My parents did not raise me to be a fundamentalist but, sadly, I fell into it on my own. It’s an easy mistake to make, when you’re living in London, Kentucky.
When I was in 7th grade one of my teachers told the class that, according to the book of Revelation, the world was going to end soon. He gave an actual date, though I don’t remember what it was; something around 1997, I think. This worried me. What good was going to school, getting an education, getting married, doing anything, if the world was going to end within the next ten years?
I needed to check this out so I began reading Revelation, which was a mistake. I didn’t read much, but what I did read was terrifying, and did nothing to lift my spirits. I became extremely depressed. If I saw something good or life-affirming, it just added to my sadness that we were all doomed.
This lasted for weeks. Finally I decided that I had to stop worrying about the future and live for the here and now. That sounds kind of noble, like a carpe diem sort of thing, but it wasn’t; it was hedonism, focusing on simple pleasures to distract from the larger problem. Whatever the case, it worked. I stopped worrying about the impending apocalypse all the time, and after awhile I stopped believing that the world was going to end in 1997. And, happily, it did not.