Should We Feel Sorry For Rapture Believers?

rapture ppl.jpg
For a while now, everyone on the Internet has been firing off increasingly unoriginal smug jokes about the poor souls who actually believe that Jesus is coming to pick them up today. And this is happening for a number of reasons -- first of all, crazy wingnut extremists are often fodder for humor. Also, people on the Internet have a tendency to repeat jokes till they're driven into the ground and actually become kind of malicious. But should we cut out the attitude and actually feel sorry for the disappointed people who will not be beamed up to heaven by Jesus today? This piece in The New Republic argues that we should.

Do the end-timers seem ignorant? Yes. Are they insane? Possibly. But should our reaction to them be chuckling glee or something more like sadness? Pay attention to their individual stories--their willingness to sacrifice everything in anticipation that their earthly lives are over--and I dare you not to feel the latter.

Sure, but in the stories referred to here -- this NYT account of children whose parents stopped saving money for college because of the Rapture, and this NPR story in which a young couple expecting a baby have stopped saving money in general -- our sympathies don't lie with the believers themselves, but instead with those affected by their beliefs. Like the teenagers in the Times piece, one of whom was quoted saying "I don't really have any motivation to try to figure out what I want to do anymore, because my main support line, my parents, don't care." I feel sorry for the kid. But I have no pity for the adults who are putting him in that position.

The author of the TNR post says that our smugness with regard to the non-Rapture is "cruel," that we are using these religious nuts to feel superior about our more rational beliefs. She was going to hang out with a bunch of Rapture believers today and write about their reactions when the whole thing turned out to be a bust, but decided against it because it would have been too exploitative, or something.

Wait, are you fucking kidding me? You turned that down? That's an awesome story.

Seriously though, why should we feel sorry for those who believe in the Rapture? If it wasn't this, it would be something else. Hey, 2012 is pretty soon, crazy people can latch onto that doomsday theory if they want. If there's one thing our country needs less of, it's fanatical religious extremism. When reason and logic score a victory, we can, um, spike the football a little.

(Although, a volcano did just erupt in Iceland. Rapture?)

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]


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20 comments
Imagehousemediagroup
Imagehousemediagroup

God's Word.... God Bless<< 2 Peter 3:3 >>Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.<< Proverbs 9:10 >>"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.<< 1 Thessalonians 5:2 >>For you know quite well that the day of the Lord's return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.<< Proverbs 16:18 >>Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.   << John 3:16 >>For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.2 Timothy 3 1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Gah
Gah

You should feel worried, these people have a death wish. It's only a small step to causing the end of times because god "told" them to...

jasoncravatt
jasoncravatt

 A little bit of sympathy but mostly derision. Those smug bastards who think they're superior because of their faith use that faith (i.e., mindless superstition in the face of all evidence) to attempt to dictate our social and political agenda. Their ignorance is mind-blowing. As for the Rapture, we'd do well to throw out Revelations--an amazing piece of writing in its way but probably the work of a delusional schizophrenic and the source of so much BAD SHIT in this world, here and now.

Movielover
Movielover

I LOVE that these ridiculous imbeciles are being made fun of.  May they be hounded...to hell.  These are exactly the assholes who condemn everything that doesn't follow the hooey they tortured out of bible text.  I hope they explode from their disappointment at the world not ending and all of THEIR ENEMIES (people who don't buy into their superstitions) not suffering.  Boo-hoo.  They were completely wrong, as they are about everything.   

Espresso chick
Espresso chick

Who knows when the world will end.... When it does, I plan to throw a few things in my backpack as I head out...some pastrami, mustard, sour dough french bread, french brie cheese, a Mypressi hand held espresso maker and fresh roasted coffee beans from a few stellar roasters at  http://www.gocoffeego.com.

Shannon Wright
Shannon Wright

"When reason and logic score a victory..."  Except they didn't.  For these believers (and they've been around forever, there's nothing new about this), they simply find a reason for why they were mistaken and it further bolsters their faith.  They don't go "wow, I was mistaken about this, I should review my entire belief system."  So the only people convinced are those who didn't believe it was going to happen to begin with.  I'm with the writer of the TNR piece--she seems to have a much more nuanced understanding of this than you do.

Paul G
Paul G

I feel sorry for all the delusional folks that for some reason take words written by desert dwellers thousands of years ago as some sort of reality.  

Maybe one day the human race will evolve enough that this type of talk about bible is just some historical curiosity just like burning witches were in medieval times. 

VigVee
VigVee

NO, Not sure what Bible they get their info from but the Holy Bible makes it VERY clear that NO MAN shall know the day of His coming in advance! Nuff said. www.privacy-online.us.tc

http://csgoldenopps.com
http://csgoldenopps.com

I do feel sorry for them and everyone there actions affect.  It is warned about false prophets, yet intelligent people still follow them.  Will there always be false prophets stalking folks like a Lion that stalks the zebra of course.  Is the zebra stupid for walking in the path of the lion.  No just ignorant. There will be another Harold Camping and there will be people that follow.  Hopefully Harold Camping will get his judgement sooner then later by are justice system for scamming all these people. 

Adrienne
Adrienne

I feel sorry for the people who suffered from the collateral damage caused by their relation to believers:  http://scienceblogs.com/pharyn...But I think the believers themselves are total schmucks (to be polite) and should be arrested for child abuse among other things. Children must do as their parents want and cannot protect themselves from their parents' stupidity and willful ignorance.

Areyoukiddingme?
Areyoukiddingme?

Those of you who didn't throw away all their savings in preparation for May 21, don't despair! You get yet another chance to throw your hard-earned cash soon enough as the next date with your maker apparently October 21, 2011.

Lorenzo
Lorenzo

It's the same mindset that got followers of Jim Jones to commit mass suicide.

Pinkhawks2
Pinkhawks2

iIt does say in the Bible that God will come back but we just don't no wen. So obviously it's not all the believers. The people who came up with the theory just had there facts wrong. Still it's not something to be bashing on people about. O well they made a mistake but hopefully they learn from it.

DrMiami
DrMiami

+1...great article, could not have expressed it better myself...But what's this about a volcano erupting, was it 6:00 there or is that GMT?

Hstar
Hstar

That volcano erupts constantly.  It did last year as well.  Thats the one that caused airline trouble remember?

DrMiami
DrMiami

Thanks for your comment. . .However, the volcano last year was Eyjafjallajökull (good luck saying that one) and the volcano that is erupting now is the Grímsvötn volcano. :)

The last part regarding the 6pm time slot was a reference to the second coming of Christ as was prophesized by a radio personality raking in the cashish. lol

SSmithNY
SSmithNY

Different volcano than the one that messed up air travel, actually. This was is, however, the most active on the island (not really constant, but frequent eruptions).

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