Ever since I was a little boy, I knew about the Book of Revelation.
We would sit around in Boy Scout camp and read about the
End of the World.
From time to time, it would all come back to haunt me.
The signs are always there.
The Israelites are regathered.
The Roman Empire is reconstructed as the European Union.
Soon, the Temple of Solomon will be rebuilt
but only after the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock
Then we have the Rapture.
Now, all of this is beginning to haunt Bill Moyers.
Welcome to Doomsday
By Bill Moyers
There are times when what we journalists see and intend to write about dispassionately sends a shiver down the spine, shaking us from our neutrality. This has been happening to me frequently of late as one story after another drives home the fact that the delusional is no longer marginal but has come in from the fringe to influence the seats of power. We are witnessing today a coupling of ideology and theology that threatens our ability to meet the growing ecological crisis.
Theology asserts propositions that need not be proven true, while ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. The combination can make it impossible for a democracy to fashion real-world solutions to otherwise intractable challenges.
Moyers goes on from there:
The plot of the Rapture—the word never appears in the Bible although some fantasists insist it is the hidden code to the Book of Revelation—is rather simple, if bizarre. (The British writer George Monbiot recently did a brilliant dissection of it and I am indebted to him for refreshing my own insights.) Once Israel has occupied the rest of its "biblical lands," legions of the Antichrist will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon.
As the Jews who have not been converted are burned the Messiah will return for the Rapture. True believers will be transported to heaven where, seated at the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents writhe in the misery of plagues—boils, sores, locusts, and frogs—during the several years of tribulation that follow.
You should read the whole story but here is the end:
The news is not good these days. But as a journalist I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. The will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk.
We must match the science of human health to what the ancient Israelites called hochma—the science of the heart, the capacity to see and feel and then to act as if the future depended on us.
Believe me, it does.
Coming back from Mexico, I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a VW.
It was a response to the Christian bumper sticker that says,
"In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned."
This one says,
"In case of Rapture, can I have your car?"
Christians should read the Book of Jonah.
God changed his mind and he spared Ninevah
because the King called a fast and they changed their ways.
But, I must confess, I agree with Moyers,
I myself don't know how to be in this world without expecting a confident future and getting up every morning to do what I can to bring it about. I confess to having always been an optimist.
Now, however, I remember my friend on Wall Street whom I once asked:
"What do you think of the market?"
"I'm optimistic," he answered.
"Then why do you look so worried?"
And he answered,
"Because I am not sure my optimism is justified.
This is where courage comes in.
And why we need to build
the End of this World
could be a very good thing.