666? Booga, booga, booga!
Today is June 6, 2006, or in numerical notation 6/6/06. Taking advantage of the date, Hollywood has released a remake of The Omen. (The first wasn't boring enough?) Credulous evangelicals are taking care not to walk under ladders or cross the path of black cats. This author thought a former boss -- a very evangelical-minded Methodist -- was going to run us off the road when we got behind a taxi with the number "666."
Why the heightened tension around this date? First of all, the date isn't "666" but "6606," which isn't the number of anything. Secondly, generations have "accepted" this date once a century (June 6, 1906; June 6, 1806, etc.) and will continue to do so until time shall be no more.
But most importantly, like blaspheming the Holy Spirit, the nervous view is informed by an overly literal interpretation of this number (as are worries about Social Security numbers, taxi tags, and the like). Accepting the "number of the Beast" will involve a rejection of Christ. It may be no more than offering a pinch of incense in front of the emperor's statue -- or the new false gods of the secular age, who are legion. The best preventative against this is a close relationship with God and membership in His Church. St. Augustine of Hippo noted, "evil is nothing but the removal of good until finally no good remains." Conversely, an unbroken stream of witnesses say overcoming evil involves some warfare against that passion...but also the acquisition of good (or rather, acquisition of The Good One) until evil is crowded out of our lives by the indwelling of God, drowned in the flow of the Holy Spirit. This will get any Christian much further than, say, skipping work today (which you will have to confess at some point, anyway).