Image by TheChanel via FlickrAs many, many people have been proudly pointing out since Saturday's 6PM deadline passed uneventfully, the Rapture did not occur. Those souls deemed pure enough for immediate ascension (whose potential numbers are most likely far less than some would like) did not vacate their earthly vessels, leaving the rest of us to battle either for or against the forces of Evil in the years following the Second Coming.
Needless to say, this lack of Rapture has been the cause of much gloating. It seems that everyone wants to get in on the act of mocking and ridiculing those who were fully convinced that the world was about to become a real-life reenactment of a volume of the Left Behind novel series, and I can't really say that I blame them. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't attempted to do a little "Ha ha, the world didn't end!" pointing and laughing myself.
However, the more I thought about it, the more mean-spirited and obnoxious it seemed. Perhaps I'm just getting softer as I rapidly approach my mid-life crisis years, but the eagerness displayed by the majority of the general public and major media to deride a section of the populace for it's admittedly irrational yet firmly held religious convictions seems rather... harsh, to say the least.
Maybe my current standing as an Atheist gives me a bit of outside perspective on the whole affair. I can understand that a firm belief in the Rapture might seem ridiculous to other rational people of faith, but most of those laughing at the people running around screaming that the world was going to end Saturday are conveniently ignoring that most of their religious and spiritual beliefs are equally preposterous. I happen to know for a fact that a number of people I have heard mocking the Rapture folks still hold firm beliefs in Angels, Heaven, Transubstantiation, Predestination, Reincarnation, and a number of other religious and spiritual concepts that are equally silly when considered on a logical level.
Of course, that's the whole point in the first place: religious beliefs aren't meant to be logical. Beyond that, every different religious faction that adheres to The Holy Bible for guidance has their own specific interpretation of what the book actually "says." If we knocked every religion that didn't make any sense, everyone would end up in my camp, and that's a position I actually don't recommend, either. Just because I believe it, doesn't mean I actually like it.
Beyond all of that, however, I just really don't feel comfortable making fun of someone because their spiritual hopes didn't exactly pan our. As mean-spirited as the concept of the Rapture is, it just feels wrong laughing and pointing at the people that were convinced they weren't going to be around today. As an Atheist, that would be the equivalent of laughing at passing funeral processions because the guy in the casket isn't actually going to heaven. And despite what I may or may not believe in, that just feels wrong.
Just had to get that off my chest. You may now go back to laughing about all of those news features today about people who spent all of their money before what they thought was going to be the End of the Days. Just remember those chuckles the next time you ask that guy in the sky for a favor.