By now, the more perceptive among us have realized that… surprise… the Rapture has not occurred as predicted by that old preacher guy out in California. I am sure last week, a lot of people could recall his name. By Monday, it’ll be ‘that old preacher guy out in California’ and by Wednesday ‘that old preacher guy’. By Friday, we’ll be down to “What preacher? Oh yeah, the end of the world guy. Is he still alive?”
The exact time of the supposed Big Event was a bit vague. The theory I liked was that it was going to happen at 6:00 pm Saturday May 21, 2011, wherever you were. So, when it was 6pm Saturday evening in Tokyo… ZAPu!! 6pm in Moscow… ZAPski!! 6pm in Paris… le ZAP!! And so on, with the Rapture starting at the International Date Line and rolling across the earth, time zone by time zone, with the whole shebang over in 24 hours. This would give the rest of the world a ‘heads up’, as it were, and provide seven billion people the opportunity to freak out, knowing with absolute certainty that The End Is Near. Certainly a lot nearer than we thought on Friday morning!
This particular Rapture prediction now goes the way of other banner headline flops like Y2K, swine flu, and, for those of us who are old enough to remember, killer bees. An eschatological Comet Kahoutek. (Ask your parents)
The True Believer will not be all that shaken, however. Letdowns, disappointments and setbacks like this only serve to make the zealot more firmly committed than ever before. Fanaticism is not for the faint-hearted.
But what about the rest of us? Sure, we all had a week or so of amusement and silly Rapture jokes. It even made it onto Doonesbury.
From what I understand of this not-very-widely-held belief, in the Rapture the ‘select few’ are spirited away to heaven because a) they’re saved and destined to be in heaven anyway, and b) it would be unfair for these saintly souls to have to go through the upcoming shit-storm that’s in store for the rest of us left behind.
Luckily, I didn’t have to wrestle with such weighty theological issues. At 6pm Saturday, I was taking pleasure in a rare – for this year, anyway – dry and surprisingly sun-washed springtime late-afternoon. I was in TJLD (more on this in an upcoming piece) and, as a result, luxuriating in a self-imposed news and media blackout.
And yet, as I sit here clicking at the keyboard in the last hour of May 21, 2011, I wonder how many genuinely devout church-goers have this nagging thought in the back of their collective mind… “What if the Rapture happened and we didn’t know it or rather, we couldn’t tell? What if old preacher guy was right all along and the Rapture DID happen when and as he predicted… but no one was deemed worthy?” Seven billion people in the world and not a single person made the cut?
What if maybe, just maybe… the heavenly transporter was fired up and ready to rip… but there was no one to lock onto? How could you tell the difference between that and the Rapture not happening at all?
And, if none of the proposed or supposed Elect got Raptured… if none of them left, as it were… can the rest of us be truly considered left behind?