Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rapture

Although not surprised, I've been discouraged to observe the amount of attention given to the California radio broadcaster who predicted (again) the date of the Rapture. He and his network are on the fringe of Christianity, yet many laughing about his prediction of the end of the world are treating his statements as representative of the religion's believers as a whole. The same goes for that small, notorious Kansas church the media simply won't ignore. Some of the loudest and worst examples of the faithful are presumed to speak for the dissenting majority. They ought to be dismissed as noisy nuisances than mouthpieces for most. That's basically how the one or two end of the world criers I saw in Times Square a couple months ago were treated.

I'm troubled more than amused by this stunt of proclaiming the imminent apocalypse, not because I put any stock in premillenial dispensationalism but because of how it misrepresents what I believe. I did not grow up in churches that emphasized the Book of Revelation. I consider living according to such apocalyptic prophecies to mean that one holds a fundamentally negative view of our existence. Why bother to improve things or strive for peace if it was foretold centuries ago that we are destined to have hell on earth?

So forgive me if I don't particularly find the jokes about this non-arriving Rapture all that funny. Millions of dollars have been wasted to spread this message. Those who trusted this charlatan's words are likely to find their worlds come crashing down, just not in the manner they expected. Contrary to what the broadcaster and his followers might think, their attempt to spread Christianity in this manner does far more harm than good. Yes, we can all feel better that we aren't as foolish or gullible as those who took the prediction seriously, but is our disdain or mockery of them worth expending any time or energy on?

(For a well-considered take on the subject--and one more upbeat than this rather humorless piece of mine--I would like to point you here.)

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