as I got older. They tried very hard to combine EU, the Roman Empire and the USA. Anti-Christ had to be Italian, but he also had to be president of the USA. I believe many saw the USA as the new Sodom and Gomorrah with their liberal ideas, and California was absolutely scandalous. I could never understand this because the same people admired the USA too. There was also a lot of talk already in the 70’s about how EU would plant a chip in all of us, and this would be used to percecute Christians. It was quite an accomplishment getting everyone worked up when there were no signs of imminent doom. It’s a different story today, however. There are some signs, but I don’t think we are close. I believe the development will be slow.
Later I heard about people stirring up excitement and bringing out the creepy in us. There was a guy travelling around in Norway at the time of the first Golf War. I listened to him in one of the local churches, and he talked a lot about Biblical prophecies. I believe he mentioned a mountain in Iraq that the Bible says is going to be levelled. There was so much focus on this that even the biggest newspaper in Norway mentioned this in a very dramatic headline. I must admit I found it exciting, but I feel guilty about it now. I don’t want to feel excited about people being in pain. Christians seemed to like this, especially when they talked about the rapture. The idea that there would be suffering seemed to excite us, because it only applied to everyone else. That sounds very Old Covenant to me, or like Jonathan Edwards’ very vivid descriptions of hell.
I spent some time listenning to American talk radio programs recently. I started listening because I thought it was fascinating to hear them talk about nephilim, aliens, the catholic church, Book of Enoch etc. I continued listening for a while after they started talking about end times. I do like to speculate a little about this, but there is a limit. We don’t know when Jesus is coming back, and there have been many times during the last 2000 years when people thought it was over. There have even been people that quit their jobs because they were convinced that Jesus would provide for them.
These radio hosts are sort of like that guy in the early 90’s that excited Norwegians with promises of unimaginable suffereing and tribulations among the less fortunate ones. I think they saw it as God’s greatness that they didn’t have to suffer themselves, like this was some creepy reality show they could watch from heaven. I guess this is very human, like when car drivers just have to slow down and even stop as they pass the scene of an accident or crime, or when we watch every second of a live coverage on CNN. We were all fascinated by the show CNN staged during the first Golf War, and I even had a relative that listened to Israeli radio where they reported about Scud-missiles being fired from Iraq, but I discovered after a while that watching a 30 minute summary of the news of the day, at night, gave me the same info.
I don’t actually watch news anymore. I mostly read alternative news outlets on internet. That gives me accurate information. I like to speculate, however, but the important thing is to be ready. I’m not dreading Jesus coming back, but non of this is going to be pleasent. The best I can do is to prepare myself, try harder to be included in the new covenant, and if something happens during my lifetime, try my best to survive long enough to help my family.
No one knows the time. It must have looked like the end to many people during World War 1 and 2, but it wasn’t. Contrary to what some seem to think, Hitler had the means to kill the whole world. The Nazis had an overwhelming advantage. They had superior technology and weapons. Germany developed mustard gas in WW 1 and by WW 2 they also had nerve gas. They lost because they didn’t think anyone stood a chance; they were arrogant and lost many of their battle ships through sheer stupidity (two of them went down in Norway: Tirpitz was launched in 1939 and Blücher launched in 1937). It wasn’t time for the end yet and it could have been avoided.
I’ve heard people say that Jesus has to come back now. I don’t think he has to do anything. The question is what we should do. Athletes in my country often talk about focusing on the task, and only one at the time. That will eventually bring them to the finish line. That sounds like a good advice. There will be tasks to perform; there will be hardship, but if we focus on the most immediate one, we’ll be fine.
John 14:27 doesn’t sound like a bad quote to end with:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
NIV at Biblegateway
I might do some speculating next time. I’ve been thinking of the Revelation lately, but I don’t interpret every headline as a prophecy.