A Rapture Deferred

I guess there is not a whole lot of point to piling onto the saps who bought what radio host Harold Camping was selling–that yesterday was supposed to bring about the end of the world.

Still, it is hard to ignore the basic point of Ujala Sehgal’s story on The Atlantic Wire that takes a look at the response of Camping’s followers, now that it is indisputably clear that the world is not ending.


While many were “celebrating” the Earth’s continued existence at “Rapture Parties,” for Camping’s believers, the noticeable lack of earthquakes, brimstone, famine, and death was deeply disappointing.

I was discussing this with a friend at church, and someone asked what is the point of people feeling depressed that the cataclysm has not come to pass.

My best guess is that, for some types of people who would find Camping’s message appealing, the end of the world might be a more comforting prospect than living with the anxiety, uncertainty and confusion of the times we live in now. If that’s the case, a bit of empathy is called for.

For at least some of those folks, however, it would appear Gooding appeals to something else: a smug and over-developed sense of their own righteousness, a silly belief that they know God’s will so well that there is no question they will be sucked up to heaven through the Great Holy Pneumatic Tube when the actual Rapture comes. (When? Hint: Don’t sweat it if you’ve recently purchased green bananas.)

So for those who were counting on the end of the world to be a happy event for them, because they think they’re going to get lifted out of their clothes and raised up to the heavenly host when Judgment Day comes, let me just parrot Bill Mahar: Don’t let a cloud hit your ass on the way out.


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