Sunday, December 30, 2007

"armageddon has been in effect... go get a late pass!" (part one)

Is Public Enemy right? Has Armageddon been in effect? (some might say that the show Strange Love is one of the signs of the end times.) The title for this blog entry just came to me last night when I was driving around listening to It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back but in reality I've been mulling over the same question (in different language) for a while these days.

For example, the Dawnbreaker Collective, mentioned in the last post would probably answer that question in the affirmative. Firstly, the Bahai Faith teaches that the Second Coming of Christ and the arrival of the Mahdi already occurred over 150 years ago (in which case, most of us will definitely need that late pass). But secondly, even though the song "Son of Being" may seem upbeat at first, some of the lyrics definitely have their pessimistic end-of-the-world side (e.g. "the whole world getting rolled like a Cuban cigar", "the world's just a pothole", "this place won't last so you better take a picture"). In fact, the Bahai Faith generally uses metaphorical interpretation to stretch the meaning of the end-time prophecies of many different religions in order to claim that they have already been fulfilled by the central figures of their faith.

Or to consider PE's words from a different direction... yesterday I was listening to an audio tape of Imam Jamil al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown) giving a jummah sermon entitled "What Color is Pharaoh?". Imam Al-Amin set up a comparison between Pharaoh's treatment of the children of Israel, COINTELPRO's treatment of Black activists during the Civil Rights era and the government's treatment of Muslims "today". (the sermon was given fifteen years ago). History isn't just history. Things move in cycles. Patterns repeat. But then perhaps that suggests that prophecy might not be prophecy.

In an older post, the number of the beast we already touched on Preterism, an understanding of Christian eschatology which holds that all are most of the prophecies in the Book of Revelation were fulfilled by 70 AD when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.

There are even a few groups in the Islamic orbit which say that the Mahdi has already come (e.g. the Nation of Islam, the Ahmdiyyah, the African Islamic Mission). I think that in a future post I would like to consider how these groups understand their various mahdist claims in light of the fact that the world seems to have gone on, much as before. I'm especially interested in how believers in the Sudanese Muhammad Ahmad do this. More later.

Planet Grenada:
the mahdi
remember imam jamil al-amin

Central Mosque: Description of Imam al-Mahdi
Central Mosque: The Coming of Isa (as)
Wikipedia: People Claiming to be the Mahdi
Chuck D: Flavploitation?
Chuck D's blog

No comments: