We live in an apocalyptic age. A 2002 poll found that 59% of Americans expect to experience the end times described in the Book of Revelation. There has been, writes Simon Pearson,1 "an extraordinary resurgence of Christian and Muslim apocalyptic beliefs" over the past 30 years. September 11 was, he says, "the great apocalyptic act of our times" and the rhetoric used by both sides in the war on terror has an "end-of-the-world feel".
Last night I watched the final in a series of docos2 on this new age of terror. The war on the west, this doco argued, began in August 1998. I was finishing the 30th year of my career as a FT teacher/lecturer at the time. By the time I concluded my PT and casual work as a teacher in the year 2005 that war of terror was near the end of its first decade.
Some fear that weapons of mass destruction and global warming provide ample evidence that humankind needs little help from God to destroy the world: "eco-warriors are now the new Jeremiahs, prophesying environmental doom and catastrophe". If Dr Strangelove of sci-fi fame doesn't finish us all off, there's still H5N1 and supervolcanoes to worry about.
From eschatological analysis of ancient scriptures to the fascinating and convoluted story of how David Koresh became the Waco, or as the media put it, the wacko-Messiah, Pearson has written a succinct yet wide-ranging survey of the history and symbolism of apocalyptic beliefs. It’s excellent preparation for the Day of Reckoning, an enigmatic term if there ever was one. That day may already have arrived.
Some say the final hour has been upon us for some time; it arrived early in the last century, such was Virginia Woolf's view, before the 100s of millions of people lost their lives in various blazes of terror which, in our age of print and image-glut, people forget or put in their peripheral zone---occupied as they are with: their jobs, raising their kids, taking-in their print and electronic media, and having as much fun as they can make in any 24 hour period.-Ron Price with thanks to 1Simon Pearson, The End of the World: From Revelation to Eco-Disaster, Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2006; and 2SBS TV, “Age of Terror: The War on the West,” 14 July 2009, 8:30-9:30 p.m.
It was a new ball-game after all that cold-war business & the fall of the Berlin Wall; & after two world-wars; it was heading somewhere, but where was any man’s guess as I headed out of the world of jobs at last.
Creating my own job of writing and reading, and editing and research, after half a century in a new world Faith that was slowly taking this world by storm-but so slowly that no one would ever have guessed that this heterodox and seemingly negligible offshoot of the Shaykhi school of the Ithan-‘Ashariyyih sect of Shi’ah Islam, transformed into a world religion would emerge like a chrysalis for a new age & its many ball games, its sport, & its fun-fun.
Ron Price 15/7/'09-5/3/'13.
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