The Apocalypse – who needs it? – part 2
How to prevent it?
By RALPH DOBRIN
Excerpts from his book “How to avoid Armageddon”
Available through Amazon
Click: www.amazon.com type: how to avoid armageddon
According to biblical prophesy it will be an unimaginably horrendous time for all involved, leading to widespread destruction and death. In the end God will defeat the invading armies and it will take seven months for all the dead to be buried. After this final battle all the nations of the world will acknowledge the Almighty. Indeed, according to Ezekiel this is what it’s all about. Chapter 38, verse 16 says: “… I will bring you against my land as everyone watches, and my holiness will be displayed by what happens to you, Gog. Then all the nations will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel again affirms this in the same chapter, verse 23: “Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.”
But can it be plausible that the Creator of Life would orchestrate events and direct certain people in such a way that it would bring on a global catastrophe that will dwarf all the previous calamities that have befallen humanity, just so as to bring them in line, or make them aware of His existence? On the one hand, supposing, as Scripture teaches, that we are indeed, created in the image of the Supreme Creator, how can humanity be expected to behave in any way other than how we have been behaving? After all, that’s how we’ve been made by the Almighty himself and in His image, no less. Therefore, punishing us in such a devastating way as described in the Scriptures, for behaving according to the way He has made us, would seem utterly unfair.
The second reason why God’s supposed apocalyptical intentions, as stated in the Bible, don’t make sense, is the very pettiness ascribed to Him. According to Ezekiel Chapter 38, the Almighty needs to show off his might? That the ominipotent, indescribably wondrous Creator of the Universe would need appreciation, admiration and acknowledgement, like some petulant, spoiled pop star or megalomaniac tyrant, boggles the mind. To infer that the infintely ineffable Almighty would be moved to cause so much grief, suffering and death to billions of creatures He himself created, so as to show the peoples (who might survive) just how mighty He is, sounds like the height of blaspheme.
With apologies to folks who believe absolutely that every word in the Bible is truly the word of the Almighty, doesn’t one’s instinct for rightness and survival cry out indignantly against such merciless, cruel and vengeful concepts. The vast majority of people cannot know what hidden lessons there are in the Scriptures, or even if there are any, or whether the texts are really the word of the Creator of the Universe. And surely no normative, sane person really wants to see the world incinerated. Even folks who yearn for the Advent of the Messiah – whether in the form of Jesus, the Mahdi or in a Judaic form – must realize the terrible destruction in store for us that the Scriptures predict before this happens. It would mean that they, their children, their parents and other family members, friends and people all over the world, would face a most ghastly situation.
And yet, whether one agrees with any eschatological supposition or not, one cannot ignore the alarming signs showing that humanity needs to do some very serious soul-searching regarding the survival of this planet. We are at a stage in our social and moral evolution where we are still trying to work out the best form of social organization, which also means a different kind of leadership and governing frameworks, acting wisely, selflessly and effectively and superbly well prepared for their role.
Also, because of the connection we all have with each other in today’s globalized world, what happens, for instance, in Caracas, Venezuela can have a bearing on the man in the street in Aukland, New Zealand. A despot’s rage in Zimbabwe can influence foreign policy in the Russian Duma or the price of platinum in Hong Kong. Political power in the hands of a few benign-looking zealots who control the army, media, schools, banks and oil reserves in their theocratic country, can set off a regional conflagration that might encompass the entire globe.
Many theologians of all faiths believe that the prophecies are really warnings to heed the Almighty’s commandments. If we don’t follow the Almighty’s commandments, according to many clerics, we will reap fire, brimstone and the whirlwind. In secular terms it means doing whatever is necessary in order to contain pollution, climate change, poverty, rampant population growth in undeveloped countries, and to thwart the demonic ambitions of misanthropic tyrants and dangerous bigots.
Whether seen as biblical prophesy or as a secular metaphor for the dangers ahead, I like to believe that we can all still work to avoid Armageddon. What is needed is not something revolutionary or brilliantly innovative, workable only as the result of ingenious scholarship or the revelation of any esoteric texts. The key is really astonishingly simple. It’s plain, common decency. Interestingly, the ancient Jewish sages taught that common decency comes even before Torah (the Bible) – “Derekh eretz kadam latorah.”