October 20, 2011

On the other hand, Moammar, you only missed one day

I'd nearly forgotten that tomorrow is It. Despite suffering a stroke in June, Harold Camping, noted East Bay eschatologist, tinkered with his End Times algorithm, crunched the numbers, and came up with this:

"I do believe we're getting very near the very end," Camping, 90, said during a podcast recorded earlier this month and posted on his Family Radio website. "Oct. 21, that's coming very shortly, that looks like it will be, at this point, it will be the final end of everything." SF Chronicle, October 20 (gulp), 2011.

Just as a style note, I think if you're going to be in the end-of-the-world prediction business, you owe it to your public not to use weasel words like "very near the very end." In terms of the age of the Earth (6,000 years, of course), very near the very end could be a year away from the blowing of the Trumpet and still be "very near," since we only have 1/6,000th of our allotted time left. Also, the "final end of everything" doesn't really "look like" anything else except, you know, the final end of everything. Sui generis, as they say. A unique occurrence. (I suppose; I mean God, who always "just was" according to the tenets of Abrahamic religions, could easily have created a lot of these diversions. This time through, He invented quantum theory, introducing the element of chance into causality maybe as a means of concealing from Himself what was going to happen next. After 6,000 years of watching the incredible suffering of all the sentient beings He created, He figured it all out [He is omniscient, you know, and it's up to Him to decide what He doesn't want to know and for how long] and the fun went out of the game. Even if Einstein said that God "did not play dice" with the Universe. Au contraire, Albert: He is the Croupier in the Sky.)

Still, I think the operating instructions for the Universe are very, very complicated, and I am willing to bet one million dollars against a buck that the sun will rise as usual on October 22, 2011, and that Harold Camping is not actually some version of a modern-day Nostradamus but is instead a senile fruitcake.

Anyway, Moammar, sorry you won't be around for the day after the Final Day. Our bloodthirsty foreign policy as conducted by the Nobel Peace Prize Winner, in which we "capture or kill" all the Bad Guys, and yet never seem to do any of the "capturing" part, requires periodic, and increasingly frequent, instances of murder and mayhem to keep the folks riled up back home, sort of like Aztecs with virgins. Two years ago you were shaking hands with President Obama, you were a big player in the oil markets, you were on our list of Most Favored Dictator-Thugs. Unfortunately, Facebook and Twitter brought down the strongmen in Tunisia and Egypt, and we let it happen since there's no oil to speak of in either shithole sand pile, and then this "popular democratization" thing just sort of got out of hand. And with assurances from the rebels that they wouldn't do anything wild and crazy, like nationalize the oil industry in Libya, we got on board with our newly-found love for the "common Arab" (as long as those Arabs don't live in countries like Saudi Arabia, which attacked us on 9-11, or Bahrain, where we supply the autocrats with weapons and airplanes to suppress the "freedom fighters" there). You had to pay the price, Moammar, because we could use you as the exception that proves the rule, and if you can't figure that out now, well, what possible difference can it make to you.

1 comment:

  1. hammerud4:35 AM

    The thing that gets me in all of this speculation about God is that apart from God it is all vanity -- nothing matters; and somehow I find that a bit depressing, actually a lot depressing (Ecclesiastes makes this point.) The suffering of humanity, according to the Bible, is because of the fall -- God created beings with free will, and they exercised that ability in choosing to sin. The result, as Scripture states, is that "all the foundations of the earth are out of course," and "all of nature groans and travails." The difference between Christianity and all other religions is that God entered into the suffering and offered an answer to the mess. It is unwise to think we can discount God because somehow we think we have the ability to rationally do so. We don't. We're here, the universe is here, and there is either an Intelligence behind it all or, by an act of faith and in contradiction to probability science, we have to believe it all just happened -- life came from non-life, personality came from impersonal things etc. When we cross that line, we are being foolish (Psalm 14, Psalm 53), and the foolishness is a heart, not an intellectual, issue. Pascal said, "reasons last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things that are beyond it. It is merely feeble if it does not go as far as to realize that." We can find reasons to avoid the God issue, but that is unwise since there is no other hope. Don’t discount God (Hebrews 11:6) because of nonsense that easily can be found in the world of religion. In God’s economy we must believe to understand, and He has given us reasons to believe, making His reality evident in the creation for one thing. (Romans 1:20)