A Kinder, Gentler Apocalypse

Remember all the world-ending-on-May-21 hype earlier this year? Apparently God was playing more of his “I’m gonna pretend to high-five you, then pull my hand away at the last minute and say ‘Psych!'” games with all of us. Harold Camping of Family Radio was admittedly “flabbergasted” when it didn’t happen as planned. But lo! It has been revealed to him that May 21 was only the deadline for soul-saving by God. The Rapture is actually happening October 21, 2011. But fret not: tomorrow’s rapture will be a softer affair, with the unwashed going “quietly to eternal damnation.” Camping now says “that all of our unsaved loved ones will not receive special vengeance of God at all. … We must believe that probably there will be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against God.” Except, of course, for the pain of eternal damnation, which, by almost all reports, is one big ouchfest.

This is all a bit confusing so let me break it down. You had until May 21 to God up, amigos. Except, of course, for the Ultimate loophole, which is that El Jefe is the authority on who gets saved, and may have quietly added your sorry bottom to the A-list without your knowing it prior to May 21. “You, too, without your knowledge may have become saved before that date.” I’d like to think that God does have a sense of humor (and not a “sick” one, Depeche Mode) and, needing some laughs in the uncountable millennia to come, might have Rapture-friended me all sneaky-like. Even though I’m a Catholic. I guess we’ll find out manana.

My more worldly question is: should Camping’s Rapture fail the second time around, do his donors get their money back?

Mary Valle lives in Baltimore and is the author of Cancer Doesn't Give a Shit About Your Stupid Attitude: Reflections on Cancer and Catholicism. She blogs on KtB as The Communicant. For more Mary, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.