My third grade son came home from school yesterday complaining about how certain kids in his school had said that the Blood Moon was a sign of the coming apocalypse. He wasn’t terrified of such talk. He wasn’t worried, even. He thought it was “stupid.”
My son, you see, knew all about the Blood Moon. He had read about it online, and said it was “cool.” He had asked me what causes eclipses and I told him. It’s pretty simple really. All you have to do is accept the heliocentric view of the universe. If it had not been cloudy here we would have been outside watching for it ourselves with his new telescope, not with trepidation, but with excitement over such a rare event.
But some Christians, well…As the Washington Post put it, ‘Blood moon’ sets off apocalyptic debate among some Christians. These people could have been watching Cosmos, and what Neil DeGrasse Tyson said there about comets could have been applied equally to eclipses. Primitive humans did not know better. They did not know the science. Such events disrupted the apparent permanence of the Heavens.
There is no excuse now for such ignorance. We know where comets come from. We know what causes eclipses. They can no longer be seen as harbingers of doom. Science, as Carl Sagan put it in his last book, should be a candle against the demon-haunted darkness, a light protecting us from superstition.
Here is the NASA video of the event, if you want to terrify your children:
But Cosmos doesn’t tell conservative Christians what they want to hear. In “A Sky Full of Ghosts,” Tyson demonstrated why the universe could not be just 6,000 years old. We get light in our heavens from stars that has traveled millions or billions of years. Obviously, this would be impossible if the universe were only 6,000 years old.
Facts do not fit into their Big Book of Good Things. So rather than enlighten themselves, they remain in that entirely self-imposed, demon-haunted universe. And they tell their kids, and the kids tremble in fear and tell the other kids at school that the world is ending. Because misery, apparently, loves company.
World Net Daily, of course, got all in a tizzy and said the Blood Moon was a divine warning to Obama. Imagine that, an event that has happened before and will happen again, is a divine warning. Couldn’t God be more…um, creative? A big flashing warning in the sky in English? Now that would be something worthy of note. A lunar eclipse seems pretty mundane for a divine warning. Just sayin’.
Pastor John Hagee has previously said we are a Pagan nation without shame but he’s wrong, because at least Pagans weren’t – and aren’t – afraid of science. He is also one of those selling a superstitious interpretation of the Blood Moon. “Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change” is, reports The Washington Post,
No. 4 on The New York Times best-seller list in the advice/how to section, and No. 80 on USA Today’s best-seller list. The book by the controversial 74-year-old founder of San Antonio’s Cornerstone Church has also spent 152 days in Amazon’s top 100 books.
“In his book,” The Washington Post relates,
Hagee says something will happen to the nation of Israel due to the tetrad. The four eclipses occur on April 15 and Oct. 8, 2014, and April 4 and Sept. 28 next year. The ones in April occur during Passover, and the ones in October occur during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.
They’re as freaked out by a “tetrad” of blood moons, that’s four of them in 18 months, all occurring on Jewish holidays as they are by the coincidence of volcanic eruptions on both sides of the Pacific at the same time. But the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar and the volcanoes all erupt along the Pacific Ring of Fire, which encircles the Pacific rim from Asia to South America. There is nothing shocking about the cosmos unless you disregard science.
Actually, what happened and what will happen three more times in the next 18 months is that the moon will pass into Earth’s shadow, and the sun’s light will be refracted by our atmosphere giving us the red-tinged image we see in the sky. Just like the sky is not really blue, the moon is not really red. It just looks that way. Stuff like this has been going on for billions of years, but even if it had only been six thousand, the fact is, none of these comets and eclipses has heralded the apocalypse. It’s just stuff that happens for perfectly natural reasons and for which science has a perfectly natural explanation.
I generally laugh at these people, but it’s becoming less funny now that they are insisting we all embrace superstition as well. When I was a teenager out of high school, a coworker told me the world was ending on a certain date. Her pastor had said so. This was…oh, some 40 years ago now. The world, obviously, is still here. At the time, I told her I’d see her the day after, that the world might end for her but the rest of us would still be here. Sadly, she left the job before the Big Day and I never got to use my knowing smirk. But it’s been that way for the 2,000 year history of Christianity – endless deadlines, never met. God just never gets around to destroying us, or even returning as allegedly promised. Heck, Jesus said it would be in he lifetime of his listeners. Paul said the same thing.
I have lost track, in my own lifetime, how many times I’ve been told the world was ending.
My coworker’s personal apocolypse was a no go and remains a no go to this day. You would think that these endless failures to launch would tell the audience something, that the show is not going to go on. But then, this is the crowd which for a quarter century at least has believed the NRA’s lies that the liberals are coming for their guns, even though in all that time, nobody has come for their guns. In fact, there are more guns. Better guns.
A weaponized Jesus is good times and all, but we don’t really need him. Any apocalypses we see are likely to be entirely man-made, and it won’t make a lick of difference what the sky looks like when it happen.