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RFID, Sign of the (End) Times? 843

andy753421 writes "Wired is running an article featuring Katherine Albrecht who, with her new book 'The Spychips Threat: Why Christians Should Resist RFID and Electronic Surveillance', is warning that RFID tags may in fact be the "mark of the beast". Among her arguments are that in a futuristic world anyone who wishes to buy and sell goods would be compelled "to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads," as is foretold in the book Revelation. Others are skeptical saying that many new technologies, such as the printing press, bar-codes, and several others, have also created fears about the beginning of the end."
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RFID, Sign of the (End) Times?

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  • Last post (Score:5, Funny)

    by saltydogdesign ( 811417 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:22PM (#14851187)
    Get it? Huh? Huh?
    • So what the hell does that make this post? Post-armageddon?
      • They're never right. Why should I be?
        • Perhaps your post was merely the end of the first of the beginning of the last posts.
  • Fallacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XanC ( 644172 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:23PM (#14851190)
    Just because those other inventions weren't the mark doesn't mean this one isn't.
    • Re:Fallacy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Just because some old book tells a pointless fairy tale doesn't mean it has any connection to reality either. ( -1, Flamebait, I know.)
      • Re:Fallacy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 05, 2006 @12:12AM (#14852323)
        It's certainly not a "pointless fairy tale" to millions of people. In fact, the Bible is the most literarily validated books in history--and that's no fairy tale.
      • Re:Fallacy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Thangodin ( 177516 ) <.ac.ocitapmys. .ta. .ratnele.> on Sunday March 05, 2006 @12:13AM (#14852325) Homepage
        The funny thing is that the whole book of Revelations is far more likely to be about events in the first century, with either Jerusalem or Rome being the Whore of Babylon and the Beast being the Emperor or the Roman Army. The Mark of the Beast probably refers to the tatoos that were given to slaves to mark them as such, usually in an easily visible place like the face or the hand. Early Christians also wore tattoos as a sign of their faith. Facial tattoos were sometimes worn by Roman Soldiers, although the Romans regarded tattoos as barbaric.

        In fact, the Book of Revelations was a controversial addition to the early Bible, and several Bishops argued against including it in the canon due to the difficulty of interpreting it, and hence, its potential for abuse--particularly the type of abuse so typical of fundamentalists, who keep claiming that the end times are upon us. Other portions of the Bible specifically warn against doing this, because only God knows the time when the world will end. To this day the Eastern Orthodox Church does not consider it part of the Canon.

        If you're a non-believer, like I am, all of this is moot--the whole thing is either about the world John lived in, or he got dosed with some grain ergot while in prison. If you are a Christian, however, steer clear of belief that these are the end times. It's a definite no-no in the religion. And if you believe in the Rapture, rest assured that the people who compiled the Bible would have denounced you as a heretic, and you probably would have ended up being used for sword practice by a Roman Legionnaire. This is a spin from the lunatic fringe on a single line of a book that almost ended up in the fireplace of history. It is also a morally corrosive doctrine because it undercuts personal responsibility, encouraging people to believe that God is going to solve all of their problems for them, kill all their enemies, and build them a whole new world.
        • Re:Fallacy (Score:5, Funny)

          by nanojath ( 265940 ) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @01:19AM (#14852498) Homepage Journal
          Well, you've delivered a very sane, rational analysis for the true-believin' rapture preachin' hardcore eschatological hysterics. That should settle 'em. Why didn't anyone ever think to just explain it to them?
        • by jdfox ( 74524 ) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @06:29AM (#14853056)
          To this day the Eastern Orthodox Church does not consider it part of the Canon.

          I was baptised Orthodox, and I can assure you that that's not true. It's considered by the Orthodox Church as part of the Canon, but is not read as part of Divine Liturgy. A PBS documentary once mistakenly claimed the Orthodox Church doesn't consider it part of the canon, and this mistake has been widely repeated ever since. Walk into any Orthodox church this morning, and have a look. Most English-speaking Orthodox churches use the Revised Standard Version with Apocrypha, which includes the book of Revelation.

          There's an Orthodox monastery above the place on the Isle of Patmos [] in Greece where St. John the Divine received his Revelation, and the spot where St. John is said to have written it is a site of frequent Orthodox pilgrimage.

          The Orthodox Church teaches [] that Revelations is a divinely inspired book, but should not be taken as a literal account of future events.

