IT was either the battle of the Ages — Armageddon; the forces of good and evil range for war; the sun turns to ice, the moon to blood; the horsemen of the Apocalypse or 'Antichrist — the Opera'. The singing priest screeched the opening bars of the aria. I wait for the performance of a lifetime.
The 143,999 persons plus me caught up to be with the Boss in heaven — a ringside seat! A good fight among Christians; the derby of good men, who is holier than whom? The Adventists replied clinically and the moot had no traction — spoilsports! Nothing mars a good performance as an unmotivated villain.
We need a good war or good drama as the IMF is pure farce — mouthwater; the actors have been in the dressing room for ages and the audience has moved from "eagerly anticipating" to "bored"; we have clapped and no one takes the opening curtain, so the villain is now looking like the hero.
I hoped a battle among the faithful would put my taciturn people to the test. What does a Jamaican believe in? What would we die for? Wife? Politician? New Car? Faith? I say iPhone. We will never know, will we? So is there an Antichrist? Who are Catholics? Adventists? and the biggie, who or what is the Antichrist? We read it first in the Bible, so let's check it out.
The Bible may be God's word, but it was written by Jewish men between 400 BCE and 400 CE, and men make mistakes. When old men write stuff, things happen; "Please repeat that sentence, my God" or "Lord, capital "A" for abomination?" or "God, in do not covet thy neighbour's ass, is that his donkey or his derriere?"
God did not write the Bible. Last time He wrote on a wall "Mene, mene, tekel ...!" it was untranslatable and men ran in fear. Trust me, do not pray for God to write you. This book written by Jewish people about their Hebrew ancestors — tales, poems, visions; slavery, suffering, conversations with God; they disobeyed, He lost His cool and then the fist... Pow! — was written eons after events, edited many times, sections were taken out and put in. So what? It's their book about their people. Why do we care? Do you think some British or Kenyan could rewrite and interpret our "Philosophy of Marcus Garvey" to fit their society? War! Praise God the Bible copyright is expired.
Hebrew leaders tried to make their desultory, demoralised, itinerant people into a super nation. It involved carrot, stick and fear. The Antichrist is not a Hebrew Jewish construct but a Jewish Christian one (all early Christians were Jews) steeped in Levantine lore of beasts and dragons. Not from our culture or our African roots. What does Antichrist have to do with us?
Muslims also revere "Isa" (Jesus) who will kill the beast at his second coming. They are cousins to Jews and live in the same neighbourhood — that's cool. Mix Daniel's beast with Revelation's dragon, add John's Antichrist — really scary stuff. Who are dragons? After several vodkas I see dragons! My favourite dragon is "Puff the magic dragon [who] lived by the sea" as sung by the great prophets of the 60s, Peter, Paul and Mary. No one does scary like the descendants of Hebrews, and Spielberg is now the master of scary — Robopocalypse!
The Bible context is an oppressed people angling for a niche in an uncaring world by telling others and believing God chose them — I recommend self-promotion. This is a winning script and I am sorry we did not write it first; can you have two chosen races? Hebrews were not a master race — far from it; they had no colonial armies as Scythians, Babylonians or Levantine powers, just canny leaders and belief.
They were sufferers; craftsmen, wordsmiths; wrote a Bible which oppressed people made a best seller; a series of books variously authored, lovingly compiled to build pride, self-reliance and scare many off from bad habits like marrying strangers, sleeping with their daughters, killing a brother, chopping off heads of prophets, wearing clothing of mixed fabric, and masturbation — they are so Jamaican!
It worked, and Jewish people are now at the top of the intellect and money chain with most Nobel laureates and millionaires. Jews created Hitler's arsenal, America's spaceships and the Antichrist. Their past was slavery, exile; prophets, priests, judges, kings in a desert. Crikey! Bible writers were awed by cedars of Lebanon — big deal! What if they saw the rain forests of Brazil?
If Solomon had our mango, otaheitie, pineapple, star apple, june plum or tangerine groves he would have sung happier songs. We live in plenty, they in sand; they have camel and ass, we car and truck. We do the Bible an injustice if we expect it to fit our lives. The environmental and public health impact of daily faecal extrusion of 150,000 Hebrews wandering for 40 years would be massive were they not in a hot, dry land. A few scandal bags of dunder thrown in the gully nearby send us running to the KSAC.
The Bible is spiritual, not literal, and Antichrist may not be human — the internet? Dancehall music in Mona at 3:00 am? A deejay? Who do you think? — and to try to twist it is perverse and an abomination! It also speaks to building personal and national prosperity, not to running an already rich nation.
The Bible does not work well in prosperity. What Jews were in pre-history is sadly like us in 2013: "We jus a batta-batta!" so we love its every word. In Europe the Bible is spiritual, why? They don't pray for manna but call up the local council and "Meals on wheels" delivers. Were we educated and prosperous, we would not take the Bible literally, but just live by its values. Atheists exist in direct proportion to illiterate Christians. They justify them. Selah!
Father HoLung may live a vow of poverty but not of silence. This Antichrist riff is old. I saw paid adverts and wrote of my encounters with the ignorant faithful who called the Pope antichrist. No big deal, as in the Western Catholic Church the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) was the "badass Bishop" and called Antichrist by other bishops from the 12th century.
Some Christians today think Catholics, the conduit of our faith, are the Antichrist — disrespect! Ignorance of history! How did Adventists, Church of God, Mormon and new faiths find God? They got the Bible in a vision? Bishop, why did your church choose a Middle Eastern, Jewish Messiah? You chose the same Messiah as the Roman Catholics who were here 1,600 years before you, then cuss them, why?
The same as colonial masters? You even try to colour this Hebrew man black. This makes no freakin' sense! For God's sake, write your own book of creation and lifestyle myths and set it in Africa! That's why I love Rasta! Did your fathers have no deities?
So Jews killed Christ, Jew-on-Jew crime; he was their Homie, butt out, nigger! You ever see these macho, slick-suited black preachers with the lily white, blonde, androgynous Jesus picture (also a lie); don't they have a mirror? Is the Hebrew superior to our culture? The faith books of many people — Hindu, Confucian, Buddhist, Muslim — exist, an African one? Next time we will check the Pope, Adventists and like a Bunraku puppeteer, voila Antichrist! Stay conscious, my friend!
Dr Franklin Johnston is a strategist, project manager and advises the minister of education.