About Corazon

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Raptures and Raptors

Why Americans Replace
Sanity With Lunacy


So yesterday's end of the world prophesy turned out to be a massive dud (shocker). The day passed without so much as a single significant tornado, earthquake, flood or lightening bolt from a pissed off God who has decided that he aint' gonna take our crap anymore. And while the overwhelming majority Americans (both religious and non-religious) fully comprehended the utter stupidity of yesterday's bogus apocalyptic prediction, I couldn't help but notice just how much attention this ridiculous little story had attracted.

We live in a funny era. On the one hand the blessings of science, technology, medicine, etc. make our time better than any before it. People live longer, healthier and I believe happier than ever before. Gone (for the most part) are the days of peasantry, totalitarianism and general ignorance. Technology has brought our world together in ways that we still don't fully understand or appreciate. To borrow from the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." How very à propos.

On the other hand, however, we live in a time when apocalyptic, doomsday prophesies of all kinds seem to be constantly hovering about, reminding us that some catastrophe is lurking just around the next bend. They attempt to convince us that our society, despite its incredible achievements and advancements, is doomed to collapse under the weight of our pride, gluttony, wickedness, stupidity, or simply because we refuse to listen to Glenn Beck. Whether in the form of a Mayan calendar, global warming, economic collapse, Muslim terrorists, solar flares, killer asteroids, swine flu or those "evil liberals", we are literally inundated with a constant barrage of the crazy and the insane.

Now, I need to make it clear that as a practicing Christian I believe 100% in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. With that said, I also believe in Jesus' admonition in Matthew chapter 6: 33-34:
33.) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34.) Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
In other words, quit worrying about what you can't control. Yes, bad things may happen in the future but this should not be our focus. If instead we choose to "seek first the kingdom of God" by helping those who despise us, doing good to our enemies, caring for the sick, etc., etc., etc. we will discover that "the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself."

Of course Jesus isn't suggesting that we shouldn't prepare for a rainy day. Of course we should. Preparing for a rainy day is one thing (what any prudent, reasonable person can and should do). Giving into the mass hysteria of impending Muslim incursion, predicted Mayan destruction, pretended overthrows of our freedoms by evil communist fascists, and cataclysmic celestial events is quite another thing.

But apocalyptic, doomsday nonsense isn't confined exclusively to the end-of-days type rhetoric we have all come to "enjoy."

While Harold Camping and his followers were anxiously awaiting the commencement of the Rapture, I was with my family at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Museum in Woodland Park, Co. While informally perusing the various collections of bones, fossils and teeth left behind by those massive animals I couldn't help but think of how these same Christian radicals (not to mention millions of other devout Christians across the nation) would be horrified to hear the things being told to my children. Dinosaurs living millions of years ago? I don't think so. Doesn't the Bible tell us that the earth is only 6,000 years old?

You mean the same Bible that Harold Camping used to predict yesterday's rapture? Or the same Bible used to justify slavery by the Confederacy?

Perhaps on the surface this seems like a ridiculous comparison to make but hear me out. In a 2010 Gallup Poll, Americans were asked whether or not they believed in evolution. The results were deplorable. Only 35% of Americans believed in (er, ACCEPTED the reality of) evolution, less than any other "modern" nation on the planet. In addition, 40% stated they believed God had created the world in 6 literal days and that the earth was no more than "a few thousand years old." In other words, most Americans reject the reality of our origins and a very large percentage (4 in 10) believe that dinosaurs walked with man despite all of the irrefutable scientific evidence to the contrary.

Maybe I am making a mountain out of a mole hill here but I doubt it. Take for instance the "Creation Museum" in Petersburg Kentucky, which attempts to explain the world's origins within the context of the Holy Bible. Then there is the group "Answers in Genesis", an organization created by Evangelical "scientist" Ken Ham (who is also responsible for the Creation Museum). Answers in Genesis does exactly what its name suggests: they attempt to explain man's origins based on the Genesis story (i.e. Garden of Eden, world-wide flood of Noah, etc.). And speaking of Noah, one cannot help but grimace in pain at the thought of a Noah's Ark theme park being funded by taxpayer dollars (and let us not forget that Kentucky Governor Beshear defended its construction, not to mention the inclusion of DINOSAURS being present on the ark. After all, the world is only 6,000 years old). Make no mistake about it, religious conservatives (and they are a huge segment of this nation's populace) have declared war on science:



Now, it would be one thing if this war on science centered around small, seemingly insignificant tidbits (i.e. is the earth 4 billion or 5 billion years old). But when you claim that fundamental concepts of modern science are wrong simply because "the Bible says so", you are being willfully idiotic. When you claim that carbon dating, quantum physics, biology, geology, paleontology are all wrong and you are right, you have gone down a VERY slippery slope. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated, "Nothing is more dangerous to the world than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

It is with all of this in mind that I return to my original point. How can Americans be so willing to believe in crazy, apocalyptic predictions? How can we as a society be constantly chasing phantoms that don't exist, while at the same time having more technology and information at our disposal than at any other time? Could it be because we are unwilling to accept reality? We are so scared of the unknown; so uncertain of what lies ahead. We cling to ancient stories of long ago as the basis for our lives instead of simply appreciating the fundamental messages of said stories: that faith, love and charity conquer all. Of course Noah didn't load all the animals on his ark, nor was there a global flood as so many desperately continue to claim. Instead of getting hung up over these obvious falsehoods, let us appreciate Noah's incredible faith in the face of ridicule and scorn. After all, isn't that the main point?

And on that same note, of course God will return in his own due time and in his own way. Do we really need to fret over when and how this is to come to pass? Is stressing over economic turmoil, political strife or killer asteroids really going to change anything? Again, I appeal to the teachings of Jesus:
33.) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34.) Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Everyone take a deep breath. Things are going to be just fine.

Right, Glenn Beck?

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