          In fact, the Book of Revelations was a controversial addition to the early Bible, and several Bishops argued against including it in the canon due to the difficulty of interpreting it, and hence, its potential for abuse--particularly the type of abuse so typical of fundamentalists, who keep claiming that the end times are upon us. Other portions of the Bible specifically warn against doing this, because only God knows the time when the world will end.

          Neither did Martin Luther:

          "About this book of the Revelation of John...I miss more than one thing in this book, and it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic...I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it. Moreover he seems to me to be going much too far when he commends his own book so highly-indeed, more than any of the other sacred books do, though they are much more important-and threatens that if anyone takes away anything from it, God will take away from him, etc. Again, they are supposed to be blessed who keep what is written in this book; and yet no one knows what that is, to say nothing of keeping it. This is just the same as if we did not have the book at all. And there are many far better books available for us to keep...My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book. For me this is reason enough not to think highly of it: Christ is neither taught nor known in it" (Luther, M. Preface to the Revelation of St. John, 1522).
          Luther didn't think that the Catholic Church was infallible in determining canonicity, and rejected Revelations, and the Epistles of James (he called it an "epistle of straw"), Jude and Hebrews. Yet the Protestantism that he was instrumental in founding still fiercely defends the Catholic/Orthodox Canon of the Bible, including the Book of Revelation. On the other hand, they reject the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches' teachings on it, and on much else besides.
          I haven't entirely worked my own beliefs yet, but this contradiction never made any sense to me.
        • Re:Fallacy (Score:3, Insightful)

          particularly the type of abuse so typical of fundamentalists, who keep claiming that the end times are upon us.

          As with any cult, how could the Christian church recruit new members if the End of Times was more than a lifetime away?
        • Re:Fallacy (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Zspdude ( 531908 )
          A great many Biblical prophecies referred to events that took place in past history... But they also refer to future events as well. They do both.

          Take for example prophecy in the Old Testament - most of the OT prophets were quite clearly speaking to the people of their day, warning them of events that were about to happen (and, well, actually did happen - that's because they were prophets ;) ). But they also held significance of a greater scope. The key word here is *also*.

          Even if all the events of the Book
    • Re:Fallacy (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mce ( 509 )
      Agnostic as I am, I do not believe this apocalypse nonsense at all. But it has to be said that there's another logical error here as well: maybe the invention of (for instance) the printing press really was "the beginning of the end". Maybe the whole process just takes 600 years to complete...
    • Re:Fallacy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sedyn ( 880034 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:40PM (#14851269)

      Hell, when England made the Domesday Book [] in 1086 Christians probably went ape-shit over it for the same reason.

      I've learned something about Christians, when something like this comes, many don't say "this is the mark of the beast" instead they say something along the line of "the end is near"... So, they're learning.

      I think that the stance against RFIDs needs all the help it can get... So, let the Christians rant and rave next to the EFF... Just as long as the reasonable people raise that point that tracking technologies COULD be used for bad reasons, and encourage people to weigh the good against the bad... Or does that involve thinking?

    • by bADlOGIN ( 133391 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:56PM (#14851340) Homepage
      That one group of Church leaders under the direction of then Roman emperor (Constantine) chose to include Revelations instead of The Apocalypse of Peter (see the APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS for all the rest of the stuff left out) when they were whimsically throwing together a collection of writings that they believed were correct according to thier power induced plans of what direction Christianity should go in a full 300+ years after Jesus was dead.

      If only that had been arbitrarily put in and Revelations left out. We'd all be talking about how Jesus went to hell and that after the Apocolypse, if those who ascended to heaven asked to for clemancy for those in hell, it would be granted. Guess it just didn't have the fire and brimstone to keep the stupid peasants under controll that all the 666 bullshit and no redemption theme Revelations does.

      The worst thing about modern so called "christians" is that they don't know thier own history.

      • Uhhhh, not quite. Constantine did some important stuff. For example he defined the Trinity at Nicea in 325, unified the Roman churches and outlawed the Pantheon, Egiptian, Persian and other churches. The Christian Bible as we know it today however, was compiled under the auspices of King James of Britain, France and Ireland, roundabout 1611.
      • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @08:57AM (#14853284)
        That one group of Church leaders under the direction of then Roman emperor (Constantine)... whimsically throwing together a collection of writings that they believed were correct according to thier power induced plans of what direction Christianity should go in a full 300+ years after Jesus was dead.

