The End of the World is Coming

This is the last day of this school semester, so I am rather excited. I have plenty of things I have been wanting to talk about, but really have not had the time to put them down. So I have until the end of next week to try and share it all, because as you know the world will end next Saturday.

I think it is supposed to end. Maybe it is just the rapture or zombies will appear. Either way May 21st will be an important day for something.

Personally, I don’t plan on the world ending. I think that when Jesus comes back, it will coincide with the Feast of Trumpets. Downside with that is that I will miss my birthday, but living in heaven is better so I really should not complain.

Most people do not think the world is going to end. I have seen people touting the fact that Harold Camping is a Calvinist as if it is some sort of victory for their side. I have heard people say, rightfully so, that there is no way we can actually calculate the day it is going to happen. What gets me the most is that people say the world is not fallen enough for it to happen.

Why is it not fallen enough?

I love end of days type movies. Post apocalyptic movies are wonderful too. I am a huge Mad Max fan. The way we see the darkness that humanity can accomplish. How far people will sink and what will be considered acceptable is really an interesting testimony in a way. As people we all know that the darkness lurks within people and that once society stops caring then we will begin the journey to the end. The problem that isn’t addressed is that the degradation of society is a gradual process. Each step will offend us and we either adapt and accept it or stand and fight it. The more we accept though, the further down the path we travel.

Mother’s killing children is barely a news worthy even now unless you are Nancy Grace. Men are killing their wives/girlfriends ever more frequently. Drug use is up and so are drug related crimes. Corruption, while not acceptable, is tolerated because we do not seem to have an alternative. More and more underage girls are giving birth and the media makes them into stars. Poverty is rampant but we do not see society making an effort to meet their needs.

Society tolerates this. We might not see the world as fallen enough, but with the complacency of society, does our standard of what is too bad keep moving as well?



Filed under Bible, Christianity, Religion

9 responses to “The End of the World is Coming

  1. Why let facts stand in the way of good belief, eh?

    The world will not end on May 21st. It won’t end in your life time. Plan on it. Anyone who thinks differently is seriously deluded because they have nothing but conjecture to go on. Just like this list of ‘fallings’ you think humanity is undergoing is absolute bunk. The opposite is true: consider just yourself and those around you for a moment.

    You possess practical and reliable knowledge of the world and its place in the universe unimaginable to the writers of the gospels, for example. You know more that the very brightest person in the world at that time. You. So does every person around you. We stand – whether we know it or not – on the shoulders of giants who preceded us and gave us the gift of their knowledge.

    Note carefully that we have learned no new knowledge from religiously deluded people (except not to trust the Cool-Aid)… that makes your place in all of this this a better world. Yet you denigrate your own species because it fits in with your faith-based beliefs about its special relationship with a made-up god and assume it to be true. It’s not. You are fooling yourself, fooling the people around you pretending your faith is a kind of knowledge, warping and distorting reality so that you see mankind’s place in this world as some kind of blight, some kind of degradation. That’s terrible. That’s terrible for you and your mental health, for those close to you in your ability to truly appreciate your life as a member of this human tribe and your place in it, and you have religion to thank for it, the very thing that sickens your perceptions away from what’s honest and healthy and responsible into this mewling and complaining litany of flaws.

    What will humanity look like after some kind of cataclysmic event? You assume it will ‘fall’ and create a sort of Mad Max world. I assume it will rise because we know so much more today than yesterday and can act on that knowledge in a more informed way as a society.

    What evidence do I have? Look at the behaviour of the Japanese after the last earthquake and tsunami. Look at the behaviour of New Zealanders. Look at the behaviour of the people living along the flooded Mississippi. Look at Libya, Egypt, Syria. People trying to effect change. People helping people. People wanting governments to respect their rights. People risking life and limb today to make life better for their children.

    But along you come with your preset and warped view of humanity and can’t (or won’t) see what’s right in front of your face. That’s how your religious beliefs poisons your life, poisons your mind, poisons your relationships with others outside your religious tribe in a pious and sanctimonious way so that you see yourself as righteous in your easy condemnations of the character of our species and think salvation only comes through theism! And sadly, you think the worst of others reflects our general state. That’s vision of others is religion’s gift to you and you think yourself fortunate for it. Even strong obvious evidence to the contrary you simply dismiss because it doesn’t fit with your beliefs that you continue to mistakenly assume to be true even when you have good evidence they are false.

    You really should wake up from this theocratic stupor. You will gain tremendously for it, not least of which is a measure of realistic honesty as well as intellectual integrity. The trade off is well worth it.

  2. @tilbed

    You never disappoint. Thanks for that.

