Saturday, May 21, 2011

Still on terra firma

RaptorI hate it that it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted. I’ve missed writing. I just didn’t really have the time when in New Orleans (I plan on doing a post on that, but still haven’t edited all my pictures yet), and the night we got back, my mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital. In fact, she called while we were sitting on the plane in Cleveland, waiting to take off. Can’t do much in that situation, you know? It’s been a week of finding out what is going on with her and figuring out how to deal with it. I think she will ultimately be okay, but it’s been a long fucking week, believe me. And I feel perfectly justified in dropping that particular F-bomb.

The week culminated with the Little Rapture That Wasn’t. It was supposed to happen at 6 pm EST, but as far as I can tell, everyone is still here, including that assbag Harold Camping who started this whole thing and bilked his followers out of a whole bunch of money. Don’t get me wrong...I do understand that this is extremism, and that not every Christian believed that the rapture was going to happen today. (For those of you who don’t know what the rapture is...well, just go look it up. I’m not in the business of explaining stuff that I think is a bunch of hooey.) Even my Mom, as devout a Pentecostal as they come, laughed about the rapture supposedly being today. “No man can tell the hour,” and all that.

But it got me to thinking. I wonder if the followers of Camping, some of whom gave up their life savings to him and spent the past few years preaching that the end was coming today, will stop and think for a moment? There was an article in my local paper about a man in the area who has spent the past seven years telling people that the end was coming today, even to the extent of losing the support of his family. (And yes, it IS possible to push people too far, especially when they realize that you are being duped and refuse to understand that.) Will this man stop to question WHY it didn’t happen today? Note his last statement: "I'm so sure it's gonna come," he said, "and even if it doesn't come -- and I shouldn't say that, because it's gonna come -- but even if it doesn't come ... I'll keep reading the Bible and sharing it with people."

I find that terribly sad. He’s spent a good chunk of his life believing that this will happen and telling others about it. How will he deal with the reality of things? I would hope that he or anyone else in such a position would start asking questions. If they were so sure of this and it didn’t happen, might not a lot of other things that Camping or others preach also be wrong? Wouldn’t something like this lead one to ask questions, both of those preaching and of themselves?

It certainly did for me, and my reading and discussions and questions led me to some rather inevitable conclusions. As I’ve written many times before, my goal isn’t to get others to feel the same way I do; it really is a great comfort to some people, and I would never take that away from them. However, I do think it is reasonable to ask questions, and if your religion discourages questions, I would most definitely ask “Why?” Such discouragement seems highly suspect to me. If the answer is, “Well, you just gotta have faith,” that might be good enough for some, but I’m afraid it’s not good enough for me.

I am under no illusions. I know that the majority of people who firmly believed that the rapture was happening today will never question, and will continue to go on believing in...everything. I’ll just keep on reveling in my skeptic nature and keep asking questions. I’m still here, but so are they. If you were them, wouldn’t you wonder about that?