This is it: the day the Mayan Calendar “runs out,” and the “age ends.” Some people say it’s the end of the world. Of course, some people said the world was going to end last year (link). Others said [Late Great Planet Earth’s prediction]. Of course, a lot of people thought the wheels would come off one New Year’s Day, 2000, including Prince:
Some survivalists have been holding onto the belief that TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) is “just around the corner” since the Carter Administration. I know, I actually have a couple of late 70’s survivalist manuals. They’re entertaining reading, if dated and a little bit creepy.
Okay, a lot creepy.
But the real question is why? Why are we so quick to jump on every apocalyptic bandwagon? Why did we love Mad Max, The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, Waterworld, and Left Behind so much? Okay, “love” may be a little strong for the last two, but still. Why are we so fascinated by the end of it all?
Why do we spend so much time poring over The Revelation to the Apostle John, mostly ignoring the pertinent letters to the seven churches and instead trying to suss out every scrap of meaning about horned dragons, the mark of the beast, and who might be the antichrist (pretty sure it’s not Barrack Obama. He’s just a garden-variety militaristic corporate puppet, though admittedly one with a penchant for bombing civilians).
I’ve read a lot of “prepper” materials, and a common thread I detected was a deep dissatisfaction with the current world, and a desperate hope that a rebuild world might turn out better. If that sounds paranoid or even insane, just think about what goes on every day.
The poor of the world still struggle with starvation, disease, and water so contaminated it can kill. Predator Drones still sweep the sky in Pakistan and Yemen, killing men women and children in our name. Children die by the thousands, too far away for us to care.
Here in the first world, an entire generation struggles with massive college debt, delaying marriage, home ownership, and starting their adult lives.
The Internet brings easy access to knowledge and far-flung friends, but also puts sexual predators and hardcore pornography within easy reach of our children and ourselves.
Factory farming exhausts the soil and treats living animals with cruelty and contempt.
The rich get richer.
The middle class sees no real gains from increased productivity.
Life is hard.
We should all want something better. It is a godly part of us that calls out for something better. And I believe that, in time, Jesus will return and bring a new Earth, a new creation where evil has no place. But I don’t pretend I can know the day or the time. And I can’t cover my eyes and wait for it to come.
So push aside this talk of Armageddon. Hug your family. Call your friends. Give your time and money to someone in need. Extend the hand of friendship to someone who’s lonely. You’ll be glad you did, whether the world ends tonight or not.
And just in case it does, I’ll leave you with one last thing. It may be my last chance to do this.