pre-trib atomic power

March 7, 2020
A Hidden Brain podcast on "The Cowboy Philosopher" Riley Shepard referenced a song "Atomic Power". There are two songs with similar names, similar brothers-named groups playing similar bluegrass styles, similar mixes of American patriotism about atomic weapons and apocalyptic thinking, similar amounts of present-day Google juice and increasing order of terribleness, about 6 years apart:
Oh this world is at a tremble with its strength and mighty power
There sending up to heaven to get the brimstone fire
Take warning my dear brother, be careful how you plan
You're working with the power of God's own holy hand

CHORUS:
Atomic power, atomic power
Was given by the mighty hand of God
Atomic power, atomic power
It was given by the mighty hand of God

You remember two great cities in a distant foreign land
When scorched from the face of earth the power of Japan
Be careful my dear brother, don't take away the joy
But use it for the good of man and never to destroy

(CHORUS)

Hiroshima, Nagasaki paid a big price for their sins
When scorched from the face of earth their battles could not win
But on that day of judgment when comes a greater power
We will not know the minute and we'll not know the hour

(CHORUS)

So it's kind of all over the place, presuming divine intervention for the atomic bombs the USA dropped, and sort of gloating about Hiroshima and Nagasaki but then admonishing folks to use this power for good and not to destroy? But the final reference to the apocalypse as laid out in the book of Revelation was tangential and relative... unlike this next song:
Do you fear this man's invention that they call atomic power?
Are we all in great confusion, do we know the time or hour
When a terrible explosion may ring down upon our land
Leaving horrible destruction blotting out the works of man

CHORUS:
Are you ready for that great atomic power?
Will you rise and meet your Savior in the end?
Will you shout or will you cry when the fire rains from on high?
Are you ready for that great atomic power?

There is one way to escape and be prepared to meet the Lord
Give your heart and soul to Jesus, He will be your shield and sword
He will surely stand beside and you'll never taste of death
For your soul will fly to safety and eternal peace and rest

(CHORUS)

There's an army who can conquer all the enemy's great bands
It's a regiment of Christians guided by the Savior's hand
When the mushroom of destruction falls and all its fury great
God will surely save His children from this awful, awful fate

(CHORUS)

So, pretty direct assumption of atomic weapons being THE instrument of the End Times as put out in the Bible. Both songs predate civilian use of nuclear energy, so the "Atomic Power" of the titles seems like it would be referring to the military type. However, the USSR got the atomic bomb in between the recording of these two songs, which may explain some of the shift of tone.

Of course the latter song leans pretty heavily into my least favorite form of Christian apocalypse thinking - "Pre-Trib", the idea that God must (totes obvs, right?) love his believers so much that the drawing up of them to heaven is BEFORE the excrement truly hits the air conditioning, vs a more straight-forward reading of the texts that has believers enduring some bad stuff. (The "post-trib" and "mid-trib" views).

I resent "pre-trib" thinking strongly, with it's "get out of apocalypse free!" card, in part because if that's what you believe you're that much less likely to be a good steward of the planet! I mean why bother? It must feel frickin' awesome to try to be an instrument of bringing forth God's plan, because it's not your ass on the line, or your families, and everyone who suffers - must be a sinner.

The whole assumption that Revelation is a guide to upcoming events... (and not predicting the fall of an empire 1500 years ago... look up Preterism for an interesting take that that stuff happened) -- why try to make a sustainable planet at all? Plus you can always fit horrible current events into this kind of prophecy, so the end must be around the corner. It's the worst kind of semi-self-fulfilling prophecy possible, and an alarming number of American politicians in the highest offices have this mentality.

(And the whole "Left Behind" series rides on that, albeit with weirdly righteous people able to get kind of a second chance.)

Partially I'm bitter - on a trip to DC I sat in a slightly too old for me Sunday School class when I was 8 or so, taught by my Aunt Ruth, and there was a drawing of a Christian facing a firing squad for his beliefs... scared the bejeebers out of me. So it feels like people who are serious about their faith shouldn't cling to this milquetoast belief that they're too good for God to let suffer.

But still- in MOST media, the people trying to bring on the end of the world-- they're the bad guys. That's part of how you tell they're the bad guys. I think the same thing holds true in real life.