Saturday, May 21, 2011

The End Times

Harold Camping of Family Radio has calculated by his own statement that the rapture is to start today  at 6pm your local time on a rolling implementation. Since I'm on Pacific Daylight Time, most of the world will be engulfed in the Rapture, and I'm adding this at the tail end of the start of the End of Day. Camping had originally pegged the end times as coming in September, 1994, and I'm predicting a new calculation soon from Mr. Camping. Unless I'm wrong, in which case, I apologize to him and his followers.

Unlike other atheists, I won't use this incident to decry Christians, Christianity, or those who believe in this prediction. This is just one man's interpretation writ large based on the willingness of people to embrace new media too easily and accept without question a flawed interpretation, largely because it plays on fear and provides a clear, easy answer with the authority of radio and internet media and numerology masking as quantitative reasoning. Most  religious people I know come to their faith to find complex answers to a complex world, and I don't see a large percentage of people of faith jumping on this bandwagon. This is what it is, and I hope that those who are shocked and dismayed by the cold reality of life going on don't become bitter and disillusioned, but seek out community, connection, and others who are more worthy of their trust.

But on an actual gaming note, I think the idea of a cult of people preaching the end of times is an interesting concept. While this end-of-times stuff is a bit out of sync with most pre-Christian religions, which (in a broad and messy generalization) tended to be more cyclical in their ideas — even Ragnar√∂k signified the end of one world and the birth of the next rather than the End of All Creation — the idea of an End Time isn't a crazy fit with a world in which Good and Evil or Law and Chaos are in real contention for the Fate of the Universe.

In an RPG campaign, this could be The Real Deal, with powerful heroes preparing to fight side by side with gods and demons, or it could be a mystery of a cult claiming that people will be disappearing to fight the final battle — and they do — but the PCs suspect something sinister is really going on....

And, because part of me is a bit snarky about this, here is my salute to the day: