January 02, 2012

The Second Coming went

Maybe you missed it, but the Second Coming didn't happen last year. Remember that Harold Camping guy? He had it scheduled for May 21, and when that didn't pan out, October 21. Oops! As with all unprovable negatives, Reverend Camping should have doubled down on the proposition:

"Hey, how do we know Jesus didn't return? He could be currently holed up in an undisclosed location. Like Japan!"

Incidentally, Camping's "apology" is a beautiful piece of spin. First he blames God, and then he blames the model. Yep, Dispensationalists (along with astrologers) were avid computer modelers (these days using actual computers) long before anybody was talking about "climate change."

"Amongst other things I have been checking my notes more carefully than ever. And I do find that there is other language in the Bible that we still have to look at very carefully and will impinge upon this question very definitely."

I suggests that all future presidential and Supreme Court candidates adopt that template (just swap in "Constitution" or any debatable chunk of legislation for "Bible") into their PR repertoire.

On the heels of the world-not-ending came the concern trolling (does the mass media do anything better?) about the world's population reaching seven billion. Another reminder of how much Dispensationalism and the latest environmentalist cause du jour have in common.

Just like global warming, "overpopulation" once triggered exactly the same apocalyptic visions of doom and gloom, and calls for a dictator of the world to save us from ourselves. Okay, nobody says it out loud now, but that's what it'd take to make any of these utopian schemes work.

By "work," I mean "address real problems," unless, again, an authoritarian government with a big army and few qualms about using it ends up running things. Again, note how both religious and secular utopians pin their hopes on an angry, almighty god to save us from ourselves.

Except that the biggest authoritarian government with a big army and few qualms about using it isn't exactly on board.

As P.J. O'Rourke puts it, "There are 1.3 billion people in China and they all want a Buick." Stopping continental drift would be easier than convincing China to cut its carbon emissions in a meaningful way (rather than nod solemnly until the earnest environmentalists leave the room).

We're all going to be doomed by global warming until the globe warms and doom doesn't arrive. But take heart. At that point, some other looming environmental catastrophe will rouse us to action, and the end of the world will again threaten our existence in equally exciting ways.

Besides, everybody knows the world is really going to end in December.

Related posts

Apocalypse not now
The world ends (and I feel fine)

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# posted by Blogger Kate Woodbury
1/02/2012 3:20 PM   
What I find amusing about this is how often Christian Sunday School groups (mine included) will start discussing the Apocalypse at which point someone (like, eh hem, me) will say, "You know the New Testament states very clearly that we don't know when this will happen," everyone else will say, "Yeah, yeah, that's right" and promptly start discussing possibilities based on the New Testament.

I finally decided I was being a kill-joy. It is human nature to want to designate the actual day of destruction, whatever the ideology involved.

My problem is, no matter who is preaching THE END to me, my reaction is always "Boy, that sounds like a lot of work to clean up, and I really don't want to live in a peaceful agarian culture. Let's make the date for long after I'm dead. Like 3013 or whatever."

This reaction is, apparently, absolutely no fun.

Evolutionarily-speaking, maybe this need to imagine the end of the universe is a kind of survival-mechanism: Anticipate the worst but still go to work. Or maybe it is wishful thinking: No work tomorrow!