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Monday, January 24, 2000

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I finished reading "Apocalypse Pretty Soon" by Alex Heard. He takes the reader on a wandering trip through many of the endtime cults, groups, whatever, as well as others, including utopians and UFO believers.

I found it to be an interesting tour. He starts out with a group that, like the ill fated Heaven's Gate group, believed that aliens would be coming for us in space ships. This group was much more up beat though still very dependent on the beliefs they had put their hope into being true. Next he tells about a group of Pentecostals and one rabbi from Israel, who are trying to breed a perfect red heifer so that when the third temple is built in Israel, the heifer will be ready for sacrifice.

This led to an overview of some premillenialists which are a subgroup of the dispensationalists, itself a subgroup, probably the majority of the fundamental Christians. I was brought up in this and sincerely believed it. Until I hit college I had never really had any reason to not believe. The people I believed in believed in it and I just accepted.

This is a very structured theology that interprets everything that happens in terms of the seven dispensations of the earth that they believe are taught in the bible, particularly Daniel, Ezekial and, of course, Revelations. One scary thought he brought up, that another author had written about, was that the dispensationalists believe that God will cleanse the earth from evil and this has been corrupted to justify the actions of people like Hitler and Stalin. It is a terrifying thought.

As with all groups that believe in prophesy, everything can be construed to fit in with the prophecies, and is, to judge by the flood of books being printed on the apocalypse. It's the same belief that conspiracy buffs have that if something doesn't fit into their theory than it's either a deliberate attempt to mislead people, or just something that isn't fully understood yet.

Heard meets libertarian utopians who have never advanced a inch toward their goal of a utopian island, where there is no government and talks, over several years, with members of the militia who are convinced the government is out to destroy their liberty. Both groups have a strong belief in the evil of the government but have decided to oppose the government is different ways. The libertarians with mainly talk and few practical uses, and the militia with violence and too many deathly outcomes. Neither group has any real grasp of what living in the real world is.

Then a run through a control freak UFO believer; environmentalist, mother goddess survivalists; life extension enthusiasts; people who want to be frozen after death; and a week long seminar on how to have an out of the body experience.

By the end I was once again amazed at the capacity of human beings to allow themselves to be deceived in an attempt to control life and death, and to make their lives more important and more meaningful than they feel they will be without it. One point he made was that much of this is self therapy out of desperation or just boredom. What made it believable is that I've known so many people like this.

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Walked - 3 miles

(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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