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Lookout Christianity, the Apocalypse is Coming! (JK!)

February 15, 2013

The coming of the apocalypse in most people’s minds usually involves the destruction of Earth. Today’s news from Russia was certainly disturbing–and for once it didn’t have anything to do with Putin. Meteorites hit Russia’s Ural Mountains, and while nobody was killed, thousands of people were injured when windows on the upper-floors of buildings exploded, sending glass shards everywhere. The Christian world, it would seem, is facing a crisis: the recent news of Pope Benedict XVI resigning from his post of head of the Holy Roman Catholic Church has left the world’s Catholics in disarray. And while I am strongly against homophobia, for Conservative Christians I am sure the fact that France adopts a law allowing gay marriage is another sign that the world is going bonkers. For me, the fact that people are  still protest the law is important-and not in a good way. What do these things mean for international relations? Plenty.

La trace laissée dans le ciel par l'une des météorites, dans le ciel de Tcheliabinsk.

The trace of a meteorite’s trail in Tcheliabinsk, sourced from Lemonde.fr

Le Monde reader “Elizabeth Daunis” commented on an article about Russia’s meteor shower saying “pour quoi, alors Que la tere est ronde, tourne sur Elle meme etc. est-ce toujours en Union Sovietique que ca tombs. La poisse?” At first one might be tempted to say that this reader is trolling, deliberately trying to say something stupid. But Internet trolls, as people who like to stir up emotions with radical statement are known, do sometimes reflect popular sentiments of a segment of he population. “Elizabeth’s” comment indicated two very important things: one, that she may think that either the Russian government is making up the meteorite event or that other world governments are covering up other meteor showers, and two, her using the name Soviet Union indicated that she likely thinks unfavorably of a nation which hasn’t been Communist or Soviet in more than twenty years.

Thus, even though the meteor might have showered down over a remote part if Russia, it still effects the whole world. Even governments cannot stop the laws of nature, although they can certainly try to cover them up of make them seem like something else. Apparently, what is clearly an actual event where people got hurt in the face of nature turns into a political discussion. Perhaps this is because man cannot control nature, try so very hard as he does.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (that might be a good idea at this point) then you’ve probably heard of asteroid 2012-DA 14which is passing dangerous close to Earth–the one with the 45-meter diameter. It would behoove the nations of the work to cooperate with each other in an event hat something like a asteroid hit actually occurred. I also believe that governments should share information they have in the science fields, because i think it’s wrong and utterly inhuman that one country wants to have a monopoly on information that could help save lives in another one (this kind of hearkens back to my comments on space exploration). When it comes to natural disasters, the disaster can only be mitigated by how well we work together.

Another example (at least for Christians) that the sky is falling, although not literal: the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the first pope to do so since the Middle Ages (to be precise, the last Pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415). I’m not sure what all the hoopla is over, at least on a practical level: if the pope had died, people would be sad, but they would deal with the task of appointing a new pope no differently. The issue here, then, is the image his resignation gives to the Catholic Church. One could say that he’s tired of the politics tied in with the church and the burden of being such a figurehead; cynics and anti-Christians would say that faith is not strong enough to keep him in his position, that he doesn’t appreciate te task at hand. Certainly, I must say that I have a hard time imagining a Muslim cleric “stepping down” from a n important role (alas, the almighty caliph tradition was strangely dissolved by the Turkish Empire, leaving their no Muslim equivalent of the Pope). Indeed, I feel that many would say that the Pope knows he’s fighting a losing battle.

For Christians I could thus see this being a crisis of faith amongst them; bucking tradition is always difficult to appreciate. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this means a religious war, but i wouldn’t be surprised if the pope’s resignation will one, cause Christians to question their faith and it’s legitimacy and two, to reassure believers of other faiths that they are stronger. Religion may no longer play the center role in the western world, but elsewhere (on a local scale at Least) it matters.

A third reason Christians (conservative ones, that is) might feel that the apocalypse is coming: the advent of gay marriage. Conservative, fundamental Christians have long stressed that a marriage is between “a man and a woman”. Certain states here in America have legalized gay marriage, including New York, and several other countries have legalized it on the whole, but one country that’s feeling the tension right now is France. In a move that shocked a country that’s rarely shocked, France approved “le mariage pour tous” after months of protest. The move was bold, when you consider that’s its still illegal in most of the world, and the French are still protesting: 700,000 opposing signatures were delivered to the CESE today (I guess the Valentines Day spirit was a little thin this year in France). But why should we care so much about this–at least homosexuals in France, one might argue, have other legal rights and aren’t, say, executed for their practice as night happen in an Islamic country. Why is this so important to the rest of the world?

The clear reason is that France has elevated human rights; no matter what the public thinks, the government has continued it’s secular tradition and further distanced itself from the tradition if Catholic France and granted people what should be (sorry, Christians) their God-given rights. Obviously this means that other countries could be inspired to follow France’s path. But there’s also a dark side to this. A government can enforce a law, but it can’t enforce an attitude. If religious fundamentalists in developing countries see that the “rich, educated” French, who don’t treat sex as a dirty word, don’t like fat marriage, then they may feel that it truly is bad if these Frenxh who live different (and, importantly, liberal!) lives don’t approve either. They may continue their subjection of homosexuals. A pro-gay government and irate, anti-gay-rights population also sends a mixed message to the others: does their government always act democratically? Does it have the public interests at heart? And, (kind of a stretch but] do they feel like they always have to follow their public’s wants and demands if this democratic, ‘liberal’ country does not?

Christians should take a breather: I don’t think the world is going to end just yet. After all, 2012 was supposed to be the apocalypse and December passed without incident. The asteroid is supposed to pass Earth, not hit it. Another pope is ultimately going to be elected, no matter what everyone thinks. I’m not sure how soon the anti-gay marriage flame is gonna take to burn out, but lets just hope that all of this doesn’t make a bigger impact on society.

 

Links:

1. http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/12/world/europe/pope-benedict-resignation

2. http://www.lemonde.fr/sciences/article/2013/02/14/l-asteroide-2012-da-14-si-proche-de-la-terre_1832272_1650684.htmlv

3. http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2013/02/15/pluie-de-meteorites-sur-la-russie_1833072_3244.html

4.  http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2013/02/15/les-anti-mariage-gay-deposent-700-000-signatures-au-conseil-economique-et-social_1833302_3224.html

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 17, 2013 10:47 PM

    Always great to see you writing! 😀

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