Friday, January 23, 2009

It's the End of the World as we Know it, and I Feel Fine

I've met a lot of strange people on the Internet, but one that will always stick out in my mind is Apocalyptic Fundamentalist Lady. She used to post these long, detailed posts in Christian Livejournal communities about how American liberalism, the European Union, and the Catholic Church are somehow involved with the oncoming apocalypse. We all thought she was crazy (earlier last year she hinted in her blog that Obama might be the Antichrist), but being a rather young and impressionable Christian, her conspiracy theories are forever burned into my psyche. Now when I watch the news and see the latest on the Israeli-Palestinian strife, or the financial crisis, I can't help but wonder if perhaps the end really is nigh.

The Bible says only God knows when the world will end, so I've never understood why Christians can be so obsessed with the end times. We've got Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series. We've got Joel Rosenberg's political end times books. My library even started receiving this weird magazine about the End Times called Midnight Call. Why all this focus on the end of the world? Jesus clearly says that no one but God will know the day and hour. And yet, like Apocalyptic Fundamentalist Lady, many Christians love connecting various articles in the news together to form a detailed timeline of Armageddon.

The Bible does say that there will be signs that Jesus' return is near, and not to be caught off guard. But I don't remember Jesus ever saying that life is only about waiting for the Apocalypse. Remember the parable of the goats and the sheep? Jesus didn't say the ones on His right are going to Heaven because they figured out when the world would end. They were blessed because they fed the hungry, clothed the naked, etc. They spent their time on earth wisely by serving others.

I think a lot of it comes from fear. One of the greatest ways to control others is through fear. How else can some one go on TV and get people to give them money? Tell them that they're all going to get left behind. It's the perfect marketing scheme.

I was talking to an old friend of mine from Campus Crusade not too long ago about this apocalyptic obsession. She said that while the thought of finally seeing Jesus is exciting, "I think that's a large part of our humanness. There is a saying,'Forewarned is forearmed', but the problem with that is we can't be truly forewarned about the timing of the end, and many get so caught up in figuring out that they do indeed lose sight of what's important, which is living your life so that if it happens in this lifetime that you had lived the life God called you to live"

That's exactly what happens to me. I worry so much about the End Times and what's going to happen in the future that I forget about loving my neighbors right here right now. I think we all need to remind ourselves that God will take care of the future, and the most important thing we can do is serve Him here on earth now.

3 comments:

  1. oh, those crazy christians! ;)

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  2. I couldn't agree more. We Christians can get so caught up in certain things, that we get distracted from the truly important stuff.

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  3. This is so true I myself enjoy reading conspiracy theory's and end times related stuff. I agree there needs to be a balance between being excited about Jesus return and doing the things he called us to do which is step out of our comfort zones and help people in need.

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