Monday, May 23, 2011

A Teaching Moment

If the media, left and right, would turn this recent bombardment of billboards and interviews predicting the Rapture into an attempt at least for a teaching moment, we would as a people be ahead. They likely won't. They will let it go, and figure it was just one nutcase but it's a lot more than one prophetic failure. It's those who paid for the billboards, who believed in a Rapture and a Biblical end times-- even if not this exact moment. They vote. That's why it matters.

It's not a light thing to believe that there is a god who will pull you out of the fire even though you started it. These kind of beliefs have been here for a long time, maybe from the beginning.

I remember back when James Watts was the Secretary of the Interior under Reagan in the 1980s. He horrified people like me when he basically said that protecting the environment wasn't an issue because the end times were here.

That mentality is why people don't care about global warming, why they don't worry about genuine conservative principles which would mean conserving resources. They don't think they have to. Talk about saving energy and they pity you because they see you on your way to hell for not believing as they do.

I realize the bunch who bought into this latest rapture already are justifying it by-- it's god's will whatever it is. But we shouldn't give up trying to get them to use some logic which means there is NO logic to any belief in any rapture whatever time it might be coming. It won't be. This earth is our home and we should respect it, save what we can of it for future generations, live our own lives as though there are consequences to our actions, and always try to get religious zealots to see what they are actually doing.

If they would stop voting, then I'd not care what they thought; but they are already trying to figure out what religious zealot, who doesn't believe in evolution, can replace Mike Huckabee and be their guy or gal-- people like Michelle Bachmann who doesn't even know US history let alone biological.

These voters were the ones who believed GW Bush when he said he ran his war, with Iraq, not based on asking his dad's wisdom on what he was doing but his father in heaven. They believed that. They probably still believe it even after the basic failure in what we did there, the high cost, the fact that what his own dad said about a civil war turned out to be accurate.

That is why this matters what they, many of them, believed possible again. We should make it a teaching moment but we likely won't.

Incidentally, they are also the ones who think we must take Israel's side in any dispute because of their god being on Israel's side and anybody who doesn't go along with whatever Israel does, fair or unfair to other human beings, will be damned by him. They use Revelations and the early prophets for their scenario there.

They are the ones right now angry at Obama for any attempt to use logic in the Middle East, to get a real dialogue going, because of religious reasons of their own. They don't care about the Jewish people living there, the ones under threat still of terrorists. They think they are going to hell anyway for not having accepted Christ as their savior.

No, what that bunch cares about is a doomsday scenario that demands Israel be at its center-- after their own Rapture. Most of them have believed the countdown began when Israel came into existence and it has to stay intact for them to feel it will work as they have prophesied. That's their Biblical mandate and they can pretend it's concern for Israelis; but for most of them, it's really about themselves. Even in Israel, those that want to see peace are shouted down by zealots. It's not like only Christians have zealots in their midsts.

Incidentally I don't think the Israelis should have to bend over backward with the Palestinians when they don't agree to their right of existence but both will have to compromise or there will be no peace in that region. Some don't want peace there and they are fundamentalists of the extreme side from three religions.

That's why this issue of the Rapture that didn't come matters. Too bad logic doesn't work on religious extremists.


wally said...

Most people who believe the the "pre-trib rapture" think that starting a war between the U.S., Israel, and Islam will hasten the second coming of Christ. It's a comfort to them to think that they will be caught up into the air before the shooting starts. No earthquakes, tsunamis, war, disease, and torture for them. But some bible scholars say that the "pre trib" is a relatively recent doctrine that dates back only to around 1830. Prior to that the rapture was to occur at the end of the tribulation and Christians would endure the troubles along with everyone else and even be executed for their faith. (some people even believe in a mid tribulation rapture). I can't help but wonder what would happen if today's fundamentalists could be convinced that the post trib teaching was true. I think they would be working for peace and the ecological well being of the planet and pray that they would be able to die comfortably in their sleep at a ripe old age.

Kay Dennison said...

I agree wholeheartedly! I find this whole Rapture thing disturbing despite knowing that man has been worrying/prognosticating about the end of the world probably since 10 minutes after it was created.

I consider it my duty as a human being not to worry about when the world end but so what I can to make it a better place where all of us can live in peace and reasonable comfort and prosperity. And yeah, for all my cynicism,in my heart and soul I'm a damned idealist!

Robert the Skeptic said...

Extremists of any stripe are pretty much fruitless to work with, impossible to negotiate with... you know, like Republicans.