The Rapture is supposed to happen on Saturday. It’s that thing where certain branches of Christianity get sucked up into Heaven, leaving every non-righteous person behind to contend with Tribulation, which is some number of years where shit goes crazy on Earth before the Antichrist wrecks everything.
Because I was raised Catholic, I didn’t know anything about the Rapture until I was maybe 16 and looking through my grandmother’s back issues of People Magazine. In an effort to seem culturally aware, People reviews books and movies in a section of the magazine that nobody reads, and in this particular issue, the Left Behind miniseries was reviewed. Based on the review – which was less than 500 words and included a photo of Mike Seaver that was bigger than the entire block of text – I gathered that the Rapture was for the same crazy Jesus freak weirdos who had once chased me and my friend April down Delmar singing hymns, and didn’t stop until we got this giant dude who worked at the Tivoli to go outside and threaten them. The Rapture was for people who asked new acquaintances if they were “saved,” which, as a Catholic, was as foreign to me as the concept of God’s Vacuum-as-Apocalypse. The first time someone asked me if I was “saved,” I replied “from what?” Because seriously, evangelicals, try scaring a Catholic kid with Hell. Won’t happen. You grew up with a pastor screaming in your face about Hell. We grew up with life-sized sculptural depictions of human torture and martyrdom. It’s ridiculous the stuff Catholics will tell their kids. Until you have spent every day of the 1st grade walking past a statue of St. John the Baptist beatifically holding his own severed head on a platter, then I’ll thank you kindly to take your fairy tales elsewhere.
Evangelicals believe in the Rapture, which is when anyone who is saved will be magically whisked away to Heaven. They will leave everything behind. Clothes, possessions, pets, jobs, etc. And all the people left behind, which is me and (let’s face it, if you’re reading this) probably you and most people in the world because most people are not Evangelical Christians, no matter what George W. Bush bullied Europe into thinking. This version of the Rapture is scheduled for Saturday, and, if it were not nonsense and actually happened, it would be either the most depressing religious event in history (for those of us who are staying) or the greatest looting opportunity of all time (again, for those of us who are staying). For a few particularly enterprising individuals, the Rapture is already big business, as there are apparently enough loons out there who are fine with raising pets who, by virtue of not having souls (that’s some bullshit, even to an atheist like me), can’t get sucked into Heaven with their owners.
Now. Saved or unsaved, I ask you: what kind of decent person leaves their pets behind?
I once had to give a bunny rabbit to the Human Society. It was a psychotic little motherfucker that attacked anything that moved (including me when I had to feed it) and eventually began throwing itself against the walls. It was crazy and mean and I could only be attacked so many times before I grew to hate that bunny rabbit. But I still cried real tears when I took it to the Humane Society, and lied about how I was moving and couldn’t keep it because if I told the truth, any sane person would have euthanized that evil bastard immediately. I felt like a terrible person, even though I was disposing of it in a responsible way instead of just letting it go outside or flying off to Heaven in the Rapture. Because I am not a completely bad person, no matter what some religious wingnuts might have to say about it.
Now, I’m the first to admit that Catholicism has a dark fucking past and that most aspects of it are insane, but at least they admit that nobody’s perfect, and they don’t pretend like being “saved” is going to make things any better. That’s why Catholics have Confession, and also drinking. The Catholic version of the Apocalypse is way uglier, too, with the bad trip aspects of Revelations being realized in full, along with a few spooky offshoot sect prophecies thrown in as a bonus. In Catholicism, there (ideally) is an effort to be better through penance, which can involve anything from multiple Hail Marys to volunteering at the school picnic bingo to being smacked across the mouth by a nun in third grade. There is work involved there. There’s a theology behind the practice, too, as well as the understanding that we’re pretty much all fucked all of the time, but if you try really hard and say you’re sorry and you really mean it, you can do some things to make what’s left of this life better for everyone around you. No matter what our spiritual orientation now – even if that orientation is None Whatsoever – every one of us was affected by those bloody, beseeching statues. There is no painless, instantaneous trip to Heaven. Nobody gets to leave their pets behind.
This is what I find so amusing about the people who are really, honestly talking about the Rapture like it’s a real event and they can finally stop stocking their separatist war bunkers because Jeesus is on his way, bitches! Girl, please. Your version is way too easy. Nobody’s as good as they think they are. You and Kirk Cameron and those hack assholes who wrote the Left Behind books are going to wake up on Sunday like everyone else, and if you’re not total idiots like I think you are, you won’t believe the truly delusional among you who insist that fear of the impending Rapture caused enough people to be saved, thus averting the event entirely.
But if you must, please believe whatever you want. Throw open the doors to your bunker. Wait for the magic to happen. You’ll be there a long time. I’m going to wake up, make some coffee, and look at half-naked people on the Internet like I do every Sunday.