Their beliefs are bonkers, but they are at the heart of power in the USA.

To understand what is happening in the Middle East, you must understand what is happening in Texas. Read the resolutions passed at the state's Republican party conventions, such as:

* homosexuality is contrary to the truths ordained by God
* "any mechanism to process, license, record, register or monitor the ownership of guns" should be repealed
* income tax, inheritance tax, capital gains tax and corporation tax should be abolished
* immigrants should be deterred by electric fences
* Israel has an undivided claim to Jerusalem and the West Bank
* Arab states should be "pressured" to absorb refugees from Palestine
* Israel should do whatever it wishes in seeking to eliminate terrorism

Why is the Middle East of such pressing interest to people of a state seldom celebrated for its fascination with foreign affairs? Because several million people Americans have succumbed to an extraordinary delusion.

Two 19th century immigrant preachers cobbled together a series of unrelated passages from the Bible to create what appears to be a consistent narrative: Jesus will return to Earth when certain preconditions have been met.

The first was the establishment of a state of Israel. The next involves Israel's occupation of the rest of its "biblical lands" (most of the Middle East), and the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques.

The legions of the antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth.

What makes the story so appealing to Christian fundamentalists? Before the big battle begins, all "true believers" (i.e. those who believe what they believe) will be lifted out of their clothes and wafted up to heaven during an event called the Rapture. The worthy get to sit at the right hand of God and watch their political and religious opponents being devoured by boils, sores, locusts and frogs, during the seven years of Tribulation which follow.

The true believers are now seeking to bring all this about. This means staging confrontations at the old temple site (in 2000, three US Christians were deported for trying to blow up the mosques there), sponsoring Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, demanding ever more US support for Israel, and seeking to provoke a final battle with the Muslim world/Axis of Evil/United Nations/ European Union/France or whoever the legions of the antichrist turn out to be.

The believers are convinced that they will soon be rewarded for their efforts.

Read the full article here:
George Monbiot: Their beliefs are bonkers

Fasten your seat belts!

The Rapture Ready website has a Rapture Index, designed to measure the type of activity that could act as a precursor to the rapture.

Discover how close you might be to flying out of your pyjamas by watching the Rapture Index. The higher the number, the faster we're moving towards the occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture.

The Rapture Index:
The Rapture Index