Since this morning, I have been receiving a lot of emails, messages, etc. from friends and readers wanting my opinion on whether or not the Rapture told of in Revelations is really going to kick off tomorrow.
So I thought that maybe a blog post would be more effective than answering them all individually.
Let me begin by explaining that I credit my mother with my flexible views on religion. As anyone familiar with my work probably knows, I do not have a religion … meaning I claim no allegiance to any form of organized religion. However, I am NOT an atheist.
To be honest, I feel that I was unable to truly seek out God until I finally chose to abandon the rules and dogmas of organized religion. But, as is my tendency, I am starting to get off the subject.
When I was young, around 15 years old, something my mother said to me about the Branch Davidians (if you don’t know who these people were, you can Google it) would turn out to have a huge impact on my views regarding religion and spirituality. Just to put things in perspective—this was around the time of the Waco standoff, but before the fire that finally brought the situation to its tragic end.
The main topic that seemed to be on everyone’s lips back in those days (including certain teachers at my Junior High) was how INSANE these folks in Waco must be, and how stupid they were for believing a guy like David Koresh was the messiah.
Well, I came home from school one afternoon and began regurgitating to my mother all the opinions I’d heard other people voicing all day, trying my best to act as if they were my own thoughts and ideas … though, in all honesty, my teenage mind really had no idea what to think of it all.
My mother rarely tried persuade me on certain issues … instead, she would ask me questions or plant ideas that would help me come to my own conclusions. This time, however, she sighed and said something to me that I never forgot:
“Yes, I believe that what Koresh has done is wrong. And I agree that the people in that compound are probably fools for following him. However, if it turns out they are right and this guy really is a messenger of God and that everyone else is wrong, and that I am wrong for believing as I do … then I would ask that God please forgive me.”
Believe it or not … I stopped thinking about the whole Waco thing right then and there (ADHD tends to do that).
Though I doubt she even realized it at the time, what my mother had just said suddenly opened up my mind to a possibility that I’d never considered—it was OKAY to be wrong about religion and spirituality. This idea would grow and blossom for years, and lead me to believe that it was OKAY to form my own beliefs about God, and to allow others to do the same. If I got it wrong, so be it.
These recent doomsdayers, those who claim that the Christian Rapture will begin at 6pm (New Zealand time) tomorrow, are not violent, gun-toting fanatics like the Branch Davidians … and by no means should it be misinterpreted that I am making a direct comparison here.
However, I notice that a lot of people are saying the same sorts of things now, about these doomsdayers, that people were saying back in ‘93 about those folks in Waco—that they are INSANE, that they are fools, that they are a cult.
And, yes, I agree that it is pretty likely they will turn out to be WRONG (especially considering that this is not the first time their leader, Harold Camping, has prematurely pulled the apocalyptic fire alarm) … so, yeah, I believe they are wrong about this … but I also believe that it is OKAY for them to be wrong.
So … do I personally believe that the Rapture begins tomorrow? Well, here is my answer:
“NO. I believe that what Harold Camping is doing is wrong. And I agree that the people who believe his prophecy are probably fools for following him. However, if it turns out they are right and this guy really is a messenger of God and that everyone else is wrong, and that I am wrong for believing as I do … then I would ask that God please forgive me.”
To the Doomsdayers: if tomorrow comes and goes, and the Rapture does not occur, just let it go and move on. And, though I do not agree with your beliefs, I highly respect your dedication and level of faith.
To the Naysayers: I get it…it seems crazy. And I know it’s always easy to play a round of “Let’s make fun of the naïve” when you hear about stuff like this. I have been guilty of it myself, plenty of time. But please remember that your jeers and insults only serve to increase the belief that it is NOT okay to be wrong about religion and spirituality. So, on Saturday, try to cut them a break and keep the “Nanny-nanny-boo-booes” to a minimum.
To everyone else: If the Rapture DOES occur ... for those of us left behind ... I am totally thinking AFTER PARTY!