Expecting the end of the world moment by moment is an attitude that appears already in the old church. This expectation, even weakened, did not cease to exist in the next centuries. Some regard the book of John’s Revelation as the cause of this. John’s Revelation makes the end of times vividly present, but there are more in the New Testament justifying such an expectation. Christ’s very prompt “be ready, for the son of man comes at an hour you don’t know” (Luke 12.40), unexpected as a thief in the night, obviously refers to anyone listening and not to some far away time. This way the Second Coming becomes imminent in the Christian mentality even before the Passion. We have to admit that everything Christian is a lie and fiction, or that the moment of the Second Coming needs an interpretation that will explain the passing of so many centuries after it was first promised.
To atheists all religion is a fairytale to make us sleep well and bear the burden of our suffering and death. Since we are most interested in our own selves, it is natural that we would like, if not expect, the end of time to happen in our own time. Thus the intense expectation of the Second Coming is explained as just an even more selfish nuance of an already selfish faith. The therapy to all of these would be a replacement of faith with modern science, where even the creation of the world does not seem to need a God, at least not the 7-days-creator and imminent judge. However, natural selection can not replace faith, not because it has not found poets to praise it, but because it belongs to a different level of thinking.
Faith can be replaced by faith. People who compare the irrational zeal of faith with an equally irrational zeal of some secular beliefs, do not understand a serious mistake they make. For such a transfer to be realized there needs be no real faith in the first place, so that a mere ideology is replaced by another ideology and fanaticism changes its ground. Christian faith, if real and undistorted, is not a conviction, although it entails some. It must not be regarded as a coincidence that fanaticism, later transferred to secular ideologies, was developed inside Christianity only where faith was becoming an ideology, e.g. in the medieval west and in Russia.
It is the papacy which made of faith a university/scientific subject, and it is Russia that followed the same way. For over a millennium, in the ‘theocratic’ Byzantium, there was no department of theology in the university. Had Byzantines less faith in God than us? When we see the Pope to beg the universities keep including theology, when we see the Patriarch of Moscow dreaming of a Christian faith transmitted in classrooms, we know that they have not understood what happened in the past and they do all that they can to renew a falsification of faith, compared to which agnosticism is better.
In the previous post we saw how biblical genealogies influenced the way people conceived the age of the world and the duration of history. We also saw that patristic thinking does not favor utopian and chiliastic tendencies. If the interest of Christianity is less in the history of the world or in the Second Coming as an external global event, and rather in the inner and continuous personal relationship of each Christian with God, utopian and chiliastic attitudes can not be attributed to Christianity, but to the distortion of Christianity. Those who ‘accuse’ John’s Revelation, they’d better recall that all of the Christian churches include this book in the canon of the Bible, but not all Churches developed obsessions with eschatological times.