We've got a bonus question this time.
I've been posting some contrarian questions lately, proposing that some time-honored notions might be rife for re-evaluation and perhaps, even throwing out altogether. This question has rather cosmic attributes, so let's get right to it:
Is it possible that the "End of Days," "Judgment Day," "The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord," has already occurred?
I'm not going to go into the reasons why I pose this question at length, but I'll merely highlight some pointers to this as a valid possibility.
First, hope and change have been relegated to the category of punchlines to political jokes. The gates of Hell have posted over them the motto "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." I think that fact speaks for itself.
Second, Jesus, in the Olivet discourse (look it up) points out that some of those hearing him speak would be alive when the Second Coming arrived. Do you see any two-thousand-year-old Jews hanging around - anywhere? I didn't think so.
Third, the Book of Revelation talks about the Anti-Christ. Given the propensity of biblical literalists to cite this person, or that person, as the definitive Anti-Christ, and having done this for hundreds of years, I think it's safe to say that in at least one case, they must have been right. If the Anti-Christ has already made his appearance, and then been escorted off the world's stage, Judgment Day has come and gone.
We're the leftovers. Or, in the terminology of a popular series of novels a few years ago, the left behind.
Well, you may ask, why didn't we see the sun turn to blood, or the stars fall, or any of the other signs of those days listed in the Book of Revelation? Who's to say we didn't see these things? Have you seen some of the space images from the Hubble Space Telescope? Red suns, skies void of stars, the whole thing - it's all there! This is a big universe, after all.
So - if we're the left behind, what does that mean going forward? This is where the second contrarian question comes in.
Let's assume that my proposition is in fact the truth. Let's assume further that we're stuck here, that there will be no further passage of the righteous to Paradise. In other words, hope is now dead - this is as good as it gets.
That's pretty depressing, you might think. But wait - we now have the chance to create a world that truly reflects human values, not those hopelessly romantic notions that the God people kept imposing on us all those years. We can make the world in our own image!
Where should we start?
Here's that second contrarian notion.
I think it's time that we made the point, once and for all, that you're responsible for your own presence in this world. It's time to stop the stupid idea of charity. If events have conspired to screw your life into the ground, well, buddy, that's just the way things turn out.
This needs to be applied to both our foreign missions as well as to our domestic policies and practices. For instance, if you don't have a fortune, and you're so short-sighted as to not have bought health insurance, a sudden illness or accidental injury or any other unexpected health crisis is your problem. Show up at the Emergency Room without an insurance card, or a bank statement, and some really good ID, and you'll be shown the door. You can't mooch health care off the system any more. No freeloaders, and high time for that. It's all about freedom from government mandates, after all.
With any luck, this will help weed out the weak and slow, the elderly who are too infirm and slow to understand that there's no more free lunch. Within a generation, we should be a fit, healthy, and very free people.
There are a myriad of other consequences to this change in the way we live, but I think you get the idea. If you can't carry your own weight, you should just go off and die, and free up the resources for people who can pay their own way. And the sooner, the better.
Robert Heinlein wrote a book years ago, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. One of the things about that book that has stuck with me all this time is the acronym TANSTAAFL, which means THERE AIN'T NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH. That's eternal wisdom. That's the motto of this brave new world, if my contrarian notion is in fact true. We're embarking on a new adventure, and one that will create a much simpler world. Let's get it on!