Faith in progress

The infuriating Bryan Appleyard had an interesting, doomsday predicting, article in the Sunday Times, ‘Waiting for the lights to go out‘. He suggests that the cultural assumptions have exactly reversed since the middle ages. At that time we had a faith in the imminent end of the world, but reason said it would continue. Now we have faith in progress (and, at the very least, survial), when reason says that these are The End Days.

3 replies on “Faith in progress”

What a fantastic article. Have been thinking about this for a while, and it bothers me. Nice to see you back and posting by the way – thought you’d disappeared!

Reason certainly doesn’t say we’re heading for the Apocalypse. The Club of Rome has been making the same kind of predictions since 1972 and events proved them thoroughly wrong every time they tried to raise above the immediately obvious.

IMHO, people turn to apocalyptic thought when they disapprove of the way the world is evolving but do not have sufficient understanding/power to do anything about it. What did change since the Middle Ages is that nature has taken the place of God, so now, instead of complaining about man destroying God’s plan with the world, we moan about human interference with nature.

I strongly recommend Norman Cohn’s “Millenarism” for those who are interested in Doomsday themes.

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