In reply to Frank's comment on my blog entry "Babylon the Whore," I'd like to get into the details a little deeper, of why I disagree, and can't believe that the Roman Catholic church is supposed to be "Babylon" of Revelations 17 & 18. I already brought out some of these points in my recent entry about "The Gospel of Acquisition," but I just read a wonderful book review, confirming my beliefs once more, but also helping me realize that the materialism is only one side of the coin, and the lesser of 2 evils. Certainly the Catholic Church is just as guilty of materialism as anyone, there's no doubt about that. But there are a few descriptions of the entity Babylon that simply couldn't be ascribed to either Rome, nor ancient Babylon somehow myseriously revived (especially in the light of that country - Iraq - having been wrecked & devastated for at least the next century), which I'd like to point out, that seem to point at some bigger culprit than the two combined, however piously innocent she's trying to come across.
One of the principal reasons why Rome couldn't possibly be synonymous with with the "fallen lady" of Revelation is that it's commonly accepted by Bible scholars that "the 10 horns which...shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate " (Rev.17:16) represent the 10 leading European nations, of which Italy is obviously one, so, it's impossible for Rome to represent both, the Whore and the capital of the 10 horns.
As I already brought out in my study of Rev.-17 & 18, we're talking about "that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (17:18). While that may have been the case with Rome during the time John wrote this, and he may even have believed that he was writing about Rome at the time, when we look at the present (for which those prophecies and revelations were obviously given, since we are living in the times that see the Endtime events unfolding before us), then Rome hardly has a say in a lot of countries. Let me list some of the most outstanding ones for you: 1) Roman Catholicism is completely irrelevant to Russia, since they have their own, orthodox version of Catholiscism, which has nothing to do with the Roman version, nor does the Vatican have any say over it, much less does it "reign" over any secular areas of Russian life. 2) China, which by some is already hailed the "next superpower" and the greatest stronghold of socialism presently on earth, may definitely be infected with the Western bug of capitalism and materialism and somewhat intimidated by not so much the American government as the United Nations, but certainly it would be absurd to indicate that Rome exerts any power over China. Subtract Russia and China, and you've already got 2 of the biggest, most powerful and most populated countries on earth which definitely don't fall into the group of countries that Rome exerts power over. The same goes for smaller countries like Korea, Myanmar, Malaysia and virtually all Muslim countries, along with countries like India, which may have a few Catholic missions here or there, but saying that Rome "reigns" over them would be sheer exaggeration.
The only city that comes close to fulfilling the criteria of "reigning" over those countries is the seat of the United Nations. - However, the real power is not found within the walls of the U.N., but in the buidling across the street, where world policies and wars for tomorrow are being planned and cooked up today, the CFR, some of whose key members also reside in that great city which makes Rome look like a pueblito (little village) in comparison.
We can argue about the scope of influence that the Catholic Church is exerting over the nations on international levels, compared to the American Mass media. We can also argue over the amount of damage being done by either. At least the Catholic Church is still somewhat devoted to spreading somewhat Christian virtues, but you couldn't possibly say that about Mickey Mouse or Rambo.
Then we've got the "Blood of prophets, saints, and all that were slain upon the earth" found in her. That may have been the case with Rome 2000 years ago, but if you're familar with the history of the past 200 years, Rome looks like an innocent choir boy, compared to your average G.I. raping Iraqi teenagers...
Let's say, if I had a choice between a ticket to Rome and one to N.Y.C. at the time of judgment, I'd prefer Rome any day, although I hate big cities per se.
Besides, it wouldn't take a whole hour to destroy Rome. It might not take an hour to destroy N.Y., either, but I'm still not sure whether I believe that the destruction and judgment will be limited to that city alone.
In my opinion, the refusal to see America's guilt, and the interpretation that Rome is the big culprit, is just another pitiful case of wishful thinking and self-deception.
There was a time when I tended to see the Babylon of Revelation as a solely spiritual entity, which is the current doctrine of my own faith community (so please, don't blame them for my anti-U.S. rantings), although nearly 40 years ago our founder taught without hesitation that Babylon was America. That was during the Vietnam era, and our group's nickname for Nixon was "Nitler." Well, we all know now that indeed a lot worse could befall the world than Nixon and Watergate. You'll definitely find more parallels drawn by Americans between Hitler and Bush.
But you can't really destroy a spiritual entity with fire, and not within 60 minutes. You can't see the smoke of a spiritual entity burning and sailors standing from afar bewailing it. It must be a physical place that Revelation 17 and 18 is talking about. And I simply believe that there is a greater sin to be judged here than the sins of the Catholic Church. A sin which has finally been publicly addressed in a book by one courageous Christian writer who must have found one other courageous publisher, unless he published it himself.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me humbly present to you my hero of the day, Lawrence M. Vance, in his own historic words from his excellent book I honestly urge you to buy, (because if you don't, who will?):
"Christians who condone the warfare state and its nebulous crusades against 'evil' have been duped. There is nothing 'Christian' about the state's aggressive militarism, its senseless wars, its interventions into the affairs of other countries, and its expanding empire.
'The chief wonder is that Christians, followers of the Prince of Peace, should have concurred in this mad idolatry of strife, and thus been inconsistent not only with themselves, but with the very genius of their system.'
The fact that a government claims a war is just is irrelevant, for American history is replete with examples of American presidents who have exaggerated, misinformed, misrepresented, and lied to deceive the American people into supporting wars that they would not have supported if they had known the facts.
Many supporters of the senseless war in Iraq are high on religion. Add a religious element to a war and the faithful will come out in droves in support of it. In the case of the current war in Iraq this is easy to do. Because the United States is supposedly a 'Christian nation,' the war can be turned into a modern-day crusade since Iraq is a 'Muslim' nation.
"Christian warmongers … would rather be associated with Bush and the war than with people whom they and others have deemed undesirable. In actuality, however, they are choosing to be associated with a war criminal and murder than with the truth just because some people who are usually wrong happen to be right on this particular issue.Rather than receiving a proclamation of liberty, what many people in foreign countries receive instead are threats, bombs, and bullets.
From a Christian perspective there is only one way to describe U.S. foreign policy: It is evil. It was evil before the United States invaded Iraq, and it would still be evil if the United States withdrew all of its forces from Iraq tomorrow. It is because of our foreign policy that the U.S. military has become—through its wars, interventions, and occupations—the greatest force for evil in the world. U.S. foreign policy sows discord among nations, stirs up strife where none existed, intensifies the hatred that many foreigners around the world have for Americans and each other, and creates terrorists faster than we can kill them.Is asking God to bless and protect the troops as they shoot, bomb, maim, mine, destroy, 'interrogate,' and kill for a rogue state with an evil foreign policy consistent with the Christianity you find in the New Testament?"
Thank you, Lawrence, for having made my day!