This week, Pat Robertson, televangelist, founder of a several Christian organizations and corporations and host of The 700 Club, stepped back from making specific predictions for the year to make just the general prediction that "chaos was coming." To quote him, "The Lord was saying that there's going to be violence and chaos in the world." Well, duh! That's as sure to happen as saying, "A baby will be born somewhere in the world in the next 5 minutes."
This most recent prediction comes after a few years of miserable failure at being able to predict anything of significance based on his conversations with his Lord. In May of 2006, the year after the devastating Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Robertson said, "If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms." Two things should be noted about this prediction: that it came after the national weather service warned that the hurricane season for 2006 could be as bad as 2005's, and that no major hurricanes hit American soil in 2006 or 2007 for that matter.
For 2007, this Lord of his told him that mass killings were coming to America, sometime after September, possibly in the form of a nuclear weapon, even though, according to him, "The Lord didn't say 'nuclear.'" Now, while the worst school shooting in US history occurred at VA Tech in the Spring of 2007, no terrorist attack occurred on US soil at all.
So, after a few years of abissmal failure to get an accurate prediction out of "God," Robertson has made the prediction that "We've just begun to see what's going to happen, and the nations are going to be convulsed with violence." Really? Perhaps you'd also like to predict that gasoline prices will fluctuate as well, Robertson. Or how about, there's a good chance that I'll take the trash out this week? The fact of the matter is that when people try to prove the efficacy of their god by trying to make predictions, more often than not, they end up making fools of themselves.
The "God" of Pat Robertson begins to take on the archonic role ascribed to him in many Gnostic texts, including "The Apocryphon of John" and "On the Origin of the World", which is to say, He becomes Samael (the blind god) or Saklas (the foolish god). This Demiurge (or half-creator), also known as Yaldabaoth, Nebro, and a few other names in the Gnostic texts, was the offspring of Chaos and Sophia, the feminine aspect of God's wisdom. Being blind to his own origins, he foolishly proclaimed, "It is I who am God, and there is no other one that exists apart from me."
This is the god that Robertson follows. The god that demands that the whole world come under his dominion and worship him alone. All other faiths are false. There is only one way to salvation.
Now, I don't want to give you the impression that I think Robertson is a bad man. I truly don't think any of these evangelists are bad people. They've just been a little misled. If their faith brings them closer to the Divine, I support them, just as I support a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Zoroastrian whose faith bring him or her closer to the Divine. But it's when they start saying that their religion is the only religion and they try to force their faith on others, I see the cracks in their armor. A god who demands worship doesn't deserve it, in my opinion.
And obviously, trying to prove the power of your god through public predictions doesn't work either. Isn't it the mainstream Christians who said that many of the noncanonical texts weren't canonical because the "age of public revelation" had ended when they were written? Is it suddenly okay to reopen the age of public revelation? And who gets to decide that?
If you're going to tout your religion as the ultimate religion, at least be consistent about it. Otherwise, do what is best for your religion and focus on bringing hope to a dark world. We can all agree that what we need for 2008 is hope.