Armageddon & Bull Sh*t Theologies


One week ago (Saturday May 21, 2011) we should have all been blown to cosmic dust, or raptured up into the Heavens, or put into purgatory, or…what is it about the end times that gets us all in a query of frenzy? What is it about mass death in the name of God that has a lot of religious pious individuals smiling from cheek to cheek and actually being overwhelmed with happiness? A lot of this has to do with the belief in something that is obviously bigger than us and brings us immense self-identity, self-worth, and a false sense of self-righteousness; the same concept happens with, say, health freaks, environmental zealots, and anyone who has found the “Gospel” in a “religious” type context. Sociologist J. Paul Williams depicts this religious process as 1) the secret level—which a person keeps to their self and does not discuss or divulge religiosity which transcends into 2) the private—in which the person divulges information with carefully selected people; then comes 3) the denominational—which the individual shares with many others in a large group and, lastly, 4) the societal—where the “gospel” is shared with all, typically vigorously, and with much passion (J. Paul Williams The Nature Of Religion 1962). It is at this point (The societal) which the person can become zealous and over energetic to share this new found “news” with others.
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Can things get any worse?

These are tough days for optimists and humanists. For optimists, it's tough to stay positive because of all the junk going on in the world: there's trouble in the Middle East, our economy continues to teeter precariously, the Gulf oil disaster is out of control, and Al and Tipper Gore are separating after 40 years of marriage. If this can happen, is there any hope for the rest of us?

For the humanist, it's discouraging for many of the same reasons, but the frustration comes not so much from the problems in the world as it does from our inability to solve them. The worse things seem to get, the more it seems we are not in control, and that just frustrates the heck out of anyone who puts their trust in humankind.

Even our technology, which is supposed to be the savior of the world (okay, maybe only Steve Jobs thinks that, but you get the idea), has us spooked. Nevermind that we can't fix the Gulf oil leak. What about Facebook? Talk about losing control. Even though Facebook has tried to assure its nearly half a billion users that they have nothing to fear, a lot of people are concerned that the social media giant knows way too much about us. "People actually use Facebook like it's crack," said one 24-year old social-media savvy user. "So I don't see what the next step is aside from world domination."

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