Monday, May 23, 2011

Apocalpyse Not Now

I suspect many of you reading today's post knew the topic in advance. After all, you're here, I'm here, and my noisy neighbor is still here. If there were to be a silver lining in this whole Rapture schmegegie it would have been that my circular saw-happy neighbor would have ascended to heaven and I could have made up some ground in my sleep deficit.

But that didn't happen. I guess Jesus was too busy helping basketball teams win games and actresses win cheap plastic trophies.

And now 89-year old Harold Camping, the crazy coot that started this whole Mediapocalypse, will recede from the limelight and enjoy his pureed peas until his end time does arrive, which could be any minute now.

I think Harold deserves a round of applause. Not only has he provided a wealth of comedic material, he has, perhaps unintentionally, forced many to examine their own faith and the very notion of prophecy.

At least I hope he has.

As Dennis Miller used to say, "I don't want to get off on a rant here" but my problem with religion, is that it is too easy. It asks for little more than belief.

I've read Christian, Hebrew and Islamic scripture, and God (who seems to be very insecure) demands a lot of praise and appreciation. But above all, he puts a premium on belief.
It even made his Top Ten: Thou shalt have no others before me.

But when you stop to think about it, belief is so declasse. It's one of our reptilian brain functions.

People believe that black cats cause bad luck. People believe wearing baseball caps inside out will spark a rally. People believe chewing the roots of some Brazilian swamp plant will cure cancer. The nodule that controls the belief function in the human brain sits right next to the cluster of nerves that make us drool when we sleep.

Look, if I were God (I don't get to write that phrase very often), and I had taken the trouble to create the entire universe in 6 days and bothered to put mankind at the top of the food chain and endowed him with the ability of critical thinking, I think a golden ticket to heaven would require a little more than an 11:59:59 vow of "Oh Lord I believe in thee."

If there is any precept of Judaism that makes sense to me, it's that we should be judged by our actions not our words. Not that many prison converts want to hear that little nugget.

We humans have the ability to play the violin, to write operas, to perform nano-neural surgery, to split the atom, and to extend a brand's core essence across a vast field of digital media landscape producing multiple touchpoint/revenue streams. Shouldn't God be more appreciative of these efforts than the mindless bending of a knee on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning?

I just ran across this stashed in my drawer.

It's from an old college Math exam. I'm literally stunned that at one time in my life, all these numbers and scribbles made sense to me. They don't now. But take a good look at the rigor and the logic. They demonstrate the beautiful unlimited capacity of the human mind.

Of course, the irony here is that apocalpyse-predicting Harold is a former civil engineer. From Berkeley, no less. Thanks to his God-given brain he could easily find the center of mass in the diagram prescribed above. And a whole lot more.

Seems to me, Mr. Camping, that if the Lord judged us on how much we have actually accomplished in this world, you could have camped out by his side for the rest of eternity. All you needed to do was stop thumping your bible and work a little magic with your protractor and your slide rule.

1 comment:

Ellen November said...

Loved reading this: If there is any precept of Judaism that makes sense to me, it's that we should be judged by our actions not our words.