Did you think I was going to be writing about the event that’s supposed to occur May 21, 2011, at 6 p.m. local time? No, I’m going to write about the 1981 song, “Rapture,” by Blondie. This song was one of the earliest number one hits to feature rap–and with a white chick doing the rapping. “Rapture” was a mix of rap, jazz, pop, and several other genres and is probably Blondie’s best known hit.
Of course, I’m going to write about the event predicted by self-styled preacher, Harold Camping, of Family Radio. The first point I’m going to make is that he always makes a big pitch for money, and his net worth is now estimated to be close to $80 million. I’m sure since he’s predicted he’ll be in heaven come one nanosecond after 6 p.m. tomorrow, that he’s distributed those millions to organizations that will be tending to all the victims of the end times to come. What? He hasn’t? Oh.
I’m an atheist. I was one in my heart for a long time but acquiesced to societal pressure and declared I was really an agnostic, i.e., that there was probably a god, but I hadn’t yet been convinced. Regardless of how I “came out” as an atheist, The Rapture is something I scoff at. I’ve heard about it since my grandmother pulled me into revival tents when I was a child. Truthfully, I found the whole concept of The Rapture terrifying on a couple of levels. First, the thought of being “snatched up” or disappearing is totally freaky to a child, and I didn’t really want to leave my dog behind. Being the inquisitive little snot that I was, I asked if my dog, Missy, could get Raptured with me and was told that dogs don’t have souls. Yeah, right, but that’s a topic for a different post.
My second, and probably most significant, fear about The Rapture was not being good enough to be Raptured. And that’s one of my problems with religion–that a seven or eight year old child would be terrified that she wasn’t good enough to be taken to heaven in The Rapture. When I finally figured out there was no god, that fear evaporated, and I slept much better at night. Still do.
I try to be reasonable about other people’s beliefs. Most of my Christian friends and I have come to a place of mutual respect–you don’t try to convert me, and I won’t try to convert you; we can have civilized debates, but we respect each other’s beliefs, or lack thereof in my case. It is difficult for me, however, to find that respect for people who blindly follow charlatans like Camping, who are clearly only in this for the money. (By the way, he predicted in the 1990’s that The Rapture was coming and had only a lame excuse of poor biblical scholarship as his reason why it didn’t. But send more money so he can do a better job of studying the Bible.)
I can’t respect parents who quit their jobs, stop paying their bills, and spend all their assets before May 21, so they won’t leave any worldly things behind. I especially can’t respect the mother in that family, who has a small child and another on the way, who is putting her belief in superstition above the care of her family.
I can’t respect another set of parents, these of three teenagers, who have also put their faith before their children. This mother told her 16-year old daughter, who disagreed with her mother’s contention about the impending Rapture, that she won’t be in heaven. The mother went on to say, essentially, “My children will be left behind, but, oh well, that’s god’s will.” If I were in child protective services in that state, I’d be on their doorstep come Monday. And Monday will come.
I can only disrespect a mother of two who was so certain she’d be Raptured but was sure her two young daughters wouldn’t be. In her “motherly” concern, however, she decided even though they’d be left behind, she didn’t want them to suffer, so she cut their throats. (Abraham and Isaac, much.) Thankfully, someone found them before they bled out and got them to hospital. And I guess the mother, and I use the term loosely, decided she didn’t want to wait for May 21; she cut her throat, too. In her mug shot, you can see a two-inch cut that appeared not to need stitches.
There are countless other examples, but, frankly, it’s just too depressing to recount just how ignorant modern-day humans can be. I could understand Homo Habilis believing in The Rapture, but not people with evolved forebrains. Then again, Homo Habilis’ brain couldn’t conceive the concept of religion, so who’s to say which of us is evolved?
The other, disturbing thing about believing you’re one of god’s chosen is the arrogance. You, as a person, have decided you’ve been so good, so perfect–even though the son of the god you believe in admittedly wasn’t–you’re going to heaven, and you don’t give one whit about those of us you’ve decided aren’t. If you were truly Christians, you’d understand that The Rapture is not mentioned in the Bible, Jesus didn’t talk about it, and he’ll be really pissed when he sees how you’ve treated the rest of us.
If a single person commits suicide before this event to hasten the trip to heaven or in the aftermath because it didn’t happen, I lay the blame at the doorstep of Harold Camping. In some way, I wish I believed in a Judgement Day, because I’d like to be a fly on a cloud when he stands before St. Peter. (It’s a metaphor, people.)
See you next week. I promise.