Apocalyptic Religions

The Slovenian Zombie Apocalypse

Simon Cross

In 1991 the Republic of Slovenia withdrew from Czechoslovakia, the peaceful departure heralded a new dawn for the former communist state, which saw an upsurge in GDP and a growth in prosperity across the country. But it didn’t last, and by 2012, after years of recession had dramatically reversed the initial economic growth, fury at the corruption of the ‘elite’ ruling class boiled over into violent street protests.

From the midst of the melee of protest came something extraordinary, a new religion was born. The Trans-Universal Zombie Church of the Blissful Ringing was founded by its high priest, political activist Rok Gros, and costumed worshippers began to hold Zombie masses outside government buildings.

With its ranks swelling to more than 10,000 adherents, the Zombie Church quickly became the fifth biggest religion in Slovenia: with some commentators likening it to the better known ‘Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’ due to its irreverent nature, and satirical approach. But the Zombie Church has a serious role to play, followers are genuine, committed, political activists, who see their part in bringing about social change as a deeply important one – sacred even.

The Zombie Church is apocalyptic in the sense that it reveals the truth about the corruption of the Slovenian political and economic system, what makes it doubly interesting is the way in which it co-opts the Zombie motif.

The paper will feature new material from a special interview with Zombie Church founder Rok Gros.

 

Apocalyptic Thinking and Process Thinking: Managing Apocalyptic Expectations

Moojan Momen

The founders of the Baha’i Faith claimed that their religious movement fulfilled the prophecies of the Time of the End or the Day of Judgement and Resurrection that exist in the Qur’an and the Bible. Much of their writings are taken up dealing with those who protested that none of the apocalyptic signs associated with the Time of the End had occurred – the sun had not been darkened, the dead had not risen from their graves and the apocalyptic battle had not been fought. The Baha’i scriptures use three main hermeneutic methods to respond to such questions: that the prophecies about the Time of the End relate to spiritual events and not physical events; that God works not by sudden supernatural acts of intervention in the world but by processes that effect change over a period of time through human action; and that time is both cyclical and progressive. The paper will examine the explanations found in the Baha’i scriptures regarding both the expected destructive apocalyptic events and the constructive millennialist vision of a new world.