Comment permalink

It's Not The End Of The World

If you spend any time on Twitter or Facebook, you probably noticed the overwhelming flood of "end of the world" jokes. These all stem from the preachings of one lone loon who proclaimed that the Rapture would happen on May 21, 2011.

Guess what!

Yeah.

Here's what I always wonder: how do these guys stay in business? You would have to be pretty foolhardy - or crazy - to give out a solid date for the Rapture. If it doesn't come to pass, which let's face it, it probably won't, then you look like a total goober.

And yet!

At least this Rapture Report was relatively minor in scope. The last time I remember hearing about something like this, it was when the Heaven's Gate cult committed mass suicide in response to the approach of the Hale-Bopp comet. (And in response to the reports of self-proclaimed remote viewer Courtney Brown, who insisted that a UFO or small planet named Nibiru was trailing along in the comet's shadow, to destroy our world.)

According to the Christian mythos, the Rapture will bring in the End Times. In the Rapture proper, the good people will be sucked up to Heaven to live out the End Times on their fluffy clouds. Meanwhile back on Earth, Christ will return and begin the final battle of Armageddon.

Frankly, the Rapture itself is given short shrift in the Bible. Its current incarnations have more to do with interpretations that have arisen in the last few hundred years. I dare say that when many modern Christians think of the Rapture, they think of the Left Behind series. These sixteen novels deal with the time between the Rapture and the end of the world, a time span which encompasses the seven year Tribulation during which time God rains down judgment upon the Earth.

The end of the world is a popular topic in pop culture, and it has been for thousands of years. Even the Mayans, a pre-Columbian civilization dominant in South America from 2000 BC to about 250 AD, couldn't resist talking about the end of the world. They ran their calendar forward what must have seemed a preposterous number of years, then declared that at the end of the calendar - poof - end of the world. (Or perhaps their 2012 predictions just mean that you have to flip your big stone calendar over and start again at year zero.)

No matter what culture you live in, or when you live, eventually you get a little tired of it. You start to imagine what it would be like if the whole thing collapsed. This penchant for disaster porn is practically built into our species. Just watch a little kid spend an entire day building a beautiful sand castle, only to destroy it in minutes with stamping feet and buckets of water.

In another sense, our world ends every day. Revolutions happen all the time, all around us, and it's impossible to say where one ends and another begins. Every day is a new day; who could ask for more?

Photo credit: Flickr/Watt_Dabney