The cold war is over but the bomb shelter market is heating up, offering accommodations that will help you survive Armageddon in style. -- Smithsonian magazine, 6/12, p. 12
Citing the reality show Doomsday Bunkers on Discovery Channel, among other things, Smithsonian asserts that there is a boom in the bomb-shelter business. In searching for reasons, they quote author Stephen O’Leary, who speculates that its at least in part due to the fact that we live in a secular age, “For those without the comfort of religion, to survive as long as possible is the best hope.”
The assertion led me to ponder whether, in fact, Christians are less likely to seek the protection of life underground in unsettling times than their non-religious counterparts. Somehow I doubt it.
I have no statistics to back me up, but the web site Today's Technology in Bible Prophecy suggests a far different view that O’Leary’s: Tip 23 addresses nuclear attack and offers scriptural support from Isaiah that it is the Christian’s duty to seek shelter from the alleged coming nuclear storm.
Fascinatingly and sadly, after offering fairly detailed analysis as to why such action is needed and suggesting what should be stored in the shelter by way of food and recommending that the US have an ABM system of ‘self defense’, the section for how to respond to the refugees coming for food and shelter in the aftermath is blank.
Tip 23 isn’t alone in its silence on kindness: a quick Google search reveals that there are 3. 4 million hits for the Google heading ‘nuclear survival guide’; 2.5 million for ‘nuclear survival kit’; 1.6 million for ‘nuclear survival skills; 1.2 million for ‘nuclear survival gear’; 53.7 million for ‘nuclear survival’ and as a Google category, ‘nuclear survival sharing’ or ‘nuclear survival sharing’ - 0.
Maybe O’Leary is right that the current fascination, at least in some quarters, with assured survival of the unsurvivable reflects an underlying almost pathological (my word, not O’Leary’s) fear of death.
If so, it should be equally clear that we Christians are not immune to any of our society’s ills, including its fears.
In my own church this summer, we’re reflecting on the New Testament image of the kingdom of God (alternatively in Matthew, the kingdom of heaven).
Given the Bible’s clear (and not much about the kingdom is clear) sense that God’s kingdom is both already here and yet to come, a Christian bomb shelter would seem a contradiction in terms.
Isaiah may have warned its readers to self-protect, but Jesus makes clear to his followers that hard times are part of the human condition and hence part of their own trajectory and that the call to Love is a sacrificial journey.
Following the path laid down by our Lord, perhaps the only possible Christian bomb shelter is the one we build for someone else to inhabit.