Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Thus trumpeteth the prophets

Dear Readers:

Next week I'm going to take a brief hiatus from Skeptophilia -- so my next post will be Monday, February 27.  Keep sending comments and ideas for future posts, however!


Because we needed something else to facepalm about, now we have some ultra-Christian Trump supporters claiming that Donald Trump's victory was (1) ordained by god, (2) predicted in the bible, and (3) indicates that we are approaching the End Times.

Well, at least #3 is not far wrong, to judge by the new administration's first month.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Viktor Vastnetsov [image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons]

As far as the others, though, I'm predictably a little dubious.  Apparently the whole thing started when bible historian and End Times expert David Montaigne pointed out two places where the word "trump" is used in the bible, to wit:
1 Thessalonians 4:16: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”
1 Corinthians 15:52: “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
So naturally this can't be the word "trump" as in "trump card;" it has to refer to The Donald.  Montaigne writes:
I am not suggesting that Donald Trump absolutely *IS* the last trump – but since the LAST TRUMP is one of the most clear and final signs in end times prophecy, can we overlook the possibility that a presidential candidate named Trump is being used as a sign by God?
Yup.  You can guess what they think "trump of God" means.

Biblical prophecy specialist Erika Grey said it even more forcefully:
In end time Bible Prophecy we know that the EU is going to become the greatest most powerful world empire to have ever existed and it is going to be an economic powerhouse. 
With BREXIT and Donald Trump in Bible Prophecy the EU is still going to move forward despite taking these bumps.  With Donald Trump as president there is a new sheriff in town and the era of EU, US relations has come to an end, but with the new president will come a geopolitical shift and the EU will continue to move forward even to the surprise of some EU officials.
And it wouldn't be complete without some commentary from Pat Robertson, who said that because Trump was foreordained by the bible to be president, to criticize him is to "revolt against what God's plan is for America."

Hearteningly, some Christians are speaking up and saying "that's ludicrous."  None of the critics has more gravitas than Dr. Samuel Lamerson, professor of New Testament Studies and president of Florida's Knox Theological Seminary.  About the idea that Trump is mentioned in the bible, Lamerson said:
First of all, it only works in the English language.  The New Testament was written in Greek.  Second of all, it only works in the King James Version and some other older translations.  Many other translations will have ‘trumpet’ instead of ‘trump...'  I think that often people forget that the book of Revelation was written 2,000 years ago.  The notion that what the Scripture says applies to the shape of the political world today is to totally misunderstand what exactly is going on there.
Well, yeah.  In fact, if you want to mess around with etymologies and semantics, two can play that game.  So let's look at a different use of the now-infamous syllable:
trumpery (n.) -- something without use or value; rubbish; trash; worthless stuff -- from the French tromperie (deceit, trickery), originally from the French verb tromper (to deceive).
There's also an 18th century use of the word "trump" as a verb, meaning "to fart loudly."

I propose that's the prophetic angle we take on this.  Even I, as an atheist, could get behind believing that there's a deity who so arranged the world so that our current president's name meant "loud, deceitful flatulence."

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