Thanks in part to an incoming link from Arts & Letters Daily, as well as the excellent reading, we received quite a number of letters in the last week about Frank Schaeffer’s “Spaceship Jesus Will Come Back and Whisk Us Away,” an excerpt from his new book, Patience with God.
Rob Raven, of California, finds Christian ideas of the Rapture repugnant and illogical. Nevertheless, there are times when he feels the appeal of something similar. He writes:
One thing that I sometimes think about while going to a concert is that the whole place will get lifted up into space by a UFO while the world goes to hell. After seven years of rocking parties and orgies (there would be an endless supply of women, music, food, beer and drugs), we’d return and repopulate the planet. A variation of the Christian vision. The influence of their ideas are powerful on our psyches.
I wonder what we’d all do when we get back. Go back to things as they were before? Or kick up the parties again, having discovered in them the true purpose of life?
John B. Hodges, from Blacksburg, VA, points out that it isn’t necessarily so easy to dismiss the Rapture-ites’ apocalyptic speculation from the example of Christianity’s founder:
One problem with his thesis is that Jesus was himself an apocalyptic evangelical, at least as he is described in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He warned the people of his time that Judgement Day was coming within their lifetimes, and advocated extreme measures to prepare, since very few would be saved. His ethical teachings in the first three gospels assume an imminent end of the world, and make no sense otherwise. See http://atheisme.ca/repertoire/hodges_john_b/ethics_of_jesus_en.html.
The link is to an article by Hodges himself, based on a reading he did of the Gospels. It’s conclusion: “the ethics of Jesus are apocalyptic.” And not the UFO kind, neither.