Monday, May 01, 2006

Coming - National Really Bad Theology Day!

From The Times (Online);
For one group of expectant mothers, their due date holds an extra dimension of dread. The prospect of giving birth on June 6, 6/6/06, has prompted talk of spawning devil children on Armageddon Day.

How in heaven’s name did the “Number of The Beast” get turned into a date, of all things? Sounds like the Database Administrator of The Beast applied the wrong Oracle conversion function: “date_armageddon := TO_DATE(NUM_OF_BEAST, ‘MMDDYY’).”

A British self-help group that usually exchanges routine tips on parenting has turned its attention to the dangers of a date marked by the satanic symbol.

For Hollywood and the worldwide entertainment industry it is by contrast a once-in-a- century opportunity to turn evil into gold. Leading the charge is 20th Century Fox, whose remake of The Omen, the classic 1970s horror film, will appear on June 6.

The approach of the sixth day of the sixth month of a new century’s sixth year has prompted animated discussion among women participating in the website of Mother & Baby, a British parenting magazine.

One pregnant woman, Francesca Renouf, said she had been so worried that she had booked a doctor’s appointment to ensure that she would avoid giving birth on the sixth.

Others appeared to take the dangers less seriously. One woman, Emma Parker, wrote that she intends to call her baby Damien, after the satanic boy in The Omen. Another, Donna Magnante, said she would name her baby after Regan in The Exorcist.

She intends to name her baby after the Antichrist in a bad movie. I think we need to pray for that kid – not for protection from Satan but from his mom.

In America the marketing of the apocalypse is well under way. Slayer, one of America’s most popular heavy metal rock groups, will start its Unholy Alliance tour, subtitled Preaching to the Perverted.

There’s an Episcopal joke in there somewhere, but I will leave it for the comment boxes.

Crown Forum, a US publishing giant, has seized on 666 as the perfect date for the launch of Godless, a new anti-liberal political polemic by Ann Coulter, a prominent right-wing columnist.

And inevitably the internet is awash with frenzied doomsday debate and 666 speculation, all reflecting America’s continuing obsession with angels, devils and the possible nature of heaven and hell.

While some Armageddon believers fear that 6/6/06 will be “a day of satanic power” that may be marked by a comet hitting the Earth, others believe that the world is coming closer to what is widely known as “the rapture” — the moment the Lord calls the Christian faithful home and millions of born-again evangelicals will suddenly disappear from the Earth, leaving non-believers behind.

Perhaps we could get someone in Congress to declare it the “National Day for Really Bad Theology.”

On one popular evangelical website last week, a “rapture index” that calculates the likelihood of the Lord’s arrival stood at 156 — which the website declared was time to “fasten your seatbelts”. By contrast, another website claimed that the Antichrist had already arrived — he is supposedly George (six letters) Walker (six letters) Bush Jr (six letters), the president whose name adds up to 666. “The violence and destruction that began when Bush first entered office is now certain to culminate in the apocalypse, as predicted in the Bible over 2,000 years ago,” warned Stephen Hanchett at

You include “Jr” to get the number? One might consider that to be a bit, umm…. “strained,” but I guess that just means I’m the false prophet. Of course, “President Roosevelt” contains 18 letters, and FDR had 3 initials. 18/3 = 6. Clearly FDR was the Antichrist, and the violence and destruction (Remember Pearl Harbor!) that began during his 3rd term (there’s the 3 again – clearly a mockery of the Trinitarian number!) is certain to culminate in the Apocalypse – especially since FDR was responsible for the Manhattan Project which led to the development of nuclear weapons. He didn’t really die in ’45, you know; he’s just waiting for his chance to show back up and proclaim himself Messiah. He will then resurrect Wendell Wilkie, who will be the Supreme Pontiff of the new one-world religion.

There is of course, another possibility. For centuries, people have thought 666 referred to Nero – “Nero Caesar” is Nun – Resh – Waw - Nun Qof – Samekh – Resh in Hebrew, which adds up to 666. That, of course, is absurd – Nero is most sincerely dead. However, remembering that there are no vowels in written Hebrew, the same letters that give us “Nero Caesar” can give us “Enron Caesar,” which of course is Ken Lay.

The 666 phenomenon is based on a disputed passage from the Book of Revelation, which in several popular versions declares the “number of the beast” to be 666 — although some biblical scholars claim there was a mistranslation and the number should really be 616.

(Interestingly, you can make Nero Caesar work both ways using alternate spelling. NRWN QSR = 888; NRW QSR = 616. But what earthly difference does it make?)

Either way, John Moore, the Irish director of The Omen remake — entitled Omen 666 — realised that June 6 was too good a date to miss for a film about a sinister child named Damien who turns out to be the Antichrist. “It’s a fantastic marketing gimmick,” Moore said. “We figured if we could hit this date it would make it all the more interesting.”

The only devils in Coulter’s book are abortion-loving Democrats, but that hasn’t stopped her publisher making the most of 666. Coulter, a tall blonde with a mean anti-liberal streak, is the bestselling author of How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must).

Her new book, subtitled The Church of Liberalism, is reportedly even more bilious, with chapters such as “On the seventh day God rested and Liberals schemed”, and “The holiest sacrament: abortion”.

Joining Slayer on the musical front is the cult death metal group Deicide, which calls itself “Satan’s favourite band”. Its latest album, The Stench of Redemption, is scheduled for release on what it calls “the most unholy of days, 6/6/06”.

The majority of Americans may well conclude that if the last 6/6/06 (in 1906) failed to end in apocalypse, they might survive this one, too. But the current vogue for horror films suggests that the omens for Fox’s Omen 666 may be bright whatever the release date.

Or we could be good until June 6, 6666, which is a double witching date with six 6’s or two 666’s. That is probably the date when the Final Release of Windows sucks the last available electron out of the universe and the world crashes in a fatal out-of-memory error.

Unless of course anyone notices the numerological significance of “Fox”. As one contributor to Arianna Huffington’s blog pointed out last week, F is the sixth letter of the alphabet, O is the 15th letter (1+5=6) and X is the 24th letter (2+4=6). Could Fox be the studio of the Beast?

Or it could be Vincente Fox. He’s always looked a little demonic to me. I think it's the mustache.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve long suspected that the fascination with the Apocalypse really reflects an unwillingness to come to terms with our own mortality. There is something disquieting about the idea that the world might actually continue to function without us. The Last Trumpet turns death into a group project, and we’re not left to face the end alone.