Friday, May 20, 2011

In Which We Repent for the End Is Near.

So there are these people who apparently think they're smarter than the Bible when it says that not even the angles of heaven know when Jesus' return will be- they claim the rapture is coming on Saturday at 9.  I think they're a little pretentious, but that's okay.  If Jesus comes, I want to go with him, I don't really care if it's Saturday or when I'm 80 or after I'm dead. 

As a comparative religion major, I learned all kinds of crazy.  You think there's a 7 headed blue half elephant demon god? Interesting.  You think there's a "friendly zombie overlord" as some people put it? Me too! Vestal virgins for martyrs? Neat.  Baptism for dead people, you say? Indeed.  Religion involves faith, which necessarily requires a mental leap.  It's not "faith" if there's no requirement that you believe in something unlikely or improbable.

Do I think that the rapture is coming on Saturday? Not any more than I think that it's coming today, and actually, probably a little less since the Bible says we won't know the hour.  Much like a baby coming on its actual due date, I see Saturday as the least likely date possible now that someone's calling for it.  What bothers me about this whole thing is how naive I've apparently been my whole life.

Growing up in a relatively Southern part of the US as a relatively mainstream Christian, I didn't really get the whole "anti-Christian" sentiment that Jesus warns of, and I still thought we were a largely Christian nation.  I forget what that means, though.  We are a relatively Christian nation in the sense that we all believe in Christmas (TM) with Santa and presents and commercialism.  We are a relatively Christian nation in that we are afraid to completely abandon God, much like the hated Aunt that you don't completely write off just in case she leaves you money in her will.  We are a relatively Christian nation in that in times of absolute crisis or despair, our leaders have our permission to express that we should "pray" despite the fact that a majority wouldn't even know what posture to strike to do so.

Over the past few days, I've listened.  I've listened to the mocking on the radio, TV, internet, and even in person at a meeting I had to attend.  The mocking isn't aimed just at the group that thinks Jesus is coming on Saturday- it's mocking of the entire "rapture" concept.  Yes, these people's website reads like bad Bible fan-fiction.  However, that doesn't change the fact that ALL of America's Christians should believe that a rapture will come.  After the last few days, I'm pretty sure that my adherence to that belief makes me one of the crazies, too.

I've never felt like an outsider because of my faith- and I still don't.  But the hostility and mocking I've seen over the past few days towards a very real portion of the Christian faith have weighed heavily on my heart, and while I'm not going to get a sign and stand on a street corner, maybe this is my stand.  I still believe, and I hear you laughing now, World.  I still believe, and I see you pointing.  And, despite my disagreement with their approach, I admire the people who have stepped out and acted on a faith that can ABSOLUTELY be proven wrong on Saturday at 9.  Not for what their saying, but for their faith itself.

I'm pretty positive I'll see you all on Sunday, but I'll definitely be more aware of what it means when I walk into my fairly conservative and Bible-teaching church when I do.
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