Wednesday, 15 October 2008

The Mark of the Beast - tamed

The planet is a big place. And most of it is not the USA. Most of it is not Europe.
This is something that SciFi films and End Times believers always forget.

I was watching an episode of Farscape the other day. It was episode 6, Series 1 "Thank God It's Friday, Again" The Peacekeepers had drugged up an entire planet and had them growing the druggy root, which the Peacekeepers used in weaponry. Luckily the Farscape crew landed at the one town where the sole representative of the entire planet happened to be.
Which was lucky.
The program would have us believe that all the people on the planet grew the same crop. That all the people on the planet were under the control and reach of the Peacekeepers. It's not very likely is it?

And this is what SciFi has in common with End Time prophesy, the inability to grasp global scale.

Because with the current financial crisis, various christian knobs are getting excited and claiming it is a sign of the end. And when it is pointed out that the crisis will not last I read one person claiming that the solution to the crisis was
"International Socialism. The progression to worldwide totalitarian socialism is what is prophesied."
They go on about only being able to buy and sell if you have some kind of mark. And this is where I get global. Across the whole planet? So, while folks in USA and across Europe have some kind of mark/tattoo/chip that enables them to shop, peasant farmers in the Congo have them too? And fishermen in Bangladesh will have this chip? And trappers in Mongolia? They don't even have shops for chrissake! In Zimbabwe the official inflation rate is in the trillions percent and things are done by barter. Do you think Zimbabweans are going to get uptight about a tattoo? The shops are empty. So if the R
rapture and tribulations starts tomorrow, Zimbabwe will be exempt?

It's stupid. This antichrist, one-world government thing is so small minded. For the same reasons that the authors of Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel and Revelations were incapable of percieving a world beyond their horizons, so we tend to think that what effects us and our countries can have planet-wide applications. Small mindedness, lack of imagination.
The Left Behind series tried to make a nod towards the effect of the rapture in other countries, but in the same way that Independence Day did, by showing an alien craft crashing near the pyramids. A token effort.
The reality is, that christians in America think that God is uniquely concerned with America, just like christians in Britain think about the tribulation causing problems shopping at Boots.
But the reality is that the world is a big, big place, and the mark of the beast is simply a logistical impossibility.


FrodoSaves said...

It's funny, a similar realization was one of the things that initially turned me onto atheism. I always wondered as a child how Santa could deliver toys to all the children of the world in one night. Now obviously there's a lot wrong with that notion - a lot. But it was my discovery that things were less universal than the Christmas myth would have us believe that started me questioning the span of Jesus et al too. Turns out, beyond parts of the western hemisphere, nobody cares.

Incidentally, the same principle is behind the catchphrase of my satirical religion, Frodology:

"If you're a person of faith, odds are you're in the wrong one, so you might as well be in this one!"

Bart said...

You can bash peoples delusional fantasies all you want, but you cross a line when you bag on Farscape!

Seriously, thats a great point that I hadn't thought of for religion. Ill stuff that argument away for use the next time I hear about 'the mark' being a signal of end times.

But as for "Thank God its Friday, Again" I assumed (or suspended disbelief, thats the point of good sci-fi, right?) that they just landed at the largest city, and it was the capitol, containing the huge shipping containers, star port, and of course freaky chick in white. Great episode. Especially because Rigel had explosive urine.

ExPatMatt said...

"...just like christians in Britain think about the tribulation causing problems shopping at Boots."

That made me laugh.

pecheur said...


haha. You know I used to think I had that all figured out.

But now I realize I was wrong. It just so happens that I am reading Ezekiel again. I am less convinced of the pre-trib view.