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Author Topic: Eschatology and pessimism vs. optimism  (Read 853 times) Average Rating: 0
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idontlikenames
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« on: June 08, 2005, 02:18:37 PM »

There's been something on my mind for quite a while.  I am quite sure that the Church holds that the Apocalypse to St. John the Beloved is a prophecy about the times immediately preceding the Parousia.....I'm sure the Church has anathematized "post-millienialism" (the belief that all of St. John's prophecies were fulfilled by the end of the first century), I just don't know when or where.

But this belief in the imminent end and destruction of all things and/or the dissolution of human society prior to this Tribulation and Judgment creates problems for me as far as views of the world and destiny go.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that eschatology, or pop-eschatology (vis-a-vis "Left Behind" series, etc.) inevitably creates a negative impression of humanity and the world on the mind.....and this is a big root to the fundamentalist world-negating fear inherent in Evangelical forms of Christianity.

If everything is "set-in-stone" by prophecy to deteriorate at some future moment, wherefor God will intervene to stop it by an act of Wrath/Judgment, does this not inevitably cause a negative estimate of human destiny to be placed in the mind?  This creates a pessimism in my opinion.  Why even try to better society?  Why even try to work towards the future?

And doesn't an act of Judgment-intervention on the part of God seem rather capricious, contrived, and artificial?.....a sort of deus ex machina?  Why would God, at some point, decide to intervene in history and cause the natural unfolding of human destiny to effectively stop, unless He never really thought that humanity should unfold its destiny to begin with?  And why stop there?  Why not intervene in history at some mid-point?  Why not intervene in history right after Pentecost?  Isn't any date to submit the world to Wrath just as arbitrary as any other? 

I need answers....because I have a hard time accepting traditional Tribulational eschatology at face value without it thereby causing me to have a negative estimate of history and the world.
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2005, 05:25:32 PM »

Why did God create the cosmos in the first place? Once you know the answer to that you can worry about why he's about to end it. Sometime.

BTW Science suggests the world will come to end at some time as well. There is no escape. Only good religion confers a meaning upon death and endings.
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idontlikenames
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2005, 05:41:19 PM »

But even the scientific end of the world (over-population, sun-scorching, heat death, etc.) would have to have its origin within the eternal counsel of God....I personally see a lot of aesthetic value (though, for dogmatic reasons, I certainly don't believe in it) in the eschatology of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the likes (i.e. the Kingdom of God will be realized among humanity in the latter's natural course of events.....God "realizing" eschatology from within the global structure rather than from the outside, if you will).  Why couldn't God carry out the Parousia this way? 

Alas, maybe I'm asking silly questions, but I must find some answers because I have had a neurotic fear of End times and Tribulational doom since a teenager.
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2005, 05:48:55 PM »

Quote
If everything is "set-in-stone" by prophecy to deteriorate at some future moment, wherefor God will intervene to stop it by an act of Wrath/Judgment, does this not inevitably cause a negative estimate of human destiny to be placed in the mind?

An example I heard once is that the world is a ship with God in control of the rudder.  Each person on the ship has free will to move wherever he pleases on the ship or do whatever he pleases.  He can improve his own living quarters and work to better his entire floor (and the whole ship if he so desires).  But the ultimate destiny of the ship is beyond his control.

Quote
This creates a pessimism in my opinion.  Why even try to better society?  Why even try to work towards the future?

We do not live for this present world.  Our focus ought to be on creating our treasure in the world to come, not on this world.  Creating a Christian utopia is not what the Church has ever been in support of.  That idea is an from far outside the Church and Christianity - masking itself under the cloak of Christianity. ÂÂ
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