Saturday, 22 October 2011

#29 The Rapture: For Real This Time, Honest

Yesterday was the day of the rapture. Harold Camping was finally vindicated, and the righteous were bodily lifted into the heavens, leaving us poor damned wretches behind. At least, that’s what I assume happened. To be totally honest, since I started freelancing I’ve not been getting out much, and don’t check the news all that often. Still, odds are Harold Camping was right- having predicted the apocalypse previously on 1994 and May 21st this year he would have to really suck to have got it wrong a third time (EDIT: As of press time the rapture has been extended to sunset in Jerusalem on the 22nd of October).
No harm in having a margin for error
So, while I haven’t turned on the telly or checked twitter to see if it’s really happened, I’m going to assume that all the Christians in the world have now been raptured away. After all, if God’s selection criteria for eternal paradise depends on your cultural background, upbringing, life circumstances and arbitrary gut feelings leading you to the right belief system, it’s only fair the God would spread a pretty wide net. It doesn’t matter that most Christians probably didn’t believe Harold Camping’s predictions or that the entire concept of the rapture only really dates back to the 19th century. It only makes sense that Fred Phelps, Rowan Williams, Stephen Colbert and Desmond Tutu have all gone to the same place, and to be fair, that’s a dinner party I’d pay real money to sit in on.

This leaves those of us left behind in an uncertain and terrifying world. The atheists among us are no doubt arguing that their Christian brothers and sisters were actually kidnapped by aliens and the Jewish and Muslim peoples are kicking themselves that they missed the right answer by one book.

But it’s time for us to move on. The creators of the Left Behind series have left us a wonderful “How To” video by the fictional PastorVernon Billings. But I’m sceptical about this (which admittedly, is how a lot of us got into this mess), since Vernon himself is pretty confident he wasn’t going to be here to deal with the world’s post-rapture consequences.

So here are some more practical tips for us as we move forward and try to reconstruct our society.

Tip One: Repurpose the Churches
Let’s face it, churches are great buildings. They look pretty and they are built to last.
You just can't get the medieval peasants anymore
In my adopted city of Norwich we had already made a good start on this before the rapture. We’ve something of an excess of churches, so we use the spares for things like puppet theatres and art centres while down in London they’ve converted a church into a pretty decent pubThese are lovely buildings and it’s a shame that non-believers have only ever been able to use them for family weddings and funerals. We’ll need to fix the heating and install some more comfortable chairs, obviously.

Tip Two: Do Away with Christmas
Finally! We can achieve what atheists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Scientologists have dreamed of for centuries. We can do away with Christmas and establish Secular Gift Giving Day- a task we’ve had our best minds working on for years.

Once and for all we can replace tinsel, decorated trees, turkey, Santa Claus and watching The Great Escape with things that have nothing to do with Christianity!

And while we’re getting our hidden agendas out of the way-

Tip Three: Marry Your Pets
For as long as there have been people campaigning for the right of gay people to marry, there have been people saying that this will open the door to incestual and bestial marriages. Campaigners such as Rick Santorum who campaign on their Christian beliefs.

With them finally out of the way, we can end the subterfuge and legalise marrying both pets, and relatives. A generation from now our grandchildren will be able to do both at the same time.

Tip Four: Enjoy it While it Lasts
Yes, our new world of secular holidays, Starbucks cathedrals and dog/human hybrid cousins marrying each other is a glorious place and I’m sure we’re all going to have a great time. But you must enjoy it while you can, because on the 21st (for some reason it’s always the 21st) of December next year we’re due to get obliterated by the 2012 prophecy.

And if anyone thinks that I’ve been offensive to Christians in this blog, you just wait until you see the burns I’ve got prepared for the ancient Mayan religion!
Quetzalcoatl love, you've pulled!