It used to be that people who went around predicting the end of the world were portrayed in the media as harmless lunatics at best, as insane religious freaks at worst. The classic portrayal was the New Yorker cartoon – long haired crazy says something funny on the sandwich boards.
Even your average Baptist who believes that God is going to snatch him up imminently prior to letting Satan poke the rest of us in the ass with a pitchfork for a thousand years – a fairly harmless belief if you think about it – was mocked. Any of you seen those bumper stickers, “In Case of Rapture… Can I Have Your Car?”
The media portrayals were often quite unfair, but they had some grounding in reality. Millenarian movements in the past had a history of being kooky, to downright deadly. Even harmless ones are sort of looked at a bit askance by more mainstream co-religionists – hence the rapturists are looked at a little funny by a lot of Baptists, the Wahabbists and more literalist Shia are looked at as being a bit crazy by their more mainstream brethren, and so on. Millenarianism has a history, y’know?
But you don’t have to know a lot of history to know that most millenarianism is just plain nutty. Edumakated critics or not, either way, people who had a closet filled with sandwich boards stating “the world ends next week” got laughed at by most right thinking people, and most of the wrong thinking ones too.
But now that all the right thinking people believe that the world is going to end next week, can we still make fun of Jim Jones or some Baptists or Aum or bin Laden for believing the same thing? According to that ABC article,
Are we living in the last century of our civilization? Is it possible that all of our technology, knowledge and wealth cannot save us from ourselves? Could our society actually be heading towards collapse?
According to many of the world’s top scientists, the answer is yes, unless we take action now.
Naturally, what will save us is installing Al Gore as the monomaniacal, inhuman supercomputer/wonk that will tell us how to live our lives down to the finest detail. (Other than giving him actual legal authority to do so, the plain is to basically let Al be Al).
ABC is apparently planning a big fat hysterical TV series for this fall, a series that is essentially a sandwich board that the Disney-owned media behemoth is going to wear, stating “The World Ends in 92 Years… Repent!” Since sackcloth can be made from hemp, dude, part of the repentance should be easy, but there’s no word yet on where were going to get the ashes from – y’know, since burning things hurts mother earth and all.
This is being sold as Scientific Truth.
Thing is, I recognize the Olde Tymey snake handling religion when I sees it. Most people used to recognize millenarianism for what it is – a peculiar branch of of religion, a knee jerk reaction to social uncertainty. In an atheistic age, however, nobody remembers what religion looks like, much less eschatological cultism, otherwise they’d recognize this claptrap for what it is: a revival tent packed with fainting adherents, secular humanist marxist version of faith healing – BE HEALED, GAIA!.
John Cole and the Kossacks and teh Gleeeeeenses will duly note this series when it airs, and remind us, “It’s Teh Science, Do Not Deny It!!!!! There is no room for your apostasy skepticism.”
Yeah, you hear a lot of that these days – “X is scientific fact. It is unchangeable. You cannot deny it. Scientific fact cannot be challenged!”
The idea that scientific fact is eternal and everlasting is a misprision that The Truly Right Thinking People would have rejected outright just a few years ago, but now you’re accused of being a superstitious cannibal if you think facts must be falsifiable in order to be scientific truths. I don’t know about you, but the formulation that scientific fact is unchanging, permanent and inarguable sure sounds like religious dogma to me.
Which is really funny ‘cuz I’d only recently gotten used to the idea we are supposed to drive religion from public life. Come to find out, we were only getting rid of Judeo-Christianity, which gave us empiricism, kept the flame of Aristotelian and Platonic thought alive, which eventually reconciled itself with science and rationalism. In its place, we’re going back to worshiping the sun, the trees and the ocean, and instead of wondering how we are going to “love your neighbor as yourself,” we’re wondering how we’re going to appease the angry sky gods.
Call me un-perceptive, but I find this particular flavor of progressivism to be most regressive.