By the Numbers

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the airport, the Bible Code strikes again! This morning’s newspaper carried the story of Jose Flores, a would-be hijacker of Aeromexico Flight 576. Flores boarded the flight with a Bible and fabricated a pretend bomb out of a juice can (the story doesn’t specify exactly what kind of juice —) and instructed the pilot to fly around Mexico City a Jericho-esque seven times. Flores informed the flight attendants that he was part of a set of four hijackers, the other three, he later revealed to police, were the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The flight landed safely and Flores was extricated from the plane. Why all the fuss? Yesterday was 9/9/09. Flores realized (with or without the help of his three co-hijackers) that upside down this would be 666. Safely on the ground he told reporters “Christ is coming soon!”

So once again we meet a believer in coded messages in the Bible. Clearly one of the most misrepresented books in the Bible is Revelation. This book is a textbook example of apocalyptic writing, a genre wide-spread and easily recognized in the ancient world, but which suffers from being taken literally by people living a couple millennia after it was penned. Even before the ink slipped from John’s pen (we don’t know John’s last name), people were looking for a new world to burst in on this old one in need of radical repair. That urgency has continued unabated for two thousand years.

Is life really so bad that we need it to end? Apocalyptic outlooks are perfectly understandable among the disadvantaged and persecuted that they were intended to console. It is a strange phenomenon, worthy of a sociological dissertation, why many affluent, educated people strain for the end of this god-awful world where they are so comfortable. Perhaps it is that we evolved from lemmings rather than primates, but it seems to me rather another example of the wealthy taking from the poor. Even their hopes of sticking it to the rich have been co-opted.

Something to look forward to?

Something to look forward to?