The world will not end on May 21 or Oct. 21. That is as certain as the sun rising tomorrow and babies being born on May 22 and Oct. 22. In addition to the spirit of enlightenment (especially reason), we can thank God (especially the Son of man) for that blessed assurance.
The current mania surrounding May 21 is another outstanding and outrageous illustration of just how far the abysmal disconnect between outlandish dogma masquerading as Christianity and authentic Christianity has grown in our times and place. Though terribly disheartening, it is not altogether surprising that in our post 9/11 society the Prince of Peace has been kidnapped by religious militarists and recast as a warrior god.
Nor should it be shocking that as our economy tanks there are those blinded by bizarre dogma who foresee the end of the world soon, very soon. What is alarming is that these blasphemous beliefs and actions have found so much resonance among Christians themselves. Are we really so bewildered and befuddled? Or are we just at the end of our wits instead of our world?
Let's get back to the Bible, which Martin Luther metaphorically once described as the manger in which the Christ child is hidden. As all Christians know, that child is a triune son: Son of David, God and man. It is that third son, the Son of man, which embodies a profound prophecy of liberation in clear contradiction to the May day prediction of annihilation.
The best biblical clue for the coming of the new age and the end of this one is found in the opening verses of Revelation 21. Within it there is not even a hint of collective torment of the projected left-behinders, let alone their mass murder. Just a joyous wedding of a beautiful bride (represented as a collectivity, the New Jerusalem, descending from heaven) and her happy husband (represented collectively as humanity on earth). This mass wedding of divinity and humanity ushers in a new social order on earth, a utopian one, which has been the fervent dream, prayer and work of all wisdom messengers throughout history and humanity.
These are the doers, not deceivers, of the Word (James 2:22), those who have lived and worked in accordance with God's will and consequently have rightfully earned the honorific and procreative status of mother of Christ, the eschatological one (the Son of man), which is not to be confused with the historical wife of Joseph (Matthew 12:50). As the collective mother of Christ and fiance of the New Jerusalem, redeemed humanity enlightened universally by the spirit of truth is finally worthy of a holy union with divinity in social form.
Unfortunately, that is hardly the case now. Current social forms and contents are anything but divine. Plagued as we are by wars without end; deepening poverty; ethnic cleansing; increasing class divisions; religious fanaticism; and a host of other social sins, it is much more likely that, instead of Jesus coming, God is still weeping. Certainly a few more divine tears are being shed as a result of these foolish predictions about May 21 and October 21.
In fact, such madness is further proof that we, as a human family around here, have a long, long way to go before we get it right; get invited to our ultimate wedding; and get our destined inheritance of peace and Heaven on earth through human action in accordance with divine will.
Lange is a Newton Falls resident who teaches the Sociology of Religion at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.