Friday, July 5, 2024

Blog Post #1

    I find the concept of the end of the world thoroughly fascinating, both from a skeptic's perspective as well as from a theological point of view. Eschatology, as it relates to Christianity, has always been an intriguing concept for me, and - after listening to "The End of the World" lecture and viewing the corresponding slideshow - it seems to me that much of the world, both historically and in modernity, seems to agree.

    I find this subject fascinating because I am a Christian, so it is my belief that what is predicted in the Book of Revelation will ultimately come to pass. I am, however, a natural skeptic; frequently distrusting and sometimes paranoid of the status quo, mainstream narratives, and prevalent ideas that seem to be politically motivated and/or agenda-driven. This dichotomy has led to other people's perception of myself as being somewhat confusing, enigmatic, or outright paradoxical. What both skeptics and believers often misunderstand is that these seemingly conflicting attributes have not caused cognitive dissonance or contradictions in ideology, rather, they have instead helped me to rationalize my beliefs and ground them in logically-sound conclusions. In this sense, I am just as skeptical of the scientist proclaiming impending doom due to "climate change" as I am the Christian preaching the end of days because they've interpreted and/or decoded the text "correctly." 

    In viewing the lecture, I am reminded of how many grifters and charlatans have used the passages in the Bible for manipulation and personal gain. One glaring point that stood out to me while going through the slideshow and listening to the lecture was the way in which these snake oil salesmen proclaiming to be Christians insist on putting a firm date on Jesus' return, the rapture, and/or the end of the world. I find it shocking that these self-proclaimed profits somehow missed the part of the text which states that only God knows the day or the hour of Jesus' return. Even sadder to me, though, are the supposed Christians that fall for the lie, time and time again. I wonder how many of them actually know their Bibles, because any man claiming to know the date of Jesus' return would be, to me, an act of rebuking God's word, and would thus be self-defeating.

    This is a perfect illustration of what I hope to better understand from taking this class. What fascinates me is not just if we believe something, but why we believe it; not if we know something is true, but how we know it to be true. I view this as a quest to delve into the foundations of faith and skepticism alike, and to discern between objective truth and comforting falsehoods. I hope that, in taking this course, my journey will bridge theological inquiry with critical thinking, and ultimately lead to the betterment of understanding my own beliefs as well as those of the people around me.

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