Sunday, March 04, 2007

Failed prophecy

There's much ado about prophecy these days, with commentators divided between believers and skeptics.
In one corner, there are the end-times advocates who contend we're in the final days, that the return of Jesus to straighten out the mess is imminent, and that only certain Christians will survive. Of course, people have been saying this for the past 2,000 years. How bad does it have to get before The Savior makes an appearance?
Jews are still waiting for their Messiah, after some 3,000 years, while Muslims await the arrival of their Mahdi to make things right.
And there are those who pay attention to the Mayan and ancient East Indian calendars, both of which end in 2012 and predict the end of "this world" and the birth of a new world. It's a bit vague, though, as to whether there will be a leader involved in this transformation.
Do you put any stock in prophecy?
One school of thought maintains that a fulfilled prophecy is a failed prophecy, that the purpose of prophecy is to wake people up and inspire them to change course.
In that respect, I'm continually reminded of George Orwell's prophetic novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four". The British writer uncannily saw a future world of endless wars with nebulous enemies. Published in 1949, the work accurately foresaw the current deployment of U.S. troops around the world, fighting wars this nation had no business getting into, hypnotized by the dulcet tones of Big Brother assuring the people that all is well, and a totalitarian government that sought to control the lives of its citizens. The current policies of misinformation, "doublespeak," torture, and government eavesdroping on private citizens was eerily predicted. Fortunately, Big Brother Bush is no longer able to fool the populace as he did in 2003, when he launched an invasion of Iraq to "instill democracy" in that chaotic, factionalized land. Unfortunately, American youth are still dying because of this madman's folly. And he still won't admit that he was wrong.
Was it prophecy? Was Orwell's vision simply that of a person who could see where things were headed and who tried to warn people, to wake them up? Isn't that what prophecy is all about? The predicted outcome is only inevitable if the words are ignored -- as they usually are.
While some people seem to be content being led around by the nose by "leaders," or waiting for "saviors" to emerge to make it all go away, I'm encouraged to see a grassroots movement in this country, outside government, to do what needs to be done -- without relying upon charismatic leaders.
It's long past time to wake up and become active.

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