I grew up in a somewhat religious family. Mom and dad were not religious, though. They believe in God and are Christians, but they’re not the types to get fanatical about religion. Mom goes to church every Sunday. Dad doesn’t. Mom is Protestant. Dad is Catholic. Their families are that way, too. My aunts and uncles varied in their approaches to religion as well. Some are very devout Catholics, going to Mexico City on a yearly pilgrimage and having big pictures of the Pope around the house. (Though not as many figurines of saints, interestingly enough.) Others are also very devout Protestants. And, like in every good family, there are those who clamor for the “end of the world.”
I’ve always been interested in understanding why someone would want the world to end. What kind of suffering are they under that they want all this to disappear and be replaced by “paradise.” Don’t get me wrong. If I could snap my fingers and replace it all with a paradise, I would. But, according to Christian scriptures, it’s not as easy as snapping of fingers… Not for us, anyway.
No, according to The Bible, the end times are a time of struggle and suffering. The righteous people will get through it just fine, either because they’re raptured into heaven or protected here on Earth, but the “bad people” will suffer miserably. I don’t like that. I don’t want anyone to suffer, no matter how much they’ve wronged me. I’m not that evil. So I keep wondering why you would want other people to suffer, people who may include people you love. I mean, what if mom trips up and doesn’t get invited to the paradisiacal party? I wouldn’t want her to suffer a hell on Earth, or in Hell for that matter.
But there are people — some in my family, many around me, and this US Representative of questionable credentials — who want the world to end. What gives?
Never mind that the whole letter of Revelations was a letter to the early Christians under Roman persecution. It wasn’t a detailed account of thing to come, not by a long shot. The mark of the beast? It was the name of Nero. The beast? Nero. All those horrible things happening to believers? The Roman persecution. (They were thrown to the Lions, for Christ’s sake. No, really, for Christ’s sake!) And it was written with a lot of allegorical imagery as a “code” to get the message across to the early Christians without the letter raising suspicion among the Romans.
But what do I know? I’m not a Bible scholar.
I do know that there is something odd about calling for the end of the world, even when presented with evidence that you got your prophecy wrong time and time again.
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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