        Emperor Constantine had more influence over the process than you indicate. Just ask Arius or Marcius. Jesus's divinity was decided by a non-unanimous majority vote of men.
    • Re:Fallacy (Score:3, Informative)

      by bigpicture ( 939772 )
      You should read Revelation again. The "mark of the beast" is actually the "mark of the beast". "BIOMETRICS". When they have this technology perfected and in common use, you will have your "mark of the beast". Not silicon chips which are the "mark of sand".
      • Re:Fallacy (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Glonoinha ( 587375 )
        You are pretty close.
        Actually I was talking about being able to identify a unique person via DNA when I wrote that business about 'mark of the beast' in Revelations.
        Once 'they' get that ability in near-real-time (ie, on the spot) - you guys are screwed.

        It is always funny to watch how you young people misinterpret what I wrote in that book.
    • Re:Fallacy (Score:3, Insightful)

      No. We already know it's not whether the other inventions were or not. How? Because the Bible says that NO ONE knows when it'll happen.
      Plus, the Book of Revelation was written as a consolation to the early Christians who were being prosecuted.

      And wasn't the War in Iraq also supposed to be the beginning of the Apocalypse? I don't believe that one bit, but I'd certainly believe that more than I'd believe RFID is the beginning of the Apocalypse.
    • Re:Fallacy (Score:3, Interesting)

      by uncoveror ( 570620 )
      A few years ago when RFID was still too expensive, the paranoid were sure "The Mark" would be a tattoo. [] Now, it doesn't have to be visible. All the "crazy" things the paranoid used to fear and reasonable people used to laugh at are becoming real. It makes poking fun at conspiracy theory a lot less enjoyable.
    • Re:Fallacy (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tverbeek ( 457094 )
      One of the more interesting interpretations of these "signs of the end times" is that they are meant to be useless for actual forcasting. There have always been "wars and rumors of wars", natural disasters, false prophets and leaders, etc. which means that we've been living on borrowed time all along and should always live as if these were our last days.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:24PM (#14851195)

    every society has had an end, the mayans, egyptians, romans, greeks
    it all comes to an end, if you truly think the culture of greed, capitalism and consolidation can continue for ever then you are deluded, so when that time comes how will we know ? at what point do we give up and start again ? 20 years ? 50 ? 100 ? 500 ?

    its not IF but WHEN

    • "every society has had an end, the mayans, egyptians, romans, greeks
      it all comes to an end, if you truly think the culture of greed, capitalism and consolidation can continue for ever then you are deluded,"

      Except that looking at your examples (Mayans, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks), I'd say that greed, capitalism and consolidation have been around for a long, long time indeed.
  • Barcodes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gyga ( 873992 )
    The only reason barcodes weren't the mark is because they can't mark humans. People have ebbed RFID tags into themselves.
    • Re:Barcodes (Score:2, Insightful)

      by microarray ( 950769 )
      "The only reason barcodes weren't the mark is because they can't mark humans"

      I can tattoo myself with a barcode, does that count?
  • The closer we are to their "End Times", the better. No?
  • by aychamo ( 932587 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:26PM (#14851205) Homepage
    why are you guys posting articles by some flakey Christian who thinks progressive technology is the devil?
    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @09:30PM (#14851885) Homepage
      Ooh, I have a non-troll answer to this one! It is a valid question.

      Slashdot seems to consist of people who are equally interested in new technology, but also smart enough to be concerned about its effects. RFID could be very beneficial. And it could be very oppressing. While most Slashdotters probably don't believe that the number 666 will literally mean anything, or that it really matters which hand it will be or who the antichrist is. But they do heed the warning that it implies. The fact that it is a Christian mythology doesn't make it any different than if it was in a modern dystopian novel like 1984. Whatever sort of fiction it is, it was forward thinking and applicable now. And so, people will be interested.

      Now, back to your regularly-scheduled trollish Christian-bashing replies.
    • why are you guys posting articles by some flakey Christian who thinks progressive technology is the devil?

      Technology isn't the devil. Technology is a pitchfork. People who try to use technology to oppress others are the devil, or at least work for him.

    • why are you guys posting articles by some flakey Christian who thinks progressive technology is the devil?

      If this "flake" is able to convince a large enough number of other Christians to flake out over this, it will impact how RFID gets used. The RFID design or usage plans may get modified, using "avoid freaking out the evangelical nutjobs" as an added implementation criterion. The resulting design changes may make for something that the rest of us will be happier with... or make for something that we wil

  • by RedHatLinux ( 453603 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:27PM (#14851209) Homepage
    now maybe Christian fundies can occupy themselves railing against something harmful, rather useful things like evolution or Middle East peace talks.
  • some people are sceptical of claims that RFID presages the end of the world. How utterly shocking.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:31PM (#14851225) Homepage Journal
    40 years ago, it was the 'social security card'....20 years ago people said barcodes were it.. in anoher 20 it will be something else... no need to panic.

