I used to blog quite a bit over on MySpace. This is one that I wrote about a year ago that I thought would be appropriate here. Enjoy!
Driving down the street the other day, I was slightly amused when I saw this bumper sticker.
The reason that I say "slightly amused" is because my fear is that people actually believe this stuff. I know all about the rapture. I've read the entire bible (some of it several times) and the subject of the rapture is a mighty interesting one. Especially if you consider the fact that the word "rapture" never actually appears in the bible. But the concept of the rapture is basically a name given to a future event in which Jesus Christ will descend from Heaven, accompanied by the spirits of all the saints of God, both from the pre-incarnation period and after, who have passed on prior to this event, and then the bodily remains of these saints are transported from the Earth to meet the Lord and be rejoined with their corresponding spirits in the air. Immediately after this, all Christians alive on the earth are simultaneously transported to meet the Lord and those who have preceded them in the air. Pretty heavy shit, huh?
There is much disagreement amongst rapture proponents over when the rapture will occur in relation to the Tribulation (a seven-year period preceding the second coming of Christ to the earth.) They disagree on whether the duration of the tribulation will be seven years or only a 3 1/2 year period. Some understand the tribulation of Matthew 24 as having already taken place in 70 AD at the destruction of Jerusalem. Three different views predominate. The first is that it will take place sometime prior to the Tribulation. The second is that it will take place mid-way through the Tribulation. The third is that it will take place after the Tribulation, when Christ comes to earth to establish His kingdom, the Kingdom of God, taking over rulership of the world for 1,000 years. Whoa, more heavy shit.
Popular books and movies have been written about the rapture and typically portray it theatrically as a doomsday plot where one day the shit hits the fan and people are suddenly whisked away while the rest of us sinners are left behind. Planes fall out of the sky, cars crash, fires rage, all holy hell ensues, and it's a big bloody mess.
But you know what? I'm not worried about the rapture. And I'm certainly not worried about going to hell. One has to believe in a god in order to believe in the concept of hell and that's just something that I don't subscribe to. Simply for the fact that I can't believe in a loving god based on fear. Why would I love and worship someone if he's only going to kill me if I don't? I may be wrong here, and if so, may god smite me.
I also can't believe in a god based on faith. Faith alone is not a reason to believe in something. The old adage goes, "Just because you're in McDonalds doesn't make you a hamburger." Just because you believe in something doesn't make it necessary so. I approach my beliefs scientifically. I have five senses available to me and with those five senses I am able to observe and base conclusion on what is known as scientific method. Scientific method refers to the body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. It is based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. Scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.
But if that doesn't grab you, consider the following. If there were a supernatural being (or beings) that was all knowing and all powerful then as an inevitable result of the existence of that god or gods it would be expected that all humans (at least the priests who claim communications with the gods) would have a unanimity of opinion as to the one true god (or gods) and that would be that. There would be no missionaries and no crusades and no inquisitions, because everyone would know who the right god was. But instead we find that there are 22 major religions and actually 4,300 distinct faith groups in the world all with differing opinions and all of them think that their god is the right god and that everyone else's god (or gods) is the wrong one. And we do have missionaries and crusades, and inquisitions. Only one of them can be right. The world is not as it would be if there was a god or gods which could communicate their existence to the minds of humankind. None of the conditions which must inevitably follow the existence of a god or gods able to communicate their existence to the minds of humankind can be found anywhere on Earth. Quod Erat Demonstrandum, no such gods exist.
Obviously, I'm not a religious person, but I respect the right of each person to choose their own spiritual path. The only time that it ever really bothers me is when someone else's religion infringes on my right to choose not to believe in a god. When the Mormons or the JW's show up at my door (even though I have a "no soliciting" sign), I'm usually fairly polite and they go away without much hassle. But then there was the time the Jehovah's Witnesses showed up at the door. I had just whipped up a batch of fresh pipin' hot pancakes when the doorbell rang. Reluctantly, I answered the door and these two older women started going on an on and on about Jesus and how happy they were because of Jesus. I tried to get them to go away, but they persisted on about how happy they were. That's when I told them how happy I'd be if I could go back and eat my "motherfuckin pancakes." They left.
Speaking of pancakes…
The god in the bible seemed to have a real sense of humor. He had his own special recipe for pancakes for the children of Israel…"And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them." (Ezekiel 4:12-13)
Holy Shitcakes? Bread made with dung?! One wonders what nutritional or moral value it would serve the people to eat human feces with their bread, as God had ordered. God here has also ordered the voyeuristic operation without explanation. Although in verses 14-15 the poor Israelites complain about eating abominable flesh, God (in his "wonderful" grace) changes his mind and allows them to substitute human feces with cow feces. Gee, thanks a lot God! (as if eating cow excrement makes much of a difference!)
Naw, I'm not into shitcakes and this notion of god gets crazier and crazier the more you read the bible. I really don't intend to offend anyone, it's just my take on the whole thing. Instead, if I'm going to choose a religion, let it at least be something believable… like "Jedi!" ;-)
Lieutenant Daniel Taylor: "Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?"
Forrest: "I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for him sir."
~From the movie Forrest Gump