It was, indeed a revelation when I discovered the book of Revelations. We weren’t a religious family although I did get sent to the Presbyterian church as a kid. Sunday morning, my mom gave me a quarter to put in the “collection” and shoved me out the door. I’d walk past the pond that the entire town referred to as “the lake”, throw some stones in the water, and stop at the corner store. My quarter would buy one Reese’s peanut butter cup, one Hershey bar and one Mounds bar, leaving me 5 cents to place in the collection plate and something to munch on while they were going on and on about God and Heaven and Sin.
One Sunday morning, the preacher was talking about Armageddon and the book of Revelations. This was the most interesting thing that had come up since I’d been sitting on those hard wooden pews investigating this stodgy world of religion. He said that one auspicious day, among other things, the sun would rise in the west and set in the east.
For the next year, before I even peed, I jumped out of bed, pulled the curtains aside to determine if the sun was rising in the customary place. I didn’t want to miss a thing and if it wasn’t there I had no intention of going to school. After all, everyone was going to be able to fly, the streets were miraculously lined with gold, white horses would be galloping through the heavens and angels would be everywhere.…
Luckily it was simply a phase I was going through. One of the more interesting phases, but it faded away. The one thing I did hang onto was the idea that the end of the world, as we know it, was, in fact possible. I gave up on the fairy tale of angels, gold streets and galloping stallions in the sky and moved on to the possibility of nuclear disaster, atom bombs, hydrogen bombs, and idiot men, consistently, trying to blow each other up and claim the remnants for themselves. This demise of humanity would still, in my mind, happen in a day. One minute we’d all be here, and the next minute…boom, we’re out.
It is only beginning to occur to me that the destruction of everything that sustains us is a much slower process. It doesn’t happen in a day. It takes years of neglect, denial, and misinformation to bring the planet to it’s knees. Not only is California on fire, but the world is burning up as we speak.
If it’s not on fire, it’s flooded. The disasters are global and they have nothing to do with Armageddon or God or the Apocalypse and everything to do with greed. Capitalism is the new religion in America and the missionaries are busy invading, bombing, coercing and buying their way into yet untapped markets with complete disregard for the immense devastation they’re creating. Greed has replaced saintliness, money is the new God, and here we are, fighting over everything while the planet is screaming for some tender loving care.