Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
The date for the beginning of the End of Times and the Rapture was supposed to be May 21st, 2011 according to Harold Camping. Since this date came and went without incident, and no rapture has apparently taken place, he set a new date for October 21st of this year.
The atheists had a field day: (And a rapture party)
Other people joined in the fun as well:
This declaration of the coming of the rapture is hardly unique. Here is a list of previous dates of when the rapture was predicted to occur:
- 1844 – William Miller predicted that Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844, then revised his prediction, claiming to have miscalculated Scripture, to October 22, 1844. The realization that the predictions were incorrect resulted in a Great Disappointment. Miller’s theology gave rise to the Advent movement. The Baha’is believe that Christ did return as Miller predicted in 1844, with the advent of The Báb, and numerous Miller-like prophetic predictions from many religions are given in William Sears‘ book, Thief in The Night.
- 1914, 1918, 1925, 1942 – Various dates predicted for the Rapture by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
- 1981 – Chuck Smith predicted that Jesus would probably return by 1981.
- 1988 – Publication of 88 Reasons why the Rapture is in 1988, by Edgar C. Whisenant.
- 1989 – Publication of The final shout: Rapture report 1989, by Edgar Whisenant. This author made further predictions of the Rapture for 1992, 1995, and other years.
- 1992 – A Korean group, “Mission for the Coming Days”, predicted October 28, 1992 as being the date of the Rapture.
- 1993 – Seven years before the year 2000; the Rapture would have to start to allow for seven years of the Tribulation before the Return in 2000. Multiple predictions.
- 1994 – Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles predicted that the Rapture would occur on June 9, 1994. Radio evangelist Harold Camping predicted September 6, 1994.
- 2011 – Harold Camping‘s revised prediction had May 21, 2011 as the date of the Rapture. After this prediction proved inaccurate, he claimed that a non-visible “spiritual judgment” had taken place, and that the physical Rapture would occur on October 21, 2011.
- 2060 – Sir Isaac Newton proposed, based upon his calculations using figures from the Book of Daniel, that the Apocalypse could happen no earlier than 2060.[71
I cannot possibly list them all as there are over 240 of them. All but a handful are wrong, of course, and those dates have not yet occurred. The earliest rapture prediction date recorded is about 44 AD.
Will Harold Camping be right this time? Is October the 21st the day that the rapture is finally going to occur? Uh, methinks not.
There is absolutely no question about it though: the Rapture holds a fascination for millions of people. Witness the very popular Left Behind book series, which became a movie series.
All of which brings me to the point of this article: the Rapture, as envisioned, is a paranormal event of such gargantuan proportions that if it were to occur, nearly every single person on earth would be aware of it.
Those people, who so desperately want the rapture to occur are missing a very important component of the paranormal: it is really scary shit at a personal level and if it occurred planet wide it would be beyond terrifying; it would drive people mad. That’s what the paranormal can do to a person; it can utterly shatter them. If we follow the rapture as though it were actually going to occur, this is not something anyone would actually want to happen. Rapture sounds a lot like raptor for a reason.
The word ‘rapture’ itself is from the Latin raptus, and it connotes either apocalyptic spiritual overtones or possessive and physical undertones. The origin of rapture dates to the late 16th century, (directly or via French rapere) from Medieval Latin raptura “seizure,” from the Latin cognate raptus, meaning, “seized and taken, kidnapped by force, snatched hold of and then taken hostage, carried off or away.” In Medieval time, raptus was sometimes used to describe the euphoria soldiers experienced after defeating a foe in battle, then seizing the opponent, and taking him away as captive. Greek raptus virginum Sabinarum is a reference to the Sabine virgins, who were raped and abducted.
So on the one hand, you have a huge number of people stripped, seized and carted away and an even larger group of people witnessing this in overwhelming horror. Jeez, who thought up this nightmare? Heaven would have its hands full with a massive PTSD epidemic on its hands. I don’t think that those Christians who await the rapture have thought this through. The reaction any sane person would have to being stripped of their clothes and then pulled into the air in a gravity defying feat would not be bliss, it would be abject terror. Not to be too nit picky here, but where the heck are all these naked people going? Into space? You can’t take your physical body into Heaven, so the only explanation here is that these people are going to be separated from their bodies at some point; which is a fancy way of saying that they are going to die. Since there are second chances available, this makes the rapture sort of like a first round of layoffs. You don’t want to be the first to get God’s pink slip.
Then there is the other, more serious problem: a rapture-like event would not go according to plan. Real events have a way of being different from how we imagine they’ll be. This is something that occurred to me as a kid, psychic person that I am. Since the rapture is a paranormal event of enormous proportions, it would follow rules that psychics are far more familiar with than your average Christian. (I know, there are psychic Christians, and I honor that.) Those rules are somewhat different than what the bible spells out. At a psychic level, people are not divided by their beliefs, which matter little, but by their core selves. Who you are under all those layers of personality is going to have a lot more of an impact on that sort of selection process than whatever religion you profess to believe in. God is presumably going to cherry-pick the crème de la crème of humanity and you can bet the bank he’s not going to rely on something as trivial as someone’s allegiance to a particular belief system. God’s choice would have a lot more to do with whether that person had evolved enough as a human to move on to something more interesting.
If something like the rapture were actually coming, we would all sense it. Most of the world would at least unconsciously be aware that something very significant was on its way. And the rest of us would definitely know that something enormous was going to happen. The paranormal carries an enormous amount of energy and something like the rapture would be off the scale. It’s easy for me to “see” that it’s not gonna happen.
There is something deeply sad about people who are waiting for the apocalypse. I can only speculate on how powerless they must feel that they need the world to end and to be snatched from it in order to feel any sense of importance. And when that moment does not come, they must awake the next day, defeated and face a life of still more powerlessness. This is not just my own musing, there is a deep relationship between having a powerless position in society and being accepting religious paranormal activities.
Mark October 21st 2011 on your calendar. There . . . is . . . still . . . time . . . to . . . prepare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . a good prank.