It’s the end of the world today, you know. Any second now.
According to certain religious authorities, it’s nearing the time to brace yourself for the Big One! Earthquakes belching corpses from their graves around the world, as the truly Saved Souls are swept bodily into Heaven. I’m not entirely sure if I’m going. Probably not. I figure if I can identify any of the living who are heading skyward, I might be able to pick up some free stuff they won’t be needing anymore. I reckon that in itself disqualifies me. Dayum.
In case you haven’t heard the news, Saturday, May 21st is the day of the long-prophesized Rapture, as told in the Bible. You may have read about it in Doonesbury this week. Of course, these predictions of the End of Days have been around as long as the Bible. Probably longer. In fact, some Biblical scholars have hypothesized that the whole book of Revelations was something St. John expected to see in his lifetime when he wrote it. I always figured he was just eating the wrong kind of mushrooms.
Anyway, The Rapture will supposedly take place today, and then we’ll have several months of living Hell on Earth, as if things aren’t bad enough already!
But the Hell on Earth I’m talking about is literal, with cataclysms and havoc, fire and brimstone, and all the evil sinners of the world having their last flings, wantonly murdering, stealing, pillaging, plundering, and having a good old time of it, what with nothing left to live for and nothing to lose since they are already assured of eternal damnation. Might as well go out with a bang… or two.
And on what authority do we have it that this is our Last Weekend? Well, the last decent weekend anyway. Apparently we have the fervent and all-too-serious word of evangelist radio broadcaster Harold Camping, who is 89 years old and has literally done the math to proclaim once and for all that “This is it!” He says it will hit at 6 p.m. I assume that’s Pacific Daylight Time, since he broadcasts from California. I know, right? Where else?
Of course, he also predicted the same thing back in 1994, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen then. But this time, by G-d, he’s got it figured out! He calculates that today is exactly 7,000 years since the Great Flood of Noah Zark fame, and his earlier mistake shouldn’t count against him. He’s entitled to a mulligan, isn’t he?
His newest calculations are based on this equation: 4990 + 2011 – 1 = 7,000!
Of course! Eureka! Topeka! By George, I think he’s got it!
“Amazingly, May 21, 2011 is the 17th day of the 2nd month of the biblical calendar of our day. Remember, the flood waters also began on the 17th day of the 2nd month in the year 4990 B.C.,” he states on his Family Radio Christian network website.
Ooooooh! Eerie, isn’t it?
As proof of his conviction that this is really going to happen, consider this: A recent caller to his radio show asked if monetary donations to his ministry to help them spread the word of the coming Apocalypse would be refunded if the Rapture didn’t occur as he predicts. The reverend Camping thundered in his deepest, most convincing tones, “This is going to happen. Millions will die. It’s going to be horrible.”
Wow. Now I’m really starting to watch the clock!
I’m really curious about the folks who take this to heart. Have they cancelled their insurance policies and yanked their kids out of school so they can sit in prayer circles waiting for Jesus to swoop down and scoop them up as a whole family at once? What if one of the kids isn’t a true believer? Will they just wave ba-bye as they fly away on angel’s wings? “Sorry, Billy, you should have believed us!” That doesn’t seem very Christian to me. Seems like one of the parents, or an older sibling at least, would stay and comfort the little sinful bastard for the next five months until You Know Who ends it all permanently in His infinite and incalculable wisdom on October 21st, right in the middle of the World Series.
I keep thinking about this couple I had the displeasure to know a few years back when I was at a low point in my life and took a (thankfully short-term) job at a used car dealership as Marketing Manager. That’s a euphemistic title for spammer and telemarketer. Anyway, this couple that owned the place was so evangelistic and hypocritical, it was literally hard to stomach. They were as sweet as treacle one minute and blithely ripping off the most destitute among us in the next moment. The husband once told me, “I believe every word of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, and that’s what I live by.” They were once discussing strategies for selling cars by offering easy credit at high interest rates to low income people, and someone said something about customers paying off that $4,000 car “till Kingdom Come,” and the wife said, “Well, then it won’t matter to me ‘cause I won’t be here! I’ll be up there!”
Man, just remembering it, I need an Alka Seltzer.
So how many times has the end of the world been forecast? And how many of them were wrong? Anyone want to take bets on this one?
I’ll tell you what, if the guy’s right, we’ll all be too miserable to think about trying to benefit from the sudden disappearance of the holier-than-us. We won’t be able to go around to their houses and clean out the loot because there won’t be any. According to the Bible, it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. If that’s true, and a certain used car dealer has assured me that every word of the Bible is literal fact, then those being Raptured will be the poorest among us. Didn’t Jesus Himself say something to the effect of “Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the Earth?”
Now wait, I’m getting confused. The rich can’t go to Heaven, and the poor will inherit the Earth, and from what I understand, property values are about to go completely to Hell. So then where does that leave the Middle Class?
Hmmm. Maybe I’ll make the cut after all! God damn, America! I’m saved!
Oops! Does that count? Can I get a mulligan on that?