We seem to be preoccupied with our own demise. Whether it’s great apes taking over San Francisco – that could be an improvement – or a weird fixation with what happens to the world after all the people leave, American media, at least, seems to be asking the question: What happens if we disappear or are supplanted?
Following a rash of UFO sightings and maybe a crash in Roswell, New Mexico – well, something crashed, anyway – Hollywood cashed in with a rash of alien movies, like Earth Versus the Flying Saucers (1956). These movies were, for the most part, formulaic. Aliens invade, aliens are winning, a last-minute crash program by scientists in a secret government compound powered by generators, slide rules, and Timex watches develops a weapon that turns the tide and all the aliens’ saucers, etc., crash. In other words, we are saved by the military-industrial complex.
In a few of the old alien invasion movies, we are saved by cooperation with the United Nations, as well as the military-industrial complex. In most of these old movies, we win. One movie in particular breaks ranks. In the original The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), we are forced to join the outer space version of the United Nations or we are to be made extinct. In that old flick, we are so dangerous to more advanced civilizations that we are perceived as a future threat to intergalactic peace. We are left with a choice – well, kind of.
Now we have movies where the whole environment turns against us because we are burning too many fossil fuels. We have documentaries that show us how our mighty buildings decay after mankind becomes extinct. Additional documentaries tell us that since both the Mayan calendar runs out in 2012 and Nostradamus specified a similar date for man’s demise, if you decode him the proper way, the world is ending in 2012. Then there was the movie 2012 released in 2009 where the whole planet turns against us. A few folks escape by submarine, mostly government bureaucrats, a few super-wealthy types, and some Pentagon deadwood – mostly folks who can’t tell toothpicks from matches.
Maybe great apes taking over isn’t such a bad idea.
Not to be outdone, the Christian community and its media have a few folks setting dates as well. One old date setter, having failed to get the faithful out of here in 1994, tried again a few months back. Let’s just say I didn’t have a picnic on the roof so I could be first in line to glory.
Christians should know better. Does scripture itself not tell us that “no one knows the day or the hour,” referring to the second coming? Christians should perhaps be more concerned with “occupying till he comes,” and I take that to mean doing the work of the Church, not waiting on the demise of the current regime or our species.
When it comes to the end of days coming anytime soon, call me a skeptic. In the meanwhile, I guess it is kind of interesting for the nice scientist on the idiot box to explain to me how long it will take kudzu vines to rip apart the Empire State Building after we are all killed by weaponized viruses unless we are first eaten by Mayan zombies. It might hold my attention until dove season, anyway. The End.