The Rapture is a belief among some Christians that they'll be godnapped to Heaven with little to no warning. Preacher Harold Camping predicted an earthquake would commence this prank on May 21, 2011. His ministry has raised millions of dollars by telling people they will soon have no need for millions of dollars.
As this post goes live at 6:00 p.m. local time, I am as-yet undestroyed by the Rapture, and only slowly being destroyed by this fearful series of losses called life. In fact, it's raining from a sunny sky in New York right now, so I presume a rainbow will shortly appear to promise bodily safety and gay rights. Therefore, I am calling shenanigans on Harold Camping, for these five reasons.
The Rapture is derived from a passage about the saved dead rising, with the righteous living later "caught up together with them in the clouds." Not that I object to a zombie apocalypse, but spontaneous discorporation requires an escape-velocity leap of logic. Regardless: no zombies? No Rapture.
This is what Heaven looks like
Zombies trump earthquakes. Kicking off Armageddon with something that occurs fifty times a day is the kind of quaint opening number that only an 89-year-old man with more money than time finds rah-rah rousing. Does Camping know what a zombie is? To find out, offer him a nickel. If he thinks it will buy him three reels at the pictures plus a malted for his best dame, we know the last time he saw a zombie, it was sleepwalking in the thrall of an effete, ambiguously European man of leisure.
What our grandparents called zombies, we call kept woman.
The Bible says more on resurrected dead than it does the Rapture. It also says wild animals will devour the survivors, to which I reply: there's room for interpretation. Camping figures 6.5 billion people will be left behind, so what beast other than a zombie is populous enough to eat us all? Three Luke Wilsons?
Speaking of interpretation, now that we've played golf on the moon, we know Heaven is someplace other than the clouds, possibly in Sofia Vergara's embrace.
The case can be made.
A literalist's only way out here is to argue "with them in the clouds" is figurative language for the world above this sliver of reality we experience as life, or in my case, alcoholic fugues. But if that's the case, you're not a literalist. You can't be a fundamentalist and still claim poetic license. You don't see lawyers arguing the symbolic imagery in contracts. Unless God's trying to save gas and meet you at the halfway mark in the troposphere, there are only four remaining possibilities:
Every word of the Bible is literally trueResolved
- Everything in the Bible is correct, but some of it figuratively so
- Some of the Bible is right, and some of it is wrong
- None of the Bible is true
- It would be better to have a beer than argue over how true the Bible is
We know it's not number four, because the Bible says it's not, and the Bible says the Bible is infallible, so: boom, airtight argument. Nor is it number three, because you know who else is right sometimes and wrong others? TV's Walton Goggins. An actor can't be the Bible! That's blasphemy. Besides, we know they're separate because unlike Goggins, the Bible doesn't improve every film it's in.
In his spare time, he is a Star Wars character
Obviously it's not number two because abstract thought is intimidating, and the Bible wasn't written to scare us, except for all the infanticide parts. The fact is God loves you and, being wise, He knows you can't scare someone into loving you back under threat of endless agony. Believe me, I've tried! Granted, it was my agony, not hers, but the court didn't appreciate the difference. Again: lawyers don't understand that 47 pages of poetry like "The sizzling blood which from my wrist doth gush," are just fanciful phrasing for more literal ideas, such as "I'm empty inside," or "I'm going to kidnap you to the clouds."
So plainly, the only answer we can prove is number five, no matter how many beers it takes.
Apart from Thessalonians, the big passage cited as proof of the Rapture is from The Book of Matthew -- "Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left." Plainly the second man sexually assaulted the first and fled the scene, but even apart from that, you don't want to bring this up as proof of Rapturedom, because four verses prior, Jesus says:
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
That's not just the Bible talking. That's the Son of God Himself throwing up His hands and shrugging, "I just work here." Yahweh requires undisturbed secrecy to complete his sinister scheme to lay waste to the Earth, like a supervillain, or most kittens.
Michelangelo made God, and make mine Marvel, but only God can make a kitten.
You can't say there aren't similarities
Since Camping claims to have the inside track not even Jesus has, that's false prophecy, which The Lord does not approve of. These aren't buried nuggets from the book of Ezakazekeliakah; these are direct quotes from Jesus. Camping has built a mountain of success atop a document he's never even read, and only Michele Bachmann should get away with that, because she's the funniest thing on TV right now. It's like he's daring people to stop giving him money, but they keep falling for his bluff. This isn't even his first failed Armageddon. How many times do you have to miscalculate the end of the world before the nation's seniors stop sending you their social security check?
Look, the greatest daily feature of democracy is you can't crucify someone just for disseminating their ideas. The worst features of democracy are hearing Rosie O'Donnell's opinions and watching the cast of The Jersey Shore get rich.
No way will they enter Heaven. They can barely get into Italy.
Upstanding citizens often confuse decent respect for a belief's existence with respect for its validity. There's a thick line in society blocking polite people from calling most ideas crazy, drawn at the intersection of those ideas' popularity and how big a knob they make you.
We found that Pet Rock was considered stupid but not crazy.
As you can see, there's a wide, and long-recognized gap between awaiting the Rapture and trying to raise money from it. But even the former deprives yourself. Most people bang the drum until they can't hear the band change its tune. The notion of being evaporated without notice was a hot idea to people in the 1600s, when the only hobbies were collecting different strains of pox and dancing the hey-nonny in puffy leggings. But you live in the 21st century -- an era of air conditioning, vaccines, and, need I remind you? Sofia Vergara. No matter how bad things get, there's more to discover, experience, and eat (unless your problem is famine). It's a rich world, and you have no reason to want to escape it, unless...oh my God, she's never coming back.
One for the Rapture, please.
Brendan McGinley is past saving.