“Wow. In my day, the internet was only used to download porn.” – Phillip J. Fry (Futurama)
Sadly this is not only an unfortunate joke in a television show; it has a strong basis in fact. Trying to do research on the internet hasn’t really challenged that belief. Doing an assignment involving an internet source is never easy. In fact, given the proliferation of useless information on the internet, it is not altogether surprising that some sources are very unreliable. Religion is a difficult thing to try to find unbiased, or reliable, information. The very purpose of religion is to be biased and have an agenda. The Book of Revelation in particular seems to garner an entertaining number of webmasters that believe they are experts. One of the websites I found that was less crazy than others was http://revelation13.net/.
The author of this website is a very unique individual. He or she who goes by the name T. Chase claims to be an amateur psychic. He is the kind of person that reinforces my question as to why it takes a license to drive a car but any guy who lives alone with his cat can control a website. The author uses a variety of sources for his research, including, Astrology and other New Age Schools, mythology, religion, the prophecies of Nostradamus, Bible Code in the King James Bible, Bible prophecy, and numerical analysis. The term “research” is used very loosely. The author prefers to use the term “prophecy.”
This web site, while in addition to looking like the kind of website that a twelve year old would write, includes a discussion of the Book of Revelation and includes a description of a catastrophic sequence of events that some people believe are occurring now. It goes into great detail and describes juxtaposes events that are named in the Book of Revelation with real life events, such earthquakes like the giant Indonesia earthquake and tidal wave in December of 2004, wars, diseases such as AIDS, economic chaos, weather changes such as super storms like Hurricane Katrina, and the rise of the Antichrist. The author of the website goes into great detail describing his or her choice as to who the Antichrist might be.
A good place to start the critique of the website would probably be the author’s identification of the Antichrist. He feels very strongly that the Antichrist is Vladimir Putin, the former president of the Russian Federation. He writes of Putin’s access to the nuclear arsenal of the former Soviet Union and the ease with which the western world has accepted him. It is stated that the Antichrist will be seen as a good person, the author feels that Putin meets this criterion.
The great flaw with the author’s belief that Putin is the Antichrist has to do with cultural references that may apply to him. Specifically, these references are a character from The Hunt for Red October and a painting from Jan Van Eyck. Also, a series of quatrains from Nostradamus seem to possibly apply to Putin. The discussion of The Arnolfini Wedding is probably the most entertaining part, this is an excerpt:
…most interesting in the painting is a mirror, with scenes from the life of Christ painted along its edge. And reflected in the mirror are the marriage couple and two witnesses to the ceremony. This may mean that the mirror is showing a mirror-image Christ, who is the present-day Antichrist, President Putin. Like Christ, the Antichrist will appear to be the saviour of mankind. And the two witnesses reminds one of the two witnesses in Chapter 11 of the Book of Revelation, who are witnesses to the rule of the Antichrist… Note that if you look closely at the head of the wife in the painting she appears to have a horn on her head that is covered, a horn indicating a Satanic connection. And note that the Arnolfini Bride is dressed somewhat like a Muslim Bride with her head covered, and she is dressed in green except for the blue sleeves, green being the color of Islam. Perhaps the bride is Muslim Iran. The marriage bed is red. Perhaps this is Putin uniting the Red dragon of Russia and China with the green dragon of Muslim Iran, by arming Iran with missiles and nuclear weapons. In Revelation 13 the Antichrist gets power from the dragon (China), and has a mouth of a Lion (in the past Iran had the lion as a symbol) and feet of a bear (Russia).
This, sadly, is one of the more lucid parts of the discussion. The author uses a painting from the 1500s as proof that Vladimir Putin may be the Antichrist. There are many reasons why this doesn’t make sense and there are several reasons why this theory is crazy, but the idea that he is using biblical references and astrological charts could make sense to a person who is easily swayed. Indeed, the astrological evidence makes much more sense than the other parts of the argument. Then again, that isn’t saying much.
The author takes great amounts of time and effort to describe how nothing in the Book of Revelation should be taken literally. Indeed, the four horsemen of the apocalypse are supposed to be planets. There are no shortages of things about this website that are not academically sound. It seems that the entire website is built on the idea of “post hoc ergo propter hoc.” This makes understanding the Book of Revelations easier, if the person that is trying to understand them is a complete idiot.