When Does God Say to Go F*** Yourself?

Today I was talking with someone over a friend’s posting on Facebook about the Duggar family, who has made the news again after announcing the pregnancy of their twentieth child.  Without going into all of the details of the discussion (which I will blog on at a later time, the Duggar family that is), in the end the person with whom I was inevitably debating took the conversation a turn for the worse:  she cited God’s plan.

If you’re like me, you can’t really have an intelligent conversation if someone is going to talk about God’s plan, unless (of course) you do so in a purely academic light; most importantly, with background detail from the Bible and exegetical analysis of what you are claiming to be truth about God.  This person with whom I was debating, though, didn’t do any of that – she simply said “I have a hard time believing that God would create a world where we will run out of fresh, drinking water.”  When I questioned, though, that she believes God will not allow the planet to run out of fresh, drinking water, although will allow other horrific things to happen (such as cancer and natural disasters), she said those are from human negligence.  At this point, I gracefully bowed out of the conversation and bit my tongue for the sake of my own blood pressure and my own friend’s peace on Facebook (I don’t even know how she knew this person that was discussing it with me on the post).

In the end, anyone that will invoke God’s plan as an argument against something completely unrelated to God or religion is already questionable on the intelligence front.  But things really go awry when that person makes stupid and asinine comments, such as that cancer is a matter of human negligence.  To be clear, she said “it is because we have free will that people get cancer … negligence of their bodies.”  Looking at some of the young children I have known with cancer, or looking at some of the earliest cancer cases in world history predating even Christ or carcinogens; looking at cancer in the womb, or even looking at the appearance of cancer in animals that could in no way have caused such a disease to happen:  I have to simply ask where (exactly) the head of such a person is located that would say such a wholly retarded thing as “it is because we have free will.”

Here’s why at the end of days these pompous assholes will be told by God to go f*** themselves:  they make completely jerk-faced judgments without all of the information; they use God as an excuse for making their point; and, they try to imply that they are God-like by saying they know God’s agenda.

There are a lot of really horrible things in this world:  cancer, disease, famine, natural disasters, Republicans.  (I’m sorry … not necessarily the Republicans, I just thought it sounded funny.)  And it is true that amidst all of that crap, it is really easy to ask whether there is a God to begin with. In the end, from a purely logical standpoint, none of us can ever even know if some almighty guy in the sky exists, so why act like a dick and speak for this unknowable being?  I got news for all the Bible-thumping judgers out there (that are, incidentally, only reading the parts of the Bible they want to read):  if there is, in fact, a guy up there in the sky, acting like some pompous asshole about things you don’t even seem to understand is exactly why you’ll be told to go f*** yourself when you try to waltz your pompous ass into heaven.

Have a little humility, and (more over) a little compassion.  Don’t invoke God’s plan as an argument about something completely unrelated.  Like many of us “reformed Catholics,” I don’t know what is out there beyond this world we know on Earth:  God, some other being, or nothing.  But if there is one thing I do know, it’s that in all religions of the world (monotheistic, polytheistic, or atheistic), there is one unifying theme:  don’t judge others before judging yourself.  There is so much wrapped up in that idea.  Most importantly in my little debate over the Duggars and their +18 population growth ratio, is that before speaking on things you think you know, you should probably consider all the facts.  Judge others and God (or whatever is out there) may just judge you in the same vain.  The last thing you want to hear when you hit those pearly white gates, paradise full of virgins and palm trees, or whatever your heaven may be is to go fuck yourself.  That would really suck.

Cloudy With a Change of Imminent Rapture

Well it is now well into Sunday, May 22nd in some parts of the world and Harold Camping is sitting at his abacus, desperately trying to figure out just where he went wrong.  In the words of one of my near-and-dear Facebook friends:  Cheer up, Harry!  It’s not the end of the world!

Oh wait, that was a little awkward wasn’t it?

If you are anything like me, you are sick of hearing about this whole rapture business.  From the Judgement Day billboards to the fanatics that quit their jobs to pass out fliers; from the Tweets giving shouts out to Kiritimati for first-hand accounts of people floating in the air to the endless postings of worldwide earthquake hotspots – now that the hour has passed, it’s time to let it die (no pun intended).

But before we do just that, I think it’s time to sit back and question just why Rapture Fail 2011 captured the hearts and minds of so many people, and on a global scale at that.  While only an approximate 2 or 3% of the world’s population actually believes in the The Rapture Doctrine of Camping’s radical Evangelical sect (with even fewer having subscribed to his actual prophecy this time around), it seems that everyone and their mother has jumped on the rapture bandwagon to capitalize, poke fun at, and gossip.  Predictions about the end of the world are nothing new.  We all remember the grocery lines right before Y2K, and the 90s were not exactly free of believers in the imminent apocalypse, either.  In fact, as far back as the 1800s (just shortly after the origins of the birth of belief in The Rapture Doctrine) doomsday predictions based on subjective interpretations of the Bible were being talked about.  Something tells me, though, that even if the Internet and Twitter were around for the failed predictions of William Miller, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the other pre-Facebook civilizations, they wouldn’t have been standing around Tweeting, gossiping, and throwing parties.  So why now?

There are a number of possibilities over just why now, more than ever, the buzz of Harold Camping has had such a phenomenal impact on what we talk about, the three most probable being: (1)  subconscious fear, (2) subconscious atheism, and, (3) a disdain for cult mentality.  What I think really has happened here, though, is the same thing in the viral nature of Rebecca Black parodies, Bin Laden death photoshops, and the ongoing controversy over just why Obama’s long form birth certificate was submitted in PDF.  In these trying economic times, when unemployment is at an all-time high, gas prices continue to soar, and families finding themselves struggling just to put food on the table, people are just as succeptible to parodies as they are to belief in such nonsense in the first place.

Okay that was awkward too.  While economic hardships are just as probable as fear, atheism, and a disdain for cult mentality, what I really think this whole rapture business is all about is this:  people just don’t take anything seriously anymore.  With all the viral puke that flows through the Internet; the virtual (read: fake) lives we are able to compose for ourselves ala Facebook, Twitter, and the like, and the massive mindset of failure that the above economic state has put our contemporary culture in, who would?

The good news is that the world – even some that believe in The Rapture Doctrine (but probably not Harold’s) – were able to get a chuckle out of the events that unfolded as May 21st came, and went.  The world needs a little levity once in a while, and I’m sure Mr. Camping is considering using that as an excuse come Monday morning when he’s expected to be on air at his usual time.  While there may been some earthquakes in various places of the world (earthquakes which happen hundreds of times a day), Camping’s predictions most certainly did not come to fruition.

In the words of one late-night Tweeter, after New Zealand was either spared from the rapture, or proven to be entirely full of sinners: “Yeah, there were some earthquakes no one felt, and the world is still crazy, but it ‘aint like people were flying into the air and shit.”  That’s right, Twitter user.  People weren’t flying into the air.