I have to admit, I felt slightly excited as the moment of Harold Camping’s prophesied Judgment Day approached. Partly it was the anxiety for all of these sincere folks finding themselves so colossally wrong, like “Oh, that is going to hurt.” Partly, though, I think the excitement was from an younger part of myself that gravitated toward myth-based thinking. I did attend a couple of Christian churches off and on with my family growing up, but I don’t think that was it. My parents were never into the wrath-of-God kind of religion, and we never went to those kinds of churches. In fact, the first theological statement I can remember from my parents was when my mom told me, at 7 or 8, that heaven and hell were not places, but states of mind.

So I don’t think it was religion. I think it was the hundreds of fantasy novels I read as an adolescent. I loved those fantasy novels! I loved the romantic, adventurous, magical universes they created. And in a fantasy novel, the prophecy is always true. I can’t think of one exception. Only the heroes believe it, and it’s always true.

I think the part of me that loves those fantasy novels wondered if maybe Harold Camping was right, and we actually live in a much simpler and more cruel world than my adult self has constructed from the modern and post-modern myths called science and philosophy. It makes me wonder if my past adult focus on doomsday scenarios, like nuclear holocaust and human population explosion, or my current fascination with type-2 climate change is fueled by that same part of me.

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