Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Antichrist, Revelation, Editing

I work for a publishing company as an editor. Over the past four years, I have edited around 300 books, most of them fiction. I've edited everything from a book of poetry gleaned from an email dating couple, who eventually got married, to excellent fantasy and scifi novels, to thrillers of international political and terrorist intrigue, to novels with gay content—but I have never edited a book like the one I'm working on now—a book about End Times, a survey of the various interpretations of the Second Coming, the Tribulation, the Antichrist, the beast, the horsemen, the apocalypse...that stuff.

I'm not religious, although I hesitate to claim I'm an atheist...maybe agnostic...but really just disinterested in a field of thought and way of being, concerned with, what? The afterlife? I live as though, when I die, I will cease to exist, completely, with nothing beyond. That's what I've come to after sixty years of being a sentient being with a consciousness. It's been a mighty good life. I like being aware of being aware, of knowing that I (this me consciousness) am mortal and that I have a body that carries around my brain, through which I interpret data from my five physical senses, attempting to "make sense" of what it means to me to be a live, sentient being.

Do most people ever give this much thought? It seems to me that if one is religious and believes in God and believes in heaven and hell, and God and the Devil, that there's no reason to think any further than that. But I've also noted that people who are religious and who profess to believe in all this stuff often live as if they don't. Look, I mean, if there is a heaven and a hell and you're going to end up in one place or the other, it seems that you'd be catatonic with fear of ever doing anything that will get you sent to eternal hellfire and brimstone. Wouldn't you rather get those 72 virgins? The white robes, be on the right side of God at his big Judgement day dinner? What do the saved eat? Do they eat or just sing praise songs for eternity?

For a little perspective on Religions, it seems that in these times, which I'm kinda sure are not End Times, the religious seem to be most concerned about how their religion is right and the rest are wrong. Is there REALLY going to be the Rapture? Are there really going to be only 144,000 sent to heaven? What...didn't God plan for the billions and billions of people on Earth?

The book I'm editing makes me think about these things, but the writer is definitely convinced that the Bible, the Christian Bible, is the real thing, and he's not concerned with whether or not it's God's word, but just that his interpretation of all that stuff in Revelation is the correct one.  I'm just as likely to get a book about Islam, next, which is just as strongly worded as this one, the writer convinced that when Jesus returns, He will install a Caliph to rule the world.


I think when I finally die, I'd rather just blow away as dust. If I wake up after that and I'm standing in front of the anthropomorphic deity, and he's got a long beard and is sitting on a throne, calling me to judgement, I think I'm probably gonna shit my pants, if I happen to be wearing any.

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