The Rapture Will Not Be Televised
March 4, 2012 3 Comments
Cool Thing of the Day: This. Many of you know my good friend and co-blogger Walker Bristol. He works with me at both NonProphet Status and The Unelectables (which, by the way, will also be returning triumphantly pretty soon). He recently did a fantastic interview with Taylor Muse of the amazing Humanist band (yes, those exist!) Quiet Company, which was published in The New Humanist. Check it out!
NT: Matthew 24
As Jesus is leaving the temple with his posse in tow, he prophesies that the whole thing will be demolished. Dun-dun-dunnn!!!
Then Jesus goes and sits on “the Mount of Olives” (3), which is almost certainly a reference to my favorite middle eastern take-out place in Evanston, Illinois. Jesus’s followers are like “So, you know all that terrible shit you keep talking about? When exactly is all that scheduled to go down? Cause I made a waxing appointment for Thursday, and it’s fine if I have to move it back, but, you know, I figured I should just check.” And Jesus is like, “James, what the fuck do you wax?” And James is like, “What? I have very expressive eyebrows! Who are you do judge me?!” And Jesus is like, “I’m fuckin’ God. It’s my job.” And James is like, “Oh. Right.”
The disciples ask when shit’s going to get real. And Jesus is like, “A bunch of people are going to claim to be the Christ. Most of them will be lying. Don’t be fooled. There will be wars and natural disasters and people will hate you and kill you and everyone will betray each other and everything is going to generally suck. But anyone who makes it to the end gets salvation and a free t-shirt!” And everyone’s like “Oh, that sounds like a sweet deal. I’m down.”
Then Jesus warns that “When you see the disgusting and destructive thing that Daniel talked about standing in the holy place” (15), everyone has to flee to the mountains. You will not be able to stay home, brother. There will be no time to go home and pack up. Do not attempt to take your luggage with you. Put on your own mask before assisting others. Jesus suggests that people “pray that it doesn’t happen in winter or on the Sabbath day” (20). What would be so especially bad about it happening on the Sabbath? Because you wouldn’t be able to carry your children with you because you’re not allowed to carry things on the Sabbath? But I thought Jesus told people not to split hairs over that stuff if it interferes with the big picture.
Anyway, he warns again that there will be lots of false prophets, “and they will offer great signs and wonders” (24) in order to trick people. Interestingly, Jesus offers no criteria by which to differentiate himself from one of those deceivers. Hm.
After everyone runs away from the disgusting thing, the moon and sun will go dark (eclipse?) and stars will fall from the sky (meteor shower?) and planets will be shaken (earthquake?). Next, “the sign of the Human One will appear in the sky” (30). Then everyone will be sad and angels will come round up the faithful.
Then it’s time for a parable! We were probably overdue for one of those. When the fig tree gets leafy, you know summer is coming. Similarly, when shit gets real, you know Jesus is coming. Specifically, Jesus promises that it is happening very soon: “I assure that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen” (34).
I can’t help noticing that most of the people who were alive at the time that Jesus [supposedly] said that have, in fact, passed away. And by “passed away” I mean “died,” because “passed away” is a stupid euphemism that just makes it hurt worse. Sugarcoating death doesn’t help anyone. They didn’t go anywhere else. They’re not off on a vacation. They just died. </rant>
Anyway, it looks like an extremely key part of Jesus’s prediction has failed in an epic way – which should, I think, call the rest of it into question…right? Anybody know how people explain this bit away?
Jesus goes on to promise that nobody will know when he is coming. You’ll just be going about your day, running errands, when BOOM! Rapture. I guess Harold Camping and William Miller missed that part. Whoops!
To the people who believe that God is coming and who do as they’re told, God will give all his possessions. But the people who don’t believe he’s coming, and who sit around and “eat and drink with the drunks” (49), will be fucked. (Um, didn’t Jesus say a few chapters ago that he doesn’t like when people give him shit for hanging out with drunkards? Pot…kettle?) God will come around when nobody’s expecting it – BOOM! rapture – and “will cut them in pieces and put them in a place with the hypocrites. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth” (51). Yeesh. That’s some Brothers Grimm shit.
I’m pretty sure Walker’s interview with Taylor Muse was the only positive, life-affirming thing about this post.
Hypocrisy. Cutting people into pieces. Theories with poor predictive power. Four Loko chili.