Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Camping, the Rapture and the Atheists
On one side, we have Rev Camping who is predicting the rapture as happening some time this year (he's had to revise his prediction since May 22 2011 came and went and no Christians were raptured that we know about, much to the amusement of the secular media). For those unfamiliar with the Rapture doctrine, this teaches that before things get really bad on the earth, God will scoop up the Christians into Heaven (without them dying first)! Pictures of the rapture depict people being raised up into the air. This is basically a misinterpretation of the book of Revelations and also a misinterpretation of something Jesus said which when read in context means something totally different. But it's certainly a pleasant idea as an easy exit out of a troubled and increasingly violent society and Americans especially like easy.
On the other side there are the agnostics, the atheists and even other Christians who are more conservative, who have found Rev Camping's predictions to be the greatest source of mirth since the "dead baby jokes" became passe'.
In my opinion, they both could be said to be 'barking up the wrong tree'. For the atheists etc, they might take into consideration that Christianity has been around for a long time and still is growing in numbers despite their best efforts to abort this. And as this article points out, atheists and agnostics often don't tend to "believe in nothing" but rather, they have been known to embrace occult beliefs and other superstitions which have been long discarded by Christians. As Chesterton pointed out "When man ceases believing in God, he doesn't believe in nothing but rather will believe anything!"
Does that mean the Christians who believe in the rapture, are closer to the truth then at least about the future? Not exactly. The idea of escaping the suffering and embracing the cross have been lost from the rapture doctrine which while pleasant to believe, does not seem to be following what Jesus told us to do and that is to quite literally, "Take up your cross and follow Me"
Those of us who follow Jesus were never promised a Rose Garden or an easy escape either. We were rather promised a cross which if we embrace it, would help carry on our Lord's work as well as helping us to become closer to the Divine, so that when we die and enter Heaven, Jesus will say "Well done good and faithful servant!"