Three days away

Three days ’til rapture.

I like to think of this whole thing as kind of win-win for atheists. On the one hand, if rapture happens it’ll just be us left over on earth. Government will be free from religion, there won’t be any holy wars, and all in all things should be pretty peaceful. On the other hand, if nothing happens, it’s a nice little slap in the face to those who are “absolutely sure” it’ll happen.

I’m absolutely aware that not all Christians think May 21st is the day of rapture. I realize it’s just a small sect of the particularly crazy ones who believe what that nut Harold Camping says. I also realize they’ll continue to be crazy once May 21st comes and goes with no incident and Camping will just claim he forgot to carry a two in his mathematical formula for predicting the end of the world. But the rest of us (not-quite-as-crazy Christians included) will get a good chuckle out of it. I’ll feel nothing but pity for those who have taken Camping’s advice and spent/given away every last bit of their money in anticipation of being raptured.

Countdown: Six

Six days ’til rapture.

Allegedly, the rapture is scheduled to happen at 6:00p in every time zone. This tells me that by 11:00p on May 20th CST, I’ll know whether or not I should go in for work on the 21st (at 11:00p CST it will be 6:00p the following day on Christmas Island). If nothing happens on Christmas Island – no earthquakes, no people just disappearing from their homes or beach parties – at precisely 11:00p my time, then we’ll know this rapture business is just a whole lot of hooey.

Bible sans Bible (Revelation 12-13)

The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun

Image via Wikipedia

Bit by bit, I’d like to attempt to retell some fantastic Bible stories, but without all the parts about God and Jesus. Other revealing “religiousy” names and places (such as Satan, Moses, and Heaven) will also be removed, or replaced if necessary. I thought I’d start with the fun and fabulous story of the dragon (whose actual name has been omitted) and the beast from the sea, found in the book of Revelation. I’ll let you come up with your own commentary. I’ll just say this: the Bible is a ridiculous piece of literature on which to base your views of morality and reality. The stories contained within are simply too absurd to be taken seriously. If you need fantastic stories to teach you morality, I would recommend Aesop’s Fables.

A great and wondrous sign appeared: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And the child was snatched up [to the sky]. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

And there was war in [the sky]. Michael fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought back. But he was not strong enough, and [he] lost [his] place in [the sky]. The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth.

When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring.

And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea.

And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a [bad word]. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. This dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?”

The beast was given a mouth to utter [bad words] and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast.

He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed.

Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from [the sky] in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.