Monday, January 22, 2007

Happy '007

And after much traveling and much working we are back on the air. Happy 2007. After my brother has been shaming me with his prolific posting (though cutting and pasting emails, however interesting and thought provoking, does strike me as a bit of a cheat), I vow to try to keep up my end of the deal.

So what does 2007 have in store? Several people have been weighing in over the past month, and though it may seem like moldy news now, it shouldn't be forgotten. First of all the right Reverend Pat Robertson announced that God told him that a 'mass killing' will hit the U.S. this year. Not to worry right now - it will apparently happen in the later part of the year. Plenty of time to prepare. When asked about it he said:

"I have a relatively good track record," he said. "Sometimes I miss."

What is odd about that statement of course is that he earlier said that he is not predicting it, but instead reporting what God told him. So the question remains about whether when God speaks he has difficulty understanding, or Mr. Robinson is using some variant of the 'royal we'; sort of a 'theological I'. That would indicate that Mr. Robinson considers himself God, not a very palatable prospect.

So should we worry? Well many don't think so, for an AP/Ipsos poll released the same day as God's announcement indicated that 25% of Americans believe that Jesus is returning this year. No word on how that relates to any previous polling done, which I would find interesting. Now granted that is 6 points higher than the number of people who think that scientists will discover extraterrestrial life this year (and only a few more points higher than the percentage of Americans who are drunk before breakfast), but still: One out of every four people that you run into in a grocery store think that Jesus is returning, not soon, but this year. Some more breakdown on the poll:

Forty-six percent of white evangelical Christians believe it's at least somewhat likely that Jesus Christ will return in 2007, while 22 percent believe it's very likely. Thirty-four percent of all Protestants say it's at least somewhat likely, compared with 17 percent of Catholics. Ten percent of those with no religion believe that Christ is at least somewhat likely to return in 2007.

So 1 out of 10 atheists and agnostics believe that it is 'somewhat likely' that Jesus is returning this year. A pretty impressive feat for the Son of God to get millions of people who don't believe that he exists to believe that nonetheless he is dropping by pretty soon.