I was talking to my friend Mike the other day, and he told me about something that was so uproariously stupid that I feel compelled to write about it, and share it with you all. It's what we do here at the Asylum; point out the stupidity of others and laugh our asses off over it.
Mike, it turns out, has been listening to Evangelical Christian radio. Not because he fears for his immortal soul, or because he believes in an Invisible Man in the Sky Who's All-Knowing and All-Powerful, yet somehow managed to create violent, irrational human beings, the platypus, the camel, and ABBA, but because he finds it so funny.
He was telling me about one of these radio Evangelists (you will not get his name here, because this is a seriously dangerous douchebag) who has told his retarded audience that the World Will End by May 31, 2011. I guess if you have any hope of being Raptured to the Right Hand of the Father, you'd best start packing now. Anyways, it appears as if people call this idiot for last-minute advice on all manner of things; people ask if they should take new jobs (the answer: No, dispshit, because the World will explode in a couple of weeks), should they still go ahead with that June wedding they had planned (answer: No dipshit, because the World will explode in a couple of weeks), and, naturally, How Do I Save Myself When the World Explodes in A Couple of Weeks? (answer: Go pray a lot...and send me money, Dipshit).
Now, apart from the obvious stupidity of people seeking life-altering guidance from someone who makes his living telling them they'll all be dead unless they pray real hard, the real stupidity lies in the premise that when the World Explodes that anyone is going to be 'saved'.
Mankind, in case no one ever told you, is ultimately doomed. Thousands, maybe millions even, of other life forms that have inhabited this planet have all gone extinct at some point in history,and there is no reason not to think that we too, in our turn, will also go the way of the Wooly Mammoth, the Triceratops, or the Dodo Bird. One of the consequences of Life is the Possibility of Extinction. How we ultimately meet our final fate, I think, matters not: the planet could be hit by a comet or asteroid, the Earth's crust might burst asunder under the strain of volcanism or tectonic forces, some minor flu will evolve into a super-strain that kills us all, we'll extinguish life with nuclear war, or our Sun will go nova and bake this tiny planet in an instant. There is little that we can do to stop these things. Our science and our intelligence only takes us so far, and short of Men making the great leap across the Universe to other worlds, we're going to be extinct, and little to no trace of us will be left.
If it makes you feel better to believe that your soul, spirit, ghost, essence, chakra, ki, whatever, will persist after death, then by all means, be my guest. Far be it from me to tell you that I have all the answers, or that you shouldn't believe what you want to believe, but it seems that nowadays everyone is obsessed with the End of Everything.
It's gotten so bad that the History Channel now produces a show called Life After People, which is all about what happens to the world after mankind disappears, which is pretty stupid if you think about it: the History Channel is running a show about a time when History --as we perceive it --comes to an End. Go figure. Then again, it's probably better -- and more topical -- than Ice Road Truckers, or Swamp People. It's certainly more interesting.
Apocalyptic Christianity has become a big business, and is mostly a scam, in my opinion. It's purpose is to frighten people into the fold, and in the process, pry their cash from them. I'm certain when Pastor Asshole- on-the-Radio's prediction fails to come true on June 1st, he'll still be on the air, if only because people are truly dopey, and he has a ready-made excuse for why what he said will happen didn't; God will destroy the World Only When God Sees Fit To, and he cannot be prodded into it before he's ready to by Man, or, he was really just trying to get people to repent and make their peace with God before God really does Her thing with his Chicken Little routine. Or my personal favorite, the one that's supposed to end all debate or stop all questions; God Works in Mysterious Ways. No matter; the Ends justify the Means, especially if the Ends were several million bucks in donations and commercial fees and a higher public profile for Pastor Dickhead, and a few more fannies in the pews. I'm sure that will comfort the people who called off their weddings, or didn't take that lucrative job offer on his advice, to no end.
What people tend to forget is that the Bible was written by people -- and it might not be the best thing to take literally -- because as is often the case, people make mistakes, they misinterpret things, they let their biases creep onto the page, or they have agendas that they're pushing. Lately, there's been much talk about 'Bible Codes' in which it is said that there are coded messages hidden within the text of the biblical passages that can foretell future events, but I believe this about as much as I believe in my Lucky Astrology Mood Watch. The Bible is not the Word of God (beings that do not exist do not leave Words behind); it is a history --and a heavily-biased one, at that -- of the Hebrews and early Christians which seeks to provide a divine justification for what they have done. Mostly that was to kill and disposses Caananites and Phillestines and all the rest, because God 'promised' the land to them. You would think that an All-Powerful, All-Knowing God would just promise them an uninhabited place to live in, seeing as She (if there is a God, it must be a She) had just told them five minutes ago in the desert that Thou Shall Not Kill, Steal, Lie or Covet Your Neighbor's Goods (wouldn't that mean his land, too?), and all that.