    Now if some guy with horns and a tail, and breathes fire, comes out waving an RIFD injection machine THEN you can panic..
    • by Hiro Antagonist ( 310179 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:35PM (#14851242) Journal
      That's just Ashcroft; he forgot to put his make-up on this morning.
    • Bill Gates' greatest feat is making you belive he dosn't exist! It's the End of the world! RFID will destroy us all!
    • Well, image your SSN as a common primary key across several databases such as credit card records ,bank records, national identity card, tax, criminal records, and library. Now immagine it imbedded in your right arm or just in your driver licence in you wallet and readable at 10 or 20 feet. Now imagine it read everytime you enter a store, check out a library book, buy a hamburger, sit at a computer terminal, or drive by a stoplight.

      Stop letting the fact that religious people are leary trick you into dis
    • It is a very limited and fundamentalist reading of Revelation that requires a one-to-one correspondence of symbols in the text and historical events.

      The reason the image of the "mark of the beast" is frightening is that authorities in human history have always attempted to assert their control in ways that reach into individuals' lives and compel them to function as slaves for a self-serving power.

      Social Security cards, bar codes, and RFID tags all provide valid readings of the text in Revelation. Ther

  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by 313373_bot ( 766001 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:32PM (#14851228)
    you may defeat the beast by wearing a tinfoil hat (or glove)?
  • by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:32PM (#14851232)
    This is a little different. There really are passages in the Bible signifying the placement of a mark on people that is required to trade, and people are already using these things as debit cards at night clubs. I guess that people don't mind getting a chip injected after a few beers.
    • I should note that I'm not some kind of nut. I'm just saying, if you're going to build up an argument like that, this is WAYYY easier than most of the popular conspiracy theories.

      And, hey, if TV bores you, you should listen to some of them. It's amazing how they are constructed, and it's even more amazing the assertions that people will make.

      OBVIOUSLY Aliens crashed at Area 51, bringing a message of peace (see, the aliens are always so evolved that they became pacists).

      If that'st the hallmark of a conspir
    • Oh, wait, I left part out of that that I thought was in the article.

      There are programs discussing the implantation of these in people. It's being piloted in the military as a way of tracking medical records, and there are already medical trials of having this inserted into people.

      Verichip is pushing for people to get implants, and bars and clubs in other countries are already using them as debit cards linked to your tab.

      So, the implants are here, and people are already using it to trade. There has been di
  • Every day Slashdot gets closer to looking like it's April fools day every day. This is not a serious story and should never have made it to slashdot. The next article I expect to read is about a lunatic who's done "scientific testing" to determine which tin foil hat arrangement is more effective "shiny side up" or "shiny side down" in blocking out the goverment mind control rays.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:37PM (#14851253) Homepage Journal
    ...relative to their believe is that the "mark of the beast" means that you have to recant your faith to recieve the mark. Unless they can make that claim and back it up, it's a meaningless claim. Bar codes supposedly have "666" encoded into them, but that is only because of ignorance of what the bars mean, and I don't remember anyone recanting their beliefs to get one assigned to their body.
    • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @09:18PM (#14851843) Homepage
      The other thing that MOST armchair christian eschatologists seem to ignore is that there is a particular Hebrew meaning to to with "on your right hand or on your forhead" - and that is that it will affect your actions (your right hand) and your thoughts (your forhead).

      The "Mark of the Beast" is most likely not being referred to as a physical thing, but rather the acceptance of a doctrine that affects how one thinks and behaves. (Like Free Market Fundamentalism).
  • by Proudrooster ( 580120 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:37PM (#14851255) Homepage
    It seems like every generation comes up with a sign for the mark. Here is my brief history of the mark of the beast. Feel free to add yours.

    Social Security Numbers
    Punchcards (They used to be included with your utility bills)
    Drivers License Numbers
    Credit Card Numbers
    Bar Codes
    IP Addressess
    Bill Gates full name converted to ASCII and summed.
    CPU IDs
    and now.... RFID (Which is really just a modern bar code.)

