I often state that we are now "in the End Times" - and I am convinced of it.
I do Not mean by this that the "Second Coming" of Christ is imminent, because (from my Fourth Gospel perspective) I regard the idea of the Second Coming as false - and indeed bizarre; because Jesus did his work, his work is done, it was completely successful, and there is no reason for Christ to come again.
I do not have any very specific notion of how or when the End will come-about or what it will entail; but I think we (the human race) have gone beyond a point of no return, and have entered a positive-feedback cycle where each deleterious change leads to further harm in a compounding fashion; such that matters accelerate towards ruin.
The main reason I have reached this conclusion is that we live - for the first and only time in history (so far as I know) - in a time of net (and increasing) value-inversion - such that the mainstream, official and high-status value-system is the opposite of reality; hence the opposite of truth.
Because values are inverted, it means that (on average, overall) evaluations of Good and evil (beautiful and ugly/ true and false/ virtue and sin) are upside-down; so that attempts to understand and choose that which is Good will instead home-in-on evil; attempts to make things better will make them worse; attempts to create order will amplify chaos, and attempts to solve problems will make them worse.
This has happened because sin has the upper hand among those persons, nations, institutions that have the greatest power (wealth, status, influence) - and the apparent mass majority of the populace have become hedonic and despairing - without purpose or meaning; therefore demotivated and cowardly.
Although this value-inversion does not apply to everyone; and Men remain as free as they always have been to repent and attain salvation; they have ceased (on the whole) to desire salvation.
Most modern Men will not be saved because they do not want to be saved - indeed they find the idea of resurrection to eternal life in Heaven to be positively aversive: dull, boring, silly, childish, or indeed itself evil.
Modern Man typically wants to maximize pleasure and minimize suffering in mortal life then either painlessly to die into total annihilation; or at least to cease to be a Man with a self and agency; or else (perhaps especially among the ruling Establishment) seeks an afterlife of (demonic) hedonic/ sadistic domination and spiteful destruction.
Is this a hope-less perspective? No - because hope is properly located in post-mortal eternity; not in this brief and entropic mortal life.
But is it excessively pessimistic to assume that we are beyond the point at which matters could be turned-around? After all, Men are still free to change their minds - that is not-impossible, so perhaps it may happen?
Why then; if mass repentance could happen in principle, am I convinced that it will not happen?
Partly because of the Biblical prophecies about End Times which seem to contain the insight that there will be a point of no return. These put the idea into my mind.
Then the phenomenon of value-inversion. Value-inversion is so weird and unnatural and false (dissonant with reality, useless for prediction) that one would expect it to be self-correcting - IF it could be corrected.
Yet instead of value-inversion being self-limiting, instead of it reducing in the face of - what one would suppose - is obvious; value-inversion is spreading, getting worse, and solidifying.
Evidence for this is... everything in public discourse - the mass media, high status officialdom, large corporations.
Apparent exceptions soon turn out to be merely apparent.
Such a situation I find to be so strange, unprecedented, beyond logic and love; that I can only conclude that it represents the deep nature of many Men.
Why now, why not before?
Because things change, history is linear and does not repeat; and each Man is unique and brings to the world a nature and disposition from pre-mortal existence.
Ultimately, I think (I don't know) that history changes due to the changing nature of incarnated Men.
Modern Men are as-they-are substantially because that is how they were (on the whole) when incarnated. They are not predestined to damnation - because everybody is a free agent; but they (we) are overall more evil than any generations in history.
It is (was) from this increased original and innate greater-evil, that these times are as they are.
I agree with the thrust of this post. We are truly in the lowest age mankind has ever known. However, I think you err when you declare that Christ will not have a second coming. I agree that, in a literal sense, this will not happen. However, I think it is always better to understand religious truths in a symbolic sense that transcends the immediate reading of the words; an interpretation that is true, no matter the context. The Hindus and Muslims have equivalent understandings of this event, but the words used to express this truth are quite different.
The Muslims have the concept of the Madhi. I can't comment on this well because I don't know much about Islam, but I can comment somewhat on the Hindu's prophesied avatar of God, _Kalki,_ from the Vedic scriptures. The notion of Kalki (and the Second Coming of Christ, which are equivalent in my view) is representative of the Final Judgement of this world; that is to say, when God deems this world unfit for His ultimate purposes, He annihilates it and remakes the universe in some other shape, so to speak, that pleases Him more. Chris Langan, with his CTMU, calls this the Global Wipe.
