My theories on religion struck a legion of nerves. Excellent!
I’ve been wondering if our ideological frenzy dates to the 1960s, when hippies and New Leftists brought a kind of religious fervor to movements against war and for broader rights. Did conservatives then apply that ferocity to religion?
Now everyone agrees that the end of human life on earth may be nigh. But they vigorously debate how and why Homo sapiens is doomed.
The Religious Right tends to believe in the End Time, a period of tribulation from which a minority of the best Christians will be chosen by God to escape early. There will be human chaos followed by physical chaos.
The Secular left tends to believe that nature has been systemically overloaded and that civilization will be destroyed in a chaotic, long-running series of ecological catastrophes. There will be physical chaos followed by human chaos.
For Apocalyptic Christians, doom will sweep them off to heaven, where they will finally learn the answer to an age-old question: Do pets join us in the Afterlife? Not to mention an unmentionable curiosity: Does anyone have fun up There?
For Eco-Apocalyptics, there isn’t much to look forward to. Escape isn’t really possible—the best places to hide and maintain a decent lifestyle will become battlegrounds and fascist enclaves against desperate losers. The nice ones hope that some of the species we’ve come to love will survive our self-destruction (even if that entails learning to thrive on PCBs, mercury, and plutonium).
Suddenly I see a giant light bulb glowing over the American educational system. I have an idea! Are we engulfed in conflict over how the end of the world will be interpreted as it happens?
Are all those fights about Darwinism vs. Creationism really just a war over who’s responsible for this mess? Will America’s children be taught that they are doomed by man’s compulsively sinful nature or by man’s compulsively sloppy nature? Sounds like Homer vs. Simpson….
Is the agent of our doom a Supreme Being? Or is it Nature? Who owns the morality of our destruction? Does it matter?
Since bird flu is a passing tribulation, those with protective gear and some luck get to see the next act. Bear in mind that not a single apocalyptic prediction has ever panned out. Yet.