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Shared Reading: Apocalyptic Thought

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: July 20, 2004
Reviewed:
Latest Update: July 20, 2004

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takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Apocalyptic Thought

  1. Introduction Why I chose to share this reading.
  2. Focus: Main point of this reading.
  3. Reading Full identification of source for reading AND excerpt.
  4. Concepts: Concepts and Key Words.
  5. Discussion Discussion questions.
  6. Conceptual Linking to Substantive Courses What this has to do with our class.

* * *

Introduction:

  • I wanted to share this reading with you because of the popularity of the concept of apocalypse in the dominant culture since the millenium. This isn't your usual after-dinner conversation. But many of us have never thought very much about what we think about eschatology or the End of Days. The readings here consist of brief summaries of books, and, thus far, of anti-apocalyptic thinking. That's because I personally have a hard time with apocalyptic thought and that's going to take me a little longer to review.

Focus:

  • I would like you to come away from this reading with a more aware sense of mortality and what that means for humans. We can do little here but make you aware of the issues. But I think it wil strengthen us all to face and discuss the many beliefs humans have come up with over the centuries. your religion may dictate your own personal answer. That is OK, nd as it should be. But others are going to differ, and we must be able to hear them in the name of answerability.

Concepts and Key Words:

  • apocalypse -
  • damnation -
  • resurrection -
  • populism -
  • grace -

Reading:

Discussion Questions:

Please remember that these questions are to make you think. There simply are no answers to which humans are privy, except on faith, which remains beyond the realm of "proof."

  1. Can you earn grace, to be redeemed by resurrection, by doing good and moral things all your life?

    Consider that that depends on how you define grace, redemption, resurrection, and damnation.

  2. If an apocalypse indicates the End of Days, and the complete destruction of the Earth in either a War of Good and Evil or an act of some higher power, where would the earth go, what would happen to it?

    Consider various descriptions of apocalypse for which I will give you references. For example, some see the End in War, with the Saved lifted up y God out of harm's way. Others see total annihilation of all. But would the cosmos be so annihilated, or just earth? And where is up?

  3. Why does apocalyptic thought concern us? If it's the End it's the end. We don't have to know what we think about this.

    Oh, yes, we do. Because if we envision an apocalyptic end of Days when the Saved are resurrected and will be like stars in the cosmos, then we can more easily deny oppression, dominion, and injustice here, because it doesn't really matter anyway. The left version of this was in Dr. Strangelove: "Oh, we'll all fry together when we fry." That's what it's about. If the Other believes we're all going to fry, and I believe this life still matters, and that I must live it righteously and in love for all Others, we're going to have some differences that need to be resolved.

  4. How is that like the traditional: "We mustn't talk about religion."?

    Oh, yes, we must. We are killing people over religious issues. VEry hard to live in a just world when some of us believe that we are "blessed" and have received "grace" that others have no hope of earning. Reminds me of the student who said that his parents had taught him to respect all religions. But that theirs was the right one.

Conceptual Linking to Substantive Courses:

  • Agencies:
    Sample linking: Ways in which underlying assumptions of assimilation affect services offered and clients' ability to access and use those services. How does this reading illustrate the need for social agencies, for more generalized agencies, for what Bolman and Deal would call "leadership" AND "management"? How does this reading suggest ways in which we could be more effective in rendering help, and what is the reading's relationship to a "safety net" for those who need help?

  • Criminal Justice:
    Sample linking: Ways in which some groups are underrepresented in the unstated assumptions of our theories. How does this reading serve to illustrate adversarialism, mutuality, retribution, revenge, illocutionary understanding, the definition and operation of the criminal justice system?

  • Law:
    Sample linking: Extent to which laws are made on the assumption that we are all essentially assimilated to the dominant culture. How does this reading help us see the need for contextual readings in law? How does it relate to our natural instincts to seek some kind of natural law? What facts and principles does the reading offer for discourse that could clarify for Others validity claims presented by an Obscure Other?

  • Moot Court:
    Sample linking: Ways in which to make validty claims of harm understood by those who have never experienced many of the world's different perspectives. How can this reading enlighten our praxis in terms of different kinds of discourse, like instrumental, illocutionary, governance?

  • Women in Poverty:
    Sample linking: The culture of poverty and assimilation. How does the reading deal with our underlying assumptions about poverty, especially poverty of the exploited, the NOT- male? What does the reading suggest of the interrelationship between our society and its children, generally cared for by women, often poor?

  • Race, Gender, Class:
    Sample linking: The extent to which silence has been imposed by these affiliations so that domination and discrimination have entered our unstated assumptions in interpersonal relations and the structural context arising from them. What does the reading tell us about exploitation and alternative ways to deal with one another? What does it tell us about institutionalized -isms and our denial of complicity? What does it tell us about our common humanity?

  • Religion:
    Sample linking: The spiritual component. Humans are spiritual creatures, creatures that recognize moments that go beyond ourselves to God, Allah, Isis, Gaia, the Universe, or a deep sense of responsibility to create our own meanng. How does the reading fit into our ability, our need to create such meaning in life?

  • Love !A:
    Sample linking: What's the aesthetic link in this reading? How does it bring us closer to one another as humans? What does it tell us about our need for love, unconditional love, not rewards for doing well or being well, but caring and acceptance for being who we are?



Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2004.
"Fair use" encouraged.