The Good Fight
10/14/15 at 11:31 PM 13 Comments

Ben Carson Aside, Many Christians & Muslims Believe We’re Living In The End Times

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In an interview with Sharyl Attkisson, presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson responded to questions regarding the biblical end times. Carson said that one “could guess that we are getting closer” to the end times when Attkisson asked if he believes that biblical prophecy is currently unfolding. Attkisson went on to question Carson about whether he thinks, “we’re at the end of days?”

Carson’s response, however, was more related to the actions of extremists and the risk of them acquiring nuclear weapons. “You could guess that we are getting closer to that,” Carson said. “You do have people who have a belief system that sees this apocalyptic phenomenon occurring — and that they’re a part of it — and who would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons if they gain possession of them.”

Regardless of whether or not Dr. Carson personally believes the end times are upon us, various polls taken over the course of the past five years demonstrate that apocalyptic beliefs are prevalent. But, what a particular believer may mean by the “end times” varies, in terms of length. They may be referring to the last seven years of the world (the Tribulation), the last few decades or some other general time frame.

As of 2010, roughly 41% of Americans believed that Jesus would “definitely” or “probably” return in the next few decades. Then, according to a poll conducted in 2013, as part of a Barna Group OmniPoll, 77% of Evangelicals and 54% of Protestants agreed that "the world is currently living in the 'end times' as described by prophecies in the Bible." Seventy-three percent of Catholics, in this poll, did not believe the end times had arrived--but among practicing Catholics, 45% believed the end times are here.

In sub-Saharan Africa, in which Christians are the majority and where almost a quarter of the world’s Christians live, most evangelical leaders (82%) believe the rapture is imminent.

Almost half of Americans believe that the surge in natural disasters is the result of the end times approaching and is not due to climate change. More than two-thirds of white evangelical Protestants are of this opinion, according to a poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute. According to a Christian Post article, written by Anugrah Kumar:

African-American Protestants were close behind white evangelicals in attributing natural calamities to the end times. But, they are most likely to acknowledge climate change at the same time.

The study found that Hispanic Catholics are among the most concerned faith groups about climate change, almost at par with religiously unaffiliated Americans.”

At least some of the uptick in interest in eschatology stems from the recent blood moons. Charisma reports, “the blood moons have drawn worldwide media attention. Only three times in the past 500 years have four blood moons occurred back to back and on major Jewish holy days. Each time marked a significant event in Jewish history. In 1493, the Jews had been expelled from Spain, and Columbus had discovered the New World—a sanctuary for Jewish people. In 1948-49, the modern state of Israel was founded. In 1967-68, the Six-Day War was followed by the reunification of Jerusalem to Israel.”

We see similar results for Muslims in regard to the belief that we’re living in the last days. A survey conducted by Pew Research indicates that in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, “half or more Muslims believe they will live to see the return of the Mahdi.” This expectation is most prominent in Afghanistan (83%), Iraq (72%), Tunisia (67%) and Malaysia (62%). These particular Muslims are waiting in anticipation of the appearance of the Mahdi, a messianic figure who they believe will usher in the final events of the Muslim calendar. Eighty-three percent of Afghans and 72% of Iraqis believe the Mahdi will appear in their lifetimes.

Joel C. Rosenberg, in a National Review article writes:

There are world leaders, regimes and terrorist groups who embrace an Islamic end times scenario and believe the end is nigh. We face not just one but two regional regimes whose rulers are driven not merely by violent political ideology, or by extremist theology, but by apocalyptic, genocidal eschatology, or End Times theology. The first is the Islamic Republic of Iran. The second is the Islamic State, or ISIS. The leaders of the former are Shia. The latter are Sunni. Both believe that we are living in the End of Days as predicted in their ancient prophecies. Both believe that any moment now their messiah, the Mahdi, will be revealed on Earth as he establishes his global Islamic kingdom and impose sharia law. Both believe that Jesus will return not as the Savior or Son of God but as a lieutenant to the Mahdi, and that he will force non-Muslims to convert or die.

What’s more, both believe that the Mahdi will come only when the world is engulfed in chaos and carnage. They openly vow not simply to attack but to annihilate the United States and Israel. Iran and ISIS are both eager to hasten the coming of the Mahdi. Both believe that the Day of Judgment is coming soon, when they will be either rewarded for their actions or condemned to hell for eternity. And both are receiving relatively minimal international opposition. Consequently, both believe that Allah is on their side, that the wind is at their back, and that victory is both assured and imminent.”

So, though it doesn’t appear Dr. Carson was speaking about his own personal end times beliefs, but those of jihadists, many in the media had a field day with his comments. But, even if he does believe we’re living in the end times, he’s hardly an anomaly. Many Christians (Protestant & Catholic) of different races and from various countries, in addition to Shia and Sunni Muslims, agree with him.

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