A Powerful Delusion

a great delusion
“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

political delusionThe last month has been a fascinating display of a large portion of the population being so thoroughly convinced of their complete and total rightness that they were utterly devastated to discover that not only is their position not the only position, but after 8 years of dominance, their position has been revealed as a minority position. We could bicker about popular votes, but the simple fact that California, just one of the 50 sovereign states that make up the USA, gave the loser 4,000,000 more votes while the popular vote was only won by only 2,000,000 proves that – except for California – 2,000,000 more voters want a big change, and they got it because of the structure of our Republic that insulates the 49 other states from the tyranny of one rogue. The wisdom of such an arrangement is a blessing.

I’m going to resist the urge to get any more political than that. I predicted a Trump presidency almost a year ago and that from a very practical perspective. The pattern of our elections are like a pendulum. The vast majority of the real surprises happen to incumbents. The majority of 8 year terms end with a party change. Simple numbers, no crystal ball. When Hillary stepped aside to Obama in 2008 she virtually insured that she would never be president. However, her willingness to believe a lie kept her on track for this disappointment. It kept a lot of people on track for this disappointment.
echo chamber
The big lie that we’re all at risk of believing is our own echo-chamber. Ryan’s recent article Generation Selfie elaborates on that concept. I’d like to take his article a bit further. He said this: “The main difference is that they could not maintain the illusion the way this generation can” and I’d like to dwell on that point for a bit.

we're not as smart as we think we areWe like to think that a few hundred years ago people were ignorant by our standards, but our standards are incredibly flawed. A few hundred years ago, people had to think for themselves far more than any of us today. That did lead to a lot of unique – and often quite incorrect – perspectives. However, a few hundred years ago those same people had to live in face-to-face community with each other. They faced a world of diseases, natural disasters, and even crime in a state of unprotected exposure that would send most people today into a nervous breakdown. They couldn’t just ignore their neighbors, no matter how uncouth they appeared.

The modern word for community is so much different than a few centuries ago. A “community organizer” actually describes someone who builds an echo chamber and attempts to corral as many people as they can into it. Frighteningly similar to a cult leader actually. As more people enter the organizer’s community the organizer steadily increases the rhetoric that the community and the nation are one and the same. Today we see it referred to as “American Values”, the organizer that controls the definition of “American Values” can declare who is American and who is not. They can redefine patriotism, they can redefine the Constitution, they can even redefine reality. Their cult will adore them.
joe's ten virgins
More than 200 years ago a guy named Joseph Smith showed up and gathered a group to himself that he proceeded to isolate, organize, and indoctrinate to an impressive degree by the standards of that day. How many millions do you suppose he persuaded? Well, actually just 15,000, including large numbers of children who had no say in the matter. Some of you may have more twitter followers than that, but in the 1800s this was a pretty incredible feat.  Note again that part of the trick was to isolate his flock long enough for them to be fully invested in his way of thinking and fully convinced that there should be no other way of thinking. Isolation is an important part of the process. In the 1800s isolation required physically moving them to remote areas, the more isolated they were the more preposterous his claims could be.

Modern technology allows an organizer to isolate far more people than was ever possible before. It sounds incredible to think that a free internet and open society where new ideas, free-speech, and “news” that travels at the speed of light could possibly isolate anyone to the degree necessary for indoctrination, but that’s because you imagine all of that without the reclusion from real life that comes with it. People no longer know their neighbors, and even their own families don’t play a big role in their sense of well-being. With potential to connect with virtually anyone in the world, and a very finite capacity to connect, we are actually worse off than ever before. If we aren’t very careful we find ourselves building our own network of complete strangers usually almost solely because they think so similarly to ourselves today, or last week, or perhaps 10 years ago when we joined these “social networks.” We become trapped and invested in such shallow relationships that we’re left with nothing but talking points and we become ripe for the picking for a modern day cult leader. We can isolate ourselves for years and years and never have to reconcile our opinions with someone else’s short of spewing insults in 140 characters or less. A few centuries ago, this simply wasn’t possible. Not like today.

peace that cannot lastThe Bible is quite clear about what we’re about to see happen. It’s not the angry and delusional anti-what-ever-you-believe people that will ultimately be the problem. People have been disagreeing forever, that isn’t new. What’s going to happen is a community organizer is going to appear that will “bring peace.” When that happens we’ll know that the end is near.

What a massive conflict! Who doesn’t want peace? There’s nothing wrong with wanting peace, but it’s the price we’ll pay for that peace that will spell the doom of civilization. As more and more people are willing to fight to kill babies, fight to criminalize faith in Christ, and fight to celebrate sin, “the” Antichrist will be revealed. The greatest cult leader of all time. The greatest organizer. The one that will eradicate dissent once and for all as the “powerful delusion” spreads.

He needs everything to be just right for his rise to power, he needs “fake news” to be ridiculed to a degree that no criminal enforcement could ever achieve.  He needs morality to be “relative” and scripture to be irrelevant. He needs Christianity to be despised but he needs other religions to be tolerated, celebrated, even promoted. When all of those things are in place, he needs Christians to compromise and surrender their foundation. In reality they will be surrendering their very Christianity but any such claims will be “fake news.” So they can still think of themselves as Christians when they are no longer Christians. Then he will have the majority and he will organize them via the internet. Millions, Billions… united in worship of humanity and hatred of Jesus.
antichrist is slowly turning up the heat
We’re not there yet, but it’s getting closer. The pendulum of history is swinging hard and fast to new levels of anti-Christian extremes. We’ve met many men of lawlessness but more work is to be done and a major part of that work is to squash dissent and replace the love God defined, with a hoax that man defines by sexuality and selfishness. So the most important thing we can do to resist the Antichrist is resist false-peace. We need to stop ignoring those that we disagree with, we need to love the sinners despite despising the sins, we need to be willing to face people from all kinds of origins with various baggage, and at different points in their spiritual walk. That would make us “conservative” in a very historical sense of the word, because that is what Christians have been trying to do for millennia. Trying to love like Jesus loved. Trying to forgive 70 times 7 times. Trying to be what Jesus taught us that God made us to be. He doesn’t need our anger to accomplish His purposes. He wants our faith, trust, and obedience. That is far more difficult than shaking our fists or putting our fingers in our ears the way those eager to be deceived do these days.

So what, if we’re happy with the president or not, what’s most important to our community is not that we “organize” it by our standards, but that we respect and love as many as we possibly can. I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust my standards enough for that. Jesus is the only one I trust to “organize” our community and because of that I’ll leave that up to Him and just try my best to do what He told me to do.

wash feet bear burdens

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