I try to express to my friends regularly that a great number of people are crazy. While they are not so crazy as to be disabled, they are crazy none the less. Read this article. While there has been much recent talk of the dangers of religious fundamentalism, little of that talk has been directed at the insane christian fundamentalism tolerated and often fostered here in the US.
Like me, many Americans grew up in christian households, exposed to ideas of the apocalypse and the end days. Many normal christians even believe that at some point the apocalypse will come. Some believe it will happen in our lifetimes. Then you have the people who believe they are currently involved in the last days, and are doing their best to be taken up in the rapture.
It is telling that the “Left Behind” series are all best sellers. Also telling is that Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” was the best selling non-fiction book of the 70s. America’s silent fundamentalism is a concern that most people don’t even think about. It becomes something else when it’s a guiding force in your country.
It’s one thing to blow off the invasion of iraq as a money grab by an imperialist nation. It’s another thing entirely to seriously consider that it may be ideologically motivated by individuals who honestly believe they are embroiled in the beginning struggles of the last days. Becomes a lot more scary doesn’t it?
While I was raised with an idea of the Apocalypse, the idea was always that the good people would do their best to prevent the end of days, not give in to it as inevitable, or even crazier, try to usher them in by trying to bomb mosques in Israel. This fatalistic attitude is not something I would consider traditionally christian. But then, many attitudes and beliefs held by many christians could scarcely be called christian.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s okay to have beliefs about the end of human history. And I think it’s right to be concerned about the future. Too few people are genuinely concerned about the ability of humanity to survive the many risks that currently present themselves. Chief amongst those risks is our own stupidity and ignorance.