The sky is not falling

fourhorsemen

(note: I originally wrote this in the fall of 2008)

Well, I just got back from seeing “Religulous”–which I thoroughly enjoyed–and it caused me to think of a few things I haven’t given much thought to for awhile, but which I think are pretty timely.

There is a certain issue that has always bothered me a lot, even when I was at my most devout as a Christian. And here it is: it has always deeply disturbed me whenever I hear people say that they HOPE the End Times will happen within their lifetime.

In case you aren’t in the know, “The End Times” is Christian-speak for when Jesus will come back to earth and take all of his followers–both dead and alive–into heaven instantaneously (aka: the Rapture) Meanwhile, the rest of the world who is “left behind “more or less gets their shit tossed and enters into several years of hell on earth (aka: the Tribulation), before finally being tossed into hell itself (aka: The Final Judgment). And a bunch of other stuff is supposed to happen, like Jesus reigning for a Millennium on earth after the final judgement or something like that, but that’s the main gist of it. Christians differ on exactly when the rapture will happen. Some say it will happen before the Tribulation starts, some say it will happen midway through the Tribulation and others say it will happen at the very end. Whichever way it goes, I don’t see how this could possibly be construed as an event to look forward to.

Basically, if you are longing for the End Times to happen soon, then you are longing for the death and destruction and torture of billions of people (possibly including yourself). Let’s say you believe that the Christians will all be safe in heaven via rapture before all this shit goes down. If you want the rapture to happen soon, that suggests that you want anyone who isn’t currently a Christian to be eternally fucked. Because once the rapture happens and you’re left behind, that’s it, you’re screwed, there’s no going back. (Christians also differ on this, but I’m just going by the way I was taught, and the way I understood it myself from reading the Bible) It suggests that you want people to go through all these horrible things SOON. And if you believe that the rapture happens AFTER the Tribulation, then that suggests that you are looking forward to these horrible things happening to *yourself*. Why? So you don’t have to actually die, like everyone else? So that you get to take the easy way and just be instantly teleported into heaven without all the muss and fuss of a natural death? Is it really worth praying for the end of the world to occur, just for that?

Let me tell you, if you’re praying for the End Times to come soon because you want to be in heaven, I have good news for you. You WILL be in heaven someday soon. You WILL die, and according to your belief, you will be in heaven eventually. Hey, at least you only have to wait an average of 75 years, instead of 900 like some of those guys in the Old Testament, right? Have some frickin’ patience or just kill yourself now if it’s that big a deal. (that was a joke, har har. don’t leave me angry comments.)

Anyhoo, another common line is that “The End Times are at hand”. Every week, someone predicts a date for the end of the world to occur (obviously thus far, they have all been wrong). They say things like “Look at how horrible the world is! Things are worse now than they’ve ever been! It has to happen soon!” To that I say–and I apologize for my bluntness but—are you fucking stupid?! Seriously?

How about, oh I dunno….the Dark Ages? The Holocaust? People fighting to the death as entertainment? The witch burnings? Slavery? And you think things are bad NOW? Things have been WAY worse than they are now! There have always been wars, and there will always be wars. There have always been evil dictators, and there will always be evil dictators. There has always been religious persecution, and there will always be religious persecution. Things are no worse now than they have even been. In fact, they’re probably a lot better. People have been saying that the End Times will occur within their lifetimes for literally THOUSANDS of years. In fact, the Bible said it would occur within the *apostles* lifetimes. (whups!) I mean, if Hitler wasn’t the Anti-Christ who on earth WOULD be? It just makes no sense. Quit being such a Negative Nancy and quit with all this “omg-the-sky-is-falling!” BS. If you really think that the world is worse now than it’s ever been, open a damn history book.

Finally, if the Bible says that the End Times will occur during a time of wars, and people sinning their brains out, and horrible things happening….then what is the point of trying to make a difference now? What is the point of caring for the environment if it’s all going to be destroyed anyway? What’s the point of pursuing a peaceful world, when the Bible says it ain’t EVER gonna happen? What’s the point of trying to turn America into a Christian nation when the Bible makes it pretty clear that people are going to be vile sinners literally until the end of time? It’s all going to go down the pooper anyway….so isn’t that just delaying the inevitable? And hey, if you really want the rapture to happen soon, then maybe you should ALLOW the world to go to shit and speed up the process!

I just think this is an extremely damaging worldview for someone to have. Seriously, WHAT is the point of tying to improve life on earth at all, or keep people from sinning when the Bible out and out says that things will ONLY get worse? I asked this all the time when I was a Christian, and I never did get an answer.

So I just want to wrap up by saying this:

The end of the world will probably not occur for ages–much less in your lifetime–IF it occurs at all (well, aside from billions of years from now when the sun finally burns out, I suppose….). So try to preserve the world we live in and the people in it. Relax and enjoy your life here on earth. It just might be the only one you’ll ever get.

-Me

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