Bringing on the Apocalypse
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One of the classic short stories of science fiction is The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C Clarke. The background to the story is that over countless years, monks in a remote Himalayan monastery have been generating all the names of god using prayer wheels in the belief that when all the names have been generated, mankind’s purpose will have been fulfilled and the universe will end. The story itself deals with the outcome after the monks decide to modernize and use a computer to complete the task in weeks rather than centuries.
Suppose, contrary to the actual story, the monks had been wrong in their theology. What would happen to the world when the computer reached the last name? Absolutely nothing. The consequence of their error affects only them as they realize they have wasted their lives.
Like the fictional monks in Clarke's story, there are groups and individuals actually working to bring the end of the world. These people are Christian and Jewish fundamentalists. Their aim is to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and in exactly the same place where the previous temple stood. The Jews involved believe rebuilding the temple will bring about the coming of the Messiah; and the Christians believe it will bring about the Second Coming, and all the other incoherent ravings contained in the book of Revelations including the so-called End Times.
This is why many of the fundamentalist groups in the United States have masked their traditional anti-Semitism, and chosen to give their support to fundamentalist Jewish groups - just to accelerate the possibility of rebuilding the temple and bring on the end of everything.
The real problem is the consequence of error. If their theological theories are wrong - and it is near certain they are absolutely wrong - they still risk bringing about the end of the world. That is because two mosques would have to be destroyed to rebuild the temple. One of the mosques is the Dome of the Rock, the earliest Islamic monument which dates from 684 AD and which marks the second holiest site in Islam.
Destruction of these mosques would be certain to touch off a massive holy war which could engulf the entire world. The Christian fools would get their Apocalypse but without their Second Coming.
Their activities are putting all of us at risk. If they trusted their god, they would let him get around to the Second Coming in his own good time. Let's not rush it.
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