Friday, December 21, 2012

Is the end of the world for real?

This morning while I sip coffee, looking at the cloudy sky, my nephew hugged me and asked. "Is the end of the world for real?"

He was just eight years old, two years younger than I am when I first learned of the end of times. I was ten, back in 1985 when I watched a free movie sponsored by a Christian protestant group. From then on, I was scared and had bad dreams related to the apocalypse.

That was the selling point of such group to win people towards their congregation: scare the people to repent and turn back to God. I never joined their group, but I  browsed on the book of Revelations, from the small Bible they gave free. What did I see in the movie that scared me?

People killing each other, people dying, people hiding and fleeing from the evils of the human world, which stressed on the rise of the antichrist. Very few were saved, and found life anew in the new world. The recent movies like Armageddon,  2012, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow share the same doomsday message, but with hope that human civilization will survive after all.

I've heard of the end of times since the news on the depletion of the ozone layer broke out in the 80s, and the many other viruses discovered back then which plagued societies around the world. I've heard it again in the 90s when war broke out in the Middle East. I've heard of it once more spurred by the Y2K bug scare. Then again when the Twin Towers in New York billowed to dust.

Now, natural disasters are ever getting worst. World economies are up to keeping their security and beefing up their military. There is a threat to human life, in a wide scale with amassing nuclear arms, biochemical weapons, and global scale terrorism. There is threat to human life in small scale, but with huge emotional impact, just like that of the massacre of school children in China and in the US. There is threat to my country's sovereignty over issues of territorial waters. There is threat to our lives as natural resources are depleting to give way to modernity. There is threat to life when the values that we hold degenerate and lose power over our sanity and morals.

"Is the end of the world for real?"

I could not answer my nephew's question, though he really wanted an answer that time. In my mind I reconciled that I don't know, though I believe its real and it will surely happen. I wanted to keep that hope, that dream for living life in these kids - another generation who in their own time will try to ask the same question again as they grow older.

To me the end of the world has several perspectives. It is dying from decaying worldliness and rising up to a new life which values life in its best. It can be brought about by natural disasters which humans are responsible for. It could be brought about by the greed for power which strikes war and eradicates societies. It could be brought by our neglect to care for other lives, in our own little way. It could be the lost of hope that there is something to live for.

With those in my mind, I could never answer an eight year old's question whether the end of the world is for real? I don't want him to grow up in fear, but rather hoping and believing that life is a beautiful gift God gave for us to appreciate in every minute of our lives. 

Funny, just tonight, I went out and heard of young kids cracking jokes of the end of the world. Traffic should be really heavy on the road due to Christmas rush, not so many cars are around, not so many people in the streets, and no queues at the gates of the malls. Are people really that scared for something so catastrophic we could not expect and would not want to happen, that they ticked off schedules tonight? I wonder how it would be like tomorrow?