    I think the "mark of the beast" might be figurative language in the book of Revelation, but talking about apocalytic literature can be like running the Boston marathon is quicksand. It is amazing how a 10 page book of the Bible could be expanded into a 2000+ page box set and miniseries []. Maybe 666 is just a number that represents imperfection three times over.... What? I pity the fool that says the mark of the beast isn't a literal number stamped on the forehead... Ow, don't hurt me Mr. T....
  • oh cmon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lpret ( 570480 ) <lpret42@hot m a i> on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:40PM (#14851266) Homepage Journal
    Revelations is a perfect specemin of apocalyptic literature. Here's a good definition of such literature: Hermeneutics [].

    It's written to warn and to use descriptive language to explain what the future holds. The idea of head and right hand are frequently used to depict what we think (head) and what we do (hand). As such, in this particular instance, the warning is not when we have implants in our heads or hands, it's when we think and do evil things.

    Interpreting apocalyptic literature as truth verbatim is not only stupid, it's dangerous.
  • Not gunna happen (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:40PM (#14851267) Journal
    Everyone who thinks that somehow, someday, everything is going to switch over to an RFID system are insane.

    Lemme tell you why: The Black Market

    The black market is never going to dissappear. It is fueled by personal anonymity and cash (because cash money is anonymous).

    While the black market isn't necessarily something to be proud of, it shows up whenever there are market inefficiences or certain niches that aren't being fulfilled.

    Money from the black market is like money from Bush's tax cuts... it trickles down into the rest of the economey and boosts it up.
    • cash money will only be anonymous so long as embedding RFID chips in them isn't practical. :)

      i am curious about what will happen when that happens, or if it should. the implications are pretty huge. imagine a full currency system trackable like that, quite incredible.
      • by big tex ( 15917 )
        When that happens, the new 'Numbered Swiss Bank Account' will be the currency from one of the countries that refuses to tag their currency.
        You won't ever be able to stop the currency exchange.
  • by thegrassyknowl ( 762218 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @06:54PM (#14851331)

    Others are skeptical saying that many new technologies, such as the printing press, bar-codes, and several others, have also created fears about the beginning of the end.

    Barcodes and print can be covered. Credit cards and magnetic stripes have to be practically inserted into the machine to read em.... the field strength is too weak otherwise. If you keep em in your wallet your are safe.

    All of the other technolgies that might be used to track your actions require you to willingly and deliberately use them. You don't have to use plastic to pay for purchasses is one example. Use cash.

    With RFID tags, they can be read from within metres of you so anyone just passing by you on the street can access all of the tags on you if they like. Anyone outside your house can read all of the RFID tags on your household equipment, books, porno, etc and figure out a bit about you completely without your knowledge.

    RFID is this technology that nobody really cares about except the people who would want to misuse it and the tinfoil hat brigade. Problem is that the tinfoil hat brigade will be made out to look like crackpots by the people who seek to abuse the technology.

  • by Wayne_Knight ( 958917 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @07:05PM (#14851380) Homepage
    It's just plain silly to use religion to try to manipulate politics this way. Anybody can see why RFIDs are simply not economically viable.

    I am currently working with one of the RFID companies that is "working" with Wal-Mart on the actual implementation of RFID. Let me tell you that there is no foreseable ROI in the near future. Currently at a cost of about 25 cents a tag, it is much too expensive to be worth it for anyone. The technology is in its infancy so there are so many problems we have encountered so far.

    One of the problems is the tags. Not only do they cost so damn much, but they are also not very high quality. There's a feature called "locking" which allows you to set a number on the tag and not allow it to change, but when using this we have too high a failure rate to be effective (10-30% depending on the tag type). So we had to turn off the locking, meaning its much easier to change the unique number associated with the tags (which will be a problem when tags hit the retail sector) and now we only get around a 1-2% failure rate. But when doing high volumes, even this small percent is expensive to deal with.

    Another is the hardware. Part of the tag writing problems we have seen may be due to the tags and/or the reader/writer units. But right now, some tags get created and written to with no problems, but when they go by a reader, the reader just does not see a number on that tag, meaning as i said before its either a bad tag or some sort of incompatibility/problem with the reader unit. Currently we are trying to get the tags applied cost effectively, but unfortunately its pretty much boiling down to using people to grab tags from a RFID printer and hand-apply everything.

    We have also been having trouble verifying all the product on a pallet, and certainly cannot expect to read 100% of product 100% of time. Some product is easy to see, but depending on the density/material in the materials on the pallet, it can be very difficult to read many of the tags.

