So this week I had (or almost had) an issue with a Christian that I happen to like (a friends mother) who, had I pushed the discussion like I wanted to in my head, I would likely not be talking to her again. Not that she's that intolerant, but she is a "true" believer and is married to an on-again/off-again preacher. She would feel like she needed to choose between my reasoning and her beliefs, and since I don't live with her, I don't think reason would win (her beliefs do live with her, both literally and figuratively).
The issue was that my friend posted a link to a conspiracy story about how, by 2017, everyone will be implanted with an RFID chip to track them, to be used to pay for things, and to be able to freely move about (etc.). My reaction was a bit winded, but started with a "STOP! This is insane" or something like that. I then laid out a sound argument with sources that debunked the conclusion of the story.
Well, the mother of my friend (let's call her Nancy) had commented something like "a prophesy comes true". She saw my comment afterwards and thought I was addressing her with my STOP comment. While it was appropriate for comment as well, I explained that I was referring to the story and not to her comment. This lead to a discussion about whether or not I was an atheist (a subject I avoided due to wanting to stick to her comment and NOT rip into her faith - there are plenty of times when her beliefs have served her well - and would not have served me at all) and tried to bring her back to the "prophesy to which she was referring. Namely, Revelations 13:16, where all would have to take the mark of the beast.
Diverging into the discussion with Nancy, she was mistaken in her reply that the revelation was about the emergence of the wolf (it's actually the second beast, with horns like a ram and the voice of a dragon), but that she still believed that this could be a sign of the coming of the return of the Christ.
Now, I have several issues with this recurring (not from her, but from many vocal Christians) fear of the return of Jesus. Now, if they believe then why are they worried? Ignoring that, why are they afraid that this thing (this one thing) could be a prophesy confirmed? I mean, Revelations is an ENTIRE BOOK about the end of times. I can only suppose that it is supposed to be an more detailed explanation of what Jesus talked about in both Mark 13 and Matthew 24, I would suppose. But if that were the case, then the entire book of revelations is in contradiction to both of these Gospels. Namely, Mark 13:32 and Matthew 24:36 both say "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
However, Revelations is an entire book dedicated to the "end of times" and the return of the Christ, including signs, events, timelines and actions by parties that will happen. How is this the same as no one will know the date or time but the father since if we see these signs we will know that he (God/Jesus) is coming?
Also, since the bible is supposed to be true and correct (and worthy of trust), then why would signs need to be interpreted in order to be understood? If the "mark of the beast" is to be on the hands or forehead of everyone, then how is an EMBEDDED RFID chip a mark? No one can see it. Can it be detected? Sure, but we need technology for that, and it's still not a mark. It also isn't necessarily the number of the beast either (666 or 616) and I can't figure out how it possibly could be. And it ignores the idea that there are TONS of things that would proceed the rise of the second beast (including the rise of the first, the defeat of all the saints, the death of 2/3 of the population and people living in caves trying to hide from Gods' judgement). Not to mention that
If it's that open to interpretation then we are (conceivably) already in the midst of or past the return. I'm sure there are enough historical events that could be interpreted as being the majority of events already laid out in Revelations (depending on the scale of the events in question).
Lastly, the whole thing is silly of course because it's irrelevant to reality. Is there a God? Who knows. I certainly think that a strong case can be made against the Abrahamic God (complete with logical contradictions). I also feel that as humans we are only capable of interacting with physical reality and that if there is a being that superceeds the boundaries of reality then we have no more use for them in their existence than they can possibly have in ours. There is no evidence (measureable, testable or repeatable) of the existence of anything supernatural, nor can there be. If we are able to measure and test for something it then is, by it's very nature, natural (and thus not "godlike").
Sorry if this seems a bit disjointed. I feel like I haven't had enough sleep and I'm writing this over two days (without post-editing, except for spelling).