It all goes the same way
Bad theology is the same as bad philosophy and bad ideology. They all have a predictable bent and they all end the same way – in dystopian ideas composed in destruction. Sure, there’s a handful that make it out just fine supposedly – if all goes according to plan. But most everyone else is screwed.
And these ideas are supposed to draw people in?
The popular evangelical and fundamentalist ideas around the rapture are a case in point. The premise is that God is ticked off, so when Jesus comes, he is pissed off, and unleashes an onslaught of destruction and death. But before he does, he sweeps a handful of people out so they can watch the destruction from heaven and cheer it on.
That’s not good theology. That’s destructive. It’s a theology that believes that violence, death, and destruction are what God is about. It’s a theology that essentially believes that God is not different than humanity in how God would handle evil – by fighting and killing. It’s a theology that revels in destruction of creation and people. How is that Christ-like exactly?
Conspiracy theories work in this same way. There’s a savior who will come and save the chosen ones and then unleash mass destruction on everyone else while the chosen ones get to watch and cheer it on. That’s the short description of just about every conspiracy theory that has ever existed.
Every end time prediction works the same way too.
Political ideologies have a tendency to work this way too. Their chosen followers will benefit while those who resist will face destruction. Blah, blah, blah.
Atlas Shrugged is a great example of this. It’s Ayn Rand’s monumental piece on her ideology/philosophy – Objectivism. The story is the same as the misguided Rapture theology, just the names are different. There’s a group of people who escape to a form a paradise and can watch the rest of the world fall into chaos and destruction.
Bad theology/philosophy/ideology all share this same story. It’s predictable really.
The world is going to hell. Some select people have earned their way to salvation and get to watch the destruction. There is gloating and I told you so. And there is great destruction and devastation.
All of these bad theologies/philosophies/ideologies are selfish to their core. They contain no good news. They are vengeful and violent. There is no redemption or restoration. It’s bad news and hopeless. They are dystopian to their core.
The Good News on the other hand is not dystopian. The Good News is about Shalom – wholeness, completeness, tranquility. It’s about bringing in more people into community and wholeness. It’s about restoration of creation. It’s about putting aside violence and vengeance.
Revelation 21 and 22 are the best expressions of this. Read them. The end isn’t about death and destruction, but rather healing, and ending of violence and war. It’s about the ending of death. It’s about thriving life.
All the bad theology and philosophy and ideology in the world can’t offer any of this. And so they don’t. They offer far less. And yet people lap it up as if any of these things are good news. They aren’t. They are pitiful expressions that offer nothing, except self-preservation. That is the very definition of sin. Martin Luther defined sin as turning inward on oneself. If the end is all about saving yourself while others suffer, then you’ve fallen for a false gospel that in reality doesn’t care about you either. And it falls far short in what it offers to anyone. Which is life and restoration. Don’t waste your time with these bad theologies/philosophies/ideologies.