and "End Times"
Earth Manifesto Insights
Dr. Tiffany B.
Twain once observed:
"When the human race has once acquired a
superstition, nothing short of death is
ever likely to remove it."
is pervasive today, despite modern understandings that correspond to reality
far better than in times long ago. Recent
years have seen increasingly serious conflicts amongst nations and a
frightening increase in terrorism.
There has also been a spate of deadly and destructive natural disasters,
including the South Asian tsunami of December 2004 that killed 230,000 people
in eleven countries, and the most destructive hurricane season on record in
2005, and the earthquake in the Kashmir region of Pakistan and India on October
8, 2005 that killed 80,000 people.
us understand one thing that is perfectly clear: natural processes are at work in natural disasters. God demonstrably stopped intervening in
natural processes soon after ‘He’ supposedly created the Universe, and God no
more physically intervenes in human affairs than Zeus intervened in Greek
affairs 2,000 years ago.
beings have ironically made natural disasters far worse through such poor
planning as unwise development in flood zones, coastal ecosystem destruction
that facilitates flood and tsunami damages, and the building of structures that
are not earthquake resistant. We have
made human calamities worse by pushing economic and social policies that
increase poverty and injustice, instead of ones that strive for more respectful
fairness. And political leaders have
distorted intelligence in order to foment wars, instead of making strong
commitments to peace.
it, folks! For all practical purposes,
our Maker went out of business long ago. The miracles that we hunger for are miracles that can best be
provided by positive social action and smart planning and human goodwill, not
by either world domination or hopes for divine physical intervention. The only true salvation that we can achieve
will be that which we strive to create.
believers in religious dogmas attribute all of these disasters to God's anger
at people for their sins. They claim
that prophecies in the Bible are coming true, and that the end is near. Apocalyptic thinking may help people come to
terms with fears and insecurities and calamities. But End Time beliefs are ultimately a form of savagely selfish
"spiritual Reaganism". These
beliefs smugly and subliminally applaud the social, structural, and
environmental disintegration of civilization, and they suspiciously savor the
prospects that apocryphal holy book prophecies may actually be coming true.
seem to hope that Doom is Near, because if such prophecies do come true, it
will vindicate their beliefs and they will be rewarded with "Rapture"
that will supposedly be followed by satisfyingly terrible Tribulations wreaked
on non-believers, and then there will be a triumphant Armageddon as God
vanquishes mean old Satan; and,
finally, there will be an obscenely unjust Judgment Day when those who are
"with God" are saved and they regally live on in Paradise, while all
others will be eternally condemned to a hellish place where fire and
brimstone burn forever. (Nice! What
generosity and forgiveness! What love
and righteousness! What a Divinely
magnanimous master plan!)
in the Rapture and End Times may have valid underpinnings here on earth. Beliefs like this are a form of escapism from
the true anxieties of earthly injustices and adversities. But we cannot accept the dangerous orthodoxy
of End Times beliefs. To the extent
that they effectively advocate that we should welcome human degradation and
resource depletion and ecological devastation because these events are
harbingers of the arrival of rapturous End Times, they must be refuted. It is pathetically wrong to allow our
societies to be harmed by politicians who use End Time belief insecurities to
gain and abuse power by exploiting these fables and fears.
wonder is there will be another ‘Big One’ like the 1906 earthquake and fires
that wreaked so much damage in Northern California. The fact of the matter is that there will be 100,000 Big Ones
along the famous slip-strike San Andreas Fault in the next 15 million years, as
the Pacific Tectonic Plate slowly moves north relative to the North American
Plate, and Los Angeles on the Pacific Plate moves north to the latitude of San
MY WORDS! Religious fundamentalists are
already prepared with their naïve God-strikes-sinful-San-Francisco explanations
of the next Big One. The debate will
rage for a while, as if there were some suspicious but probable credulity to
the story. It will be just like the
hypocritical folklore that blamed lesbians for bringing God's wrath down on New
Orleans, and Muslims for the deadly Indian Ocean tsunami. This is nothing new. There was a terrible earthquake in Lisbon,
Portugal in the year 1755. It took
place at the height of mass on All Soul's Day, and it killed thousands as it tumbled
down on the heads of the presumably sinful faithful. Voltaire and Rousseau and all the philosophers and theologians of
the time got a lot of mileage out of the calamity, some charging that God was
punishing the sinful in Lisbon. I doubt
that they achieved much greater perspective on God and humanity than we are
achieving in the superstitious aftermath of the spate of natural disasters in
the past year.
