What is your take on all the end of the world hysteria?
While it’s obvious that the “hysteria” is confined to a very small number of charlatans and fanatics, I believe the impetus for these radical and ridiculous reactions to the Mayan 2012 calendar calculations are embraced by people who have no credible concepts of legitimate interpretations of history, theology, science or epistemology. The specific reasons for these delusions likely stem from the same human impulses found, for example, among the Romans and Greeks who created scores of gods for their own imaginations, and from the Aztecs who embraced human sacrifice for appeasing the gods. Unfortunately, these inane ideas involving superstition and myth have found their way into some contemporary and even mainstream religious practices.
Do you think anyone can predict the end of the world?
Of course, such an event can be “predicted”. People do that all the time and are doing it now. Anybody can predict anything. But they all are wrong. The primary reason they are wrong is because the concept of the “end of the world” is neither defined nor conclusively definable. Within our own solar system and galaxy, and even within the unlimited, all-encompassing universe, there can be no “end” unless there is a stopping of time or a conversion of the present reality to another dimension or portal. There is no scintilla of evidence that such might occur. In fact, just as there is no prospect of an “end”, there is no logical basis for supporting a “beginning”. Ask yourself: If the beginning is postulated as the occurrence of the “big bang”, what was going on during the time prior to that event? Didn’t space and matter exist prior to the event? So, can an accurate prediction be made about when
the “end of the world” (whatever that is) will occur? Of course not.
Do you think we are nearing the end times/second coming?
If by the notion of “end times/second coming” is meant the so-called “second coming” of Jesus Christ, recall that the reports in the New Testament apparently created the expectation that he would “return” very soon after his death and reported resurrection and assumption. But despite the perceptions, it didn’t happen then, and it hasn’t happened yet. So-called “prophecies” which claim to interpret texts to refer to contemporary events as “signs of the end times” are hogwash. Some may be nearing the end of their sanity or competent reasoning, but that has nothing to do with speculation about the end times of the second coming.
Do you believe you will be taken in the rapture?
The question presupposes that the so-called “rapture” is definable and (whatever it is) will occur, thus allowing for the prospect that I may be “taken” by it? What if it occurs, but I don’t want to go? Do I have a choice? If it occurs in December of 2012, as some fanatics predict, what am I to do about my plans to take a cruise and then go to a Lyle Lovett concert in 2013? I’m looking forward to that. So, no, I don’t believe I’ll be taken in any “rapture”. In the first place, it won’t happen, but if it does, I won’t go.
What is your view of heaven?
Again, we have a problem with dealing with an undefined term. If by “heaven” the term is meant to refer to that place in the sky (or somewhere else) that people go after they die (if they are “saved”), then I would refer those who seek this answer to the book written by Bishop John A.T. Robinson (an Episcopalian) in his 1960s volume titled Honest to God, in which he discusses the inanity of the socalled three-storied universe, with heaven above and hell below, with the earth in the middle. Based on the limited, empirical information available to me at this time, I don’t have a clue regarding what a “view of heaven” might be, but the closest thing I can come up with would involve sitting on a beach in the Caribbean next to a bucket of iced-down Caronas and an extremely fast wi-fi connection for my laptop and my Nook, and sitting downwind from a mesquite-fueled grill cooking sausage from Elgin or Brenham. The good news is that I don’t have to die to get there.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Even people who are deemed to have been competent theologians in the past (and even in the present) have taken ridiculous positions regarding such phenomena. For example, confronted with the idea advanced by Copernicus that our universe is heliocentric, Martin Luther stated, in his Table Talk : ”People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool [or 'man'] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.”
The reference to Joshua making the sun stand still so that it would cease revolving around the earth for a day is from Joshua 10:13. Maybe that’s the day the rapture occurred, but nobody wanted to go.