Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The News?

This morning’s reading of the world according to Facebook led me through an unusual set of absurdities, rather different and yet rather the same as the familiar and ever morphing secular conspiracy theories one is likely to encounter, along with the bonehead comments on serious, real world events. Instead, my eye caught one article regarding the identity of the anti-Christ in an ancient dead sea scroll. Very strange, since the Christ himself had not yet come at that time..  In fact, the word ‘antiChrist’ appears only in the gospel of John and refers only to those who deny Christ, not to some particular individual who is to arise in the future. One article led to another, as these things go, each more absurd and misguided than the former. He is the Pope, he is a Muslim, he is a a Jew, a figure of magical powers and powerful illusion. He is even President Obama (but don’t fret, Barack, he was Bush before you). Essentially, these theories are designed to set various groups of people against one another. They propose a worldly farce in the place of spirituality, a kingdom of confusion in the place of the kingdom of God, fantasies more appropriate to the Hollywood movie than the true depth of truth and wisdom in scripture. In short, he is us. Prophesies themselves are not made to be unravelled and revealed beforetime, but to glorify the omniscience and foreknowledge of God after the fact, not for the pulpit of ignorant men and their naïve, gullible followers. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Such was told Timothy by Paul. The conspiracy theory, though it is a shame to admit, is originally a religious phenomenon, and, by that measure, secular conspiracy theories are essentially religious in character, in the worst possible sense. They are manifestations of ignorance, of paranoia, of superstition, grappling with the world through the obverse end of a telescope. It is so very much easier to entangle oneself in the adventure of worldly rumors than to take up your rough wooden cross and travel the uncompromising, unchanging road of truth, pure and simple.

Not long ago, my son from my second marriage contacted me via FB Messenger. Seeming rather concerned, he asked my opinion regarding whether the world was set to end at any moment – a conviction that had been conveyed by his mother. Nothing matters. His studies, his career, his love life. One must simply look to the heavens in anticipation.

Indeed, one must. Why wouldn’t he?  From whence do love, joy, hope, promise, justice emanate in the first place? But I’ll tell you this, I said. Your mother has been saying this for as long as I’ve known her, because this, to her, is hope; and is far easier than growing, than changing, than pursuing the hard and the painful work of becoming more like Him.  No, the  world is not about to end. For you it is just beginning. For when they say it is ending, you know most certainly that it is not.

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