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As Long as We Remember...

May 23, 2011

Still “Left Behind”

Steven R. Berryman

If today is Monday, and you are reading this, then neither one of us was “Raptured Up” and/or everybody was “left behind.”


Okay, no earthquakes, plagues, pestilences, fires, floods, or famines today, either; guess that crack-pot warning us all to prepare for a coming apocalypse got it wrong – again. Shame on the media for hyping this one! And on us, perhaps.


The efforts at promoting this year’s premonition even included personalized direct mail to my house; I was shocked, and for a time truly felt that this was a sign.


Not knowing how this would work out for yours truly, I took no chances. “This could go either way” I said to me. So, I mowed the grass and trimmed – BOTH front and backyard, then cleaned the guns…just in case all law and order broke down for a spell.


Then, seeking solace in retro movies on the Encore channels on cable TV, I surfed around just in time to find both movies – Starship Trooper, and Starship Trooper 3, shown in sequence. Watched the movies that lampoon American nationalism, and gave it some real thought this time.


There was a tie-in to religion.


The original award-winning sci-fi novel Starship Trooper – upon which this series was based – was penned by Robert A. Heinlein, who graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.


Surely it was not mere coincidence that an underlying alien invasion theme – insects in this case – was laced with a future story about belief in God. Starship Trooper was filmed in mock docu-drama style as a George Orwell inspired future war-propaganda film, just like the patriotic newsreels of WWII. Mr. Heinlein had created a future world dominated by a vast Federation-World-Government dominated by military compulsion as the only means of gaining the all coveted right to citizenship.


By the end of part 3 of Trooper, the Nazi-evoking uniforms of the Federation bore the crucifix patch. Proudly the government had usurped Christianity in a similar fashion to that of ancient Rome.


Can’t get away from the religious theme this weekend, it seems.


So, I turned to The Frederick News-Post, my other writing weigh-station, on Sunday to read the Letters to the Editor. Against my better judgment, I read “God and the essence of energy in the universe” by John Carlton Hagerhorst.


Now, the News-Post can never be accused of not printing all viewpoints!


This seriously intended Deist construction of how matter and gravity itself hold special powers over human nature and manifest themselves in random belief systems…was a strange fit for a Sunday, and even more odd in the shadow of the non-Rapture.


The Letter to the Editor began with the old discussion of the fact that God exists by many names. Well that spin on a belief system itself is a function of a specific belief system. It does remind me of what believers in Islam say – that there is but one God.


Of course, dig a little deeper and the claim is not for a universal God to be shared from many vantage points, but that their god is the one and only true God, at the expense of all others. This concept is not unique to their religion, of course, but I am warned by some pretty knowledgeable people that… they really mean it.


Of course, the baggage that comes along with that implicitly denies the Holy Trinity!


Well, on faith, I stand somewhere between Joel Osteen, Jerry Falwell, Reverend John Hagey, and Richard Dawkins, the denier. I don’t consider it to be blasphemy to consider many possibilities in a world that intentionally denies proof as the litmus test of “belief.”


Just who are the “chosen ones” is decidedly not up to what I think, but I do suspect a connection between this, and those that find the nationalistic concept of “American Exceptionalism” offensive.


Well, perhaps the mis-Rapture has served its purpose simply by opening up the conversations. Mine is surely not an orphan.


And maybe next week will be the real Rapture; as possibly the doom-promoters were looking up “End-Times” on the wrong Mayan calendar!


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