Tribulation. The Rapture. The Second Coming. For many, these terms are synonymous with the end of the world. Indeed, the terms “apocalypse” and “Armageddon” both entered the public consciousness because of their appearances in the Bible, and have since become synonymous with the more general term “eschaton.” But what’s actually involved in the Christian vision of the end of the world? One could be forgiven for forgetting that the original story bears little resemblance to the modern-day, politics-themed reimagining lampooned in a previous installment. Rather, here be dragons. And enough gruesome torture to make Mortal Kombat cutscenes feel like Sesame Street.
The holiday season usually sees me visiting my family in Miami. While they’re not as overwhelmingly zealous as Ania’s family, they’ve made a point to remind me that my not being a Christian is something they don’t like. Amusingly, they’ve even suggested I privately doubt while going through the motions and living, to all appearances, as a Christian, to spare them the difficulty of having to deal with the existence of atheists and the shame of having one so close to home. Apparently “thou shalt not bear false witness” has an addendum somewhere about cultural hegemony.