I’m presently reading The Portable Atheist, an anthology of atheist writings collected together by the brilliant Christopher Hitchens. They date back to the ancient Greeks and end up in the here and now. They are all wonderful but one I’ve just completed talks about the revelations/apocalypse thing.
Written by the novelist Ian McEwan, it is a lecture he delivered at Stanford University in 2007. In his short introduction, Hitchens describes the apocalypse as “…the death-wish that lurks horribly beneath all subservience to faith.” It is, suitably, titled End of the World Blues.
Apparently there was a lot of debate about including Revelations in the Bible since it strayed somewhat from the whole Jesus thing. It is also a little bit over the top. Plus it was written long after the rest of the New Testament was established.
One of the things McEwan states is that this sort of ‘end of days’ scenario is not that unusual for times of great upheaval. It’s easy to see how a suppressed group of people could fall back on threats against the oppressors when said oppressors are threatening to annihilate them! Sort of “You can kill me but God will get you in the end,” kind of thing.
Coming out of this is the fact that the, so called loving God, is happy enough to condemn the people he dislikes to an eternity of torment. I mean, seriously! An eternity? To my mind, that is just a little bit extreme.
I feel equally for the ‘lucky’ ones who are doomed to an eternity of bliss. Our time on Earth is very short and, having lived through the various ups and downs of life, we are then condemned to sitting around doing nothing for eternity.
Clearly heaven is preferable to damnation but, to be honest, after a few years I’d be pretty sick of the mundane goodness and peace.
And End of Days is a bit like what Nicktor felt about tonight’s Nicktor Night. It’s our last for the year, the next not being until January 15, 2013. He was quite sad, wondering how he was going to survive the barren times betwixt now and then. It will feel like an eternity, we claimed.
Not that we sat around being miserable all night. We watched a rather cool film starring Michael Madsen called Trouble Bound. It was a jolly, rollicking road film with lots of unnecessary violence, swearing and high speed shenanigans. We loved it.
On a side note…Mirinda was interviewed for the New York Times last week. If you want to read the story, it is here.