Eschatology 101: The End Days, a Primer

I’ve been accused of Christian paranoia, what with my evolving interest in ‘end times’. That’s not good, not that I’m concerned about any slight to myself, which WOULD be paranoia, only that by dismissing it as Christian nonsense, chances increase that nothing will be done to prevent it. There are at least two problems with the characterization: I’m not very Christian and not very paranoid, either; pretty freakin’ rational, in fact. Fear of persecution? Not me. My doors are wide open, and I rarely meet a person that I don’t feel I could be friends with.

No, concern for ‘end times’ is not paranoia; conspiracy theory, maybe, but not paranoia. In fact, I have lots of friends who go all ape-sh*t for conspiracy theory, but not me (though I try to be respectful of all but the most absurd claims). And I have lots of friends who go all ape-sh*t for anything and everything ‘New Age’, but not me (though I try to be respectful of all but the most absurd claims).  Biblical ‘end times’ refer to The Book of Revelations, of course; that’s not my concern.

Does anyone really think global warming is Christian paranoia? That’s what I’m talking about, but I don’t think they (Christians) are. What about the Dark Ages? It really happened, you know, and lasted around four hundred years, in fact, and that’s what I’m talking about here, the Fall of the Roman Empire, i.e. Amerika. Not coincidentally, that’s mostly what they were talking about then, too, around the beginning of the Common Era.

There had never been anything like Rome. People knew deep down it couldn’t last, such were the strains and imbalances, but could hardly imagine it gone. Rome’s fall was being predicted at the time of Jesus, and yes, probably facilitated the rise of Christianity, while saving some vestige of Rome in the process, and maybe some souls, too, all for posterity. It eased the transition, I’m sure. But it wasn’t paranoia.

Have you ever seen a film that is set on Earth in the future AND still optimistic? We’ve gone from visions of future utopias to future dystopias. There’s a reason for that. Anyone who thinks about it very much can easily see that current circumstances are not sustainable. Even Stephen Hawking says that the only possible survival for humanity is via outer space. I think we can do better than that, IF we get busy.

I’m not so Christian, true, but not so Buddhist that I intend to sit around and watch humans jumping off the cliff like sheep and do nothing to stop it. The Christian way would be to pray pray pray and Love Love Love, everybody everything everywhere, since that solved all our problems before, at least in our minds. But what worked before might not work again. The world is too interwoven. Next time it’ll all crash.

No, It will take probably some Islamic zeal to get us out of this mess, and just between you and me, that’s one reason I’m more tolerant of their fundamentalists than I might otherwise be. It might be the only way to save the species, which I think is pretty special, all nostalgia aside. People assume that ‘surely there are more of us (humans) out there’ without even considering the odds against the existence of this species on this planet at any given time. Most easy ‘life’ consists of single-cell cyano-bacteria.

Of course I’d like to get all religious zeal focused on ecology, food and sustainable energy, not policing panties and enforcing fashion laws, but still religious fundamentalism is better than species extinction. So why don’t we just put our heads together and get this thing straight, and do this thing right? Greed, that’s why; greed and power: four-on-the-floor and four hundred horses under the hood. If nothing else, anything that shuts down runaway capitalism just might be worthwhile in the short run, but that’s something that no major government is yet willing to do.

‘Growth’ is our mantra and cancer. We’re hooked on capitalist consumption and likely will go to our graves unable to give either up. Fortunately I’m not a betting man. I’m a butt man–joking. My only hope is that the idea of riding bicycles, making babies, living in simple solar-powered housing, AND still engaging in high-tech industries doesn’t sound so bad, almost like now—but without all the cars, and wars. Whad’ya’ think?

But don’t take my word on the coming ‘Collapse’. Read Jared Diamond, one of the foremost scientists of our time and author of ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ (a must-read if you haven’t yet). ‘Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed’ was the sequel; notice the ‘choice’ factor involved. Can we do it? Can we survive the coming ‘end times’? Time will tell…