Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are engaged not in a 'clash of civilizations' but in a sectarian conflict among branches of a single civilization traditionally steeped in apocalyptic imagery and beliefs. Apocalypticism is a religious luxury that modern civilizations can no longer afford. Many would agree that the propagandists of the Christian Right have raised apocalyptic tensions to a dangerous level since 9/11, but in this book Richard Fenn takes on the mainline church leaders for their role in promoting an apocalyptic view of history. Those who keep apocalyptic beliefs in a respectable place in religious faith and practice must bear their share of responsibility for global terror. It is not only tragic but ironic that the churches have given apocalyptic literature such a respectable place in their sacred texts, because the apocalyptic imagination itself has its sources in non-Biblical literature: the Hellenistic prophesies that gave comfort and courage to the victims of war in the near and middle east from the time of Alexander the Great and Darius. Fenn goes on to hold apocalyptic enthusiasts in the mainline churches, as well as on the Right, responsible for keeping old grievances alive in their demands for a day of final reckoning, and he demonstrates that totalitarian and imperial regimes have made effective use of apocalyptic literature to justify their own violence and to terrify their subjects and enemies.
Richard K. Fenn is Professor of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, USA. His book The Return of the Primitive: a New Sociological Theory of Religion was published by Ashgate in 2001.
'This is a very timely book. It touches a nerve. The issue of apocalyptic is dealt with in an immediately apparent way that links contemporary, biblical and other historical periods together in a way that displays the naturalness of apocalyptic within the human condition. 'It reads true'. The theme of hope and despair is also influential and well made and integrated into the apocalyptic spirit. I think many would not only enjoy this book but would almost find themselves awaiting its message.' Professor Douglas Davies, Department of Theology and Religions, Durham University, UK ’...Fenn’s work will attract readers seeking to understand ties between religion and terror...Recommended.’ Choice ’In this challenging and provocative book, Richard Fenn traces this pervasive influence of apocalyptic ideas on the contemporary American mindset, and on the global stage.’ Theology