I was around when Fundamentalist Christianity embraced the Apocalypse.
Okay, so I’m not THAT old. But I do remember reading “The Late Great Planet Earth” when I was still living on Ridgeway Avenue in Flint. It was about that time when the Christian right began to feel itself out. There was still support for schools (millages passed on a regular basis) and the entertainment industry went on in its own way (boobs were big in the seventies, and porn was breaking out then), but the ideas were fermenting. Then came Reagan, and the economic policies he instituted (and which have grown stronger and wider-ranging in the following years, no matter whom the president was/is) have made people less and less comfortable with living on earth.
Hence the apocalyptic beliefs. If the world sucks, why not believe that someone/something will come along to sweep everything rotten out of the way and leave “the chosen” behind with a cleansed world waiting for them to inhabit?
Every religion has its apocalypse (end-times) for those who believe, so as to keep them believing. The Christians have a mix of end-time beliefs, from “now in them” to “awaiting them in the future.” The Hindu have an end-of-the-world in which life becomes impossible on the earth and Vishnu/Krishna (in the form of Kalki) comes in to sweep the rest of what by that point will pass as humanity from the face of the world so that Brahma can sleep and regenerate the world. And some parts of Islam have an apocalyptic belief that amazingly parallels the Christian apocalypse, only from the other side (side of evil according to the Christians, side of the faithful according to the Muslims).
New to all this belief are the new agers.
Sure, they’re aware of the Hindu version, but that’s so far into the future that they’ve felt safe and secure in the belief that they have time enough to om their way to the Heavens of their desire (personal or impersonal). And much of their stuff is based on Pagan (western earth-bound beliefs) or American Indian beliefs, so they had no real reason to fear the future or hope for something to create a clean slate.
But something happened. I have a few thoughts on what:
- Eight years of Bush, twenty-eight years (coming up on twenty-nine) of straight Neocon rule. Add into that the rising right, and things can get “pretty ugly.” (Add into that people WANTING them to get ugly, and you have a problem many of these folks have never had to deal with before in their lives. Ever.)
- 9/11/2001 shocking people into gleefully giving up their rights (“Heck, we don’t use them anyway so why should they matter?)
- A belief that you can change reality by thought combined by a strongly persevering belief in objective reality (the world doesn’t end when you die). Combine the two, and you realize that this world is probably the best that can be believed in, considering what everyone else is believing about the universe.
- Raising one’s self into the Brahma-jyoti is proving harder than these folks have thought.
- What with global warming (or is it cooling?), cyclones of plastics floating around the oceans, Canada turning into an oil-based third world nation (and the peak oil issues which have led to that), and the desperation of mining activities around the world, there is that possibility that they may not have as much time to escape “this veil of tears and enslavement” and may indeed be stuck in a lower level of Heaven (or in a Hell, for that matter) for their next incarnation.
So now they’ve embraced December 21, 2012 as their Apocalypse. Some, of course, call it the day of renewal (and the Mayan call it just another day), but for many that date is given a greater level of importance that only apocalyptical days are to be given.
And a large number of people are hoping for some major disaster to happen on that day so that the world can be cleansed of the nonspiritual humans on it and they can om shakti om themselves into enlightenment.
That’s the last thing they should hope for. At the very least, they should hope things can be fixed so we can ramp down (instead of violently fall down) our population to a more stable level.
But hey…I’ve seen what happens when The Apocalypse gets into people’s thinking. Active effort becomes unnecessary, passive waiting becomes the norm. And the people who want you weak and in their power take over.
Whether it be from the book of Revelations, or an old calendar with an oddly notable endpoint.