Wednesday, January 4
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Scenario planning is the art of anticipating the worst in order to prevent it or reduce its consequences. What's disturbing about "prophesy" (in religion or in secular doomsday scenarios) is that it often seems to lack the prevention aspect. Sure, you're warned to save your soul by attaching yourself to a religious dogma, or you get the temporary right to look down at others who aren't looking ahead. But what are we *doing* about the anticipated disasters of the End Times? Are we resolving conflicts before they become catastropic, conserving resources, learning to prepare for disease outbreaks? Some are, but many more are praying and doing little else. Fatalism is not moral or spiritual, it's more like a betrayal of future generations. The "time bomb" of Revelation seems to have paralyzed the Christian conscience of many Americans. They worry about the persecution of Christians under the Beast, they worry about the Whore of Babylon (described as a wealthy empire in denial, no resemblance to America implied) but they don't consdider for a moment that Revelation might have been an allegory of imperial hubris and redemption, that it might be a timeless call for integrity and compassion in wealthy and militarily powerful nations. End Times books fly off the shelves in Christian stores, and Israel is defended at all costs, but where is the prophetic mission to speak truth to power and to raise the voices of the excluded?
It would be ironic if "peace on earth" became the call of secular activism while Christians defend policies favoring material wealth and military dominance. In the US and in the Islamic world, there is the same battle between competing visions of God, one a tribalistic avenger of one group's suffering, the other calling for peace and compassion. How do people stuck between worlds reconcile those visions of God?