TURNS OUT THE ANTICHRIST WAS IN OUR HEARTS THE WHOLE TIME
It’s probably long past time I mention that I’m the Antichrist.
Have been for as long as I can remember. Likely this doesn’t come as a surprise to many (any?) of you, but I’ve neglected to bring it up before, since the A-word hasn’t been in the news much since the end of the Obama administration. (Funny that.)
Now, with Everything That’s Going On still going on, the A-word is making a comeback. So it’s only fair to mention, yes, of course I’m the Antichrist.
And if you’re reading this, very likely you are too. In fact, millions, maybe even billions of people around the world are too. And for those few who aren’t, well, even during times like these, we are allowed to hope.
Just this week, Pope Benedict XVI compared same-sex marriage to “the spiritual power of the Antichrist.”
Mind you that’s the not the real pope whom people like, that’s the shit pope who quit. I don’t much care for the real pope either, but in any case absolutely nobody asked what the Windows Vista of papacies thought about any damn thing.
Benedict–real name Joe Ratzinger–made those comments in a 2018 interview for a soon-to-be published book. Presumably a how-to guide for papering over a sex scandal that’s coming along at least three years too late for those who would have benefitted most.
Pope Ratzinger further complained of the “worldwide dictatorship of seemingly humanistic ideologies,” which are certainly all words, one must concede.
Also this week, Press Gazette’s William Turvill reports that YouTube yanked some videos deeming Bill Gates “the Antichrist.”
Frankly this story sounds like it needs more thorough fact-checking, since YouTube removing misinformation is like In-N-Out burger getting rid of beef, or T-Mobile getting rid of the overbearing desperation.
Per Reuters, those videos reference anonymous social media expulsions imagining that “Bill Gates will use microchip implants to fight coronavirus.”
I’d hoped this meant that Gates would implant chips into his own body to become some sort of Six-Million Dollar Man for super-outbreak fighting capacity. Turns out it’s just about using chip implants to identify properly vaccinated people.
But no, it’s not even actually about that, because that’s not really something Bill Gates is doing, because of course it’s fucking not. (My idea was actually slightly more plausible.)
Technophobic fundies have a cultural fear of technology in the body, much like their innate fear of safer sex, paradoxically less safe sex, and also just sex at all. So it’s clear someone calculated the terms of the rumor to agitate their specific stigmata.
Religion Dispatches’ Christopher James Blythe contact-traced the origins of the modern Mark of the Beast myth to, of course, Rick Wiles, the anti-semitic preacher born with a rare brain defect that will kill him if he ever stops lying. Assuming he was being honest about that of course.
As far back as March, preachers who insisted on their solemn religious duty to continue killing their own parishioners by holding mass gatherings during an outbreak leveraged the A-word for sympathy.
Lousiana preacher Tony Spell warned, “If you can’t stand up to COVID, don’t expect to stand up to the Antichrist.”
Spell, a man cursed to be forever named after one of the things he finds it hardest to do, has since been arrested, charged with assault, and lodged a useless SLAPP suit against the state. So at least he’s keeping busy during all of this downtime.
The truth is, all of these fundy freaks are right. Of course the Antichrist is at work. They just don’t really understand what that means.
Religious historian’s Robert Fuller’s 1995 book Naming The Antichrist–which is basically the Rosetta Stone for America’s conspiracy culture and fundamentalist fever swamp–explains that in the classical, apocalyptic sense, “Antichrist” was not necessarily a person but more of a disposition.
The Antichrist was heresy, apostasy, wordliness, Rome–anything that might lure the faithful into the realm of Satan.
Further, “anti” did not just mean against or contrary to, but could also mean “substitute.” Whatever might supplant Christ, in either the world or the hearts of believers, was the Antichrist.
Just tap on the word too hard, Fuller says, and a flood of suspect ideas swamps you. “Modernism, Roman Catholicism, Jews, socialism, the Soviet Union, feminism, rock and roll, secular humanism, the European Union, fiber optics, UPC codes,” and even “the Susan B. Anthony Dollar”–believers marked all these things and more as the vanguard of the Antichrist just in the last 200 years.
As 17th century Quaker writer John Nayler said, “Antichrist is in everyman.” And yes, just as with his spiritually inbred descendants today, he’s right–because they make it so.
If they persist in making words like “Christ” mean paranoia, conspiracy, superstition, bigotry, domestic terrorism, mass death and disease, flagrant disregard for the old, the poor, and the sick, and increasingly archaic tribalism, then yes, we will certainly see the spirit of an Antichrist flourish in response.
I’m the Antichrist. How could I not be, given the alternative? Like Satan, this is a title they force on you in a spirit of hostility, but I’m very happy to take it.
I will gladly substitute any number of better ideas for the metastatic ideologies of a Tony Spell or Rick Wiles or Pope Ratz. In fact I’ve already found a very appealing successor for these ideas, it’s called Satanism, you may have heard of it.
But the more frantically they cede ground to both their real and imagined enemy, the faster and more surely its kingdoms will grow.