Saturday, May 21, 2011

Apocalyptic Arrogance

Faith is an important part of my life.   One of the key tenets of my faith revolves around the appropriate role for the unknown.   None of has an idea about when their life will end.   And likewise, none of us an idea about when or if the world will end.

That uncertainty forces individuals to consider that each moment is important.  Faith should not encourage complacency.  At the same time it should encourage some humility.  We have the appearance of being able to control events not the reality.   In my profession, a lot of politicians have a more robust belief in their ability to see for the rest of us.

The stories about a radio preacher who projected with precision the end of the world struck me in two ways.  First, while I am not able to quote scripture at will - I do know that the Bible is pretty clear on whether any human being can use their power of reason to know things like the date of the end of times.  Regardless of whether the scripture about the end of times is an allegory or an actual event - we are told pretty clearly that this is not something we can discern.

Second, I could not figure out whether this preacher was hyping his radio preaching or whether he fell into the pit of arrogance that we often see politicians fall into - I am smarter than the rest of you.   In one sense it did not matter to me.  The result is the same.  What all the hype actually did for me was to reinforce the absolute necessity that we understand the limits of human capacity and then try to work to improve our condition within those limits.

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