June 30, 2010
Look to the skies, brothers and sisters, ‘cause Jesus is a-comin’!
At least that’s the belief held by a sizable percentage of Americans according to a new poll. The article contains predictions and events Americans believe will happen in the next several decades, but that one really caught my eye.
It’s a matter of statistics that 100% of doomsday prophesies have been incorrect. That being said, why do people think they can predict the end times? Granted, the survey didn’t say these people knew the date or time, but even narrowing it down the next fifty years means they believe the world is now primed to be engulfed in a divine war between the God and the Beast.
Yay! Plagues and cataclysmic, genocidal events for everyone!
It’s easy to see why people would believe this. In times of crisis, people turn to religion for comfort, and the idea that, sometime soon, everything will be fine for the faithful means that the current problems seem less huge, less imposing.
Personally, this kind of prediction cares the crap out of me.
Think about it. There is a sizable portion of our population, over 40%, that think everything we know will end in the next few decades. Really think about that. Everything. Gone. Goodbye Piccadilly. Farewell Leicester Square. And no more gorillas.
Ten points if you get the last reference.
Do you remember your senior year in either college or high school or… well, do you remember the last few months of any period of your life when you knew that time would end? How motivated were you? When people think they no longer have to work and they live a life or have a job they don’t like, odds are they’ll just do the bare minimum to get by and count the days until the last paycheck, or in this case, until the angels sound the trumpets and Wormwood falls into the oceans.
I’m not about to knock on anyone’s faith here, but this mentality is very dangerous. It’s one thing to believe that an eternal reward awaits you in the afterlife. It’s another thing to think the world will eventually end in fire and plagues.
It’s a wholly different matter to assume it will happen within your lifetime or your children’s lifetimes. Will you help conserve resources? Improve our educational policies for the next few generations? Do you have any incentive to leave behind a lasting legacy?
As morbid as it sounds, not believing this, believing that you are animated meat and there is nothing waiting for you in the great beyond, actually encourages people to do something. Sure, it can create a sense of ennui and nihilism, but that’s until you realize that the only thing that truly matters, the only thing that will leave any lasting impression, is the combination of people’s lives you have touched and the works you leave behind, whether they are art, song, stories passed on to others, or just memories of joy.
But if the world is going to end, what’s the point?
Maybe the world will end in the next five decades. Maybe the missiles are on their way right now.
Personally, I’d rather live as though I had a lifetime to live and my future children wanted me to leave something worthwhile for them. ‘Cause otherwise, I say we have no incentive to not nuke the whales. Screw ‘em.
Let’s talk about cheerful stuff now.
- Republicans say the darnest things. And by “darnest,” i mean “dumbest.” Check out ten minutes of some of the best (or worst) of the last few years.
- It turns out Glenn Beck IS a prophet! Right before his show debuted on Fox last year, he warned us about his future self’s obsession with communism! It’s true! Check out the clip.
- We all talk about the speed of light, but what about the speed of darkness? It’s trickier than you think.
- Everyone’s getting on BP’s case… even one very concerned turtle.
- Okay, I’ve dressed up for movie premiers (Revenge of the Sith, Dark Knight), but even I’ve got to admit these guys and gals need to pay attention to how closely they resemble their intended characters.
- Canada’s recession is practically over… why isn’t ours?
- I prefer to use charcoal when I draw, but it never occurred to me to make art with dead ants.
- Finally! A charity organization with a sense of humor regarding the use of celebrity endorsements! Woohoo! Also, Jessica Alba! WOOHOO!
- As it turns out, the Higgs Boson, the holy grail “God Particle” would sound very much like a young Danny Elfman with a harpsichord. Scientists have created musical tones based on the supposed properties of this elusive particle. Mmmm… theoretical physics music…
- Education standards have taken a few hits lately, and I fear for the day when we will get to THIS level.
- And finally, Seth Rogen is set to start in the modern-day adaptation of The Green Hornet. Hate it? Love it? Comment on it or anything else below or head to the forums.