Get Millennial Dreams and Apocalyptic Nightmares: The Cold War PDF

By Angela M. Lahr

ISBN-10: 0195314484

ISBN-13: 9780195314489

The non secular correct got here to prominence within the early Eighties, however it was once born throughout the early chilly conflict. Evangelical leaders like Billy Graham, pushed by means of a fierce competition to communism, led evangelicals out of the political desolate tract they'd inhabited because the Scopes trial and right into a even more lively engagement with the $64000 problems with the day. How did the conservative evangelical tradition stream into the political mainstream? Angela Lahr seeks to reply to this significant query. She exhibits how evangelicals, who had felt marginalized by means of American tradition, drew upon their eschatological trust within the moment Coming of Christ and a next wonderful millennium to discover universal reason with extra mainstream americans who additionally feared a a 'soon-coming end,' albeit from nuclear war.

In the early postwar weather of nuclear worry and anticommunism, the apocalyptic eschatology of premillennial dispensationalism embraced via many evangelicals meshed rather well with the "secular apocalyptic" temper of a society both frightened of the Bomb and of communism. She argues that the improvement of the bomb, the construction of the nation of Israel, and the Cuban Missile difficulty mixed with evangelical end-times theology to form conservative evangelical political id and to persuade secular perspectives. Millennial ideals inspired evangelical interpretation of those occasions, time and again energized evangelical efforts, and helped evangelicals view themselves and be considered by way of others as a necessary and legit phase of yankee tradition, even if it raised its voice in sharp feedback of features of that tradition. Conservative Protestants have been in a position to benefit from this example to carve out a brand new house for his or her lifestyle in the nationwide area. The higher legitimacy that evangelicals received within the early chilly battle supplied the basis of a power-base within the nationwide political tradition that the spiritual correct might draw on within the past due seventies and early eighties. the end result, she demonstrates, was once the alliance of spiritual and political conservatives that holds strength at the present time.

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Extra info for Millennial Dreams and Apocalyptic Nightmares: The Cold War Origins of Political Evangelicalism

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Eschatological debates occurred within several denominations on both formal and informal levels. ’’60 But in spite of these disagreements, a definable evangelical worldview with a particular understanding of time could be found in the Cold War period. It came out of a larger American apocalyptic tradition and was profoundly influenced by a premillennial subtext that made central the belief in Jesus’ physical return, and it blended with a secular apocalypticism that allowed evangelicals to re-create their own national identity.

The revered twentieth-century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr summed up the opinions of many Christians when he told Christianity Today, ‘‘I don’t see any theological significance in a shot to the moon. Such an attempt is just part of a technical advance, which has recently been accelerating. ’’24 Niebuhr’s dismissal of the theological importance of the moon mission by comparing it to the development of the bomb brings us full circle in our discussion of evangelicalism and science in the Cold War. From one evangelical perspective, the atomic bomb materialized as evidence of biblical prophecy from a very unlikely source.

54 Evangelicals believed that history had a center, a climax, and could be ‘‘snapped in two’’—a framework reminiscent of the dispensational characterization of time as divided into different ‘‘ages’’ until the second coming ushers in the beginning of the end. Furthermore, this kind of partitioning of time in order to understand it better came out of a larger, Western conception of history that also speaks of the world in terms of periods and ages: the Jurassic Period and the Stone and Iron Ages, for example.

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Millennial Dreams and Apocalyptic Nightmares: The Cold War Origins of Political Evangelicalism by Angela M. Lahr


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