How do you tell the difference between a Catholic and Protestant conspiracy theorist?
One thinks that the Pope is the antichrist, and one also thinks that but isn’t allowed to say it, so will tell you that the Pope is letting the antichrist into the Holy See.
I don’t know if you can see the difference at a glance, it is very subtle. Maybe an example will help. See if you can tell which type of conspiracy theorist this is:
PLOT TWIST! Pope Francis is the antichrist because he is such a nice guy! Who knew?!
I do not know why Islam is the religion of the Antichrist, and the article never seems to substantiate its claims (to this person, surely, the conclusion is too obvious to require evidence?). I know there is a lot of animosity towards Islam right now due to a small sect of its more militant supporters (as opposed to the guy who murdered an abortion doctor? He wasn’t militant, obviously!), but they do worship the same God you do, and they believe in the Prophet of God, Jesus Christ.
The only real difference is their picture of God is more in line with the book of Judges rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That being said, that doesn’t make them Antichrists.
Let’s try another one, again see if you can spot which type of conspiracy theorist it is:
I like the approach of this one, probably better than any of the others. “Well, if Pope Francis isn’t the antichrist, HE SHOULD BE!” Like, if it turns out he is just a nice guy instead of the Antichrist (I am sure his imminent assassination will shorten the timeline a lot), he has actually DISAPPOINTED someone by not ending the world. How weird is that?
Now, this link also cites “Catholic Prophecy” which is weird to me. It’s actually a term I’ve heard before, but only in passing; it bore some looking into. It turns out this is all related to the Great Roman Monarch, the Last Emperor who will restore the Holy Roman Empire. It has no roots in the Bible, and it seems no one quite agrees on the details. It is related to the religion of Conclavism; it is a group of Christians who, whenever they disagree with a Pope, decide “That guy is an antipope. We will arbitrarily elect our own Pope, who the Catholics should worship.”
Clearly they are doing a good job, because I was raised by a staunchly Catholic household, and I’d never heard of them. Specifically, they stood against Benedict and Pope Francis in recent years, but I didn’t know that. They clearly need better PR. Now, like many Christians, they do point so some Biblical passages in the Gospel that indicate the end times are coming. Do you want to know what specific, minute details they cite that shows CLEARLY THE END IS HERE?! Wait for it, you will be stunned and shocked! You will be FORCED to believe in the end times, because the evidence is so clear!
Near the end times, there will be natural disasters, civil unrest, and cataclysm. THOSE THINGS HAVE NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE, SHEEPLE! Open your eyes and see the Antipope! (Oh yes, the antipope is a thing now.) Now, the practice of Islam did not begin until the 7th century, 300 years (give or take a dollar) after the first Catholic Pope. You can say that Peter was the Pope right in Jesus’ time, so I am talking out of my ass by saying there wasn’t a Pope until 313AD, but that is a very common imagination… Especially considering the Catholic Church wasn’t even a thing until the fourth century. Even if you consider the Christian Church prior to Catholicism to be valid as “Catholic History” you will find that there was basically no central leadership. There were as many versions of “Christianity” as there were “People who believe in Christ”. Who was the first leader of the Christian Church? Peter? No, he only became leader after the untimely execution of James who led the Church from Jerusalem. But that’s nether here nor there (aside from the fact that James very likely would have seen Peter as an antichrist, now that I think about it).
Be careful with this next link; reading it without eye protection may cause spontaneous bleeding from your eyes. Practice proper safety!
This one declares that the Pope is mentioned SPECIFICALLY in the Bible… Never mind that the Papal seat didn’t even exist when any of the records mentioned were written. Also, for some reason Hitler is involved with Pope Francis (an Argentinian Jesuit)? Maybe I am not crazy enough to see the lines that link the two. Oh well.
The point, more or less, is this. There are people, many people, possibly even the majority of people, who (on some level) want the end of days to be here. There are lots of reason that this would be; the rapture, where people are taken bodily to paradise, is a romantic notion. Even on Earth, after the Tribulation (seven years of hell on Earth) there will be 1000 years of peace and prosperity, wherein God rules all nations of Earth, and all accept Jesus as their Savior. Well, that sounds pretty nice, too.
The only problem is that whole tribulation thing. Most people will die, but that is OK. Killing people to make it through the haze into paradise is a totally Godly idea! It was there in the Old Testament, it is there in the New Testament, and it is there in the Qur’an and Hadith. People will die to make way for paradise, and the Godliest among us will be the ones tasked with casting the first stones. (I think it was Jesus who said stone thy neighbor who goes against God. That sounds about right, right?)
Long story short, this is another case of a theme that runs through human history; ours is a leader that loves ALL PEOPLE (but really mostly us. The rest of you can die, no biggie). This new Pope, being a harbinger of peace, tolerance, and love of your neighbor, who loves all people and wants to help all people, is secretly the Devil. GOD WOULD NOT TOLERATE POPE FRANCIS’ CRAZY IDEAS! Therefore, because I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO LIKE MUSLIMS, he is the Antichrist. Q.E.D.