Archive for the 'Religion' Category

Final Thoughts About The (Alleged) Rapture

Four years ago, I saw a bumper sticker that stated, “When the Rapture happens, can I have your car?” I found it blasphemous at the time. Of course, back then, I was a God-fearing, church-going hypocrite like many who profess themselves to be “people of faith.”

Now, just a little under twelve hours before what many crazed people claim to be the End of Days, when the righteous, chosen 3% of the world’s population will supposedly be lifted up to heaven while those left behind are said to then face seven years of extreme trials and tribulations– including eventually dealing with the so-called Antichrist– I can’t help but find the humor in all of it.

Even further back in the day, I became obsessed with a literary series called “Left Behind”, an epic tale about the people who weren’t lucky enough to have been Raptured, and the situations they had to endure before the final days. There were sixteen or seventeen books altogether that it almost read like another bible. I was at once fascinated and terrified as I immersed myself in the authors’ fantastical work, and, convinced I will be among the unlucky who will indeed be left behind, began concocting survival schemes in my head when The Rapture comes to be.

Fast forward to today, when what many Christians would immediately label me as “wayward,” someone who has “lost his faith,” I laugh at reading about all these people who are rejoicing about and preparing for the Rapture that’s predicted to happen today, May 21st, 2011, at 6pm local time. “For reals” this time. Like the past predictions of the our demise– at one point to happen in 1999, and let’s not forget about December 2012– were clearly erroneous, and that we should really be ready for this one.

And I wonder: How many churches will be filled to the hilt tonight? How many “lost souls” will suddenly “find faith?” There are already reports of people stocking up as if for a nuclear fallout. It’s just nuts.

Tonight, at 7pm, I’m attending a “Rapture Party,” surrounded by like-minded realists who find the ridiculousness in all this. We’ll be reveling in each other’s company while not having the slightest worry.

But, I’m not going to kid myself. Before then, I know I’ll still have 6pm on my mind, and will be on the lookout for people to magically disappear around me, leaving all but piles of their clothes behind. And I’m going to sit back and watch the world go to shit.

I would hate to be wrong about this whole Rapture thing, but in the unlikely event that it does come to pass, at least it would be a great reason to drink again. This self-imposed sobriety has cramped my style. 😉

I Think He Means Well, But…

Pat Robertson calmly implored all Christians to pray for Haiti because the earthquake was because of that country’s “pact with the devil” back when they revolted against “Napoleon III or whatever.”

“True story.”

I’m all for freedom of expression but that just seems an ill-timed thing to say.  It’s the biggest, myopic, idiotic “I told you so” ever.

Beyond The Senses

I can’t help it.  I believe in the paranormal and the unexplained.  Thanks in large part to my own ghostly encounter many years ago.  In addition to ghosts, I readily accept psychics/sensitives, extraterrestrial life, demons, the notion of panspermia, and unusual abilities like pyschokinesis, telekinesis, precognition, and time travel– to name but a few.

This is probably why I love shows like Heroes, Ghost Hunters, Fringe and Paranormal State.  Again, to name but a few.  I’m drawn to the stories and accounts of situations and experiences outside of the norm.  And that these are happening all around us, whether we are aware of/acknowledge them or not.

fringe_heroes_ghosthunters_paranormalstate

Fringe (Fox), Heroes (NBC), Ghost Hunters (SyFy), and Paranormal State (A&E)

I’ve always felt conflicted about many of these beliefs because of my also being a Christian.  Catholic, to be exact.  The potential that life exists (and possibly even started) elsewhere– not to mention the theories of evolution and the formation of the universe– contest my belief on the Creation.  Extraordinary abilities seem to not be limited to prophets, saints and angels.  Rather, ordinary people are able to see into the past, predict the future, and interact with spirits of the departed.  I constantly wrestle with the notion that religion grew out of the necessity to explain why things were to a populace that wasn’t ready to imagine the science behind them.

Is it possible to marry these concepts into one ultimate belief?  Or is that something someone clinging onto a security blanket would ask?  Someone who scoffs at the idea of Judgment Day, but secretly harbors a desire to be “saved” when the time comes?

I don’t know where the answer lies, and drive myself crazy pondering these thoughts.

Science and Spirituality

I was born into a Catholic family. Although my attendance at mass has been sporadic over the past decade, I would still consider my faith strong. I don’t pray in the Catholic sense of the word, but have many conversations with God, often ending my day with a silent prayer of gratitude and a constant request for the safety of my family and friends. And despite ten years of private Catholic schooling and a religious family, I could never consider myself devout. Somehow, I’m not as troubled with this anymore as an adult as I was while growing up.  I believe that as long as I strive to be good to myself and others, my spirituality will be intact.

It is also difficult for me to be “religious” when I have this unrelenting affinity toward science as well. At times, questions of our existence plague my mind, and I allow myself to go beyond the teachings of my faith in an attempt to find other answers. Are we indeed a result of billions of years of evolution or did we as a species arrive on this planet somehow? How did the universe truly begin and what was the purpose of it? If life exists on this planet, then life must exist on others. And, if life exists on other planets, how different or similar are they to us? And, if they are the same, does it mean that they, too, struggle with the same questions of existence that we on this planet do? Do they also question their own version of creationism?

Thousands of years ago, when civilization began questioning everything around us, it was easier to subject ourselves to religion, to the belief that more powerful, more knowledgeable beings and entities are the explanation to why things are the way they are. But as we have been able to explain phenomena through science– as we’ve gotten “smarter”– gods and deities began to slowly lose their grasp on the human pysche. Suddenly, lightning is no longer attributed to Thor; tsunamis are no longer blamed on Poseidon; and schizophrenia is the diagnosis for someone who claims to hear the voice of God. Will the continuing advancements in scientific study kill religion in the long run? What will happen to humanity then?

Is transcendence in the cards for humanity? Will we one day go beyond our questioning and faith, and enter a realm of enlightened existence?

It’s maddening to have these thoughts, these questions, and it is probably why faith not only provides an answer but also solace in the face of uncertainty. But, sometimes, faith is a substitute for fear– fear of the unknown, fear of what would truly happen in the endtimes, fear that we do on Earth is not enough.