Friday, May 18, 2007

Literally Pathetic

It's been a long week. I've been very busy at this temp job, but it was a great assignment. Now, at 4:00 on Friday afternoon, things are pretty slow. I'm not sure why, but I decided to check in with The Rapture Index to see where things stand.

The Index, for those of you who don't follow Christian dispensationalist theology (and, frankly, it's better if you don't), is meant to alert fundamentalist Christians of a certain stripe to the imminence of Christ's return, as foretold by the Book of Revelation. According to their narrative, carefully stitched together from hundreds of disparate, unrelated verses ripped from their contexts in Revelation, Matthew, Daniel, Ezekiel and other books, Jesus will return after certain historical events come to pass. This, dispensationalists will tell you, is based on a literal reading of the Bible.

For example, one of the pre-conditions of Christ's return is the re-establishment of the nation of Israel, at least according to the dispensationalist reading of Matthew 24, which contains the parable of the fig tree. Jesus says, when the fig tree puts forth leaves, you know summer is coming.

The "literal" reading of this passage is that when Israel (the fig tree) becomes a state again (puts forth leaves) -- which it did, in 1948 -- then Jesus (summer) is coming. See? Literal.

Never mind that in the very same chapter, Matthew records Jesus as saying, "The Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour." It might say "unexpected," but what that literally means is that it's only unexpected by those who don't understand that fig trees literally mean Israel and summer literally means Jesus. If you read it literally, you know full well when Jesus is coming, even though the Bible says you don't. Part of the fun of dispensationalist theology is that you get to ignore any Bible verse that proves inconvenient.

Anyway, the Rapture Index for today stands at 158; get ready, because an index of 160 or higher is marked "Fasten your seatbelts!"

Possible reasons, according to this website, that we're not at the 160 mark yet might be, among other things, declines in activity relating to teen drug use, ecumenism, a lack of leadership over Iran's nuclear program, and a distressing paucity of floods. But the good news is, a long dormant volcano erupted in Colombia and there has been a sharp increase in globalist activity. All of these come from a checklist put together from "literal" readings of Scripture.

The intellectual incoherence of rapture fantasists is well illuminated by the "fasten your seatbelts!" label to indicate our proximity to the Rapture. Were the Rapture anything but pure horsehockey, and were someone whose theology was grounded in centuries of Christian doctrine rather than 150 years of hucksterism to tell me that it was nigh, the absolute last thing I'd do is put on a seatbelt.


kr said...

[laughing] :)!

Luke said...

Amen! ;)

Gino said...

i loved it.
absolutely love it.

hey ya'll!
andy's back.

Quinn said...

And of course, head over to Slacktivist, who regularly keeps an eye on those pesky PMDs.

Anonymous said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions! The Secret Rapture soon, by my hand!
Read My Inaugural Address
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The Law Fairy said...

I've often wondered if my love of dystopian fiction stems from my premillenialist indoctrination -- er, upbringing :)