Today's Telegraph offers some detail on the possibility that Ahmadinejad is pushing Iran's nuclear program to enable the appearance of the "Hidden Imam," a figure in Islam expected to appear at the end of days.
SWNID offers the following as a sort of analytical first strike, before this story gets circulated more widely:
- First, comparisons between the expectation of the "Hidden Imam" and the Christian belief in the return of Jesus (hereafter, parousia) will likely be offered whenever this matter is discussed in the press. Gentle readers should remember the dictum that wherever there are similarities, there are also differences. To date, we know of no Christian who has taken over a government and developed weapons of mass destruction to hasten the parousia. Not that it couldn't happen sometime, of course. But we also assert that Christianity is better equipped than Islam to offer internal critique of such a move, were it to occur.
- Second, whether Ahmadinejad is motivated by religious fervor or not is pretty much irrelevant. The bombs go off in the same way regardless of the motives of the guy who explodes them. The point is that a nuclear Iran is intolerable to the rest of the world until Iran becomes a true democracy. As Baroness Thatcher aptly observed, we cannot uninvent nuclear weapons. However, in the hands of liberal (in the historical and best sense of the term, meaning "committed to liberty") democracies, they are more likely to be used only to discourage their use by tyrants than under any other scenario.