I can remember sandwich-board men on the streets of Cardiff with the message: ‘Repent for the end is nigh.’ You don’t see them so much these days although one does see ‘Jn. 3.3’ around, which is a different but related message for those who know their bibles.
All three of the world’s religions which share the same root in the story of Abraham, the Jews, Christians and Muslims have teachings on the ‘end of times’ or the apocalypse. Just as the world began so will it must end.
The problem is when people try to precipitate this by triggering war in Jerusalem where this event is meant to happen. This ancient city is the holiest place for Jews and Christians and the second holiest for Muslims.
When politics and religion mix it is a heady and often dangerous brew. Look at the history of Ireland let alone the Middle East.
The current situation in parts of the world is both worrying and depressing. Remember, more Muslims are dying at the hands of their own than are being killed in single outrages in our cities.
Isis, born of the wreckage the West caused in Iraq, is beyond the understanding of our more liberal minds. Their appalling bloodletting and cruel barbarity has only ever been matched by medieval Christianity.
Now is the time not to condemn, and certainly not to react against the settled Muslim communities in our own land. The vast majorities of Muslims want what we want; a secure and comfortable life in which we might see our children and grandchildren grow and flourish.
Isis is a warped and terrible aberration of the teachings of the Koran. At its heart are the dark forces of the civil war raging in Islam at the moment and into which the West has been sucked. Clothed in religion it is part political, part criminal.
Can we see a parallel in history? I believe so in the fascism of the last century in which millions died before a semblance of peace was restored.
We live in dangerous, but not end times.