I see no hope given in the Bible that wickedness in this world will be subdued by civilisation or preaching of the gospel — until the Messiah the prince come.
And to hasten that time is… the function of foreign missions… I therefore should be inclined to frame any missionary plans with a view to giving a simple gospel message to the greatest number possible of ignorant heathen in the shortest possible time. However, many notable premillennialists have played an active role in secular politics.
In Britain, the seventh Lord Shaftesbury — , who took a lively interest in prophecy conferences, led reform of factory conditions, treatment of the mentally ill, and many more causes. He was inspired to urgent social action by a blend of acute awareness of judgement at the return of Christ and old-fashioned aristocratic paternalism. In any event, even if one held a consistent and thoroughly pessimistic historical eschatology, along with a strong belief in the imminent return of Christ, that would not require withdrawal from every attempt to ameliorate social or political evil.
Pessimistic premillennialists do not refuse to work, or to get involved with settling disputes.
They do not refuse their pay cheques or reject the use of seatbelts! Each of these things has a bearing on wider political life, and Christians have an interest in those things being done honestly and well. As in theory, so in history: While most eschatological belief systems have less impact on political engagement than we might expect, and few logically issue in any precise programmes, there is one that is currently popular and tightly bound to a particular active political programme.
Some dispensational premillennialists give a ready ear and ready cash to usually American televangelists and parachurch movements calling for aid to Jews seeking to emigrate to Israel, and to various charitable bodies operating there. They are also strident in their political lobbying, seeking to ensure that pro-Israel politicians are elected to office and ensure that the US government supports Israel.
Furthermore, it is far from clear that aggressive policies of settlement, land seizure and discrimination are actually in the long-term interests of the Zionist cause, however strong Israel appears to be in relation to the Arab states today. Christians must not contribute to this issue by simplistic and one-sided policy extrapolations from an eccentric eschatology.
Eschatology is neither remote nor esoteric, but is highly relevant to Christian living. Worldly politics influences our lives whether we like it or not, and Christian politics i. Be inspired that your labour in the Lord is not in vain, and that how you conduct your relationships and wield the influence God has granted you truly matters both now and in the everlasting future.
The disputed details of millennial schemes should not deflect us. The agreed contours of eschatology, including the certainty of final judgement, should shape our political engagement. Canon Press, , p. A more cautious approach to this theme is found in the works of Seyoon Kim and John Barclay. Against the frequently-heard claim that 2 Pet. Grenz, The Millennial Maze: IVP, , helpfully analyses the distinctive strengths and weaknesses contributed by each millennial position.
Allen Lane, , pp. As an analytic experiment for myself, without making too big a point of it, when I got to the end of the Neuromancer trilogy and began another, I went to a very, very near future that is really more like a freely hallucinated version of the day in which it was written. That was sufficient proof of theory for me when I got to Pattern Recognition , which was intended to be a novel that examined the day in which it was written with the standard-issue sci-fi tools. By the same token, I've always thought of writers like Don DeLillo as being people who use the oven mitts of sci-fi to pick up and examine the red-hot steaming mess that is the present.
We've got the tools for the job. Sci-fi has been around for a while now, but the concept that you're living in the future now rather than envisioning it seems to be fully ascendant in this century. Gibson: I agree completely. I know there are writers doing really good work today, taking all the trouble to imagine believable futures. But the trouble is I don't keep up with them because it's no longer what I am personally compelled to read. I have this post-it note on the windshield: "Read more great contemporary science fiction! I know it's there, and I've met some of the people that do it.
But I'm spinning off into other directions. I look forward to my eventual renaissance as a sci-fi reader, and catching up on all that stuff. They remind me of Adam Curtis' stunning documentary series The Century of the Self previewed above , which does the same. Have you seen it? Gibson: No, but it's funny you mention it. I was at breakfast with a really good friend of mine recently, and we weren't talking about my stuff at all.
We were talking about 20th-century history, and he brought up The Century of the Self and ran me through its take on the history of psychology. So that's instantly warranted a more urgent post-it note: "Check out The Century of the Self! Curtis' documentary is consumed with the idea that people are psychologically and politically empowered through excess consumption. Zero History seems to argue that it's much harder to do when you're spiraling through an age of information overload.
Gibson: Yeah, when I wrote Pattern Recognition, we were in a world in which we all hadn't yet become cool hunters. But since then, it's been democratized. It's become a kind of function of the individual. What I notice about advertising lately is how incredibly little attention I pay to most of it, and how relatively little it influences my purchasing patterns.
I don't know what that's about.
I think I've tuned into my own universe of advertising and consumption. I just ignore the mainstream, and that may be where we're all going.
Advertising today seems after the fact; I don't feel like it's addressed to me. If I pay attention I can see how it's structured, and I don't think I'm at all remarkable in that. I think consumers are generally becoming dangerously sophisticated about advertising, and how it works.
Bigend is a fantasy figure I came up with to interrogate that situation, to make fun of it. I think I created him to enjoy the impotence of much of 21st-century marketing. I'm partial to " Anaheiming. Gibson: That's the difference between what Anaheim was like in and what it is like now.
I think of Anaheim because I've known a couple people who grew up in Orange County in the early '50s and how they react to it now. It's kind of like that Joni Mitchell song " Big Yellow Taxi ," which is about paving paradise and putting up parking lots.
It's a ubiquitous condition for a lot of the world; there's a certain pathos in making a big deal about it. And yet there is also a certain pathos in seeing people too young to have any idea of what it was once like, walking around lost in a sort of pre- Lapsarian vision. As if someone told them that there were once miles of orange trees, but they can't quite get their heads around it. Gibson: There's no invention in that one. Get on Google and punch in the term "tactical" and anything else: "Tactical briefcase," "tactical boots," "tactical trousers.
I assume people buy them because they think they can probably still carry them on planes?
The collective mind is a powerful force, and tapping into collective intelligence can provide a real advantage. Market behavior can be predicted, for instance, and. Coolhunting Chapter 3 Swarms Can Better Predict The Future Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) · J.K. Rowling. of 2,,
Where maybe they'll feel safer? I don't know. But there's just a big knot of this stuff right in the middle of American culture. I did my best to describe it.