As part of the lead-up to Centre for Inquiry Ottawa's Eschaton 2012 conference, Celebrating Reason at the End of the World, we are pleased to present Apocalypse When, a series covering some of the many eschatological visions and scenarios that have gained or maintained popularity over the centuries.
- Islamic: Taste the Doom of Fire
- Buddhist: The Dwarf Somalia
- Raëlian: Waiting Room Battle Royale
- Zoroastrian: Hot, Sticky Justice
- Death by Comet Flatus
- The Surf Shop at the End of the World
- Norse: Wolves and Snakes and Eyjafjallajökull, Oh My!
- Y2K: Your Mother Smelled of Subroutines
- Left Behind: Romania Will Rise Again
- Revelation: Thrust In Thy Sharp Sickle
- Nostradamus: Unspecified Event at Unknown Time with Voluptuous Edith
- Mayan: This Magic Skull Goes All the Way to…Zero
Apocalypse #4: Hot, Sticky Justice
Veterans of the atheosphere might recognize Zoroastrianism as the ancient Persian religion whose Mithraic component is the best-attested antecedent for many Christian traditions, such as celebrating the birth of Jesus on 25 December. What I didn't know is that Zoroastrianism is a living religion, with active fire temples singing the praises of the god Ahura Mazda and a world membership of over 200,000, a surprising fraction of which live in Canada. I can only imagine how they feel about freethinkers using their history as one of many disproofs of Christianity. My guess? Weirdly flattered.
Yes, Zoroastrian worship sites are called "fire temples", and serve primarily to house large bonfires. The Zoroastrian obsession with fire is so great that the country of Azerbaijan, once a…hotbed…of Zoroastrianism, gets its name from the Old Persian for "the Treasury of Fire."
That obsession does not disappoint, as the Zoroastrians explain that the world will end when the Zoroastrian gods of fire and healing cause all of the metal in the world's hills and mountains to melt and coalesce into a single molten river.
"Create a world-spanning river of molten metal" is something the Zoroastrian god of healing does? Suddenly I really want to play a Zoroastrian-themed D&D game.
At this stage, with more metal than exists in the entire Earth's crust flowing in a massive superheated river, a savior figure emerges and instructs both the living and the thronging resurrected dead (all 106 billion of them…) that, in order to pass into the utopia to come, they must wade through the river of metal. The wicked will experience horrible burning pain, while the righteous will have an experience like wading through a river of warm milk.
Wading through a river of warm milk. Or horrible burning pain.
I told you it wouldn't be an eschaton without homoerotic undertones. I just feel bad for the partygoers who get nought but a hideous supernatural STI for their trouble. The river of spunk-metal flowing into Hell laden with the burning unrighteous and killing the devil is nothing compared to an eternal godly itch.
The survivors of the divinely ordained orgy of rancid stickiness will be rewarded with a godly version of amphetamine-laced Mormon tea, which will confer immortality, take away people's shadows, and cause them to all speak the same language and become a single, world-spanning country. Or rather, since high doses of ephedra are hallucinogenic, they'll just imagine all of that. It seems Ahura Mazda thinks that getting the entire world so hopped up on crystal meth that they think they're insubstantial light-beings free of mortal limits is hilarious. This is the deity that apparently plans to reward his followers with a long walk through the world's most disturbing porn dungeon, complete with veritable lava flows of gonorrhea all pointed at that one creepy guy in the corner who keeps asking people to stab each other, until he eventually drowns on disease and dead actors. Getting the world high after that would be an act of mercy.
No word on what the car selection is like afterward, but I have a few ideas. I'm guessing no one will want to touch the seats.