Saturday, July 22, 2006

"Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand,

but the passages that bother me are those I do understand."

--Mark Twain

Would you like to see something I find horribly offensive and indescribable disgusting? I promise there isn't anything gory or otherwise "horror film" about it. It's just a small group of people who are terribly and sadly goal-oriented.

Article from Harper's Magazine

The author collected some postings from a "Rapture Ready" message board. They concern people finding a reason to get excited about the current unrest between Israel and Lebanon. I'm not even going to comment on the ghoulish nature of such thoughts. I'm more concerned with the mental state of someone who believes it.

At one of my previous universities, there was an administrative assistant who I had contact with on a daily basis. She was in charge of assigning my work-study workload. She was a nice lady, a mom who loved her daughter, and always cheerful. I think one day she was reading a "Left Behind" novel. I commented on her choice of reading, and she said something to the effect of "oh, it's very interesting. Especially since it's going to happen one day."

Like putting too much current through a light bulb, my brain shorted out. I put my lips together, nodded, and went about licking more fundraising envelopes. The longer I sat there, the more I stared a hole in the wall. "Maybe she was joking?" I thought to myself. "Surely she doesn't believe in this work of fiction?"

How do you live your life expecting the world to end? Is there any reason to try to improve the world we live in, if it's just going to be handed over to Satan? Some of these zealots don't care about pollution. They're not concerned about it; they may even welcome it. If anything, it just adds even more proof that the world is going to end.

Why are these people so excited? Sure, it sends some people off to heaven. And I guess it promises an end to mortal suffering if you're one of the few drinking the proper Kool-Aid flavor. But what sort of person is in a hurry to get there? If you live a full life and die, you'll probably go to Heaven. Why be excited to have your life cut short? It's like getting excited about suicide. Except you aren't ending your life. God is doing it for you.

Are these the kind of people who, if there were a giant asteroid heading for earth, wouldn't be interested in funding research on how to push it out of the way? They'd be the ones attacking NASA with torches and pitchforks for attempting to interfere in "the plan."

I don't want people to think that the world could end at any time. That sort of quasi-defeatist attitude is scary. I want people to think it's NOT going to happen soon. I want us all to be struggling to improve ourselves, understand each other, and reaching for the unattainable when the Celestial Oven Timer goes off. POP, we're all in Heaven.

"Oh, that was today! I guess I'll need to finish making that lasagna up here."

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