The New Testament, as we know it today, is very much a political document; it was supposed to authenticate and legitimize Christianity, and thus, give it's great champion, Constantine, the divine cover he needed to explain his otherwise treasonous activities, i.e. leading a civil war and usurping the power of the Emperor of Rome. It had to be compiled and rewritten in such a way as to ensure that Christ could always be seen as the ultimate expression of ancient Hebrew prohpecy concerning a Messiah. The fact that the Christ myth as we know it seems an awful lot like the Roman adaptation and worship of the Persian god Mithras is conveniently forgotten... or mostly unknown.
If you're going to depend upon an ancient document, full of 'prophecy' as your guide to the End of theWorld, you could at least pick an ancient document that hasn't been (mis-)translated four billion times from seven thousand languages, and which has not been subjected to the requirements of political and cultural propaganda, I would think. The Bible as predictive tool is useless, in my opinion, because it has been so-obviously manipulated.
Another Apocalyptic theme that has gained much popular attention these days is the Mayan Prophecy, in which it is said that the ancient Mayans of Mexico have pinpointed the exact date of the End of the World, supposedly sometime in December of 2012. Which would really suck if a Republican managed to beat Barack Odumbass in November. The 'proof' that theMayan Prophecy will come true is that the Mayan Calendar comes to a complete halt in December 2012. Now, there could be a number of reasons why this should be so that don't necesarily mean Apocalypse; perhaps the astrologers/mathemeticians engaged in the project saw no need to go any further. Perhaps they were tired of making calculations. Maybe, there's another Mayan Calendar that picks up where the last one left off that we haven't found yet?
All I know is that people who suposedly had the smarts and the capabilities to accurately predict the future in such fashion should, logically, have been able to foresee their own demise; you would think they would have predicted the arrival of the Spanish...and smallpox. You have to wonder just how accurate and efficacious their predictive powers were if they couldn't even use them to save themselves.
Then there's the Nostradamus Idiots who constantly tell us that their hero has predicted every major event in modern history. The problem with Nostradamus, however, is that we never seem to hear of his 'predictions' until after something has happened. If Nostradamus was of any use, you figure someone would be able to tell you about it beforehand. So, we're told that Nostradamus 'predicted' the rise of Hitler (a claim long since disproven as Nazi propganada), the assassination of JFK, and 9/11, but always the announcement that Nostradamus 'predicted' this, that or the other comes only after the fact. Some prophet. Nostradamus is about as useful as a broken condom, or those Astrologers in your local newspaper. The Champions of Nostradamus will tell you this is because if they told people about one of these traumatic events beforehand, no one would believe them, but this is pure horseshit; I can say to you today that one day someone will have monkeys fly out of their rectum, and it's quite possible, given the vageries of time and history, that it might actually happen. Will I be celebrated as visionary prophet when that day comes? I rather doubt it.
This, incidentally, is one of the problems with some modern scientific methods, too, like the Theory of Evolution; given a time scale of billions of years, and pure random chance, literally anything is possible. It doesn't make it true.
Still, I find it fascinating to watch people knowingly worry themselves stupid about something they have absolutely no control over. If the world comes to an End (as it surely must) just what, if anything, do you, the individual, expect to be able to do about it? Will you, personally, deflect that asteroid headed our way? Will you be able to keep the Earth's magnetic poles from shifting? Can you identify and find a cure for that Super-Virus that's out there waiting to kill us all? Probably not. And your government will probably be unable to do much of anything, either, and certainly not your Church; religions usually get people to do things which only benefit the religion, as an institution.
As for me, I keep a six-pack of Heineken's in the fridge, so that when the fateful day finally arrives, I can sit on the front porch with my Holocaust Heinies, and watch the fireworks, secure in the knowledge that when it's all over, one way or another, I will at least not have to pay another goddamned credit card bill, or scratch an income tax check, or sit through another Barack Obama use-lots-of-words-to-say-absolutely-nothing speech.
The Apocalypse, you see, isn't all bad news.