Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Yes But, Maybe, I Don't Know

When did certainty become the air we breathe? Where did ambivalence and ambiguity go? Why is everybody so sure of everything in an era that keeps surprising us with the unexpected and unforeseen?

Such thoughts arise with the expected arrival of Judgment Day by many believers, an event that would make obsolete the billions of passionate words that wash over us daily on every conceivable subject.

If the Biblical prophecy does not come to pass, it should at least leave us reflecting on the nature of the world we all inhabit so briefly.

As passengers on a cosmic life raft, why do we spend so much time bickering about who sits where and who gets how much of what’s available?

It may be deep in human nature to act this way but, for someone in old age, it seems to get more so as time goes on. The more we know, the more opinionated we get and the surer that everyone else has it all wrong.

Long ago, I wrote a book about the media that over-inform this modern world, with a first chapter titled “The World Ends Tomorrow, Details After This Message.”

If those who are sure about the Rapture turn out to be right, we won’t get any analysis from cable TV and blogs.

If they are wrong, can their mistake leave us with a little humility about what we do and don’t know about everything?

Repeat after me: It’s only my opinion, but I could be wrong... You may be right... Nobody knows for sure...

Update: No Apocalypse today. We'll have to struggle on.


Harley King said...

Amen, brother.

Anonymous said...

I think that what made this doomsday interesting was the amount of money dumped into advertising.

Having some interest in Biblical history, and in linguistics, I usually see how these Rapture "Bible Codes" are "discovered" (and by "discovered", I mean spun from hay, greed, awesome weed, and a small pile of B.S.). This one was really gawdawful. The "math" was really bad numerology with horrible circular reasoning. He said part of his earlier mistake was a mistranslation of the "Epistle to the Hebrews" into Hebrew. (Ow, my brain!) And then there's F@ggits. (As a co-worker said, "That's the fudge factor he packed in.") And Sweden. Jesus has a burr up his but about Sweden.

Overall, schizophrenic rants tend to be more interesting, the math was bad, and the Biblical studies were only above the level of "Well in MY BAIIIBHUL Jesus speaks good English, so foreigners need to learn English too!".

I only see two obvious possibilities here. First is that his congregation is truly freebasing the Crazy Juice, and the greater Religious Right movement has become that intellectually lazy and "faith based". The other is his organization is letting him go out with one last big huzzah, and his retirement will be announced by end of business day Friday.