Thursday, August 25, 2011
Get ready; some religious whacko out there is about to make some dire predictions about the end of the world. They'll be nattering on about an earthquake in Washington and a hurricane along the Eastern Seaboard. They'll be whacking well worn leather bibles, gesticulating, and spewing out all kinds of divine judgment agains liberals, atheists, abortionists and all their ilk.
They will no doubt quote the scripture. God knows that there are plenty of passages to pick from in the Gospels, and the Book of Revelation to support these warnings.
I'm sure many will remember Pat Robertson's famous "Pact with the Devil" quote about the suffering people endured in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. Other's will remember that the same Mr. Robertson thought hurricane Katrina was God's judgment against abortionists, and that it was somehow connected to 9/11. Using the word "thought" in connection to anything that comes out of Pat Robertson's mouth is a stunning misuse of a word.
What makes all this drivel so dangerous is that there are so many who believe it. Pat Robertson is just the latest in the long line of snake oil salesmen. Rest assured that Limbaugh will find a way to blame Obama for whatever reverses befall America. I am indebted to Mark Twain in this rather acerbic view of latter day religious charlatans.
In the meantime, all we have is FEMA and human compassion. That should sober you up in a whole hurry up! There are plenty of humanists, atheists, and the old standard brand religions who will no doubt mobilize to respond to impending disaster. Episcopalians have the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund. There are scores of other good charities that can carry relief to those in the sites of nature's fury.
If we want to look for the end, we needn't look for signs. It is a simple calculation. Some people live; some die. Civilizations come; civilizations go. The list of disasters that befall humanity is endless; warfare, global warming, population explosion, etc all bring "ends" in and of themselves.
The "End of the World" can have a double meaning. It can be understood to be a catastrophe. Whacko religious zealots think the whole world is about to burn up into a cinder and that the rapture will carry off all the true believers. They believe a whole bunch of other kinds of malarkey too which I don't want to bother with except to warn you about it. I personally give much more credence to the scientific community whose dire warnings about all the above are based on very careful mathematical calculation. If you are looking for "ends" you need not look any further than science.
If I read the scripture right, "the end" of the world we live in is more purposeful than that. Our "end" is to love God and to love one another. Those two commandments are interchangeable just as Jesus said they were. (Matthew 22:36-40) If you say you love God, but don't love your neighbor, you're not quite hitting the nail on the head. The scripture is less polite than I am. (1 John 4:20) It says you're an outright liar if you don't love both.
So the end is at hand. The kingdom is at hand. It always has been But the end of both is not about bad news; it is about Good News. And the end is this; love one another. No big mystery here. Love one another. In the meantime keep the many millions in your thoughts and prayers. Some will die. Many will loose their homes. There will be unforeseen calamity. But don't listen to the Doomsday Drivel that is inevitable.
Instead watch out for one another and see one another through the storm, and give to the charity of your choice. This is God...human beings caring for human beings.