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June 30, 2004

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Ooh, Cutting Edge Ministries. Fun. I bought some copies of the Victory Bible Reading Plan from them, and continued to receive catalogs and other "informative" publications for about a year, after which my "free subscription" ran out. I declined to pay the renewal fee.

I don't know why there is such fear around technology. If you want something really mind-bending and conspiracy-theory-promoting, take a look at a bar code. The first, middle, and last digit on all US commercial barcodes is a 6. There are three of them. Check for yourself. Personally, my guess is that some geek who had the right job at the right time decided to have some fun with all the suspicious people in the world a long time ago, and no one ever called him on it.

I suspect that the mark of the beast thing relating to technology is an escahtological projection of present anxieties. Usually you can discern what the issue is by the underlying ideology fuelling the fear. So people who are libertarian/new right tend to fixate on thechnologies that appear to have the potential for restricting their liberties. Of course it wouldn't happen so much if the premillenialist dispensationalism of England's only [?]influential theological export to USA hadn't taken root so thoroughly over there! Interesting to note that it didn't do so well over here. So what are the cultural drivers for that state of affairs?

It is of course also a straining at gnats/swallowing camels thing too: what about the automobile as candidate for the mark of the beast with its global reach, reconfiguring of trade and of human life generally, exclusionary nature and the potential to destroy life as we know it .... a good case could be made. But that case would never fly because the people who buy that kind of theology see the car as a symbol of their freedoms. Well, that's my theory anyhow.

my father wouldn't use an interact card for years because he said it was too close to the 'mark of the beast'. it's the most inconsistent thing because as far as their 'theological' beliefs go they won't be here for the 'beast' - so it pretty insane that they wouldn't want technology to get crazy like they want wars to announce the imminent return of the rapture... the more i start to pull apart the teachings of my youth the more i see the glaring problems.

Not sure exactly where I'm at with the eschatology thing right now. But I have a REALLY TOUGH time buying into this interpretation of the "mark of the beast".

God is going to send people into eternal punishment and destruction for getting a mark on their body? The emerging church needs to revamp theology in this area.

benjy -

i think of it as a mark on their soul - like the holy spirit who seals us.

i also think the mark of the beast happens many times in history, not just at the end of it all.

i also think there may be many antichrists throughout history.

i didn't always think this way ...

I think there are many folks around who weaned themselves on the "end times" theology of the late '70s and early '80s, and if you bought (or still buy) into that fear system hook, line, and sinker - the "implantable chip" technology combined with our modern banking system would be pretty scary! (I mention that time period only 'cause that's when I was exposed to it).

I also wonder if there isn't still a bit of free-floating "technology fear" that's really just a fear of what we don't understand that plays into this...

"what about the automobile as candidate for the mark of the beast with its global reach, reconfiguring of trade and of human life generally, exclusionary nature and the potential to destroy life as we know it .... a good case could be made."

Andii - this was very helpful. You've got me thinking out of a different quadrant now.

"i also think the mark of the beast happens many times in history, not just at the end of it all."

That's really interesting, Tammy. Do you have any thoughts on what "past marks-of-the-beast" have taken place in history?

Chris(tine) -- I think you're right about a general "fear of what we don't understand", and how it likely plays into (or amplifies) the eschatological fears that some people have.

Yep... we "fear what we don't understand" and so we try to "make" escatology fit what we want, don't we?! (we do this with so many things...) I remember growing up those movies (in the 70's), I can't remember the names, where the rapture happens, people get "the mark" and the ones that don't get their heads chopped off... there were shown at youth groups, camp, etc... I have (as many others have) had to "shake off" that thinking. I'm taking a group through Revelation, looking at Jesus in all the chapters, and it's amazing how people still want to go back and try to figure out when, who's the Beast, who's the Whore, when will this and that happen... and all the time we are missing Jesus... just some of my thoughts...

Patrick, you are referring to the movies Image of the beast and Thief in the Night. Another problem I have with this theology (not to mention that its young and only usually found in independent nations) is the fruit it produces: fear. Is this healthy? Is this how God wants us to embrace the future?

BTW, thanks for your comments Tammy!

'any thoughts on what "past marks-of-the-beast" have taken place in history?'


it's easier to name prior anti-christs.

the mark is more subtle, as it's a heart issue. i'd say anything that takes our allegiance from god and places it somewhere else. which means we've all been guilty at some point.

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