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The Retirement of Rowan Williams – The Archbishop of Canterbury

19 April 2012: 2 Comments »

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honorable Dr. Rowan Williams, has recently announced his plans to retire at year’s end. This announcement was greeted with little notice or emotion.  This fact may be attributed to the declining influence in the Western world of religion in general and of Christianity in particular or …

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Question & Answer

Trevor, via the Internet, writes:

Question:

I am hoping you can answer my question.  The thing is, I have been very worried for some time and even more so now.  I've heard and read some parts (from various websites) of Revelations.  I'm a 27-year old man, nearly 28, and I'm scared!  I'm scared that the world will end! I hope that I don't sound silly, but then again I hope I'm worrying about nothing.  With 2012 being repeatedly said to be the end constantly, I guess it grinds you down eventually and I see many natural disasters, wars, economic failures and nuclear weapons, divisions between countries.  I want to live free of these constant worries, but the way of the world is really getting me down.  I'm half full of optimism and the rest is filled with fear and despair.  I do hope you can get back to me.  I have been watching you on YouTube and have found your words to be so comforting.

Answer:

Dear Trevor,

People have predicted the end of the world for centuries and they are still waiting. I’m sure the world will come to an end someday when either the sun burns out or the gravitational pull on the earth weakens and we move closer and closer to the sun.  One of these two possibilities is anticipated to happen in the next six to seven billion years.  I recommend that you not lose sleep about it in your lifetime.

Strange weather patterns are related primarily to global climate change due to the human use of fossil fuels and not to divine retribution.  Wars have gone on since human life emerged out of its evolutionary past.  Economic booms and crashes have occurred in every system of government that human beings have ever devised.  We have had nuclear weapons since 1945 and we are still around.  Only one nation has ever used these weapons against another nation and that was the United States.  Finally, the division of people into clans, tribes, city-states and now nation-states has been a fact of life since the dawn of civilization.  The struggles that go on today in the Middle East were going on thousands of years ago according to the Bible.

Irresponsible preachers frequently hype a series of events to scare people, eliciting a variety of responses.  If you are hearing constantly that 2012 is destined to be the year in which the end of the world occurs, then I can only surmise that you are listening to one of those irresponsible preachers.  History has been full of them.  None of them has proved to be correct yet.  I suggest that you inquire as to the real agenda of someone who likes to tell people that the end is near. I always wonder who authorized them to speak for God!

We have had great disasters in history.  We lived through the Ice Age, the plague known as the Black Death and terrible times of protracted wars.  In each of these disasters, I’m sure that some religious person, feeling that he or she knows the “plan of God,” interpreted these things to be the coming end of the world.

I suggest you recognize this stuff for what it is; go to work each day, love your family, enjoy your friends and make each day of your life count.  I have never known chronic anxiety to help anyone do anything.

~John Shelby Spong

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