The countdown is nearly over!

Two days ’til rapture.

So what exactly does that mean? It means a great world-wide earthquake, to start with. As already determined the earthquake will begin precisely at 6:00p local time everywhere. This gives us in Texas and the central United States a good 19 hours’ warning. I’d say that’s plenty of time to get away from large, heavy structures that likely wouldn’t survive an earthquake. Simultaneously, 200 million or so Christians will be “raptured,” meaning their physical bodies will be lifted off the earth and into Heaven. What is yet to be determined is whether their clothes will be raptured with them. In addition, the ground will split open and all of the dead who in their lives believed in Jesus will also ascend into Heaven.

Gross.

Anyway, the rest of us will be left behind – yes, just like in the books! For five months (because the world will cease to be on October 21) those of us who didn’t perish in the earthquake will suffer terribly: war (even without all the crazy Christians?), plague, starvation; not to mention the terrible natural disasters that will happen. This summer we can expect to see hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides, storms, hail; basically all the same things we see every summer.

I can only imagine all the pissed-off non-Christians who will be left behind. I said jocularly in my last post that we atheists will be all that’s left in this world, totally free of religion. That’s obviously untrue. We’ll still have all the crazy Jews and Muslims, Hindus and Rastafarians. If I believed any bit of this was true, I would be worried about the crazy religionists who aren’t super thrilled about learning that everything they’ve ever believed was wrong. Naturally (and I’m talking about you, Jihadists) some of them will take out their frustrations on the rest of us. No doubt there would still be war. And this time, all the crazy Christians in the US government and intelligence agencies won’t be here to protect us. Which brings us back home.

The majority of the US government and government agencies will disappear. The majority of the US armed forces (Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, et al), FBI and CIA, police and fire departments will be gone. There will be bedlam, anarchy, riots, looting, fires, depression, terror – just absolute chaos. Most of my friends and family will have disappeared. My wife and I, along with a pretty small group of close friends will be left behind and, if we survive the earthquakes on Day Zero, we’ll have to work together to survive the next five months…

…to be continued.

Prayer is Futile


Just to get them out of the way early, here are a couple of my favorite go-to Bible passages:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)

What Jesus is telling us, essentially, is that if we pray for something we will receive it so long as we have faith. Obviously any prayer I offer to test this would be futile considering I am faith-less. But what this is telling me is that no truly faithful Christian has ever prayed for an end to cancer, to world hunger, or to war. For if they truly had faith, their prayers would have been answered. All of those child-abusing parents who would rather rely on faith healing and prayer instead of medicine to heal an ailing kid only to have the child die from neglect? Not true Christians. Not truly faithful. I find it hard to believe that somebody who has the utmost faith in their god’s power has never once prayed for an end to all of the terrible tragedies humans have suffered and continue to suffer to this day. Assuming at least one “true” Christian has prayed for such things, we can now discount Jesus as a liar.

And don’t tell me prayers work; that you’ve personally had prayers answered. Think to yourself, were you really praying for something that could only have happened as a result of divine intervention? Or were you praying to pass a test, or for your football team to win, or for a surgery to go well? Here’s a little secret I’ve been keeping: sometimes people pass tests they didn’t expect to pass, sometimes the underdog wins, and sometimes (just sometimes) surgeons know what they’re doing.

Don’t tell anybody I told you that.

With that out of the way, here’s what I really wanted to get out in the open: prayer is futile. Useless. Counter-productive. Selfish, in fact. Prayer has been proven to be ineffective. Insofar, at least, as results are concerned. Prayer can be good for the pray-er in the same sense that meditation can be good. In the same sense that sitting at home, listening to music and letting my mind wander is good for me. With that in mind, praying for somebody else is selfish because the only person who can benefit is you.

Maybe I’m wrong, though. Maybe if I were laying in a hospital bed with some horrible disease, or after a terrible accident, somebody simply saying to me “I’ll pray for you” would brighten my day. Probably not. I’d rather somebody just sit by me and talk, or call me, or write me a cheerful letter. After the earthquake (and subsequent tsunami) in Japan recently, I heard a lot of people offering to pray for the victims and their families. Do you think that’s what the victims wanted? Prayer? While everybody else was kneeling beside their bed praying I was writing a check to the American Red Cross.

I found a quote online recently, and I wished I had saved it because I can’t seem to find it anymore, that basically said, “The only thing worse than inaction is inaction under the guise of action.”

**EDIT: I had intended to mention this in the post originally, but got carried away and forgot, so I’ll just keep it simple right here. If the Christian god is omnipotent, omniscient, and never changes his mind (Numbers 23:19), then what’s the point of praying anyway? According to the Bible, asking the Christian god to do something is basically asking him to change his mind (or his plan) according to your present desires. Just another example of the selfishness of prayer.