There are quite a few post-apocalyptic shows out these days. The Last Man on Earth is one example, a television series that is set in 2020, a year after a deadly virus has wiped (almost) everyone out. A handful of people have natural immunity, which the main character, Phil (Will Forte) soon discovers after spray painting billboards across the U.S. with the message “Alive in Tuscon.” It seems to be a lonely life for Phil before he realizes he isn’t really the only person left alive, but he can choose any mansion to live in, drive any car on the empty, open roads, and the grocery stores are abandoned for his taking (only non-perishables are really edible though). There are downsides such as no electricity, no running water, and an end to all of the other modern-day conveniences that an urbanite would be used to, which were, in the past, handled by “someone else.” It would be much better if a farmer or botanist were left behind, but I guess it is supposed to be relatable to most of us.
Watching this show has compelled me to think about other apocalypses in sacred literature, mainly Noah and the global flood. I always have thought it was rather chilling that gods were created to be such harsh punishers of humankind. In the Qur’an, this story is used as one of many examples of the communities that were sent a messenger but disobeyed and so endured the promised wipe-out. It always seemed strange to me that God would be discussed to be so violent when the immediate messages in these literatures were that human beings should be kind, charitable, and moderate with each other. Continue reading “The Last Man on Earth, Noah, and the Fantasy of Humanity’s Destruction by Elisabeth Schilling”