Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why Celebrate a Non-Rapture?

Let's just face it right now. As Christians, this hasn't been our best year. If it hasn't been those monsters at Westboro Baptist Church dancing like a bunch of lunatics at soldiers' funerals, then its been Terry Jones doing things that likely resulted in innocent people overseas being killed. Like I said - not the best year. Then, to top it all off, most people don't know that Harold Camping is a schismatic and believe that he speaks for a large section of Christians when he repeatedly attempts to predict the arrival of Christ. Altogether, lets just admit, the Gospel looks pretty foolish in the world's eyes. But then again, what's new? As far as I remember, the Apostle Paul saw that as a given and it didn't phase him.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).
True - what they are seeing in Westboro and Jones and Camping are hardly what I would call a robust representation of what Christ was about - but this is what the unbelieving world thinks we're like - whether it's fair or not. We've got to deal with it.

Watching the news coverage and reading the stories about Harold Camping's end of the world which did not transpire, I can't help but sense something. The coverage - as well as the half-joking Facebook statuses and Twitter updates from observers around the world actually seem to reflect more of a collective sigh of relief than it did a confident reaffirmation of something they already knew. I don't believe for one minute that the observers around the world weren't just a little curious if something wasn't going to go down on Saturday night.
Atheists as well as the generically secular speak very confidently that there is no coming day of judgment at all. But then Saturday came, and in many of these places as the clock struck 6 o'clock, there were dances of joy and what I choose to interpret as overwhelming relief. Of course, once the time passed the attitude transformed into one of pure mockery. Instead of mocking Harold Camping for being wrong, it is as if all the world experienced a larger relief and for one brief moment felt assured that there was no coming judgment - as though this one wrongly predicted Rapture proved that there would never be one. In one story, a man jokes, "You haven't partied until you've partied with the godless." For many, this is a time of rejoicing. But why? If you're an atheist, then this is just another false prophet like all the others who've ever lived. What's so special? I think that the partiers fear that there will be a judgment - otherwise, what is there really to celebrate? You celebrate a birthday when you really have one, you celebrate a close brush with death when there was a real threat of dying - and you celebrate the world not ending when there is a real possibility of that, as well.

The sad part is, judgment day is unavoidable. Even if the partiers live for another 80 years, they will meet judgment day - all of us will. Saturday's party will be quite short lived in the scheme of things.

1 comment:

  1. I can't help but distance myself from the people you mention and their obvious distortion of the truth. When you say it's been a bad year for Christianity, I think, no, it's a bad year for false prophets.

    The unwashed masses may try to lump us in with the crazies, but if they're honest with themselves, they know deep down that this is not what Christianity is really about. They may try to make it so, but it's just another occasion for self deception.

    Maybe this is instead an opportunity to explain what we're really about and why this madness is a lie.


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