    With more knowledge now then at the time of the gospels, we still have suffering. We still have poverty and disease and illness. We do have cures for many things, but then we have corruption that keeps those only in the hands of those who can afford them. With all of our knowledge we can not stop natural disasters or barely even predict them.

    I look at Japan and how business are moving in and investment advisors are suggesting who to buy in order to make the most off the rebuilding efforts. New Zealand was barely hit and Mississippi is not out of the woods yet. Let’s look at Haiti or the Katrina areas. What about the coastline where the huge oil spill occurred. Chernobyl is still a mess. So we can see the compassion of people when money is involved is what your getting at right?

    I do see the reform in the middle east as dictatorships are over thrown in order to institute Muslim run governments. The women who stood next to the men are being reduced to second class citizens as well as any one who belongs to a religion other than Islam. What a great world we live in.

    There are over 21 million sex slaves in the world today. Children are sold in order to support the family. They are used and dying before they are 18 years old.

    How has knowledge helped us?

    • You’re welcome!

      Knowledge has helped us as a species to increase human well-being while adapting to an exponential rate of reproduction. Although numbers of people suffering are increasing, the rate is slowing and the percentage is dripping. Without utilizing our knowledge, the human species would crash.

      By any (equivalent) measurement, our suffering is being reduced and mitigated by our applications of knowledge. Even in the murderous 20th century, fewer people died than in any previous century we can measure because of improvements to basic living necessities (food, water, and shelter) and medicine… especially with vaccines. People helping people.

      You will notice that in none of these disasters did some squadron of angels swoop in and perform miracles. No Titans surfaced and turned away tsunamis, no Olympic nor Norse god calmed the buckling land, no Jesus prayed and moved mountains. There was nothing but everlasting silence from the realm of the supernatural. That’s the fact. We’re on our own here and we make of it the best we can. We do that not by turning away from the one avenue that allows us the greatest power to affect change – knowledge – but by embracing it and learning how the world works. It doesn’t work by divine mystery: it works by natural and knowable mechanisms of cause and effect. We do battle against an indifferent nature, an ecosystem system of predation. That’s the world we inhabit, the only one we’ve got, and the one we have to learn to live in. If we wish to mitigate suffering then the job is ours alone and we’ve made progress. Can we eliminate suffering? Nope. Can we address it to the best of our abilities? Sure. Will we? I don’t know, but it’s a process. Within each of us are competing desires and we will utilize them as we see fit because we are not of one mind, one goal, but many. As we globalize, we begin to appreciate the need for cohesive action, but even with all our knowledge about anthropomorphic global warming we still struggle as a species. Too many of us continue to think we have the luxury to trust our beliefs over and above respecting first and foremost our knowledge. That’s a significant impediment to progress but what’s true will win out in the end because it enjoys the privilege of working. That’s why you can read these words… a combination of technological expertise and your ability to be literate (a learned ability based on the passing on of human knowledge from one generation to the next).

  3. Tildeb may be somewhat right about the knowledge levels we have – its still a fallacy though – more knowledge does not automatically assume ‘better society’. I can go back a few hundred years and find much more peaceful and calm societies that existed in fairly awesome conditions prior to colonization (and were much happier it would appear). The view has a twinge of ethnocentricism to it (for all the cultural purists out there).

    Has society gotten better? Yes. No. However, if I am being honest – I think it has and many of the technological progressions we have in the West have helped. That being said, I don’t mind living with very little of it – and I can actually forsee a day when this might occur (the debilitation of our progress).

    Has the world stayed ‘depraved’…the West proves this more than anything. The fact is, in the most technologically advanced countries we also find the most crime and the ability to inflict the most pain globally (which does occur in a variety of ways). If anything, the more advanced and the more polarized our societies become, crime will also continue to rise and stay a constant…because I also know humans penchant for selfish gain and evil.

  4. Xander

    Knowledge can help with suffering but it will not guarantee it. Ultimately it is not knowledge that helps but the act of compassion or conviction of another. Knowledge will never be able to duplicate that or cause it to happen in people. Knowledge can help us change our feelings toward others into a positive way, but it can also do the opposite. Knowledge does not know right or wrong. It just is.

    Can it not be the supernatural that moves people into compassion for others? Why does it have to be a visual act for it to be the supernatural? Christianity does not say that angels will rush to our rescue or that suffering will be eliminated. To the contrary actually. Suffering will be increased among Christians, but we are guaranteed that we will not be alone in the suffering if we so choose.

