Are you an Apocalyptic or an Evolutionary? One is profoundly pessimistic?#34;the other, profoundly optimistic.
The vast majority of Americans (85 percent according to one poll) profess to be Christian. And a majority of Christians believe in a coming Apocalypse as revealed in Revelations, the final book of the New Testament. A lot of conservative Christians believe the "signs" all point to the Apocalypse happening very soon indeed. This is worrisome, since conservative Christians have been gaining political clout.
America is quickly becoming more a theocracy than a democracy. The wall between church and state is rapidly collapsing. And if the people in charge believe the world is coming to an end?#34;and that it's a good thing?#34;it stands to reason they will, either consciously or unconsciously, hasten its demise.
Every catastrophe, every war, every famine, every earthquake becomes a sign that the Apocalypse is at hand. If you're an Apocalyptic, there is no incentive to make the world a better place because you're not in it for the long haul. Are we destroying the planet in the pursuit of profit and cheap energy? Who cares? Why create a more sustainable world when the world's days are numbered?
And if you believe you're one of the righteous, you also believe you're immune to the suffering that would attend the world's demise.
At its heart, Apocalyptics are pessimists. They believe mankind is a lost cause and our only hope is Jesus' apocalyptic return.
I believe in something better. I believe in evolution.
I believe that God wants homo sapiens to survive because he (she or it) has something in mind for us?#34;something better than most of us can now imagine.
When most people think of evolution, they think of how we got where we are today?#34;Darwin's theory of selective adaptation.
When I think of evolution, I think of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit archaeologist/philosopher, who died 50 years ago on Easter Sunday. He advanced the notion that we are evolving, not just physically, but spiritually as well.
"I believe that the universe is an evolution," Chardin wrote. "I believe that evolution proceeds towards spirit."
I'm an Evolutionary. The world may well be destroyed by our careless stewardship if we don't wake up soon, but I don't believe it will mean the end of humanity. I think we're in this for the long run. And, as an ad on the CTA once put it, "In the long run, the long run is all that matters."
In the long run, things will get better. That doesn't mean we've been on the upswing lately. In fact, we've been stuck in a 35-year downturn. Like the erratic line on a graph, ultimately ours will climb again, but not until more people turn their backs on the Apocalyptics?#34;and that means facing forward.
Evolutionaries are the antidote to the profound pessimism and fear that have gripped this country for over three decades. We need to be thinking ahead and moving forward, not just killing time until the Apocalypse.
Are you an Apocalyptic or an Evolutionary? That is becoming an increasingly important question. You can be a Christian and not be an Apocalyptic. You can be a non-Christian and still be an Evolutionary. Evolutionaries believe humanity has a future and that future is a good one. Apocalyptics believe mankind has no future, and what's in store for us is a lot of grim reaping. The Book of Revelations is myth, not prophecy. I believe in a loving God who wants us to keep evolving.
Or, as Chardin put it, "Someday after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."