Some interesting reads just came my way in regards to the rapture.
Would any secular person be a believer in the apocalypse? Yes:
But a person does not have to be a hard-core believer to sense that things like the environment, the economy, and the political system are appallingly broken. From there, it is only a short step to the view that the entire system is verging on a catastrophic collapse or must be completely swept away, or that any solution to these problems requires something outside normal human agency, such as an idealized or divinized form of humanity, a mysterious, hidden-hand “force” or “law” (such as the “forces” of history or the market), or a human figure of whom extraordinary deeds are expected. This is the “Daddy” complex: a belief in or need for something or someone greater than ourselves, who will solve our problems for us.
Also, Andrew Sullivan doesn’t agree with the smug mentality towards those unfortunately taken advantage of by Harold Camping:
Laughing at religious fanatics is nothing new. And, at some level, there’s nothing wrong with it. But this story didn’t just take off in popularity because people wanted a quick laugh or some insight into a quirky subset of our country. There’s a cruelty underlying our desire to laugh at this story—a desire to see people humiliated and to revel in our own superiority and rationality—even though the people in question are pretty tragic characters, who either have serious problems themselves or perhaps are being taken advantage of, or both.
I agree on two points. There has been something a little smug about how eager so many are to humiliate the end-timers; and there is a poignancy in the evangelical nuttery. But to ask a country not to laugh at such idiocies seems more than a little quixotic to me. And the Rapture nutters are not orthodox Christians – but rather Book of Revelations crackpots. They are not examples of religious faith but of marginal nutballism. Such nutballism begs to be made fun of.
(Pictured: James Warren Jones, known as cult leader Jim Jones).