Is Barack Obama the Antichrist?
Short answer: no, long answer: what kind of biblically illiterate douchebag asks such a question?
Last week, the McCain campaign released an ad that purports to mock Obama's alleged "messiah" status with his followers (who would be, according to any and all available polling, a majority of the nation), but numerous observers have noted that, as Eric Sapp of The Eleison Group puts it, "If the McCain camp was trying to spoof Obama as Messiah, they missed a number of more obvious images and did a very poor job with this ad. If they were trying to draw parallels to Obama as Antichrist, they nailed it."
I continue to be appalled, saddened, infuriated and frightened that so many people insist on pushing the myth of "the Antichrist" while citing a "literal" interpretation of the Bible. A genuinely literal reading of the handful of relevant passages -- all from the first and second epistles of John -- would require one to acknowledge that "even now many antichrists have come."
So despite the fact that by the end of the first century the apostle John (as the tradition of authorship holds) is telling us that multiple antichrists are already in the world, many people today are on the lookout for "the One."
In an article for Time rife with errors on the Barack-as-Antichrist meme, Amy Sullivan points to a chain e-mail currently in circulation that "claims that the Antichrist was prophesied to be "a man in his 40s of MUSLIM descent."
Here is where Sullivan truly misses the boat. She points out that "the Book of Revelation was written at least 400 years before the birth of Islam." It's more like 500, but that's irrelevant, especially since the point here is that End Timers assert that Revelation predicts the future. First, the phrase "the Antichrist" is not found in Revelation, nor in Daniel, another apocalyptic writing she points to but messes up the reference. She refuses to call the bluff of the literalists who insist the Bible says what it plainly does not say.
In one particularly embarrassing instance, Sullivan compares Barack Obama to the description of the Antichrist (in the character of Nicolae Carpathia) in the popular (and nonsensical and heretical) Left Behind novels of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins; in one sentence she gets multiple facts wrong about both Carpathia and Obama.
Here, though, is where she could really have gone in for the kill and written a great piece. In a predictably excellent post on the McCain ad, Slacktivist quotes LaHaye himself (via The Wall Street Journal) debunking the Obama rumors: "The Antichrist isn't going to be an American, so it can't possibly be Obama. The Bible makes it clear he will be from an obscure place, like Romania." [Emphasis mine.]
How is it that if the Bible is so clear on the identity of the Antichrist, no one agrees on who it is?
Jerry Falwell insisted that the Antichrist would be Jewish.
Others say he will be homosexual. (I guess that's not mutually exclusive.)
Historically, the favorite candidate has been the Pope.
Maybe it's Putin. Or Ahmedinejad. Or Suri Cruise. Here's an article that claims the Pope says George W. Bush is the Antichrist.
And all of this absurdity is pushed by people who insist they're just reading the Bible "literally."
The real story here isn't that some people think Barack Obama is the Antichrist; it's that the "Rapture" and "the Antichrist" are extra-biblical myths hawked by charlatans -- false prophets, if you will -- who distort Scripture to support their own secular agendas and call it "literalism."