WorldNetDaily, whose excellent taste in opinion columnists (ahem) is occasionally undermined by their affinity for giving serious exposure to every “end of the world” crackpot and Second Coming DVD peddler around the globe, has found another publicity-seeking hack:

A minister who promotes the Old Testament roots of Christianity suggests a rare string of lunar and solar eclipses said to fall on God’s annual holy days seven years from now could herald what’s come to be known as the “Second Coming” of Jesus.

The year will be 2015. We’ll be sitting around, minding our own business, and… nothing will happen.

In addition to the aforementioned Reverend Eclipse, successful author Tim LaHaye is also convinced Jesus will return in our lifetime.

Many in the generation preceding Mr. LaHaye thought so, too. Why? Because it’s right to think so, in a sense. The Bible tells us Jesus will return, just not exactly when. If Jesus hasn’t returned with each passing generation, succeeding generations do indeed have more and more reason to believe it will happen during their generation. The anticipatory pressure is just too much for some of us to bear, and we seem to think that if we just say it often enough, it will happen.

I’m betting that Mr. LaHaye, in spite of being encouraged by the belief that Jesus will return very soon, is still exercising cautious pessimism by staying busy working on another novel or two. We see evangelists on television every day providing doomsday-oriented head-first dives into Revelation who think the end of the world is so near that your next breath could be your last. At the same time, the end is never so near as to assume that you won’t have time to order and watch a DVD about Armageddon, or see next week’s program, which is promoted with reckless abandon.

The history of the world, specifically as it involves human beings, has seen vastly different cultures with varying levels of social, economic and technological abilities, or lack thereof. All these generations, regardless of enormous differences, had one similarity: Each contained countless people who thought the world was going to end in their lifetimes.

That’s millions and millions, if not billions of people. They were all wrong. All of them. That’s a track record that’s even worse than modern-day congressional Democrats.

The people who still believe all these “predictions” are the same people who are positive that Adam Sandler will soon release a convincing Shakespearian film, and that Amelia Earhart will glide in for a smooth landing any second now.

Constant doomsday talk does little to help the real problems we face. Sure, I wish Jesus could return and make it all better — end the wars, defeat poverty, obliterate starvation and racism, and permanently cancel all the lousy sitcoms — but insisting He is coming, and soon, conveys to people that we should do nothing to fix whatever situation in which we find ourselves, because it will soon be fixed for us.

This mindset is nothing more than an ecclesiastical dependency culture, and I don’t think Jesus is just all right with that.

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