Of Rapture and the End Times

If I were a mean-spirited person, I would say that I hope to be left behind when the Rapture comes. When Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, the authors of the hugely successful (and profoundly mean-spirited) Left Behind series of novels, are whisked bodily off the Earth into blessedness, along with Falwell, Robertson, Dobson and their followers, we might just have a chance to create a society marked by peace, universal brotherhood, justice and — yes — reason.
I grew up with apocalypse, in the heart of the East Tennessee Bible Belt, driving those two-lane blacktops with their endless signs tacked to telephone poles, fence posts and trees — “THE END IS NEAR,” “JESUS IS COMING SOON.” I always wondered why so many Americans want to believe in imminent apocalypse.
I suppose we like having our pants scared off — like our affection for Halloween haunted houses, except with bigger stakes. And if you want to sell books, or fill your megachurch with willing tithers, you can’t find a more scary topic than those galloping horsemen, Death, War, Famine and Disease.
Science Musings by Chet Raymo