inessential by Brent Simmons

Okay, I don’t believe in the anti-Christ

People are asking me if I really believe in the anti-Christ. I don’t. (Okay?) It would have been nice not to have to say that explicitly, because it takes the fun out of it, but I feel I have to before people start saying I’m one of those scary apocalyptarians.

I grew up during the ’70s, the era of In Search Of... and The Late Great Planet Earth and The Omen and all that. This stuff is good corny fun, and it’s 6/6/06, so why not? (I always watch this kind of stuff on the History channel, because it’s funny, because I get a kick out of it. I call them the “Jesus’-older-brother-is-from-space” shows.)

But—again, being hyper-explicit—here’s the subtext of my previous post:

1. Most people imagine an anti-Christ who’s really pretty weak. Easy to spot. It wouldn’t be like that—if you want to him to be really, really evil (because it makes a better morality story) then you have to imagine that’s he’s wickedly hard to spot, and that calling him out would take a great and righteous act of courage that would cost you everything in this world.

Most people will just about think he’s Christ, not the opposite. To make this a great story, you’ve got to up the ante all the way, make it super-difficult for the good guys. The good guys have to be the ultimate underdogs in the ultimate battle.

2. Quite often, evil looks like good—plus compromises made necessary by circumstances. (At least at the beginning.) Unfortunately, here on Earth, that’s what good looks like too.

3. There have been and will be charismatic, beloved leaders who are evil.

4. We are manipulated in small ways every day by people and companies and organizations who we think get it but who are perfectly indifferent to our best interests. Everyone (almost) will say of the (fictional) anti-Christ: “I like him, he gets it.”