First… a comment regarding my writing style! I tend to editorialize my own editorializing in parentheticals. I concede that this can make my arguments (somewhat) difficult to follow depending on the length of the parenthetical statement. I would encourage you to re-read the sentence without them if you become confused.
I’ve always had a problem with people proclaiming that “The End is Nigh”. Partly because they’re always wrong! But more disturbing to me than that is how there seem to be so many people willing to believe that it’s true. Personally, I’ve lived through Y2K and the end of the Mayan Calendar, not to mention a whole slew of half-assed Armageddon predictions (at least one of which I’ve talked about before HERE). On none of these occasions was I particularly worried about the world actually coming to an end. Historically speaking… individuals and groups have claimed that the end of the world was going to happen on just about every day since they crucified Jesus. And, historically, absolutely none of them have been right. The Large Hadron Collider has yet to create a black hole that will swallow Earth, the Mayans probably just went out and bought a new calender… maybe with sexy ladies… or sports cars… or those 3-D Magic Eye pictures on it, they either fixed all the Y2K programming errors or (as I believe) the computers didn’t give a shit in the first place and just kept right on working, and time after time Jesus has been a no show to the party. But people still believe… and that’s definitely not a good thing!
The way I perceive these “End-Times Fetishists” is clearly not positive. At best, they’re misguided! At worst, they are responsible (admittedly, only partially) for the failure of humanity to progress in any meaningful fashion since… let’s say… December 19th, 1972! Instead of looking to the future… to expand the Terran horizon… these people (and by “these people” I am specifically referring to Christian End-Times Theorists) seem intent on preparing for the arrival of some sort of spiritual cataclysm! I’m sure they would say it will be a glorious moment that will usher in a thousand years of heaven on Earth. My problem is that they are 1) assuming a lot of variables in their favor in their own purported time line of future events, and 2) betting on that purported time line to actually unfold as they claim it will in the first place. That seems like an awful big gamble to me… and what’s worse, they claim to be betting on my behalf.
So, let’s break it down a bit. And, for the sake of argument (ONLY), let us assume that these things they claim actually will come to pass and their beliefs are (generally speaking) correct. First there will (according to their story) be an Anti-Christ. A charismatic figure that will bring seven years of peace to the Middle East. (Good fuckin luck with that!) He (and it is a “he”… which would beg the question why there aren’t more female heads of state except these people are actually looking forward to all this) will become the leader of a One World Government at which point he’ll stamp “his number” (the number of the beast… commonly thought to be “666″) on your hand or your forehead. All the while persecuting those true believers who were left behind (hence the title of a tremendously popular series of Christian speculative literature) after “The Rapture” (an event that, incidentally, is never mentioned in The Bible… which I have an entirely separate blog post worth of issues with). THEN, the second coming of Jesus and a big battle (like with swords and armor and shit…because much like the Founding Fathers of the U.S.A., the people who wrote this stuff couldn’t conceive of machine guns or B-2 Stealth Bombers with nuclear payloads or any of the million ways we have since the time of their first publication learned to kill one another) at a PLACE called Armageddon. By and large, these people think that they are so good and holy and deserving of the mercy, peace and joy of their all powerful and all knowing creator that they will be brought unto the bosom of God in the Rapture… prior to any of this shit going down and thus avoiding the suffering that will be sure to follow. While I don’t know all (or more than a few, really) of these people… I think I can say with relative certainty that if there were to be a Rapture… an all knowing God would probably judge most of them as not being “up to snuff”, as it were. So all that “holier than thou” would be wasted as only The Dalai Lama (maybe) and a handful of others would actually be spared the horrors of The Anti-Christ’s (surprisingly brief) reign on Earth. And if that’s the only reason to “be a good Christian”… to avoid the suffering that immediately precedes the Final Day of Judgement… it’s a shitty reason.
Besides that, they’re just being supremely arrogant in their dismissal of every other version of a claimed afterlife (and I have to admit… Valhalla sounds kind of awesome… I mean, If I had to pick one). And arrogance seems awful close to pridefulness… which I do believe is a sin in its own right.
Returning to the point! This particular belief… that “we are living in the end times” (and have been for at least a century now), is detrimental to humanity as a whole. It goes against the ethos of so many things we learn in our lives. Sports, for example… as a player, you play until the final whistle blows… as a fan, you stay and support your team until the clock reads “00:00″ (even when they’re losing). These are concepts of Effort and Loyalty that we’re all familiar with. End-times theology then feels like an effort on the part of some to give up on the play or leave in the third quarter to beat traffic. They’re keeping the human team from playing to its full potential. If they didn’t think that the game was as close to over as mattered to them, if they stood with us in solidarity…maybe we’d already have a moon base. Maybe we would’ve discovered a reliable and clean energy source that could power our exploration of the stars. Maybe we wouldn’t experience hunger or illness because those are problems of limited resources and understanding… two things we wouldn’t have to deal with if some people weren’t always looking to jump ship and instead put in the work to improve, master, explore and understand the world we all share.
Of course, if they’re actually/eventually proven correct (in my lifetime), I’m gonna look like a right proper D-bag!
So… sometimes I write shitty poetry. Recently I came across a video on YouTube and it inspired me in that moment to do something… well, artistic! What follows is the video I saw… and the shitty poem which it inspired!
My broken ship conducts me still toward the call Of a siren despite its tattered sails becalmed And no supplies for sustenance on hand. Long I’ve journeyed from my homeland In search of fate or providence. And purely by coincidence The surf discharged me at her feet. Beside her voice, now clearly heard and twice as sweet, She held the sea and sky in her gaze, The heavens set her hair ablaze, And what from rosey lips eschewed, From graceful fingertips did too. While much about her will have been Good cause for pious men to sin, Even if struck blind, I know Her beauty’d make the breezes blow That cool my brow late in the night. And so I’d sleep in the reflected light Of that moment cast toward the moon from far away. In similar conditions do I now relay The awe with which I first beheld, The overwhelming joy I felt, When she reached out her hand to me And drew me from tempestuous sea.
Generally speaking, I like to think I know my place in the world. I don’t swim in the ocean cuz I don’t want to offend the sharks who run that place. I don’t shit in the woods (unless I absolutely have to) lest the bears be displeased. I don’t go tromping around in the desert and the rattlesnakes don’t have to rattle… or bite! I don’t fuck with any animal that can maim me or poison me. This seems simple enough. Right? I mean, it’s almost common sense. And when it comes to the critters closer to home, I generally leave spiders to their own web designs (gods, I crack myself up sometimes), because spiders I find to be preferable to mosquitoes. Why then, with my very common sense attitude, added to my “live and let live” philosophy on most life, do spiders insist on stringing their webs all over in places that necessarily are in my way!?
Every time I come home from work, a spider has started to string a web across the front steps of my porch. I’d avoid it if I could, but that’s just a really inconvenient place to do what you do. Just today, I was going to do some laundry, and three or four spiders (over the weekend) had constructed a labyrinth of webs outside my back door! I was forced to massacre the entire lot of em with a broom! They were in my way! I make an effort to avoid bears and sharks and snakes… why can’t the spiders do the same for me!?
That being said, if I had the time and the energy I would start a crusade against roaches. Fuck those little fuckers!