Most cultures have an end-of-the world-story and these stories are still having a powerful effect on real events right now.
An unusual series of lunar eclipses will take place soon (visible from north America) and the apocalypse industry is taking full advantage. This is it! The end of the world! They quote from Joel and Revelation, which mention that the moon will turn to blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord.
Pastor John Hagee who has made a career out of this stuff in relation to Israel, is taking full advantage to get lots of contributions. You want to store up your treasure in heaven, right? So send your treasure to John Hagee and he’ll make that deposit for you.
Muslims have their end-of-the world stories and they are proving useful in recruiting jihadis to Syria, in order to slaughter other Muslims who follow a slightly different end-of-the-world story.
The end of this world is a powerful motivator to turn your thoughts to the next. That the world will end is certain. That it will end anytime soon is extremely improbable. Pushing this idea gets recruits and contributions, and so it will continue. This is not surprising.
It is a bit surprising that the idea has such a grip on all of our imaginations. WHY do we fall for this over and over? Well, the world has ended for certain groups throughout human history. It’s not like its totally imaginary. If we could just see the signs ahead of time, maybe we would live. A terrible Ice Age descended on mankind, peaking about 22,000 years ago. It was the end of the world for a whole lot of folks. The Mt. Toba supervolcano erupted about 72,000 years ago. It was the end of the world for anyone in the area.
Do not bother to try to decode the highly symbolic texts like Revelation, in order to get insider info on the end of the world. Because just when you think you’ve got it, that is the very sign that you do not. “No man knows the day nor the hour,” Jesus said.
Even more important, expecting the world to end any moment will make you give up on this one; to refrain from any effort to reform it, to lift a finger to insure that it will be here functioning in a reasonable way for our descendants. What descendants? We’re all going up in smoke! See the problem?
Since we are going to live out our lives like all who came before us, HOW THEN SHOULD WE LIVE? We should treat others as we want to be treated. We should “do justly, love mercy and walk humbly.” That would keep us so busy we wouldn’t have time for this Apocalypse nonsense.