Thursday, August 7, 2014

How To Really Survive An Apocalypse... not by buying guns and gold and hoarding supplies and running off to the middle of nowhere to build yourself a bunker in the ground.

In my opinion, anyway.

So... What to do? What to do?

Because a lot of people these days are quite frightened. There is Ebola and all the conflict in the Middle East and the Culture Wars and climate change and free birth control and various right- and left-wing conspiracy theories springing up like weeds after a rain. There are a lot of crazy "religious" ideas taking off, too, linking a variety of bad happenings with "God's wrath." And all of these scary things -- both real and imaginary -- cause much anxiety among good folks. And then the good folks can start to act a little bit paranoid, at times. They start speaking of an "apocalypse." And they get defensive, and start doing things like buying guns and gold coins and hoarding supplies and running off to the middle of nowhere to build bunkers in the ground in order to survive this apocalypse.

I think that's kind of screwed up, though.

First of all, when people get all paranoid, they start acting with poor judgment in both their interactions with others and in how they view the events in their lives and in the world. They make poor decisions. And -- worst of all -- they start treating their fellow human beings with disdain. For example, not an insignificant number of people who consider themselves "God-fearing" blame the conflicts in the Middle East and various natural disasters on the "homosexual agenda" and abortion rights. This leads them to treat LGBT people and pro-choice people very poorly -- in word and in deed. It causes us, as a society, to be unable to work with each other and to reach reasonable compromises concerning our differing views about things. There are people who have turned the Ebola outbreak in Africa into a tool for attacking illegal immigrants from Central and South America. So, you see, instead of rationally solving the Ebola problem, we turn it into fuel for the fire in our domestic policy fights. And this gets nothing done. In fact, it's worse than getting nothing done. It takes us ass-backwards.

In my view, then, if there is some kind of apocalyptic event -- something that ends society as we know it -- it's not going to be caused by Ebola or LGBT people or pro-choice people or immigrants or people who want to limit carbon emissions or Putin. It's going to be us -- human beings -- acting like irrational idiots in a time of true need and turning a bad situation into a catastrophic one.

We need to look at the real and actual problems.

We need to treat people who disagree with us -- even on important issues -- with respect.

We need to stop indulging in conspiracy theories involving Facebook and get a grip on reality.

We need to be rational.

And -- most of all -- if there is some sort of huge make-it-or-break-it crisis that humanity has to face -- we have to be kind to each other. We have to be charitable. We have to love. We have to stop running away from each other and isolating ourselves. We have to be there for each other. We have to reach out to each other -- whatever our ideological differences may be -- and see our common humanity and take care of each other. We have to put The Other before ourselves. I think this is what Jesus meant when he said to "love thy neighbor." Because whenever he illustrated in his stories what a "neighbor" is, he always used examples of people who wouldn't naturally get along. That is who your neighbor is, you know? Your neighbor is the person with whom you wouldn't naturally get along.

And this, in my opinion, is the only way we will ever survive (or avert) an apocalypse. By ceasing to act like paranoid, foolish, irrational enemies and begin to act like the brothers and sisters that we're supposed to be.

"Live together. Die alone."


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