Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Rapture That Wasn't

There was another incidence last weekend of a predicted end-of-the-world that didn't quite pan out. Some decrepit old fool named Harold Camping on this preachy "Family Life" radio station claimed to have "crunched the numbers" in the Bible and came up with May 21, 2011 as the day the Rapture would take place. This is when all the good, proper Christians would be yanked out of their clothing and sucked up into heaven. In my opinion, having to see millions of naked Christians floating through the air is the closest approximation to hell on earth that can possibly be imagined. I guess the national media was caught with nothing to talk about since gasoline prices appear to be headed downward, at least temporarily, and they all jumped on the end-of-the-world story like Kirstie Alley on a chocolate layer cake. But extreme Christian-battiness aside, what does it say about our culture that such a preposterous thing could garner that much publicity?

That anyone would believe an obviously addled, shriveled old douchebag somehow figured out a fairly momentous event that everyone else on the planet didn't, is somewhat of a stretch. And we all know how precise and exact the Bible is when it comes to relating historical events and timelines. Anyone with at least two firing brain cells would have dismissed this claptrap out of hand, but we're not talking regular people here, we're talking religious nuts whose lives are so empty and dreary and devoid of meaning that they have to take their cues from some desiccated old dirtbag with nothing better to do than scare the witless.

While most of us did just write off this nonsense as kabuki theater for the trailer-park crowd, a number of followers did go to extremes in their blind, lemming-like panic. One man in New York City spent his $140,000 life saving putting up advertisements in many subway stations warning of the impending catastrophe. I don't know which is more depressing: someone throwing away their life savings, or $140,000 even being considered "life savings." At any rate, he's out big bucks and for what? A big pile of nothing. The news reported that this guy was hanging around Times Square warning people that the end is near and when the 6 p.m. hour of reckoning came and went, he frantically starting looking through his Bible for help while a crowd of people laughed and jeered at him.

Harsh treatment, you might say, for someone of obviously limited intelligence who was taken in by just another religious charlatan. But the man was nearing 60 years of age and you would think after all that time you would be able to tell when something is bullshit when you smell it. The old saying goes, "There's a sucker born every minute," but maybe that should be changed to "There's a sucker baptized every minute." After a while, unless someone is mentally incapacitated by a psychological disorder and totally unable to make rational decisions, they have to take responsibility for their own actions and choices. Everything we do has consequences, and some consequences are worse than others, but the fact remains that when you do something stupid and idiotic, it's your own fault, and you have to deal with the aftermath.

But this whole "Rapture" thing is another way for Christianity to do their "us and them" thing, separating the world into the "saved" (i.e. believers) and the "unsaved" (those who don't believe). It doesn't matter that possibly some of the non-believers lead perfectly moral, exemplary lives - maybe even better lives than those who profess to believe in God - the fact that they don't accept the belief system of organized religion automatically dooms them to a horrible fate. I am a firm believer that organized religion of any kind gets in the way of a truly personal, fulfilling relationship with whatever higher power you choose to believe in, and it should be bypassed in favor of a much simpler, direct and honest way of dealing with that higher power. You don't need churches, temples, mosques, synagogues or crazy, Alzheimers-ridden old coots to run your life for you. You have and always have had the key to a rich, productive life in the palm of your hand, and you don't need crazy people telling you what to do.

So now, this old moron has come out from under the rock where he's been hiding for the past couple of days and reset his Doomsday countdown clock to October 21, 2011. That's the new date that the Rapture will happen. I suspect he'll probably get substantially less publicity and markedly fewer followers panicking in the streets at that time, but rest assured there will still be some people who will happily allow themselves to be snookered over and over again, and to whom the other old adage of "Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me!" has no meaning.

No comments:

Post a Comment