(Warning: Some "Ice Age: The Meltdown" spoilers ahead.)
By now, pretty much anyone who cares (and just about everyone who has a small child, judging by the boffo box office numbers this past weekend) knows that global warming is the driving plot device of the animated movice "Ice Age 2." As allegories for our current climate-change times, it's about as obvious as a melting glacier in Greenland. Our lovable motley crew of neolithic beasts live in a valley precariously protected from towering masses of water by a huge ice dam. Temperatures are rising; doom threatens. And that's about it for a story line, aside from whether or not two neurotic mammoths are ever going to get it on.
But really, what more does one need for a passable narrative than the threat of an all-consuming apocalypse? Despite its plot weaknesses, "Ice Age 2" is amusing, especially if you are an 8-year-old boy.
However, if you are a 43-year-old secular humanist, you might be perplexed. Early on in the movie, an evil vulture cruelly informs the animals of the valley that, yes, a great flood is coming. But if the animals can get to the other side of the valley, there is a boat waiting that will save them.
A boat? A flood? Say what? WARNING, WARNING: Allegory Breakdown Alert. NOAH'S ARK is going to save us from climate change!
Don't even get me started on the Rapture of the Acorn that closes the film. By that point I was so befuddled trying to figure out how seriously I should take the Bible's intervention in this global warming parable that I was nearly paralyzed. The End Times are truly nigh.
Which, I realized belatedly, is the key. I am not the first to recognize that humans appear to crave apocalypse, whether induced by technology or Jehovah. When I was a kid, nuclear holocaust was all the rage. Today, if global warming doesn't get us, peak oil will. And if neither of those does the job, well, Judgment Day is just around the corner. Amen!
Only the holy will survive Armageddon. But you can pick your path to salvation. You can live without sin, and get a free pass. Or you can be a sustainably farming organic gardener who consumes only renewable energy fuels. And if you slip, say three Hail Marys and buy a carbon offset.