So you know the world has gone a bit topsy turvy when one of the top stories advertised on the local news is how the Biblical Rapture might happen this weekend. I'm not kidding either - that was seriously one of the top stories on my local news last night.
Why is it on the local news? Well, largely I suspect it's because it was a slow news day in Indiana, and like all slow news days I think they just look at what's trending on Twitter and give up. But the reason it's being talked about online is because some nutter (who first predicted the Rapture was going to happen in 1994) has made the bold claim that it's occurring on the 21st.
Now I'm not a Christian, nor have I ever been, but I've watched several bad movies about the Rapture in my day (it comes from my obsession with apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction), so I know a bit about the subject. It always strikes me though that promoting the Rapture is the single largest obstacle to anyone converting me to Christianity.
Why? I'll tell you.
First off, you have to appreciate that I actually do have firm religious beliefs. This means that without direct proof, there's no way you're changing my mind - just like I suspect that without direct proof, I couldn't shake the faith of many Christians. It's the nature of Faith, and shouldn't be surprising. Now, based on what I'm told, while the faithful will be taken up to heaven or whatever when the Rapture happens, those left behind will still have a chance to find Christ and be "saved."
So, think about it for a moment. If you keep telling me "It's the end times!" and it never happens - then I have no reason to think you're correct. My preexisting faith is unfazed, and I never come to Christianity. If the Rapture DOES happen, and all of you disappear... well then yes - I'll totally change my mind. Why? Because direct evidence will have been supplied to me, and the scientist in me can't dispute direct evidence of that significance.
In any case, you're not going to sell me (unless the rapture actually occurs... but I'm betting it won't). Now sure, not all Christians believe the Rapture is actually at hand (or that it will even happen), but those who feel the need to convert the "unbelievers" seem to promote it a lot.
I too credit the slow news day effect. I think the only reason this is getting so much press is that he's somehow drummed enough followers to purchase billboards and radio ads.
Not to mention that predicting the endtimes is the kind of thing you only get to do once. If you say "The world ends on Tuesday!" you've pretty much blown any credibility when Wednesday rolls around and we're all still here. What I've seen of the news this guy is at least his second attempt and "Oh I was wrong the last but I got it right this time...honest" should be enough to make this a non-story from the start.