So, what does one do on the eve of “Armageddon/Rapture”???
Well, beyond hedging one's bets to the extent that you call your mom and say “Hi” before “the big day”, I'm really not so sure.
I've been sitting here most of this week working on a paper for school talking about the neurotransmitter orexin's role in post traumatic stress disorder, but this evening my thoughts keep rambling back to the conversation with my mom. On the one hand, we shared a laugh that I did my “son-ly” duties by calling her before “the big day”. On the other, she did ask a serious-ish question: “What happened to make me not a christian anymore?” Allowable considering she's 80 this year, half a continent away, and while she's not exactly your stereotypical christian (or even sunday christian), she's not pagan either.
I told her there wasn't any single “reason” or “cause” for my change in path, but I could point to a number of little things that contributed. Largely, I “blame” my dad. He's the one who got me into the idea of recycling, who fostered my love of nature and hiking and camping. He's also the one who laid the groundwork for my three rules: Know what you believe, why you believe it, and walk your talk. He's the one who taught me that the folks who yell the loudest, who try to use fear to convert you to their belief, and who really don't walk their talk are not worth a minute of your time or attention. I also “blame” that summer with the Continental Singers...a christian musical ministry. They taught me a lot about theology, how to witness and share my beliefs effectively, and to research the beliefs of those I wanted to witness to. Somewhere along the line, these things and others conspired to make my faith grow and evolve into something new; something that for me, was pagan. I see it as a parallel path to christianity, yet incongruous with it. Sort of like traveling I-40 or I-10 from Florida/East Coast to California. The basic destination and trip are the same, but the scenery and specific end-point are vastly different.
So, the rambling thoughts...have me pondering over the nature of faith, and the nature of zealots and sheep. I mean, think about the type of personal zealotry, and possibly even some measure of faith (I can't discount it completely), necessary to sign over one's business and home in order to devote the last few weeks of your life on this world to trying to warn others that the end is so very nigh. It could just be he's a nut-job in need of serious counseling, but since I'm pondering faith and stuff, we'll give him (and probably only him) the benefit of the doubt...until 10pm-ish Saturday...or maybe Sunday. For whatever reason, he's convinced that he's discovered the imminent “expires on” date, and while I can think of at least 3 scripture based counter arguments to this idea, there's always that possibility that he might actually be correct. Whether you allow for that possibility because of the ultimately unprovable nature of religious belief or simply because of the basic rule that absolutely nothing is impossible (it just possesses varying degree's of probability), the basic premise is ultimately true: we won't know for an absolute certainty until sometime late Saturday. So, him, I can pretty much cheer on, unless he proves to be mistaken and refuses to admit or accept it.
Then there's all these folks who've jumped on the bandwagon. I can understand the douchebag religious leaders jumping on the bandwagon. At least for the short term, it means more converts, power and money; and if dude's right, even more so. Them I can almost respect for being true to their predatory self-interest. Then there's the media hype. “It's Armageddon/Rapture time boys and girls! That's big News!!!” Ok, again, predatory self-interest...I can respect that. But then there's all the “Joe Blow Average” folks who are jumping on as well. Either because they consider themselves christian and this just “proves them right” or who really are trying to “hedge their bets” and converting last minute so they won't “miss out on heaven.” I find myself with some measure of contempt vying for dominance with regards these sheep. Still, I suppose it's possible that even lemmings and sheep can have some measure of genuine faith. But what about those genuine christians? Some are jumping on this guys bandwagon because they hope he might be right, others are sitting back with a “wait and see” attitude, others are actively trying to argue with this guy and the folks who've jumped on his bandwagon (something along the lines of “good intentions and hell”). What's interesting, is that for these folks, virtually all of them will wake up Sunday, or any day next week, with their individual faith intact and healthy as ever. Not so sure we can guarantee the same for everyone else.
So, we're back to the question of what to do on the Eve of “Armageddon/Rapture”... Me, I'm going to continue to ponder neurotransmitters, mental disorders, and faith. And perhaps wonder if faith is just an overabundance of dopamine and norepinephrine, or if, when it occurs, crises of faith could so easily be fixed with anti-depressants. Saturday? Saturday, I'm taking a break from my paper and going to a game, where amid pirates and musketeers on the high seas, we're trying to save the world from Armageddon. For some reason, I kind of like that symmetry.