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Marina V. Vorobjova

The Apocalypse: the End or Transformation?

(To a question about vision of the Future in a context of various Religious Traditions)


The Apocalypse is a Greek word that means "revelation". Throughout the Bible the term "Apocalypse" means any revelation or prophecy about the destiny of the elected people. Besides, "Apocalypse" means the End of World, the Final Judgment, the Transformation of the world etc. This is the latter meaning that will be dealt with below. Apocalypse will be understood as a certain transformation of the world followed by the formation of a new world order, totally different from the previous one.

Two basically different viewpoints are available in the different traditions regarding the Apocalypse. On the one side, there are religious representations concentrated on the idea of the End of the world, its closing stage, as certain inevitability (Zoroastrism, Judaism, Christianity etc.). The accent on the end of terrestrial life provokes the repentance and gives a pulse to constant self-improvement. The amplification of this accent can result in despondency and despair, sometimes with a somewhat sectarian flavour (under concept "sectarianism" in this case we mean stereotypes eclipsing consciousness of the man, an irreversible varying of his mentality and abilities).

On the other side, the accent on the transformation of the world gives a certain mitigation of the End's moment and giving attention of the believer to life, which will be developed after that (Druidism, Buddhism, Jainism etc.). We have to note that the excessive amplification of this accent as well can result in apathy and to various deviations (including to suicides) inherent to the sectarian consciousness.

Nevertheless, both attitudes towards the Apocalypse don't contradict each other because they are different accents of the same event. All examples listed by us are insisting on the irreversibility of process. The world which is going to the End carries in itself a germ of the new and changed Life.


Ontology of Dialogue as the main value of Cultural and Religious Experience. The first cycle of cross-cultural and interreligious discussions under the auspices of UNESCO, 2001.

 

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