I wasn't immune to the Rapture humor: at 5:59, I sent a text out that said, Just in case the Rapture is real, I thought you should know that I lo
Still, you know, the amount of mockery was getting to me. Yes, it's a stupid idea that we could predict the exact moment when God would start the apocalypse, and that this moment would be at 6:00 p.m. on the dot, sweeping across the world like a devastating second hand on a global stopwatch. The concerns of the Raptured were pretty dumb, too - one guy expressed concern that if the Rapture did start in Australia, what would he do if the damned rose up in terror around his home in California? How would he protect his family from these rampaging, foolish atheists, arriving with shotguns to kill and maim?
Dude. If you get killed early, you're still going to Heaven. Relax.
Yet all the jokes and scorn and finger-pointing felt like the Internet had found another human pinata - as it seems to be doing these days. Find someone without any merit, someone who holds onto dumb opinions, and unload every barrel in their direction! And yeah, some folks tried to justify it by saying, "Oh, no, what I'm mad about is the money spent when it could have gone to charity" - but the majority of the tweets and blog posts were about "HA HA WHAT DUMBASSES" and very little about "These people are wasting their money on bad causes."
These folks are dumb. Let's make jokes at their expense.
As someone who was an easy target for jokes at one point, I'm never really comfortable with the dogpile. Sure, they chose to promote a stupid religious idea and as such they made themselves a target... right? Well, except when I grew up in Middle School, reading J. R. R. Tolkien was the dumb idea I was promoting, and I made myself a target by liking fantasy, and oh the jokes did flow. I mean, seriously, who cared about stupid walking trees and wizards when there were hairstyles and legwarmers to be considered?
I think a society should be defined by what it does to people with opinions it thinks are not worthy of its protection. And by that standard, we're back in middle school.
When I see this kind of laughter, what I see is this ugly human spirit at work: Oh, thank God they've given us a good reason to not have to hold back! Now we can spend all our time thinking of ways to humiliate them! Because once you mark someone as unworthy of simple human respect, you not only can, but should unload a big ol' can of ha-ha IN THEIR FACE. It's as though we're all waiting for this moment when someone's shields are down, because we've been waiting to kick someone and here they are!
Thing is, I feel bad for the Rapture people, dumb as they are. I read the story of the main Rapture guy in New York, the guy who spent $140,000 on billboards to alert everyone, and one of the things he did on his "last" day was bring all sorts of treats to his mother, who was 94 and in a nursing home, who he visited every day even though she apparently didn't recognize him. There he was, concerned that she'd be okay even though he was convinced that she'd be lifted up later that afternoon. A single man, trying to connect with someone who was already lost to him.
That $140,000 was his retirement savings. He's probably going to have real financial troubles now. What happens to his mother? Where will he live? How's he going to feel, walking down the street, with everyone pointing and laughing?
And I thought, yes, it's a dumb move. But people lose that kind of money all the time on dumber shit - hell, if he'd lost $140,000 gambling, would we all point and laugh? If he'd spent $140k on QVC because he was a shopping addict, would it have been as okay to paint the target? Hell, his lost $140,000 was dumb, but he genuinely thought the end of the world was going to happen. He didn't have to spend a damn dime; he was going to Heaven, or so he believed.
Truth is, he spent his $140k in a misguided attempt to help people. Because he was concerned that people might not know. Because he genuinely thought that people might wind up in Hell, and wanted to make sure they didn't.
He was wrong - blatantly wrong - but compared to the guys who just tossed $140k into the casinos because they thought they'd hit it big this time, his efforts are somehow noble.
That's the problem I have. Yes, on one level it's funny. But on another level, it's just not. This guy's whole life has been affected by this, and potentially his mother, and he's not that bad a guy. (There are a lot of people who think that "preaching to the unconverted" is the worst sin you can do, as if being personally inconvenienced by an external opinion is a deeper crime than, say, swindling or robbery or rape. I'd disagree. It's intrusive and disrespectful, which unquestionably makes it a character flaw - kind of like, you know, the people who want to ban cigarettes in any public place even though there's no real evidence that second-hand smoke kills - but there are far worse flaws a person could have in isolation.)
What I see is just sadness. He's going to be marked for life. And the others, the ones who didn't commit quite so heavily, are going to look back on "the day we thought we were gwine to hebbin" as though it were some embarrassing fad they were once into, like cargo pants or Pokemon. And they won't take this opportunity to look at everything in their lives and realize that they believe a lot of foolish shit, and maybe if they can be suckered into believing that there are probably real flaws in their life that can't be plastered over by the application of an unquestioning faith in God. They're just going to be these stupid sheep all their lives, chasing after the next thing that distracts them from the terror within that they're not good enough.
And I see the sadness of a liberal party that spends its days going out of its way to mock religion in America, a bunch of supposedly rational people who never quite seem to realize that religion has been here for thousands of years, it's not going away, and if they were as scientific and logical as they believed, then maybe they'd realize that taking cheap shots at a belief that something like 76% of the population seems to believe is not their road to a long-term victory. I'm not saying you have to accept it - but the constant undertone of "GAH, STUPID RELIGIOUS PEOPLE, EVERY PERSON WHO BELIEVES IN GOD IS A MORON" that, as a religious person, I see in the liberal party means that the Conservatives get to be the only people who cater to that movement. And they've been eating our lunch for years.
Just to clarify: the Rapture folks were pretty dumb. But I still feel a little uncomfortable with the eagerness with which we, the Internet, is willing to jump on the indefensible flavor of the week.
That is all.
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