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  • Terry Wigmore

Holy Cow! Religion is Going To Kill Us All (the case of the increasing hype and urgency regarding the Red Heifer prophecy)

Updated: Mar 17

What's all the hullabaloo about the red heifer? It seems that some Christian and Jewish fundamentalists (Zionists) are getting in quite a flap in anticipation of the sacrifice of a red heifer which is supposed to take place during Passover of 2024 (April 22 - 30). Apparently, a special altar has been constructed on the Mount of Olives for this purpose, and those who believe in the signs and wonders that are harbingers of the anticipated return of Jesus are checking off all the boxes in a seemingly steady, inexorable march to the end. To fundamentalist believers, the end, indicated by the return of Jesus to reign on earth and separate the wheat and the tares - the believers and non-believers - is something they are looking forward to. But is this focus on the red heifer prophecy of the Old Testament really evidence of God being in control of human events and the minutia of life, or is it a case of religious zealots creating the conditions they believe are required for the fulfillment of those Old Testament signs and prophecies? Is there a difference between “prophecy fulfilled” (ie. God supervised and accomplished the whole plot and all the details) and people “creating the conditions of fulfillment” ( ie. forcing the end)?

There is quite a lot written about the “Holy Cow!” of the end times (the red heifer) and how this blood-letting and burning is to be done. The animal is killed by specially garbed priests, the blood is sprinkled in the direction of the temple (which has yet to be constructed), the carcass is burned up and the ashes used by the participants in the ceremony to cleanse themselves and the area of the 3rd temple – all of which is needed, if you believe in all of this, to usher in the anti-Christ who will enter the 3rd temple and demand to be worshiped and this, in turn, must take place before Jesus returns in the long-anticipated 2nd coming (or 1st coming if you're Jewish!)

To some Christians and Jews, this is great news. Hallelujah! About bloody time, too (pun intended)! To some Muslims, however, (i.e. the Hamas terrorist types), this is NOT good news at all. There are some who even claim that the October 7 massacre of Israelis had a hidden objective – to kill the red heifers in Israel so the prophecy cannot be fulfilled. After all, Jewish and Christian believers are the wheat that will be saved and those who are non-believers, including Muslims, are the tares who will not be saved. I suppose if you are intensely committed to either cause (the Jewish/Christian Vs Muslim) this is serious cosmic stuff. To a skeptical humanist, such as myself, it is a spectacle that, if it wasn't fueling absurd levels of hatred and violence, would be best observed from a safe distance with popcorn and a VR headset.

I tend to agree with the observation of several leading atheists that the religious folk are going to be the death of us all! That seems to be borne out as the fevered pitch of zealots of all stripes seems to be reaching terminal intensity with the holy cow! It is no laughing matter, though I tend to find gallows humour a safety valve when the world devolves into absurdity, and all this hullabaloo connecting red heifers from Texas (no indigenous Israeli cows), to an ancient text and modern apocalyptic expectations is nothing, in my opinion, but absurdity.

The rites and rituals of the whole sacrificial system seems to be a form of magical thinking in a scientific world. The head-shaking efforts to force these cows to be the ones to meet this prophetic moment in human history is as impressive as it is laughable. The holy cow, the examination for spotlessness (the cow must be “without blemish”) involved some ridiculous efforts to make it all fit the narrative. For example, only certain rabbis could inspect the cows and the cows could not be tagged, as all calves are, because a tag in the ear would be deemed a blemish. Apparently, God caused Covid too, because, according to one narrative, the one farm-hand who was supposed to do the tagging was absent from work because of Covid, and the calves were NOT tagged. There were 5 calves bred, in Texas, though only one calf is needed, because you never know with cows, they might develop a problem blemish so best to have back-ups for prophecy. The calves must be red, completely, even their eyelashes, horns and hooves, but not to worry, if the hoofs were not red, it was permitted to chop the hooves off so the cow could be considered completely red. This is the problem with accommodating exceptions to the prophetic expectations. (note: the calves could not be exported out of Texas without an ID tag, so to keep the “without blemish, the rabbis decided it was ok to us an electronic tagging system in a way that would not violate the biblical mandate)

At some point, it all begins to look a little forced, contrived and absurd, or worse.

  • I have provided some links that contain some of the ideas I have touched upon in this blog. I do have a word of caution when you go searching about for information- Caveat Emptor! Not all sources of news and information are credible. Not all news is fact-checked. Look for diverse opinions on topics, and try to avoid going to the same sources you might normally investigate. Ask a lot of questions as you read, especially questions about the ideas making sense in a broader, logical sense. If the things you are investigating require one specific lens of belief in order for the details to make sense, perhaps that one (biblical ) lens needs to be questioned too . Most of the information comes from zealous believers and their many websites (evangelical fundamentalists, Zionists, and perhaps even Islamists) who may want to create the circumstances of the "end of days" caveat emptorwritten in their ancient/sacred texts.

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2 comentarios

16 mar

Great piece of writing, Terry!

What drives the need to predict and prove ?

As for a second coming,, does this guarantee The End?

May we live in the Joy of this Moment !

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Terry Wigmore
17 mar
Contestando a

One of the fundamentalist's biggest arguments for the existence of God is their argument that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and that claim is dependent on prophecy. Only God could know, in advance, all the details required for prophecies to be fulfilled, or so the argument goes. Hence the need to pre-dict and prove. No fulfillment = no word of God. That's a lot at stake for devout religious folk of all stripes. Live in the joy of this moment! Agreed! Thanks for your comment, M

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