ironphoenix (ironphoenix) wrote,

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So the second reading today was from Revelation, Chapter 21. You know the one, it starts with "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more." (Revelation 21:1) And the way the reader delivered it was just right... so that I could understand how some people can be so eager for the Apocalypse.

There is a pretty strong Millennialist movement in some Christian communities (perhaps especially in the USA), and hearing this, it's easy to understand the reasoning behind them. We pray, in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy Kingdom come," and this seems to be the most literal realization of that. To achieve it, anything else would seem to be worth sacrificing, so if the signs and portents John chronicles can be brought to pass, surely the End Times must follow. Seen in that light, war, environmental destruction, epidemics and famines are not to be averted, but rather encouraged as much as possible in order to bring about the end of this sullied, sinful world.

But this wasn't Jesus' message at all. Only the Father knows the day and hour, he tells us; for us to presume to impose our will in this is terrible hubris. Many of the things which lead up to the Apocalypse are terrible, destructive deeds, and Christ was constantly teaching love and right action in small things, both by word and by deed. It is not God's will for us to destroy what God has created so that it must be created again, but rather to participate in her act of creation under his divine direction. For us to set out destroy would violate the basic law of love which is the heart of Christianity and the essence of the God we worship.

It may be that the destruction of creation, or at least of this world, will come about, but it seems to me to be like the Crucifixion: prophesied, even necessary, but as Christ says, "'The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.'" (Matthew 26:24)

The problem which arises from this is that these idealists fired up with a mission are somewhat less than choosy about their methods, and such people are easily led by the unscrupulous. After all, if a means exists which serves their goal and has the handy side effect of generating a profit for somebody, everyone wins, right? Of course, the goals need not be stated openly; it is enough for them to exist in the subconscious so that people will resist unethical or destructive actions less than they might because of their internal conflicts. Were they stated openly, they could be argued against; the veiled intent is much harder to pin down and discredit. I don't know whether it's being done consciously or not, but either way, it's not been good for the world as a whole, and it's likely not good karma for those responsible.

It's my hope that as we move further and further away from the psychologically important year 2000, this apocalyptic fervor will pass. Some US-politics-watchers tell me that the Republicans are headed for a moderate candidate, which is a good sign for this, but politics isn't the whole thing by any means. The subconscious shadow of destruction and chaos hanging over the many, and the short-term profiteering of the few, serve no one very well. I, for one, will try to act with the long term in mind, and do what is loving in each moment.
Tags: politics, religion
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