    Software is another hinderance. While the company i have been working with has had its large share of problems in the last few months, they are getting better, but still are not perfect. And unless things work perfect, it can cause so many problems. One small chink in the software can make it inoperable (essentially crashing the software a-la Windows), but the software is slowly getting more and more stable.
  • by Plocmstart ( 718110 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @07:39PM (#14851517)
    Get one implanted in your left hand or in your neck or back of your head or something. Just avoid the right hand or forehead. Disaster averted!
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @08:39PM (#14851717) Journal
    When I was young back in the late 70s, there would circulate a story in the church that some old person received their social security checks mistakenly from the future. Usually the future date was the mid 80s and the check said "Not cashable without the mark of the beast" or some stupid thing.
  • by lord sibn ( 649162 ) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @09:09PM (#14851810)
    Many people fear the "end of times," "the mark of the beast," and all that.

    Many catholics fear it as well, but what they do not realise is that the Catholic Church (by which i do not mean merely the RCC) pray for the return of Christ at every mass offered. This implies necessity of this "mark of the beast."

    Regular people, many Christians, many Catholics hope to stave off the apocalypse by rejecting anything they construe as the mark of the beast. The first step in the sequence of all things apocalyptic. Yet the Catholic Church teaches that the the return of Christ (the apocalypse) FOLLOWS the mark of the beast. Additionally, the apocalypse is supposed to be a GOOD thing. Too many people are afraid of the wrong things.

    You believe in the apocalypse? Fine. Welcome it. There is no reason to be afraid.

    You don't believe in the apocalypse? Hey, your call.

    Either way, there is no reason to live in fear.
  • by MegaFur ( 79453 ) <wyrd0 AT komy DOT zzn DOT com> on Saturday March 04, 2006 @10:35PM (#14852051) Journal
    Yeah, I already know about this. Some dumb ass put a little piece of paper in my apartment door one day that read " Rev 13:16-18". As you might guess, Revelations 13:16-18 is that oh so happy and all too oft quoted section about the number of the Beast.

    I find this crap so banally boring. I mean, lookit--Revelations itself is chock full of stuff that you could spin into whatever apocolyptic message you want to. The fact that people are so pathetically boring as to only focus on a couple or three passages is at least as depressing as the fact that they feel the need to make up apocolyptic crap in the first place.

    Oh well. By the way, if you're high or tripping sometime and you really want to freak yourself out, go read Revelations. Whole thing is whacked out on the weirdness. And you don't even have to get a bible, you can get as many translations as you want from [] .
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @02:40AM (#14852684) Homepage
    Back around 1997, I came up with the concept of "rapture loans". The idea was to sell balloon-payment second mortgages to fundamentalist Christians. If the Rapture came before the end of 2001, they owed nothing. They could thus enjoy "abundance" until the Rapture. At the end of 2001, interest payments started, and if they couldn't pay, foreclosure would follow.

    Marketing would be on Christian TV and radio stations, in the form of infomercials. "Quit your job now! Don't work again! Jesus is coming soon!", along with pictures of happy people with consumer goods. We considered finding some Christian figure to promote the product. Enough people were talking about the Rapture and the "Jubilee" back then that a modest market for the product clearly existed.

    (For those of you interested in financial mechanics, the money for the mortgages would be obtained by creating a derivative security that could be resold in the secondary mortgage market. The "rapture" contingency would be taken care of by obtaining an insurance policy against the "rapture" for each mortgage (probably from Lloyds or Swiss Re), using exactly the same definition of "rapture" as in the loan. The combination of the insurance policy and the loan would constitute a resellable security without a "rapture" contingency that could be packaged up and sold in the mortgage-based security market. So we wouldn't have to finance the deal, just broker it.)

    We didn't go through with it. It just seemed too evil.

    Nevertheless, when there are people running around claiming that Jesus is coming back soon, it's quite feasible to make money taking the other side of that bet.

    • We didn't go through with it. It just seemed too evil.

      You presumably work in the financial sector. You opted not to do something because it was too evil.

      Hmm, maybe there is hope for humanity.

  • by miller60 ( 554835 ) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @06:06PM (#14854752) Homepage
    I haven't read the "Christian" version of Albrecht's book, but I'm reading "Spychips" now. I bought it after reading the story here on Slashdot [] about data center engineers having RFID chips implanted in their arms for security access. The plain fact is that whatever Albrecht's religious leanings, the book is really well reported, with a ton of information from patent filings filled with surprising revelations about the ways major corporations want to integrate RFID into everything. I think it's an important book that raises awareness of the potential privacy issues surrounding RFID. It sure raised mine.

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous