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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why Are People Fascinated with Apocalyptic Stories?

I went to see a movie yesterday. I haven't gone to the movies in a long time. I saw "Where the Wild Things Are." I have one word for you: Don't! However, while there I saw new movies being advertised. One was called 2012. I have little doubt it will center around the Mayan calendar and their prediction that something amazing will happen December 21, 2012.

It will not point out that this is the end of one of the Mayan periods of time. It will not point out that there are places in which the Mayans have written dates much later than 2012. These two things would destroy the premise that the world will end on that date. There are enough "nuts" who will buy many more books on the subject and have some trepidation that the world is about to end.

Toward the end of the century speculation arose that the world would end. That has been somewhat true since the beginning of the marking of centuries. I guess people think that the clock has to run down at some time so it must be set to do so at the end of the century. This isn't reasoning; just a type of superstition.

What fascinates me is why people are so enamored with these stories. Do they fear dying alone? These apocalyptic stories would take us all out at once. We would all go together. Do they fear dying old? This way they won't have to wait. Is the destruction of all creation inherent within many people?

I am sure of a few things about the end of time. These things are not coming from speculation. Here they are: 

-We will know that it will arrive but we will not be able to predict the end of time. Jesus, Himself, didn't know when it was. We won't know either.

-Our predictions will most assuredly be wrong about how it will happen. God has enigmatically written how the end will come. Our picture of that day is colored by our history, culture and environment. Each generation will probably see it differently. These predictions will evolve over time.

-Many people who think they are prepared will not be prepared. They will think they have been inoculated from the end by their baptisms and church memberships. Jesus said that there will be many who will be surprised. They will think they got in when they really didn't.

-There is nothing that must happen before this time can arise. The early Christians expected the return of Jesus at any moment. They did not think that the planets needed to align or that the world powers had to agree. They knew God was one who could change things overnight. They didn't assume that there was time to wait. They looked for the return of Christ expecting Him to arrive at any time.

-Our fixation should not be on speculative stories but on the preparation of Christ's return. It is okay to attend these movies for entertainment but not for knowledge. Knowledge was never their purpose. 

-We should always think the time is short. It is better to have made that call to the loved one who does not know Christ than to assume you have time to wait. We simply do not know how much time there is.

I don't know if I will go to this apocalyptic movie. (I suspect there will be more before 2012.) I will probably wait for the DVD. I like adventure. I also know it is fiction.

Who knows? We may not be here in 2012. We may not be here tomorrow. To this I say, "Come, Lord Jesus, come!"


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