Christians love eternity, but not time.
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14-08-2011, 10:17 PM
Christians love eternity, but not time.
I get the impression that many christians, especially the ones susceptible to biblical literalism and creationism, find the scientific view of our historical position in the universe unsettling, to say the least.

One, they tend not to like the idea that humanity has a long history before christianity, especially a prehistory going back hundreds of thousands of years before agriculture and civilization. That interpretation of the past raises awkward questions about human origins, the fate of all those billions of people who died without hearing the gospel, and why christianity came along so late in the game.

And two, they tend not to like the idea that humanity might have a long secular future ahead of it.

Why do they seem to feel this way about our unprivileged position in the history of the universe? Setting aside the whole creationism clusterfuck, first of all, christianity can't get away from the fact that it started out as a doomsday cult which predicted that Jesus would return "quickly" and wrap up the business of the human species. That hasn't happened after 2,000 years, even though every generation or so we see kooks like Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye and Harold Camping who preach or publish their warnings about the christian end times. This embarrassment keeps recurring because the cult's own scriptures present the idea of an imminent apocalypse, clearly and in multiple places, even from Jesus himself. The polling data show that this belief persists in the christian mainstream, at least in the U.S. Considering that Americans generally don't read the bible, where do they pick up this notion, if not from preachers and popular novels like the Left Behind series? The fact that the apocalypse never happens throws doubt on Jesus' identity, integrity and authority.

Secondly, the prospect of a Long Now, to coin a phrase, lying ahead of humanity also raises the possibility that christianity could disappear in the passage of centuries. Assuming that humanity maintains a continuity of literate civilization for the next 10,000 years, would the people living 100 centuries from now even know about christianity, apart from a few scholars who study ancient religions?

This discomfort with our orientation in the history of the universe probably contributes to many christians' desire to hasten the arrival of the "end times." They want the supernatural dénouement to happen in their lifetimes, not only to validate what they believe, but also to make sure that it happens before the christian religion itself disappears. What does the rapture delusion really indicate, if not a fear or expectation of the literal disappearance of all the "true christians" from the planet? Christianity's contingent emergence, duration and likely disappearance in history means that it doesn't have any more "metaphysical" significance in the scheme of things than any other arbitrary world view humans have developed.
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15-08-2011, 11:30 AM
RE: Christians love eternity, but not time.
Most christians I've known have demanded that the message that was needed has always existed just not in books. Many people are a bit unwilling to accept a time before homo sapiens sapien even though there is evidence. Due to the general consensus among humans which would seem to be only the last 500 years (at least in the US) of the Earth's history pertains to the world anymore, most seem really certain that Christianity which has existed a mere 2000 years is in no danger of dying out. I've found that for the most part people are incapable of really looking at a timeline longer than their own, and generally at most will go back to great grandparents because they at least have some connection to that point in history. Times before them do not pertain to themselves outside of literature and other forms of media, and only the newer forms of media really seem to suggest to the average human that this period of time really happened. It's the difference between observed truth and indirect truth. If their brains can only speculate then they do not accept it as truth. Hence the constant reliving of previous issues including our incessant trendsetting loop which takes on the same fashions over an extended period of time yet always acts like they are new.

Sorry for the jumbled thoughts I'm very busy thinking about college currently as I want to change countries.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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