Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Last Words?

If you're reading this, the world hasn't ended. Yet.

While some of us might find today significant for the possible bellweather special congressional election out in California's 50th district, the return of Phillies phenom Cole Hamels to action tonight in Arizona, or simply the natal anniversary of a friend, a few folks out there think that the whole show might conclude today, that the date of 06/06/06 signals The End.

To my disappointment, this group evidently does not include the proprietors of the Rapture Index, who last updated their site yesterday--are these guys in Hawaii, or do they just profoundly lack any sense of occasion?--to put the Index at 157. Site guidelines note that whenever it's above 145, it's time to "Fasten your seat belts" because the Holy Shit could go down at any time, so that's something... but already this year, the Index has been as high as 159. If 6/6/06 can't even top the yearly high to-date, let alone approach the all-time high of 181 (9/24/01), then what are we all getting worked up about? The site does note that "The occurrence of the 06/06/06 date has increased interest in
numerical date speculation"... yawn.

On a more serious note, today's date does offer an opportunity to point out some of the sillier aspects of this brand of hysterical Christianity. (And you thought only the gay marriage Constitutional amendment sham debate now current in the Senate did so--but I'd argue that, given everything else going on, the gay-hate measure is more tragedy than comedy.) Here's one piece in today's Philadelphia Daily News that explicates one of the problems: is this scary number even the right one?

Some say it's the "Devil's number," or the "most enduring prophecy of evil in all of the Western world," mentioned in the Book of Revelation of the Bible.

Of course, you must decide which of the estimated 11 versions of the Bible currently in use here you intend to use. These Bible publishers can't even decide how to write the number: is it 666, or six hundred and sixty-six, or six hundred, threescore and six? All three are mentioned.

Last Jan. 15, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia site, was vandalized changing 666 to an alternate number, 616, related to an argument historians have waged for centuries.

The number, 666, was first written in Greek, though some say Hebrew. Historians debate whether the original number was 666, or 616, because of the alternate spellings of Greek words, or perhaps because it was just miscopied. Regardless, 666 (or in some cases, 616) has the proverbial 666 meanings, inasmuch as it's a hotly debated topic around the world. And to make matters more confusing, Revelations says the same number refers to both beast and man.
More recently, scientists weighed in, pointing out that all organic life comes from carbon 12, composed of six protons, six neutrons and six electrons, or 666, an implication suggesting that trees, beasts and man share the same nature. An evil tree?

Conspiracy theorists suggests that people will be imprinted with the Universal Bar Code, which they claim has a 666 in it, but that theory has been debunked. Just in case, however, Thomas Heeter, obtained a U.S. Patent in the event that humans will be tattooed with the barcode for e-commerce purposes.

Historically, the 666-tattoo could only be placed on the right hand or the forehead. If placed elsewhere, it would not hold its magical powers. And that, in turn, debunks the theory of a microchip implant planted in everyone's head: the mark must be seen, not invisible.

Still, there's no reason not to be careful. If Francine Busby really does win Duke Cunningham's old Congressional seat, how long will it take for Preacher Pat Robertson to credit Satanic intervention? If Cole Hamels no-hits the D'backs tonight, will it be his killer change-up or forces from below that post the zeroes? And if you're set to give birth today... well, at least for that one, the Landover Baptist Church has got you covered.

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