I am a fan of good beer. Right now, I have a special beer in my fridge that’s part of Stone Brewery’s Vertical Epic series. It was brewed on 11/11/11 and is not supposed to be drunk until 12/12/12. But there’s a problem. The Mayan Calendar says the world will end that day. (Or was it the 21st?) Let me tell you why I’m not worried.
First off, why do people want to use the Mayan Calendar to predict the end of the world even though we don’t use the Mayan Calendar for anything else? Is the slated Doomsday taking into account the fact that we didn't count year AD 0–1? What about the fact that we lost a few days in the West when we switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar (Britain had no September 11 in 1752… it was one of eleven “missing” days)? I just want to make sure that we’ve calculated Doomsday accurately. I wouldn’t want to have already missed it. Oh, wait… turns out they found an old Mayan calendar that goes way beyond 2012. Doh.
It may be a little early to be talking about all this, but, come December, it’s gonna be all over the place and I just wanted to slip in before the airspace gets supersaturated. There are good reasons to be confident that the world isn’t ending any time soon, and they’re good to repeat even if you already know the difference between astrology and astronomy.
Back to beer… A. E. Housman said, “Malt does more than Milton can to justify God’s ways to man.” John Milton wrote Paradise Lost as a theodicy—a justification of God’s goodness in light of the reality of pain and evil. If you’ve ever talked to an atheist, you’re probably very familiar with the argument: If God is good and all-powerful, why does He allow evil? A. E. Housman’s answer? Beer. God is looking out for us. It might not look like it from inside this short life (AKA, an approximately eight decade bout of terminal myopia), but God has given us all the proof we need that His ways toward us are good and right (e.g., beer). To reiterate, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Benjamin Franklin didn't say that, by the way. He preferred wine.
And God Himself had some other words to say on the issue. Right after the Flood had subsided, God made a promise to Noah (who also preferred wine): "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." The normal, natural cycles of the earth are going to continue on until God finishes telling His story. And from the looks of it, that story is far from over. I mean, come on. It was four thousand years to the climax… don’t you think God might be a little more patient than we are? I don’t think even an Obama re-election in November could precipitate the end of the world. (That was the directly political portion of this post, by the way… in case you missed it.)
So Lord willing, come December 11, my twin daughters will turn five. And December 12, I’ll be celebrating another fine day on this good earth with a delicious beer. And lest you think I’m recommending sloth over industry: I’m not saying don’t work. I’m just saying don’t worry.