Religion’s radical fringe element
Just wondering . . . “Rise up, oh blessed daughter of mine! For, I am your Father Yahweh, yea Jehovah, Most High God, King of Kings and the Only Saviour! Sit and write; for my word must go out to a hungry people, to a dry and parched land!”
In the run of any given day, I receive too many unsolicited emails. At times I wonder, However did they get my email address?
Many of the emails I receive are simply ludicrous. Some — most? — religious ones are especially inane.
An email I recently received is headed innocuously enough, “ The Gulf Oil Disaster Is Out Of Control!”
Obviously the words in the subject line are meant to entice the unsuspecting recipient to read on.
In this email, a “prophetess” by the name of Linda Newkirk is headlined as having “a very grave warning from Jesus!” (Note the overuse of the exclamation point.) Sounds serious. If Jesus is trying to speak to me, who am I not to listen? Sounds like I should read what he says. I may miss something important if I fail to read his words.
Newkirk’s prophecy is introduced this way: “ We are not being told the truth about the disaster in the Gulf. The scope of this crisis is beyond description and becomes more dire by the day.” Not much there to disagree with. Then, the actual prophecy from the Lord: all 1,323 words of it. And this is only half of the entire document. Readers are encouraged to access and read Part 2, as well.
I refused. My time was too valuable.
Whoever Newkirk is, she apparently has a private line to God. And, according to Newkirk herself, God has revealed to her what no other human has received.
Please humour me for a moment by dipping into Newkirk’s balderdash a little further.
“ Mark my words in this!” she writes. “For, if those in these States (affected by the Gulf oil disaster), who are called by my name, do not repent, I shall send storms, I shall send tsunamis, I shall send earthquakes; and I shall send famine and disease until I have eradicated this evil out of my face! I have set My face against these Gulf Coastal States and I shall not be satisfied until I have destroyed this great evil!” Yea for God! So, he’s the one who sends storms, tsunamis, earthquakes, famine and disease. And, oh yes, the Gulf oil disaster. Poppycock. If this is garbage, deserving only of File 13, why am I using up valuable space in this esteemed newspaper, not to mention wasting your valuable time in asking you to read this?
For one reason only: to alert readers to religion’s radical fringe element. It’s pervasive and insidious. In 1986, I read a book — Religion’s Rebel Son: Fanaticism in Our Time — that helped set the future course of my life.
“ The twentieth ( and, I might add, twenty-first) century is the most credulous and conformist age in history,” Lloyd Billingsley writes. “ Modern Man can be induced to believe anything, provided it is dished up in the proper jargon, endorsed by the proper authority, or, best of all, seen on television (or, in the contemporary setting, the Internet).”
Billingsley also refers to “a combination of self-deification and false claims of inspiration.”
This is precisely what Newkirk has done by placing herself on a higher plane than the rest of us mere mortals. She is a self-proclaimed prophet, which dictionary. com defines as “a person who speaks for god or a deity, or by divine inspiration.”
If God has assigned Newkirk such a lofty position, then how dare we not read and heed her prophecies?
Newkirk makes stupendous claims of inspiration. God has asked her to spread the word about his judgment on a godless nation by sending all sorts of natural calamities, including the Gulf oil disaster.
It strikes me now that, in the Old Testament, if what a prophet or prophetess prophesied failed to come to pass, that person had to be killed.
Prophecy is big business today. Just check out Newkirk’s website ( http://www.prophecies.orghttp:// www. prophecies. org).> ). There’s even one prophecy entitled, “ Barack Hussein Obama Is The Antichrist!” Newkirk’s books are translated into Italian, French, Spanish, German and Japanese, among other languages.
Contemporary prophets are taking quite the chance by claiming to speak on God’s behalf. If their prophecies fail to materialize, who’s going to deal the death blow?!
I will steadfastly continue to defend free speech. Newkirk has as much right to prophesy as I have to express my personal opinion.
Still, I feel a personal compunction — but this is not something God asked me to do! — to warn against a naive acceptance of the claims of religion’s radical fringe.