Are We Still Here?

I’m confused.  I first heard that Dec.21st, 2012 was the date that
the world was going to end because of the Mayan calendar coming to an
end (or Nostradamus predicting it, or whatever you choose to pay
attention to), and then a couple of days ago I heard that it was
actually going to end on Saturday, May 21st, which of course it didn’t. 
And now I’m hearing that God is actually going to destroy the universe
on Oct.21, 2011, five months AFTER the so-called Rapture. Can people get
these dates straight please?  If I’m expected to prepare for the end, I
should at least know when the end is going to be.

I
was happily sitting with my best friends at my diningroom table drinking
a beer when the end of the world was supposed to happen.  I couldn’t
think of a better place to be if the end was near.  The next day, I
searched high and low for stories about the world NOT ending, and barely
found a couple.  I guess it’s not big news when the world doesn’t end. 
They were trying to interview Harold Camping, the minister who led his
Christian followers to believe that the Rapture was going to happen at
6pm in every timezone, with massive earthquakes and natural disasters,
and only those who believe being “saved” and disappearing up into
heaven, leaving even their clothes behind.  The media found Mr. Camping at
home, somewhat embarrassed and and expressing his “flabberghast” that it
didn’t happen.  Well, yeah.  Someone put up a billboard on some highway in the US afterwards that said simply “Well, that was awkward.”

Some
will use this (and already have) as an excuse to belittle all
Christians and their beliefs. That, to me, is just as ignorant as
following an old man who thinks he can pick the date that the world
ends.  Live and let live. I feel a little bad for him, really.  I think
this man sincerely believed that it was going to happen, and I think his
followers were equally as convinced.  They were not much different from
the suicide bombers who were told that if they succeeded in killing
infidels in the name of Allah, they would be given the gift of 47
virgins when they arrived in heaven.  Only thing is that you can’t prove
they don’t.  At least with the Rapture, we all know the result.  Awkward, indeed.

There is certainly a lesson to be learned from all of this.  And
no, it’s not that people who believe in the Rapture or 47 virgins are
nuts.  The truth is that the world is going to end for us all one day,
although not likely all at once.  We have a limited time on this planet,
each of us, regardless of how we believe it’s going to happen, or
when.  There were a lot of jokes going around online about what we might
like to be doing when the end comes…well, we probably won’t have a
lot of choice about that.  But it does make you think about that bucket
list.

The conversation at the diningroom table at around
6pm on May 21st with my good friends was varied and upbeat.  But we did
discuss the fact that we are most of us close to or over the age of 50
and we’re facing the fact that we’d better get going on those things
we’ve been meaning to do, or the places we’ve been meaning to visit very
soon.  Whether it’s like my friend Crystal who worries that there isn’t
enough time to read all of the books she wants to, or some of us who
have always wanted to travel to a certain place, or whether it’s just
learning to live in the moment, which is my desire;  now’s the time to
get going and start doing.

So I’d like to thank Mr. Camping for starting that conversation. 
I’m not sorry that his prediction didn’t come true, and I feel bad that
he went so far and did so much to convince us of his theory and only
ended up flabberghasted.  But if we’re all really smart, we’ll use our time left now, however long it may be, to learn to live our lives more fully.

IJ

3 thoughts on “Are We Still Here?

  1. I feel sorry for some of Camping's followers. Camping himself will be more sympathetic if he organizes relief funds for the followers who gave huge amounts of money to the cause, thinking they wouldn't need it. I read about one 60-year-old retiree who spent $140,000 — pretty much everything he had — on billboards advertising the rapture date.

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