May 21, 2011

The Rapture

I’m not gonna lie; I have been a bit obsessed with the rapture. It started with a few snarky Tweets and Facebook statuses. Then I sang this song by Josh Ritter about it this morning:

I'm not afraid of the dark
When the sun goes down
And the dreams grow teeth
And the beasts come out
Cast their long shadows
Every time that they start
I'll be right here with you
I'm not afraid of the dark

and started the day reading a little Walk Whitman.
Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not
my soul.
Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen, Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.
It’s not only that an 89-year-old Californian preacher could prophesize that the Rapture would begin at 6pm in each of the world's time zones, with those "saved" by Jesus ascending to heaven and the non-believers being wiped out by an earthquake rolling from city to city across the planet, but what I am most flummoxed by is the fact that while most people are casually mocking this preacher, the concept of the rapture is still believed by so many people.

Seems strange that we can all ridicule and mock deranged Harry Campers, but for most Christians the concept of the Rapture is still very real; sure they may not believe it was supposed to happen this Saturday, but many, dare I say most do, or at least should, believe that it will happen sometime.

by CharleHolton
I am trying to offend anyone, or pull the arrogant-atheist-self-righteous card, but really I find it hard to believe that people honestly believe:

...the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
What confuses me is that I am not sure what I am supposed believe literally and what is metaphorical. Seems unfair for people to be able to pick and choose. If the Bible is the truth than how or why do “moderate” Christians feel embarrassed when people like Camper preach its gospel. Either you believe that the Lord is coming to clean house or you don’t. If there is a deeper more sophisticated way of understand the end of days story (myth?) please by all means share them with me. I would love a book that looks at the Bible stories in a non-literal way. Is the rapture true is a metaphor? If the latter for what?

It is all the Rapture, Lord in Heaven, salvation, and “the believe in me or be punished” rhetoric that has turned me off religion. You want me to love my neighbor, help the poor, be a kind and good man, , a loving husband and father…well I am doing my best. I am aware of my shortcomings and trying to do what I can to be a good human being, but I will not be saved in the name of anyone and if that means that I cannot be raptured and saved, so be it. I don’t want anything to do with a heaven that punishes non-believers. I would literally rather burn in hell. If I am meant to be punished because I do not believe, and not rewarded for my actions, count me out. The world I see is much more subtle and beautiful than that.

I can understand, appreciate, and would love to discuss a deeper view of end of times as described by Mark Morford in his latest column:
Maybe the Rapture isn't meant to happen in a big megawhoomp zap, like a giant piñata filled with little candy Jesuses exploding all over the Colorado Rockies. Maybe it's actually an epic saga, unfolding slowly over time, like the world's longest vaguely depressing but beautifully shot documentary film. Fantastic lighting! Expert camerawork! Stirring, hardscrabble tales of love and hope! Too bad everyone dies in the end.
Maybe we are now experiencing some kind of spiritual downward spiral, and our salvation is not to succumbing to a lord, but to getting our collective karmic consciousness houses in order. Perhaps instead of arguing over dates when the world will end and the “winners” get to go to heaven and the “losers” burn in hell, we should decide to follow the basic tenets of all our creeds. Perhaps we focus energy on ridding our minds and hearts of violence and fill them with love and understanding.

I must say I am a bit disappointed. It would have been nice if somehow all the “true believers” would have been zapped away someplace, far away, where they can sit and read their bibles and enjoy their time alone and finally let us down here on earth get to the work at hand- living our lives as best we can.
by Karma Communications
We could final sing and dance, create our provocative art, enjoy our bodies, and hunger for knowledge in peace. No more guilt. No more sin. Just beautiful carnal animal joy. We could final begin to have a human experience here on earth. We could question everything and assign no blame. We could throw out all the dogma and gospels and listen to the earth.

I know, I know keep my hippy utopian ideas to myself…but there are more of us who are losing hope in old myths. But until more people stand up and say that we feel that it is not only Campers who is disillusioned by claiming the Rapture was meant to happen this weekend, but that the very concept of the Rapture is flawed, we will continue to be stuck in these cycles of unawareness and fear.
Tomorrow will be another beautiful day here on Earth. We will all wake up and hopefully be grateful that it all didn’t end. There is not enough time in life to waste hoping for it to end, or pining for some future reward. This is it, my one go, and  I for one will do my best to cherish and enjoy it. At least until the next Rapture.

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