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Be careful what they wish for

Daily Staff Report

Be careful what they wish forRichard CarnesSpecial to the DailyThere lives a man who believes the world as we know it is going to end. He strongly believes, and dearly wishes, for this to happen very soon.Preceded by a tremendous upsurge in violence worldwide, including war and bloodshed on a scale never before witnessed by mankind, a type of cosmic chaos will follow as a long-awaited magical being bursts through the clouds above for a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, leading only the true believers to an era of universal peace.All others will die in horribly agonizing, unimaginable fashions.He believes this with the fervency reserved exclusively for every religious leader since mankind’s discovery of religion itself. Every fiber of his being, every decision that guides his life, and the lives of millions of like-minded individuals, is constructed with this ultimate ending in mind. This man will stop at absolutely nothing to further his apocalyptic vision, and his death would only further entrench his messianic replacement, of which there is an endless stream salivating for the opportunity to lead.So who is this man, and who is he waiting for? Is it:a)Pat Robertson and Jesus.b)Osama bin Laden and Mohammed.c)Egyptian King Khufu and Osiris.d)Greek King Pericles and Dionysus.e)Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mahdi.f)All of the above.Those unafraid to perform honest research overwhelmingly reach the same conclusion based upon reason and logic: “f” is the only possible answer. The Egyptians and Greeks believed (4,000 and 2,500 years ago, respectively) while the contemporaries believe at this very moment the same dire scenario comprising mankind’s ultimate demise. They all cannot wait to die simply because of superstitious belief systems that promise a better life next time around.(It should go without saying that these rival belief systems are all equally uncontaminated by evidence, but in the interest of human survival, we must deal with one issue at a time.)Unfortunately, reality of the day is forcing the civilized world to deal with “e” in an urgent manner. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is willing to cripple his own economy with U.N. sanctions in order to resume a nuclear program geared towards first-strike weaponry. He demands that Israel be wiped off the map while organizing a conference to study the “scientific aspect” of the Holocaust, which he considers a myth.He apparently is willing to do all of this as part of his devotion to the “divine mission” concerning his belief that his government must prepare the nation for the return of their long expected Messiah, Mahdi.All sects of Islam believe in this divine savior who will appear at the subtly named “End of Days.” Many claim that the Iranian leader and his cabinet have even signed a “contract” pledging themselves to work for the Mahdi’s return and sent it, along with around $12 million dollars, to a mosque in Jamkaran, a popular pilgrimage site where the pious come to drop messages to the “Hidden Imam” into a holy well.Something is certainly deep here, but I’m not sure it’s a water-filled hole in the ground.Either way, officially the Iranian government denies the accusation, but nevertheless seems to fully support Ahmadinejad’s brand of revolutionary populism and superstition.In fact, he scared the pants off of world leaders when he ended his international debut speech to the U.N. a few months ago with a messianic appeal to God to “hasten the emergence of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace.”Scary stuff, to say the least.Yet apocalyptic fables have existed ever since man evolved the ability to speak. Virtually identical tales (where names were conveniently changed from version to version, each reflecting the cultural and social environments of the day) were passed from generation to generation thousands of years before even the Christian versions appeared (but of course those in the Bible were among the first to benefit from the invention of the written word).So America must asked itself, are we fighting the war on terrorism to further an ancient superstition concerning how “our God can beat up your God any ol’ day of the week,” or to prevent madmen like Ahmadinejad from sending mankind to the brink of extinction?If it is the latter, they have my full support to proceed with whatever steps are necessary to protect my family, my country, and my species. However, if it is the other, well then, Houston, we have a problem. And I am certainly not alone with that particularly nightmarish thought.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.netVail, Colorado


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