As y’all know, I’ve little enough use for Christian “End Times” prophesying. To me the Book of Revelation reads like someone with schizophrenia got hold of some magic mushrooms… which is quite possibly not that far from the mark. The various “signs and portents” do not impress me. But the problem as I see it is that they do impress a whole lot of other folk.One that impresses a whole lot of folk is the idea of the “mark of the beast:”
The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
So, what we got here is a mark on the right hand or forehead that is required for buying or selling. With End-Timers, there’s a weird mix of literalism and metaphor, so that the “mark of the beast” could be any damn thing, from a simple mark like a tattooed symbol to an idea (like the holder of the mark simply believes something or other) to, now, thanks to modern technology, some sort of implanted microchip.
I won’t start worrying about the end of days until we get a winter that lasts three years. But other folk worry about (or, indeed, look forward to) Armageddon. And often enough, history has shown that when people merely *believe* some sort of thing is going to happen, they’ll *make* it happen, for good or ill. So, imagine how thrilling this news item will be:
In short, the company is providing, optionally and for free, the implantation of RFID chips similar to what you can get for your dog or cat. The purpose of this is that the company will have RFID chip readers on doors and vending machines, so all an employee needs to do is wave their chipped hand over the sensor and the door will open or their account will be charged.
Having my employer surgically implant something within me to “help” me do my job is more than a little creepifyin’, but it’s the march of progress, I suppose. But you *know* some people are going to be directly freaked the hell out about this and start going off about The Beast. The kind of funny thing: I expect RFID chipping of humans to be a fad. Before too long, doors and vending machines and billboards and cops will have biometric readers that don’t need some clunky old-fashioned chip to be implanted… they’ll recognize your fingerprints, or your iris patterns or your voice or, a few years further down the line, your DNA. Then the “mark of the Beast” will be something you’re born with. And nothing bad could possibly come of that.