Smartphones gateway drug to the Antichrist, says leader of Russian Orthodox Church

And the beast was given a mouth uttering blasphemous words: 'We value your privacy'

Just as well we've hit peak smartphone – the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has warned that people's dependence on the ubiquitous gizmos will herald the coming of the Antichrist.

According to the Beeb, Patriarch Kirill made the remark in an interview with the state-owned TV channel Rossiya 1.

He cautioned mobe addicts against the "worldwide web of gadgets" because it could serve as "an opportunity to gain global control over mankind".

In the age of fake news, Cambridge Analytica and the crumbling of privacy, you can see where the Patriarch is coming from when smartphones are rarely more than an arm's reach from the average Joe.

Whether a single, definitive Antichrist figure is referred to in the Bible is the subject of debate, but Christian fan-fic writers like Irenaeus and Augustine of Hippo really ran with it.

Theologists generally accept the Beast of Revelation to be the source of the Antichrist meme. You know – came out of the sea, 10 horns, seven heads, and on each a blasphemous name, so on, so forth.

Sex magick whackjob Aleister Crowley claimed be to The Great Beast of prophesy, or To Méga Thēríon. Others believe it to be a spooky supercomputer in Brussels. Brexit, anyone?

Nonetheless, Patriarch Kirill updates the myth for these uncertain tech-heavy times.

"Every time you use your gadget, whether you like it or not, whether you turn on your location or not, somebody can find out exactly where you are, exactly what your interests are and exactly what you are scared of," he intoned.

Sounds familiar. Like an angry God, perhaps?

"If not today, then tomorrow's methods and technology could appear that will not just provide access to all information but will also allow the use of this information.

"Do you imagine what power will be concentrated in the hands of those who gain knowledge about what is going on in the world?

"Such control from one place forebodes the coming of the Antichrist."

Yikes.

Kirill insisted the church wasn't against "progress", but "the development of a system that is aimed at controlling a person's identity".

Russians aren't convinced. The holy man is said to be close to President Putin and while internet freedoms in the country continue to be eroded, some think statements like this lend government policy divine authority. ®

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