is a belief system that posits a special creation, then the Fall of mankind
into sin and the redemption of true believers by a Savior. Rich myths, such as those contained in the
Bible, posit that God created a perfect world, and that mankind fell into sin
by disobeying God in eating from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and
Evil in the Garden of Eden. God
eventually became so disgusted with the sins of mankind that he caused a
worldwide Flood to destroy all life other than that saved on a giant Ark built
by a 500-year-old man, and ‘He’ later sent His own son, Jesus Christ, the product
of a virgin birth, to die for man's sins. Jesus, the story goes, was resurrected after death so that he
could offer salvation to true believers.
so, in the human mind, Jesus already has been resurrected! Unfortunately, his resurrection has been so
outrageously distorted by religious fundamentalists today that the real Jesus
would probably be sickened if he really did come back. I assure you that if he did show up
somewhere today, he would be regarded as crazy, out of touch, hopelessly liberal,
a dreamer, a madman, and a dangerous threat to the orthodoxies and doctrines
that the fundamentalists now support.
and Hell are Biblical myths. They are
not places that literally exist. It is
an ultimate irony that the only real heaven and hell lie in the conditions that
we create for others and ourselves here on Earth. Consider hellish circumstances here, and mankind contributes to
most of them: harsh injustices; starvation; aggressive violence and wars; ruthless torture; stress,
frustration, despair, antagonism, oppression, vindictiveness, maliciousness,
and hatred in our societies; the
fouling and poisoning waterways with toxins and pollutants; horrific terrorist attacks; and the inadvertent bombing of innocent
civilians through military aggression.
smoking leads to 400,000 deaths a year from lung cancer. Starving to death afflicts ten of millions of
people. Climate change being caused by
uncontrolled emissions of greenhouse gases and concomitant global warming may
kill hundreds of millions in our lifetimes. Yet we commit the greatest amount of discretionary spending, well
over $100 billion per year, to hyper-aggressively fighting terrorism, which
kills less than 10,000 people a year worldwide. And ironically, the violent arrogance with which we confront
terrorists, instead of dealing with the underlying injustices that contribute
to terrorism, actually increases terrorist threats to a far greater
level than they would otherwise be.
in power cynically pursue an amoral agenda. They manipulate the public to accomplish their ends with Orwellian
tactics of deceit and authoritarianism. They exploit people to increase their power. They do the common person in two ways: first,
by ignoring the plight of the majority of poor and middle class people, and
second, by concealing this crime through militant calls for patriotism and
nationalism and aggression.
say that terrorism and the war on terror are simply new stages in ages-old
religious conflicts, particularly between Islam and Christianity. We must diffuse such strife that is based on
religious certitudes, superstitions, prophecies, End Time beliefs, and pathetic
idolatry is the worship of money, prestige, and power. Worship of these idols presents us with far
more serious risks than we would suffer by worshipping healthier things like
artistic expression, broadminded education, or noble pursuits.
"Often, the less there is to justify a
traditional custom, the harder it is
rid of it."
Mencken claimed that: "The whole
aim of politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led
to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
must strive for more enlightened leadership, and not allow the political and
religious establishments to manipulate us into supporting their selfish,
power-hungry, shortsighted rule. We
must speak moral truth to amoral power! We cannot let superstition drive civilization towards foolish and
absurd attitudes, behaviors, and conflicts!
we must remember, in the midst of all these considerations, another thing that
religions have conveniently suppressed:
"No civilization can be perfect until exact
man and woman is included."
Twain, Notebook, 1898
equality is not achievable, but a relatively significant increase in it is
overdue. That is my opinion!
--- Dr. Tiffany Twain