It is no surprise that men embrace evil more and more as we move away from Eden in time. It is, as you have written about extensively, striking and disturbing to witness the degree of it in our modern age, though. I agree with your skepticism of any kind of mass repentance for this reason. I have seen some thinkers on this side of the waterway who believed that we would witness a new, minor Golden Age in this time, but I am too cynical to believe in it myself. I don't know if we're in the End Times to such an extreme degree as to cause the timely annihilation of this universe, but I certainly think the end of mankind as we know it is on the horizon.
The ignorant embrace of technology, progress, speed, equality, and the like have convinced me that the people of this age are too desperate to consider the consequences of their deeds. They live in matter, and they cannot see beyond their immediate concerns toward God. Whatever their stated beliefs are, they believe in money, procedure, and technology more than anything else. Say what you will about the barbaric habits of the people of old; at least they honored God. The same is not true of modern people.
I'm an American. Thanksgiving is quite an important holiday for families here. I didn't even know what to say to my kin at these celebrations when I heard them parroting the things they heard from mass media. There is an extreme mass-hypnosis which has occurred which has left people like the author and readers of this blog out in the social cold. You and your readers have known it well by the word peck and such, but it is truly disturbing how deceived the people outside of our bubble are.
Such a world of lies cannot be far from its Ultimate Judgment. God did not create the world to be such as this. Many people believe suffering to be the normal state of existence. I do not think it is so. It degenerates into such a thing because of the willful choices of creatures of language. It did not have to be this way until mankind ate of the Forbidden Fruit. Yet we are all meant to be here. God's ways are strange, indeed.
@Michael B - I think I have become more hardened against the idea of the Second Coming, because I regard it as often an illusion that sustains that worldly-utopian-Christianity which misses, again and again, the core of the IV Gospel (and true) message of next-worldly resurrection; and mistakes 'following' Jesus through resurrection to eternal Heavenly life.
Instead, there is a distorted religion of "following" Jesus in the sense of modelling our behaviour *and society* on the (detached, objectified) examples and teachings of Jesus.
In another sense, later Christians fell into the same trap of regarding Jesus as the worldly Messiah who would save his people from oppression and make a paradise on earth; in which case Jesus left the job undone and must return to finish the work at the Second Coming.
But - whatever the Messiah was supposed to do - Jesus did something different and much greater. The IV Gospel parables and interactions often contrast worldly-and-temporary with ultimate-spiritual-everlasting: such as the water at the well with the Samaritan woman, or the bread in reference to feeding the five thousand.
Jesus is saying that even the best possible worldly success is limited and short-lived; and cannot compare with the qualitatively superior and eternal life that He brings.
My idea is that in these End Times, when the world is corrupted, Christians are challenged to disengage from (counter-productive, 'converged') worldly-projects (including a focus on institution-building and growth); and place their ultimate hopes outside the world - or, at least, not to become fixed upon, or dependent on, hopes for this world. Materialism has failed, and the failure will get worse.
Yet, at the same time, we need to know what we are alive for, as mortals; therefore the world-rejecting, body-rejecting, time-rejecting spiritualties are also unsuitable and counter-productive.
"Such a world of lies cannot be far from its Ultimate Judgment. God did not create the world to be such as this. "
This may be so - it would not surprise me if the world ended today, as having reached the point of doing ore harm than good (just as any individual person's life may end for analogous reasons).
On the other hand, it would not surprise me if it continued for a long time, until all possibilities for repentance were exhausted; or became subdivided, with the evil parts allowed to take the self-destructive consequences of what they wish-for - while other parts are allowed to remain as environments for Man's learning.
And I do not have a clear idea of what 'the world ending' would entail: from some kind of near-instant annihilation of the planet surface (e.g. by solar activity) - to something that affects all or most-of Mankind in particular. I don't suppose that such things are fore-ordained - but more likely to happen due to indirect and entropic causes being allowed to act unopposed (with, perhaps, selective divine-creative protections where appropriate for individuals).
I think you're correct to be skeptical of the Second Coming in the way that most Christians think it. There is an attachment to the concept of the Second Coming which many of them cling to in lieu of righting their gaze on the real goal. The notion of the Rapture is similar in that way. They cling to the idea that they will be spared from the harsh times ahead because of their supposed fealty. They are, in a sense, crying out for God to spare them of this age He has put them for whatever reasons He has.
The ultimate aim of all religion, and all life ultimately, is that heavenly abode which is beyond all material considerations and descriptions, but there are many who do not perceive the metaphysical dimension of reality. Especially in the modern age, there is not one in ten-thousand persons who has noticed this truth.
