(My faith is an important part of my life. I do not set up my life or my beliefs as anything other than my understanding of the Divine. If they shine some tiny light on your journey then I will be happy for us both. YMMV)
(Warning – the following topic makes me cranky. You have been warned)
Well, I’ve done it again.
In fact, so far I’ve done it several times just this year.
Survived another prediction of the end times/rapture/whatever. Honestly, I’ve lost track of how many of these have come and gone. It’s around a dozen, maybe more. All of them have come with various levels of “support” and, sadly, media coverage. None of them have been true.
Not. One. Of. Them.
I am truly tired of people making my faith look foolish (this isn’t the only way this is happening. But for today, I’ll stick to just this one.) From a media point of view, it’s a fun story. And an easy one. Plenty of sizzle (the END OF THE WORLD!!), plenty of people willing to talk about it, and a concept that “affects” everyone. (There’s just one problem.)
It’s all rubbish.
Complete and utter nonsense. Here are a few things that don’t play for me.
- The Rapture – This is not a universal Christian belief. The word doesn’t appear in scripture (in this sense). A certain amount of interpreting various bits of scripture is required to build a foundation for the concept. Does that mean it won’t happen? No, but I’m agnostic on the subject. Especially in light of #(4)
- Scripture Code – There is an even smaller group of Christians that believe that woven in the words of the Bible is a secret code. A secret code that only a few people can figure out. It’s an elitist approach to scripture that’s at odds with all of the obvious teaching of the Gospel. Jesus doesn’t whisper secrets to an elite few, he tells them to go out into all the world. And why would God put “Easter eggs” into it? Making sure we’re not losing the meaning as it moves from language to language is a full-time job. So naturally, because He loves us and wants us to live the way He wants, important pieces of information are hidden in the text. This requires an understanding of the Divine as a game player. And one who plays favorites. Which is inconsistent with the Gospel.
- Bad Science – One “prophecy” this year required the planet Nibiru. Never heard of it? Not surprising, since there is no evidence it exists. An even smaller group of people have latched onto this “Planet X”, an enormous planetary object that will supposedly strike (and destroy) the Earth. First discussed in 1995 by a person who claimed to be able to speak with extraterrestrials through an implant in her head, science utterly rejects its existence. An object that big would create disruptions to all the other objects in our solar system, making it easy to identify. There’s no evidence of anything of the sort. No evidence at all.
Oh, and Nibiru was supposed to hit in 2003 AND 2012.
- Jesus didn’t know, so how do you? – According to Matthew 24:36
“But about that day or hour, no one knows. Not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (NIV)
The Rapture is always associated, to some degree, with the Second Coming. And no code breaking is required to figure out that we aren’t supposed to know. I Thessalonians (5:2) reinforces that idea that we won’t know.
Unless you’re one of the “special” people who have secret knowledge.
The whole thing aggravates me. That it has come to be treated like a mainstream Christian belief aggravates me. That more Christians and our leaders don’t make clear what an out of left field belief system this is aggravates me.
This is the belief of a tiny fraction of the population. Beyond the broader question of the Rapture, the rest is a threadbare cloth of bad theology and worse science.
The best thing for all of us, believers and non-believers, is to stop giving this foolishness an audience.
Because it’s rubbish.
Don’t waste your time thinking about this kind of stuff. It distracts from what our life in faith is supposed to be about. Loving God, loving one another, caring for those in need. If you’re busy doing that, it makes no difference when or if the world comes to an end.