Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's May 21... If you're reading this, it's supposed to be "The End of the World"

Scene from "Constantine"

Okay, to be exact about it, what my friends have been telling me is that May 21 is supposed to be the day when about a 140,000 people are snatched up into Heaven in what is called "The Rapture."

Here's a pretty good account of what The Rapture is all about:

The rapture is Christian belief that forms a major part of the current teaching and expectations of fundamentalist and other evangelical denominations. In its most popular current form, the doctrine involves Jesus Christ returning from Heaven towards earth. In violation of the law of gravity, saved individuals -- both dead and alive -- will rise up in the air and join Jesus in the sky. 
A very brief description of the rapture is found in the Bible -- 1 Thessalonians 4 -- and is supported in other passages. Unfortunately, the Bible is ambiguous about exactly when the rapture will occur. Most believers in the rapture suggest that it will happen just before the expected seven-year Tribulation -- a time of great suffering, instability, the devastating War of Armageddon, and the largest genocide that the world has ever seen. Some suggest that it will happen just after the Tribulation when Jesus finally returns to Earth.
Now, I'm pretty convinced that if ever we'll find confirmation about God, Jesus Christ, the dead coming back to life, and all the other things that were taught to kids like me in the Philippines as part of our Catechism, it'll be when we actually witness "The Rapture".

If Brother Eddie Villanueva, Eli Soriano, Eduardo Manalo  and other leaders of Christian groups are still here after everyone witnesses "The Rapture", they'll all be super-fucked.  After claiming that theirs is the way that will lead to certain salvation and in the process amassing great wealth, fame, and power, they'll have to come up with a pretty good explanation why most of their flock didn't get swept up in The Rapture and will now have to endure seven years of trials and tribulations before the world ends.

Apparently, there was a two thousand year old
TYPO. What was meant was that people will be
carried up into the heavens by THE RAPTOR.

I can only imagine just how seriously mind-fucked you'd have to be to try and convince people to vote for you as President of a largely poor country with a promise that you'd lead them out of poverty by stamping out corruption.  Especially when nothing in you haven't lead your own town mates out of poverty or stamped out corruption in your own family.

But can you imagine just how gang-banged your mind would have to make up a religion and convince people to follow it by playing on their best hopes for a better life and worst fears?  Especially when you know that you do not have any proof at all that your religion will actually do that?

I've been hearing about the "End of the World" since I was a kid and in my 40 years, I've probably experienced about five or six really bad "End of  the World" scares.

My mother and father probably lived through more "End of the World" scares than I did.  Except, of course, they actually lived through an actual one (World War II in Manila) and one that was largely based on the idea that some nut with a nuclear bomb would just decide to blow up some part of the world.

Anyway, "End of the World" scares have been around for a loooooooong time. If you want to go through about 40 of them and have a fun time laughing, go here.

The bad thing about these end-of-the-world-scares is not really that it will happen but when people claim it will happen and it doesn't.

This is an example of the worst thing that can happen:
At least 235 followers of a doomsday millennium cult died in a church fire in Uganda after apparently being persuaded to take part in a mass suicide by their leader. 
Expecting the end of the world, members of the Movement for the Restoration of Ten Commandments of God slaughtered their cattle and feasted for a week, singing religious songs, before the mass suicide on Friday. 
All 235 members of the registered sect, including young children, died after their church was set on fire. It was the second largest mass suicide in recent times. 
Cult leader Joseph Kibweteere predicted the end of the world would come last December 31.. 
 The moderately bad thing that could happen with an "End of the World" scare is that some nut will be able to convince a pretty good number of people to give him or her their money in exchange for "salvation".  And the thing is, it has actually happened several times here in the Philippines -- people were not only duped into giving their possessions but were also duped into sex slavery.

Then again, despite all the vile hoaxes and evil people who exploit people's hopes and fears to make money, the "End of the World" can actually lead people to doing a lot of good.

It has the power to make people realize a lot of things...

It can make you realize that no matter how great you think you are and how great people think you are, you are still going to die along with everyone.  And none of the things you have achieved or are bound to achieve really matter in a cosmic sense.  None of your problems really matter too.

But what really matters is that, for the very short and uncertain time that we are all here with each other, you can actually make life a little better for those around you.

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