Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Anti-Christ?

I wrote this post to respond to the frequent comment I've been hearing: that it is "crazy" to think that Obama might be the anti-Christ.

I could say that I feel almost certain that Obama is not the anti-Christ, if only because I'm sure there have been many leaders who have been suspected of this role. But I could not say that he is definitely not the anti-Christ. Even his supporters should be wary of such a stance, and of ridiculing those who believe it is a possibility.

The gut reaction that, "He can't be the anti-Christ!" is based on feelings more than reason. It's the same reaction we might have if the police tell us that our son was caught stealing a car: "He couldn't have stolen a car, he's a good boy." It's fine to have trust, and to try to believe the best of someone, but we need to be open to the fact that we may have misjudged someone.

Of course most people do not think he is the anti-Christ (myself included), but who will really recognize the true anti-Christ? If the true anti-Christ were widely recognized as such, he could not be very successful. Indeed, just as Satan relies on deception, so will the anti-Christ. He will be a great deceiver, and most will not recognize what he is. He would probably seem like a nice guy, but eventually take darker and darker turns.

Even this turn toward darkness would probably be disguised as "the right thing" in one way or another. He would probably use scapegoats, just as Hitler used the Jews or Nero used the Christians, to distract people from his dark purposes.

But if man always has choices, perhaps the anti-Christ must choose his role, or else his role will be given to another. So then the question wouldn't be, "Is Obama the anti-Christ?" Instead it will be, "Could Obama choose the role of the anti-Christ, and will he?"

I believe that the answer to this is no. I believe the man has enough love (even if it is misguided), that he would not be capable of making such an unloving decision.

Still, it is a remote possibility, not one I'm expecting, that he has deceived me into believing he is a loving man. Unless there are those among us who can truly see the future, or see into hearts, I do not think we can make an absolute final judgment in either direction. And along those lines, it also seems absurd to claim he is the anti-Christ, or that he probably is the anti-Christ.

Really though, I think this is a moot point. If the man promotes evil policies we must oppose them, and if he promotes good policies we should support them. Whether or not he is the anti-Christ, our duties remain the same.


Nathan said...

In a related issue, is there anyone we can be sure isn't the anti-Christ?

That might actually be a more interesting topic, but it is one I probably don't know enough about. But I'll give a few of my thoughts on who it probably couldn't be:

1) I would guess that a very uncharismatic person, like myself, or like various geeks, or like some crazy people, would not be a likely candidate, because they couldn't muster a following.

2) A person who is "hard of mind, but soft of heart." Meaning they clearly have orthodox beliefs, but they also follow Christ's example of loving.

3) Someone from highly marginalized group. e.g. An Arab in America wouldn't be likely to get the trust needed to be successful.

Nathan said...

It seems there might be some reason to suspect just about anyone who has just gained a very powerful position. Thus, many Protestants suspect the Pope (many actually seem to think the word "Pope" is a synonym for "anti-Christ"). It is not unreasonable for someone who does not believe the Catholic Church is protected by God to worry about such a thing.

In like manner, the President of the United States is a good candidate for scrutiny.

George W. Bush is not much of a possibility because he is leaving office soon, and he has little chance to make a grab for power with his current low popularity.

Obama, however, is just starting out. So he has a lot of time to make changes. He also has much stronger international support.

Of course, if McCain had won the presidency he would have been a candidate for scrutiny as well. Though without touting so many sweeping changes, he doesn't seem quite as likely.