And They Cometh . . . The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Are Here
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, figures from Christian faith, are: “sword, famine, wild beasts, and plague.” These figures are from the New Testament Book of Revelations. As the story goes, God has a sealed scroll in his right hand. As the first four of seven total seals are broken, a horse rides forth — A white, red, black, and, finally, a pale horse appears, representing punishments from God.
The white horse is war.
This is the first seal to be broken. There has never been a moment in recorded history where humankind has not been at war with one another, in some distant or near land, peoples fighting it out to the death, most likely over resources, or over ideology/belief systems, like Christianity, but certainly not limited to religion. People do not need grand reasons to kill one another. We find killing quite commodious.
This seal has been broken.
Next to ride forth is the red horse, as the second seal is broken. The red horse is mass slaughter, including civil war. Neighbor against neighbor; brother against brother, with self-righteousness as the cause. You will never find a more cruel person than the self-righteous person, and the more self-righteous the person, the more cruel they will become. The self-righteous person views any dissenters as less than human, as mongrel, like roadkill. The self-righteous person will take another’s life without a second thought; thus, the power of righteousness, and the cause of many, many, many crusades, as well as “The Crusades.”
You don’t need to be in the Middle East to crusade.
In this country — the United States of America — and many other countries, most other countries as far as I can tell, including Brazil, Germany, Norway, Sweden, England, Italy — all Western countries to a degree — the same phenomenon is happening, the same divisions and dividing of people along identity lines, for political purpose — for power — is happening.
It has been happening. Anders Breivik is no anomaly. White supremacy is not going away. The far-right wants a race war. The Left will give it to them because there is no compromising on their principle of freedom, fairness, and equality for all.
The seal has been broken.
The third horseman rides a black steed and carries a pair of scales, which represent the weighing of bread during a famine. As we speak, my friend, India struggles with an armada of locusts, having flown over from wreaking havoc in Africa earlier. The monsoons are about to begin and this is expected to add fuel to the locust fire, not much different than dropping hundreds and thousands of gallons of high-octane unleaded fuel on a forest fire.
The Indian subcontinent is home to more than a billion people.
This is just one example. You may have been in your own supermarket recently, maybe this morning, only to find the meat case empty, as well as many random shelves.
You decide for yourself. Look around, see what you’re seeing.
The seal has been broken.
The final and fourth horseman of the apocalypse rides a pale horse, and is followed by Hades, or death. This horseman is plague. If you’re wondering why so many conservative evangelicals deny the issue and existence of the Covid-19 virus, it may be because to do so, means one of the final seals in God’s punishment of humanity has already been broken, and these people, who believe more in their book than they do science . . . people who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, instead of 4 billion years old, because it was once written, by some dude who believed it to be true a few thousand years ago, and the myth just keeps getting passed on, generation by generation.
There is Covid-19, and it is devastating much of the globe, and, sadly, it’s only just begun, as has our understanding of this brand new, novel, never-before-seen virus. We are not up to the task. Humanity is not up to the task. Humanity is full of hubris and hope, because we sent a human being to the moon and retrieved them again. Humanity believes, because we have computer models and projections, that we will control and tame, and, ultimately, defeat this virus.
And, it’s possible, my friend, that this becomes the truth. It’s possible, through an enormous global effort, with sharing and collaboration, that the human species can overcome this very, very serious threat to our way of life.
But this virus comes embedded in a larger context, a threat even more dire than the virus, and this threat is climate change, which is happening, and accelerating, destroying ecosystems, making the weather wild and weird, increasing floods, droughts, and wildfires, acidifying the ocean and sending marine ecosystems towards the poles. I can go on and on.
Climate change is the chariot to which all the horsemen are chained.
The horsemen are here. I don’t believe in the horsemen, but I believe, in humanity’s past — deep, deep past — we have experienced catastrophic events such as these, experienced moments in which none of us, individually or collectively, have any idea which way we are all going, including the very real possibility that it is towards death, even mass extinction.