    • If we take the compassion response to suffering to be an act of doing something – and we want that ‘something’ to be effective at reducing the suffering – then to suggest that knowledge does not play a pivotal and central role in informing that act is pretty bizarre. If we want that act of compassion to address causes effectively rather than just smother symptoms in some feel-good group hug, then a thorough understanding of cause and effect is the most important approach we can have. It is upon this understanding that knowledge – practical, effective, and applicable actions – is built. By pretending knowledge has some peripheral role to play in our approach to reducing suffering is tantamount to thinking that engineering has some peripheral role to play for engine troubles: to suggest that knowledge alone is insufficient to fixing cars or reducing suffering is to grant some role to performing engine exorcisms and prayerful compassion… neither of which can be shown to make any difference to the causes of the underlying problem and nothing but the most peripheral benefit dealing with the personal symptoms.

      No, it cannot be a supernatural cause for natural compassion unless and until you can show why this link is necessary (it’s not) and how this link occurs (if it enters the natural, it is subject to scientific inquiry and evidence). As to why you think a powerful supernatural agent who allows suffering to be part and parcel of living has worth to be worshiped, well…. that’s… peculiar thinking from where I sit.

  5. But if someone is dying, then just being there reduces the suffering. A kind word or embrace can provide comfort. Knowledge has not conquered death so there are times when it is helpless. This is what I am trying to get at. With the betterment of society, advances have been made, but these have also been withheld due to the emotions and desires of others. If we could cure cancer right now, it would not be available to everyone unless they could afford it. That is the world in which we live in. Wrongs are occurring against others on a regular basis and because it does not directly affect most people, they do not speak out. They are just as guilty as those who withheld.

    • Being there when someone’s dying does not necessarily reduce suffering. Saying goodbye often does, but the process of dying can be long, painful, degrading, and completely undignified. Having people you love bear witness means you must also expend energy mitigating the display of suffering and loss of function for their benefit, which can be absolutely humiliating and completely unnecessary. This is why granting people the right to choose how they wish to die and supporting that decision is the ultimate act of love… portrayed by many of the religious bent that the dying person does NOT have that right to choose because their ‘soul’ belongs to god, which means their body also belongs to someone else. This belief empowers the degradation to be witnessed as well as prolonged, to keep the suffering going out of deference to someone else’s belief rather than the person undergoing the act of dying. It’s revolting and inhumane. But god apparently deserves his pound of flesh through suffering. Again, just bizarre.

      As for cancer cures, we really are making tremendous progress thanks to knowledge. So, too, is suffering from pain being mitigated by new pharmaceuticals. Because I live in Canada, the cost of treatment is not the determining factor, whereas in the States it is. I feel for you but perhaps eventually your country will come up to meet its social obligations to all through public policy. In the meantime I think your health care is a pretty brutal system and often abused by employers as a negotiating tool. Perhaps if the country were less religious, more professional social care would be available rather than donated by churches that have an ulterior motive for their helping hands.

      This notion of using human well-being as the elevation against which we can measure our treatment of others I think allows us to best utilize knowledge in the service of reducing suffering where appropriate. Because we are carbon-based life forms with central nervous systems that degrade over time, I cannot see how we can eliminate suffering without also eliminating well-being. But we reduce it when it increases well-being as well as increase it when it achieves the same goal. But right now we have no standard metric against which we can compare and contrast and inform various actions and the values that motivate them. Like Sam Harris suggests, perhaps it’s high time we turned to the knowledge science can provide to help us do this.

  6. Xander

    So when a person is suffering they should be able to choose when they die or only when it is terminal or just when the pain is too much for them?

    I have great insurance, so the cost to me is nothing. I was thinking more along the lines of third world countries were all countries fail them. Where treatment for AIDS is to expensive so most have to go without. Bulgaria where people have to pay a premium for blood if they want to have a surgery since people are more willing to sell it than donate it. Countries that are wealthier generally have healthier people, regardless of religious background. Thailand and Vietnam are both atheist countries, but Thailand provides better medical care that Vietnam. There is more money in Thailand and one of it’s main attractions is cheap medical vacations for tourist. Go to Thailand because the medical care is the same as in the West yet 700% cheaper. Despite this claim, the health of it’s citizens fall below those western countries. Why is this? Because the people are poorer and do not get the same level of care as those who have more money. People are unwilling to forgo the money and give people what they need. The knowledge is there but the willingness is lacking. As far as religion’s role, the majority of medical clinics in third world countries are supplied by religion. The supply is not near enough to meet the need though as people who claim the religion are often unwilling to part with their money to help others who need it more than they need their Starbucks.

    How many people suffer depression or loneliness but are in perfect physical health? Well being can help to reduce suffering, but suffering will always be present despite the health or physical needs of a person.

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