Those who seek to model worldly systems after saintly examples naturally find themselves frustrated in this lowest age. However, I do not think it is a mistake to model one's behavior after the Christ. He was the Bridge between God and Man; being both at once. Naturally, he is an example to be followed. Of particular interest is that his Sermon was preached to the masses of workers, peasants, and wretches. If he is not to be their example, who is? I understand your point when you say that making a metaphysical doctrine out of that alone can be misguided, but I think that his preaching was made exactly for such people as couldn't understand such a thing to begin with. Though, I don't mean to discount his value to those that could.
Historical Christianity (aka organized religion) has indeed developed in the direction of utopianism. I regard modern leftism as an inversion of the True Christian religion. That is to say, it takes a similar shape, but in an inverted way. It is the photographic negative; the binary bit-flip of it that takes a metaphysical doctrine and reduces it to worldly madness. It is as perverse as a thing could be. It is as you say: if the Christian religion is true at all, then leftism and other such things are an insult to it; declaring it to be incomplete in its worldly mission. Christ did not come to grant people human rights, but Eternal Life.
I agree in a particular sense with what you say regarding call for the Christian disengagement from worldly-ness, but I have a somewhat different interpretation of that statement. In the Bhagavad Gita it is said that renunciation of the world is good for returning to God, but selfless service is even better. It is not done for the sake of worldly success, but to enact the Will of God. It is done for the hope of this world indirectly, not directly. As you say, the ultimate hope of the action is outside of time.
I think the notion of 'the world ending' should be considered more metaphysically. It entails, in my view, the destruction of this form of reality: this three dimensional, atom-based reality we have known. It could be remade in infinite ways we can't even comprehend. It is a fearsome thing, truly, for we do not know how such an remaking would affect our individual souls, those of our ancestors, or those of our descendants.
(I went over the ~4,000 character limit of comments, so these two verses require their own post)
Considering your dharma, you should not vacillate. For a warrior, nothing is higher than a war against evil. The warrior confronted with such a war should be pleased, Arjuna, for it comes as an open gate to heaven. But if you do not participate in this battle against evil, you will incur sin, violating your dharma and your honor. --Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2 Verses 31-33
Every selfless act, Arjuna, is born from Brahman, the eternal infinite Godhead. Brahman is present in every act of service. All life turns on this law, O Arjuna. Those who violate it, indulging in the senses for their own pleasure and ignoring the needs of others, have wasted their lives. But those who realize the Self are always satisfied. Having found the source of joy and fulfillment, they no longer seek happiness from the external world. They have nothing to gain or lose by any action; neither people nor things can affect their security. Strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world; by devotion to selfless work one attains the supreme goal of life. Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind. --Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3 Verses 15-20
@Michael B - I feel that ancient texts are likely to be misleading, often dangerously so, exactly on this kind of point: the relationship of the individual to the group.
Men of ancient times were not (and could not be) dissociated from the group in the way that most modern Men just-are - indeed, even if we modern desire to become immersed in the group like ancient Men, we cannot do it.
Disengagement is more of a fact, than something I would 'call for'.
The ill effects of Christian engagement with the world are obvious: it leads to 'convergence' - i.e. assimilation into the totalitarian secular left system - which is evil-directed.
It is sometimes the doomed-to-fail attempt to replicate the spiritual situation of the past, that leads modern Men badly astray.
Ideally, we should each start from where we actually are, discern the Good and evil; then move in the direction of our divine destiny.
(In summary, using Barfield's terms: Original Participation is not a possibility, nor is the Intellectual Souls phase of medieval times; to remain in the Consciousness Soul is to affiliate with evil; to aim at Final Participation is our only Good option. )
You are mistaken in your relationship to ancient texts, for they are your only connection to the Garden of Eden at this point. There is no other tie that binds you to the original spirituality. Such is the necessary starting point for navigating such a world as this.
You describe it in terms of association with the group, and I think this is a hindrance to your understanding. This world is like a bullet shot out of the barrel of a gun: the more time passes, the farther the bullet is from the gun. The key to spiritual awareness is not focusing on the bullet, but understanding the nature of the gun. To be worried about those around oneself is to be focused merely on the bullet.
Every moment we exist is a moment when we can forget our immediate selves and refocus on God. If you convince yourself that this is futile, you have already lost
@Michael B - You confirm my argument.
Your metaphysical understanding of Man and his relation to God (and thereby other Men) "This world is like a bullet shot out of the barrel of a gun: the more time passes, the farther the bullet is from the gun." is utterly different from, and incommensurable-with, that which I believe to be true.
I think you may be mistaking what I am saying about the Second Coming, when you interpret it using this traditionalist model. We may both have doubts about it - but for very different reasons!
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