Maybe the world felt this way during WWII? Maybe, collectively, as a whole group we all felt the instability of the ground beneath our feet during that time. I can’t say; I wasn’t alive. My grandparents were alive during that time, but they are all gone now, and none of them, to my knowledge, left journals or diaries.
Things are bad, so where do we go?
One direction is towards narcissism, towards Y-O-L-O, or “you only live once,” meaning, you better pack in as much as possible, be as selfish as possible, because, as you say: *you*-only-live-once.
This is the direction the world has taken.
There are other options. I don’t want to think about them. This isn’t about providing the perfect prescription. There aren’t any perfect prescriptions for this set of ailments, only really hard solutions that require lots of work and trust and collaboration; cooperation on a global scale, and I certainly don’t see that happening any time soon.
I just want to state the obvious. I don’t believe in any of the religious traditions. That’s not the point. I’m not arguing the bible is true or prophetic. I’m just saying: the world is in a bad place if you take a moment and look at the big picture, and one way to put this bad place in context is to compare it to the end-of-the-world myths that are written about in the bible.
I’m also saying: if you **do** believe in this shit, you gotta be ten shades of scared about right now. You must be thinking about all the bad things you have done, questioning whether you’re gonna make, that final cut, because, probably, you’re thinking you’re NOT.
But, there’s some good news buddy — you still got time. You can start doing the right sorts of things right now, and that will certainly count in your favor. You have today, that much is clear — you’re reading this — which means you still got some time. Take a good look at that book, and remind yourself what God wants from you.
Remind yourself why He’s breaking these seals to begin with. He’s doing it as a corrective, as punishment; negative reinforcement.
What does He want?
Open up that book and start reading it again. Open up a notebook right next to that storied book. Grab a pen. When you come across some of those words in that book that seem to speak to you directly, that seem to mean a lot; well, write them down in the notebook.
Keep reading and keep writing.
He’s telling you right there what he wants.
He’s saying things like — don’t kill one another; don’t be jealous of one another; be fair with one another; don’t lie, cheat, and/or steal from one another. He’s saying exactly what he wants, but you’re not listening, and that’s why these seals have to be broken, at least according to Him, if you believe in Him.
Again, you don’t have to believe; I’m only using Him as a metric to compare the kinds of things we are seeing all around us.
But, if you believe, He’s definitely saying we have majorly-fucked-up, and let me tell you, He’s not mad about curse words. He’s mad cuz we are killing one another, treating each other like objects or ends, not as human beings; that we are not helping one another to flourish, supporting one another in our individual goals and development — that we are missing the point, and that point is one another.
That’s the point — how we treat one another.
That’s what is going to get you selected, friend. That’s how you will avoid the “culling,” by treating your neighbor, even the ones you disagree with, with some degree of respect.
There’s only one message, in that entire book — The New Testament — the book you find so valuable. It’s always been about one thing. Even an outsider can see that right away. And, if you think back, way back, to the beginning, to that first moment you were introduced to your God, I think what you will find is this one thing. It was the thing that drew you in at the outset, like a fancy, designer drug, it went straight to your head.
Do you remember? Do you need some more time?
Take all the time you need to reminisce. I don’t believe, but I still remember. It was a glorious moment, way back when, and I wanted to believe, I really did, and I tried hard to believe, just to fit in, but then I found that I just-couldn’t-believe. I don’t believe, but I still have that moment.
You do too.
That moment was love.
That’s why you began your belief, way back when, because whomever or whatever introduced you to that belief, was full of love, and they gave it to you freely, and mostly without judgment, and you felt supported and valued and like a part of a big, important group.
That is God’s message: Love.
This is what humanity has forgotten, according to that book, and I don’t dispute it. If you want to know the truth — I think we deserve it. As a species, we are cruel and uncaring to one another, perpetually tribal, demanding agreement and obeisance, and if you disagree, we’ll kill ya for it.
It doesn’t even have to be a big disagreement.
I understand why your God is mad.