In Emma Tom’s essay, Confessions of a Kindergarten Leper, she talks about two possible end time scenarios. We all know how the Christian apocalypse goes down. If you don’t, here’s the Cliff’s notes version. Jesus returns; if you haven’t accepted him as your savior you’re in trouble; believers go to heaven; everyone else……proceed to hell (you had your shot…and ya BLEW IT!) Now let’s examine Tom’s equally plausible alternative. A formerly unknown deity appears; this tentacle covered god explains how revealed religions were placed on earth to test a person’s credulity; those who discriminated against others who did not believe as they did failed this test; however, all believers are not cast into eternal fire and torture, while the atheists get a front row seat for the show; instead, those mistaken believers are embraced by those that they vilified during their time on earth and welcomed to ponder all the wondrous questions that they thought they had all the answers for. This is a utopian view of all unbelievers, but for the most part I would agree with the last part of her second scenario. While I don’t like the politics or rhetoric of the far right in our society, I am also not interested in having them punished for eternity. If Fred Phelps suddenly realized that he had been wrong all along and apologized for all the stupid and hateful things he has done to the loved ones of fallen soldiers and victims of hate crimes, I would just say “good for you old man”, and go about my day. This is not the same reaction that I would expect from the religious. I am not only expected to believe, I am expected to look at the out group as less worthy than myself. We always speak of the “thoughtful believers”, and this is obviously not a critique of liberal Christianity….just in case I get that argument….AGAIN.
Fact Q: What is the name given to the event that fundamentalist christians believe will procede the end of the world, where all true believers will be "taken up" into the clouds to be with Jesus?
A: The Rapture