In a message dated 12/26/00 11:10:09 PM Eastern Standard Time, [log in to unmask]
> the point is less that the OT and NT speak of the end (far more centrally
> the NT) for whatever reasons, but why people persist in making this the
> center of their concerns and imagining (so far incorrectly) that the end
> (Parousia, for xns) will come in their generation. that, it seems to me,
> calls for psychological reasons to explain.
My understanding is that Christian eschatology relies less on the OT than on
the mother's speech to her sons in 2 Maccabees...which is included in
Catholic Bibles and was originally included in the KJV, but isn't in Jewish
or Protestant Bibles.
"I cannot tell how ye came into my womb: for I neither gave you breath nor
life, neither was it I that formed the members of every one of you; But
doubtless the Creator of the world, who formed the generation of man, and
found out the beginning of all things, will also of his own mercy give you
breath and life again..." (2 Mac 7.21-23).
Also, Richard, I don't agree that we need to assume a psychological
abnormality in anyone who believes that the end of the world--or at least the
end of human life on earth--is in the foreseeable future. I guess I have what
one might call an environmental eschatology. I believe that during my
lifetime all the major species of wild animals--elephants, tigers, pandas,
lions--will be forced into extinction. I also believe we've gone too far in
poisoning the food chain, the air, the earth, and the oceans to be able to
turn back or recover. I'm noticing especially the upsurge in cataracts and
skin cancers (hole in the ozone layer), as well as other cancers,
deformities, and diseases that seem to have an environmental origin, or come
from the essentially irreversible poisoning of the environment. We're at the
point where even the DNA of entire populations has been compromised. Children
in Vietnam born with the most bizarre and horrifying deformities weren't
alive when the area was saturated with agent orange. Whatever is wrong with
them is probably attributable to the compromised DNA of their parents and
grandparents. Problems of similar magnitude are cropping up in that little
town that has the misfortune to be right under the hole in the ozone layer,
and as a result is getting far more exposure to ultraviolet than the human
organism is able to withstand. These people should be evacuated, for the
same reason that whole towns near the Chernobyl reactor had to be evacuated.
This kind of ever-accelerating downward spiral can't go on forever, which
means I see a finite future for the human race. Five hundred years sticks in
my head as some kind of limit. Maybe the earth will be too poisoned to be
inhabitable by that point. Or maybe the human race will drag on, learning to
think of it as "normal" for everyone to have cancers, for the water to be
undrinkable, the air unbreathable, the clouds radioactive, and the entire
earth a garbage dump. To believe that "science" is going to save us at the
eleventh hour requires more faith in science than I can muster.
Maybe it's a religious issue in the end. In the Creation story, when Adam and
Eve are set in the garden of Eden so they can be the keepers of the garden, I
take that to mean that God didn't create the world in order to have human
beings crap it up, and we were actually asked to be its stewards. Too bad so
little emphasis was put on that verse, and that organized religion has been
far more concerned, over the centuries, with such issues as preserving sexual
purity. Even today, when there are protests or petitions to save the whales,
or the oceans, or whatever, one doesn't see religious leaders in the
forefront. They've convinced themselves that one can love God without
treating the world he created with respect.
Anyway, Richard, cut me some slack. I don't have psychological
abnormalities, even if you don't agree with me.