I heard a story today on NPR about another group of Christian True Believers who believe in a clear end-date of time. This time, it’s May 21, 2011, two weeks from today. (Gee, it’s too bad my grades for the spring term are due May 17! Bummer. Then again, if they’re right, who’s gonna know the difference as of May 22?)
These millenialist groups never learn from history, or from anyone I guess–but I suppose they’re betting that someone is bound to be right about the end of life on Earth sometime, right? One of my favorite stories from nineteenth-century U.S. history is the story of the Millerites, Christian enthusiasts of William Miller who believed that the end of time would be in 1843, or maybe 1844, or perhaps in 1845. When each of the dates he picked turned out not to be the end of the world, most of his enthusiasts drifted away. Remember all of the excitement about Y2K and the coming end-of-times/computer meltdown that would return us all to the bronze age? Funny how that just didn’t come up very much after January 1, 2000.
It is utterly strange to me to be disappointed that the sun rises again each morning–but what the hell do I know? I love life. Even if I were one of these nutty nihilists, the last season I’d be rooting for the end of the world is spring, especially now that it’s May and green and lovely again. But I guess I don’t know anything about loving life or respecting creation. I’m an unbeliever, a profane scoffer even, so we all know what my reward will be if I’m wrong! Mumble along if you know the words: “Lenny Bruce is not afraid. . . BlahblahblahmamamamamaLEONARD BERNSTEINfliffafliffablahblahblah. . . ”