IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES
IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES
As March blew in like a lion, it blew a bit of Christian desperation, depression, fear, and entitlement, into the daughter’s house.
In the days previous, both the wife and son had been phoned, to do a survey about how various political parties and levels of Government had – or had not – been handling COVID. The daughter got a phone call, and an unctuous female voice asked her if she had some time to talk about COVID.
She assumed that this was just another polling company. The first few questions seemed – normal – How was COVID affecting her? Did she go out often? Since she had been locked indoors for most of the winter, she had the time and inclination to converse with someone.
Suddenly, the question was, Do you believe that COVID, and all the other terrible things that are happening, are the beginning of the end? The sign of the Apocalypse?? The coming of the Rapture??! Ah, a frightened Christian Fundamentalist – She just said NO.
How can you not believe that it’s The End Of The World? “Because it’s all natural progression. We’ve seen it all, dozens, hundreds of times before; we’re seeing it again, and we will see it in the future.”
I’d just like to leave you with some words from the Good Book, to make you feel better. The daughter told her that she wasn’t feeling bad, and she already had “a book.” She just didn’t tell her that it was one from Dr. Seuss, for adults. It as easily could have been the Wiccan Bible, or the Pagan Prayer-book.
Ms Bible-thumper persisted. You should just read Psalms 29, v 16-17. The daughter replied, “That would be pretty hard for me to do, since I don’t have a Bible in the house.” She told me, she could almost hear the fit of apoplexy coming on. You don’t have a Bible??! “No! But thanks for calling. Bye.”
Christian callers to podcast shows like The Atheist Experience, and Talk Heathen, accuse them of ‘trying to take away their religion, and their faith in Christ.’ One host rebuts this by saying that they only accept calls. They do not make outgoing calls. They do not go door to door asking, “Have you stopped believing in Christ yet?” Apparently some Christian Missionaries won’t return the favor.
We had the Spanish Flu a hundred years ago. Millions died but the world didn’t end. We had the Black Death – The Plague – 500 years ago. A third of the population of Europe died, but the world did not end.
The fear-mongering prediction of The End Times is almost a Christian cottage-industry, sold to, and bought by, fear-stricken followers with great gullibility, panicked imaginations – and absolutely no memory, or understanding of History.
One of the earliest recorded predictions of the end of the world came from Simon bar Giora, a member of the Jewish Essenes sect, about 66/70 CE. These years were a period in which the Jews of Judea rose up against the Romans who were in control of the area. The prediction ran that this fight would be the actual end times battle that presaged the coming of the Messiah.
Some people claim that Nostradamus (1555) predicted the end of the world, but careful study of his entertaining poetry will reveal that he made no such declaration. Jeff Nilsson wrote about the Mother Shipton predictions in 2011. A new collection of the 16th century oracle’s visions was published in 1873. Despite the fact that the publisher later admitted that he made the whole thing up, people still bought into prediction that the world would end in 1881 as it said in the book. Contemporary evidence seems to indicate that it did not.
Between 1996 and 2011, Televangelist Harold Camping made not one, but four, successive Apocalypse predictions. His Christian broadcaster was finally forced to quietly give him the boot, and wash their hands of him.
The religious side of the Y2K panic made even less of an impact than the electronic one – especially since fearful followers got the dates wrong. More bad dates (Not on Tinder) let the 2012 Mayan Calendar disaster pass without occurring.
In the long history of doomsday predictions, the apocalypse has been cancelled repeatedly over the centuries. From comets to computers to calendars (mainly Mayan), a surplus of expected end times has been available to every culture. And yet, as far we can tell, we’re still here – no thanks to Christian doomsayers.