Friday, August 8, 2014

Logic left behind

I understand religion.  But I don't understand the whole "Rapture" movement that exists in the US.

Now it seems they've remade the Kirk Cameron "classic" on this very subject (based on the novel which is part of a series).

I'm talking about the new Nicholas Cage movie "Left Behind".



Here's my problem:

Without entering into the whole "argument from evil/suffering" thing, it's abundantly true that the "end of the world" comes every day for millions of people [well, hundreds of thousands, as Michael points out below], whether by tsunami, earthquake, war, famine, disease, murder accident etc. From a Christian perspective, this doesn't matter in the long run because believers go to Heaven. If this is so (and I'll assume here that it is), why would God engineer a special "End of Days" where believers get treated specially - just on this one day?

Is some pilot really going to be "raptured" when on a different day, he might have been randomly shot down over Ukraine? Will some guy get "raptured" when on a different day he might have been hit by a car or had a heart attack? Will some kid in Sierra Leone get "raptured" when on a different day she would have died of malnutrition or ebola?

Is it really true that God would permit evil and suffering for millions of years (for whatever reason - let's assume he has one), then abruptly decide to intervene to save a tiny percentage of history's believers from suffering on one random day. Would it make sense that thousands of Christians would have died in absolute agony from bowel cancer alone just minutes before Rapture?  The whole rationale of "saving" some people at the point of Rapture is clearly inconsistent with the rest of how the universe functions.

And, for that matter, why should a non-believer care about "Judgement Day"? As it stands, he or she is certain to die. And from a Christian perspective, he or she will be going to hell for not believing in God. So why should it matter to the non-believer that he or she might die in an "End of Days" rather than in some other, non-End of Days situation - like a car crash, tsunami or industrial accident, or from cancer or heart failure? Don't they all sound just as bad?

And why would a Rapture be remotely necessary for God? If God wanted to end the Earth, why wouldn't he just kill everyone instantly? Believers would go to Heaven, non-believers would go to hell. Why would God make the non-believers "suffer" and spare believers on this one special day - when otherwise He has been indifferent (or impotent) as regards suffering and evil on earth - treating believers and non-believers equally?

And why would Rapture matter to believers, given the high chance that they are going to die before it in the "usual way" - just as their ancestors have for millennia? Is it worth even thinking about, never mind making an absurd movie on the subject?

And why save the "corporeal" bodies of the few Christians lucky enough to be alive at the time of the Rapture? Are our physical bodies that important? It doesn't look like it for the many billions who have already died throughout history. Assuming it matters, why pluck these "lucky few" out of pilot seats and off toilets when other Christians who came before didn't get the same deal?

Some things make no sense at all if you bother to think about them even in the most cursory way.  "Rapture" is one such thing.  The only thing "Left Behind" in this movie is logic.