Wednesday, September 20th 2017

Spiritual Surf: Armaggedon, Lindsay Lohan, Hare Krishnas, and Religious Violence


The new film, “Waiting for Armaggedon“, is an hour-long documentary examining how some US Evangelical Christians are awaiting the end-of-days. Their highest hopes are aligned with planetary destruction, a rapture of Christians up to heaven, pre-tribulation with the Anti-Christ’s one-world government, all before a millennial reign of Jesus on earth.

Is this typical Christianity?  To paraphrase Harold Bloom’s critique of the “American Religion”: Christianity in America is not so much Christian as it is American.


Lindsay Lohan in “transference”: takes on child trafficking in India

A portion of a BBC documentary on child-trafficking in India was recently leaked, and the star is none other than Lindsay Lohan. The 23-year-old’s relationship with her father is publicly toxic.  Could her work on the BBC documentary be a therapeutic outlet for her own abusive childhood?

prabhupadaatairport4Hare Krishnas may land outside of airport

The State Supreme Court of California is to preside over a case involving free speech for the Hare Krishna’s apostolate at  LAX.  The court is to decide whether or not an airport like LAX is public space open to groups soliciting donations, or private property.  If the court rules the latter, Hare Krishnas may find themselves barred from handing out flowers and requesting donations.   Being both the butt of jokes and fascination in the media and movies, the Hare Krishnas’ presence at LAX stretches back nearly 35 years, but this controversy is nothing new; six years ago a federal judge ruled against LAX from barring Hare Krishna solicitation.

quran1Anti-Muslim protestor evades prosecution

Talking about free speech, last week Minnesota prosecutors decided not to press charges against a man who willfully admitted posting anti-Muslim signs in front of mosques and Pakistani run stores.  The man’s actions were considered offensive to some, yet protected under the First Amendment.  It is yet to be seen if his actions will continue, and if community opposition will attempt to argue that his is a case of “hate speech.”

copticmuslim1Pope Benedict condemns violence in Italy and Egypt

Pope Benedict XVI has recently made public statements condeming violence in Italy and Egypt.  In Egypt clashes between Coptic Christians and Muslims erupted over last week, ranging from bodily assault to the burning of buildings. Benedict also spoke out against recent attacks on dozens of African migrants and police in the Calabrian town of Rosarno, Italy.  Police suspect that one of Italy’s criminal organizations, the Ndrangeta, were responsible for the attacks.  Benedict’s message of non-violence is powerful, and he won’t be likely to send the Swiss Guard to Calabria to provide a little extra muscle.

allah1Violence over the name of Allah in Malaysia

Several Christian churches were recently attacked in the nation of Malaysia following a court ruling allowing Malaysian Christians to print the name of God as “Allah” in their Bibles.  Hoping to retain religious freedom for a Christian minority, the Malaysian government is facing some Muslim opposition who wish to ban the use of “Allah” in Christian Bibles.  Such a ban is highly unique for a nation with a Muslim majority, seeing that the name “Allah” is commonly used by Coptic Christians in Egypt and Assyrian Christians in Syria.

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2 Comments on “Spiritual Surf: Armaggedon, Lindsay Lohan, Hare Krishnas, and Religious Violence”

  1. Thanks for another edifying summary of the current vibe in some of our current concepts of spirituality.

    Loved the Harold Bloom remark! (Christianity in America is not so much Christian as it is American). Not true in every case of course, but sometimes it's hard not to think so.

    I enjoyed reading Edmund White's novel "Fanny" recently. Among other things, it recounts the experiences of Frances Trollope, the author of "Domestic Manners of the Americans" and mother of novelist Anthony Trollope, to an American religious commune called Nashoba.

    Absolutely fascinating. The creative and original quest for spirituality in the US has been going on since the colonies were founded, and shows now sign of letting up.

  2. Thanks for the comment Claire.

    Yes, Bloom would agree that some Christian groups in America have successfully withstood making Jesus an American; Roman Catholics are the prime example because they lack some essential features of a distinctive American Christianity (e.g., inner solitude with Jesus; "knowing" Jesus as oppossed to having "faith" or "trust" in Jesus; a limp leather bound Bible as icon (read or not read); the human soul being as old as God, or even older than God; abandonment of the past (Europe) for a new and better future, a literal kingdom on Earth; and, of course, several gnostic tendencies).

    Yes, again. I find American Christianity complex and confusing; European imports in new soil produced something that appears quite foreign when returned to the Old World. Spiritual questing misfits of orthodoxy began with colonial groups, such as the Puritans, and continued through American history with creative explosions, such as the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., kingdom builder, military general, fan of glass-looking, conversant with ancient men turned latter-day angels.

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