As I write this, we may have only hours to live. According to the Academy of Foil Hats, the long-awaited and frequently predicted Rapture will occur sometime on Saturday, and believers will be whisked into heaven while cynics, skeptics and a large number of bankers and stock brokers will go, well, elsewhere.
To be more precise about this, Saturday is Judgment Day. On that day, true believers will be swept into heaven in the Rapture. Then, on Oct. 21, God will destroy the Earth in a great, all-encompassing fire. So normal commerce can continue at least until almost Halloween.
How do we know the Rapture will be May 21, 2011? Using math that only the truly gifted could possibly understand, May 21 coincides with “the 17th day of the 2nd month of the calendar aligned with Noah’s lifespan,” according to some who have a LOT of time on their hands. Then five months later, God shuts the door on this human experiment of his. And an apparently failed experiment it was, lasting a mere 7,000 years (their math, not mine) in God’s infinite lifetime. You have to think we were a major disappointment to him (or her — who’s to say?), if he can only tolerate us for what amounts to a tiny fraction of a nanosecond in the great scheme of things.
The problem with Rapture Phrophecy, of course, is that it turns itself inside out trying to parse a document — the Bible — that cannot be parsed. Scholars have for two milennia worked on decoding the words of authors who, in truth, may not yet be known to us. And at the Academy of Foil Hats, they now do this using 21st century interpretations of first century foreign language that was translated into English in the 17th century. How literal do you think THAT could be?
I like most of the Bible. I find it full of love and brotherhood, and a foundation for faith. But the Rapture comes from Revelations, and the interpretation of its arrival on Saturday comes from Genesis. Neither of these books are particularly loving — many view them as, perhaps, even harsh. And, of course, billions of people who are non-Christians view the whole mish-mash as silly.
So count me as one of those unlikely to make any special Judgment Day plans for Saturday — although I might listen to Steve Winwood’s song of the same name. If you wake up Sunday and the ground is strewn with the bodies of the dead who are nonbelievers, I got all of this wrong.