A non-practicing Catholic, I guess, is someone born into the Catholic faith who no longer adheres to any of it’s prescribed behaviours or rituals, and I would suppose some people don’t feel they need to practice it once they know how to do it. Practicing Catholicism must be for newbies.
But Baptists are a different beast all together. Technically, if you follow the letter of Baptist convention, no one is born into the Baptist faith. No one, no matter the circumstances of birth, can become a Baptist without actively choosing to do so, though the age of consent for such a choice is surprisingly low. This is why you see so many Baptist preachers dunking little kids in the water—it shows those children have chosen of their own free will to live their lives for Jesus. And if you check the news of late, you’ll find some preachers seem a little confused about what other things children are or are not able to consent to, under the laws constructed by good old human beings.
Once your accepted in the fold, you are saved, and there’s not much you can do to get kicked out, and you don’t have to practice, either. If you don’t keep up your Godly work by staying clean and pure and avoiding all the temptations the earth has to offer, you’re only human and no one should throw stones at you (according to New Testament law).
If you’ve slipped a little, you’re officially a backslider. Baptists believe that a truly saved person can’t genuinely fall out of favor with God. If you actively reject God and all God’s work, you are not a backslider but a reprobate, and God will surely turn against you, because when you said you wanted to devote your life to Jesus when you were six, you must have been a lying little demon.
In the grand scheme of things, worlds, suns, and other fabulous celestial bodies come and go all the time, so the loss of one more wouldn’t really make any difference at all, so you can relax. And, the Earth isn’t really under any serious existential threat at the moment, anyway. I mean, it’s getting warmer, but planets do that from time to time. It quite literally is not the end of the world. Hear George Carlin explain here.
The world will go on for some time, I would imagine, unless it collides with something or some other heretofore unimagined accident occurs. I mean, I guess it is possible the Earth will spontaneously break up into tiny particles and become another ring around Saturn, but the chances of that seem infinitesimally small.
But you’re still worried about the state of the world (aren’t you?) because you’re selfish. Only you don’t think you’re being selfish. You’re just worried about all the pretty flowers, the coral reefs, the poor people in other countries, and the cute animals that will disappear, severely affecting your enjoyment of travel documentaries. To be fair, if the plants and animals on the Earth are capable of wishing anything about you at all, I’m sure they do wish you would either go away or at least clean up your mess, so the anti-litter campaign is probably well received by the non-human inhabitants of the planet.
Somewhere deep down, you must fear that if the world ends, or even just changes slightly, you might also end and leave the world to fight for itself, which it could certainly do better without you, anyway. So, let’s face it, you’re really just fighting for your own survival. Don’t worry, you’ve got this. Humans always seem to find a solution to every problem.
Most inhabitants of the Earth are congregated near large bodies of water such as oceans. If the sea levels rise, you’re thinking you may have to move further inland. It might help a little. The folks who already live inland will most likely welcome you with open arms and give you plenty of food and fresh water as most people have already proven to be extremely concerned about the plight of immigrants and refugees.
Your arrival in the new place isn’t likely to cause too much disruption. They may have to expand the hospital a little, but it shouldn’t take too long. Tax revenue is sure to be increasing, so building more roads, schools, power plants, water processing centers, and so on will be easy enough.
As people like yourself travel around, you will carry germs with you. Things you may have become accustomed to may or may not cause problems for your new neighbors. It’s possible everyone will stay healthy. Of course, animals will also be moving and changing their migration patterns, but that should be all right. It’s not like anyone has ever gotten a serious disease from animals. I mean, whoever heard of bird flu or pig flu or anything like that? It’s absurd.
And no one worries about plagues, anymore, because they haven’t happened in a long time. The viruses that caused great epidemics in the past are long dormant. Who could imagine them being reintroduced into human society as a result of thawing ice or something? Preposterous. New bacteria aren’t likely to emerge, either, as we’ve already dealt with them. Scientists these days develop vaccines and new antibiotics at the drop of a hat. Infectious diseases are simply no longer a matter of concern. It’s hard to imagine a pandemic wiping out billions of people, certainly. That kind of thing doesn’t happen where you’ll be living.
