CLASS ON THE APOCALYPSE AND THE LAST DAYS
1.What is apocalyptic and why is this theme so important in understanding religious history - especially the development of small and fringe religious groups?
2.Who is “the Antichrist” and why has this figure attracted so much attention in religious history? How can the Antichrist be seen among historical personalities and institutions?
3.What are the implications of apocalyptic thought for understanding the secular world, and secular political power?
4.How does the apocalyptic world-view consider outsiders, and rivals who fail to share these approaches?
5.What clues are available to deduce the date of the end of the world?
6.Why is apocalyptic so persistently appealing?
7.What is meant by the term “millenarian”?
8.Why have apocalyptic themes proved so popular with artists?
9.How have non-Christian religions develop their particular notions of apocalyptic?
10.Does the apocalyptic world-view justify or encourage acts of violence?
11.Is the Book of Revelation Prophecy? if not, why not? What is prophecy? Does prophecy mean foretelling the future? If not, what does it mean?
12.What is the Book of Revelation about?
13.Why do many mainstream religious figures dislike or distrust Revelation?
14.What does Revelation and the larger apocalyptic view suggest about themes of deceit, deception, and illusion?
15.What does Revelation say about cities? Is it anti-urban and/or anti-modern?
16.Is the apocalyptic tradition misogynistic or anti-sexuality?
17.Why is so much of the Biblical tradition of apocalypse so heavily disguised through symbolic beasts, etc?
18.Can an apocalyptic movement ever be proved wrong? How?
19.How should believers respond to times of crisis and/or persecution?
20. In a recent class, we met the “Trickster Guru” imagined by Alan Watts. How would a figure like that exploit the apocalyptic theme for his or her own benefit?
21. In the modern world, does apocalyptic necessarily have any political slant, eg right or left, liberal or conservative?