As you travel, you may meet fellow travelers moving away from wildfires, drought, inland flooding, failed crops, and so on. Everyone will be understanding and work together to divide the available food as equitably as possible. The police and military might be called in to help smooth over any disagreements. You may see a few skirmishes crossing borders and so forth, but new drones and fortified structures will offer substantial protection to the good immigrants, like yourself. The people who die in conflict should have been more careful.
So don’t worry about the old Earth. She’ll keep spinning as long as she is destined to, with or without you. And don’t be too concerned about yourself, either. You’ve survived this far. Surely your good luck will continue. It’s a shame about the animals going extinct, though, and the poor people who have lost their homes. And you’ll always have your memories of how things were.
I don’t think I’m the only one to notice that Percy Bysshe Shelley‘s “Mask of Anarchy” seems amazingly relevant to current efforts to suppress the voices and will of workers around the world. So, I’ve taken the poem almost verbatim, made a few textual changes, and changed the names of the politicians to the names of Tea Party members and others in the Republican party. For more info on the poem, see The Guardian‘s partial explication.
Here is my take:
As I lay asleep in Houston, Texas
I heard a voice declare war on us,
And with great power it led me
To walk in visions of Poetry.
I met Murder as the widows began crying—
He had a mask like Paul Ryan—
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him:
All were fat in the savage crew,
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed them human hearts to chew
Which from his wide cloak he drew.
Next came Fraud, and he had on,
Like John Boehner, an ermined gown;
His big tears, for he wept well,
Turned to mill-stones as they fell.
And the little children, who
Believed him to be true,
Thinking every tear a gem,
Had their brains knocked out by them.
Clothed with the Bible, as with light,
And the shadows of the night.
Like Perry, next, Hypocrisy
On a crocodile rode by.
And many more Destructions played
In this ghastly masquerade,
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Like Bishops, lawyers, peers, and spies.
Last came Anarchy : he rode
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips,
Like Death in the Apocalypse.
And he wore a kingly crown;
And in his grasp a sceptre shone;
On his brow this mark I saw—
‘I AM CRUZ, GOD, KING, AND LAW!’
With a pace stately and fast,
Over Texas land he passed,
Trampling to a mire of blood
The adoring multitude.
And with a mighty troop around
With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword,
For the service of their Lord.
And with glorious triumph they
Rode through Texas proud and gay,
Drunk as with intoxication
Of wine of wanton destruction.
And each dweller, panic-stricken,
Felt his heart with terror sicken
Hearing the tempestuous cry
Of the triumph of Anarchy.
For from pomp to meet him came,
Clothed in arms like blood and flame,
The hired murderers, who did sing
‘Thou art God, and Law, and King.
‘We have waited weak and lone
For thy coming, Mighty One!
Our purses are empty, our swords are cold,
Give us glory, and blood, and gold.’
And Anarchy, the Skeleton,
Bowed and grinned to every one,
As well as if his education
Had cost billions to the nation.
When one fled past, a maniac maid,
And her name was Hope, she said:
But she looked more like Despair,
And she cried out in the air:
‘My father Time is weak and gray
With waiting for a Change this day;
So long as Anarchy rages on still,
The world awaits a reborn will!
‘He has had child after child,
And the dust of death is piled
Over every one but me—
Misery, oh, Misery!’
Then she lay down in the street,
Right before the horses feet,
Expecting, with a patient eye,
Murder, Fraud, and Anarchy.
And the prostrate multitude
Looked—and ankle-deep in blood,
Hope, that maiden most serene,
Was walking with a quiet mien:
To an accent unwithstood,—
As if her heart cried out aloud:
‘People of conscience, heirs of Glory,
Heroes of unwritten story,
‘Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number.
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you—
You are many—they are few.
‘What is Freedom?—you can tell
That which slavery is, too well—
For its very name has grown
To an echo of your own.
But change rose as a two-headed monster
Each head struggling to devour the other
But Hope nourishes the stricken half
And leaves Gold with a dark epitaph
“Let not this monster rise again.
Squelch the greed that lies within.”
We are not, as impostors say,
A shadow soon to pass away.
We ‘Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number—
Shake our chains to earth like dew
We are many—they are few.’