It says everything I’ve been thinking.
When it comes to the disappointed ones who didn’t get swept away on a great white cloud, I am not sure whether to feel pity or fury.
puts it succinctly: "Here we have these cowardly fuckers who were hoping to be yanked away to some heavenly playground where they could wallow in eternal bliss, while 97.1% of humanity endured unspeakable horrors and fire and everlasting torment."
Yeah, that. I keep thinking about the SELFISHNESS of the "righteous". And of how they themselves stood in judgment on themselves before God ever had a chance to do the same, and decreed themselves righteous in God’s eyes (else they would not have expected to be Raptured, yeah? ‘S logical…)So these are not the judged. These are the PRE-judged, and worse, the self-pre-judged. I kind of want to… smack them upside the head with a clue by four. Tell them to look at the beam in their own eye before they make snide commentary on the motes in the eyes of their brothers. How anyone murderous enough to calmly turn their back on their brothers and sisters in humanity – and in part this is not about the "righteousness", it is about "us or them" and it stands to reason, in the mind’s eye of these people, that folks like Buddhists or Hindus or Wiccans or pagans or, well, ANYONE other than themselves is automatically left behind to burn – this is the Ultimate Gated Community to keep out what you consider to be the beneath-you riffraff forever hanging about your lawns – how anybody who considers themselves righteous, or remotely a follower of Christ, could justify any of this, it’s beyond my understanding. Maybe their God knows.
But here’s the thing about the whole matter.
I don’t know what kind of Heaven they were trying to find. But for me – I’ll pass, thanks. Spending an eternity (and that is a VERY long time) singing alleluias in an unrehearsed choir while dodging the wings-in-your-face of your vocal and angelic neighbour, well, no. This is the same heaven which the fundamentalists decree will be empty of the four-footed family members who have given their hearts and souls to me and who own mine – and a Heaven without a wagging tail or a purring cat is no Heaven at all for me. This is the same Heaven which the fundamentalists describe as being populated only by people who think and believe and worship in one single exact same way, and having lived everywhere and seen lots of different places in my terrestrial existence the samesamesame will get boring very quickly (and what do you talk about – God? Just God? ONLY God? Can you imagine a worse Hell than a place where all you ever get to say or hear is "God is Good! God is God! God! God! God!" One of the things I firmly believe is that God gave humans a brain for a reason. A Heaven where you are simply prevented from using that gift for anything other than repeating the same word and concept over and over and over again – well if God is that full of ego I am not sure that we would get on that well.
And let me just add something here.
Heaven does not lie in mindlessness. Heaven is the gifts of God that lie about right here on Earth. Heaven is hidden in the slant of honey-gold summer sunshine in which motes of dust dance like fairies. Heaven is the wind dancing invisible and gleeful in the midst of a golden field of wheat dotted with scarlet poppies, undulating the ocean of gold in time to a melody you can hear if you allow your heart to listen. Heaven is the smell of the air on an early winter morning with the frost biting at your nose and the clouds low and heavy and pearly-gray with a load of fresh snow waiting to begin falling. Heaven is watching a deer pick its way delicately through a wild wood. Heaven is listening to a child’s irrepresible laugh somewhere – you have no idea what’s so amusing or whether you yourself would find it remotely funny but the echo of that laugh itself is what makes you smile in sympathy. Heaven is the feel of an aged wrinkled hand belonging to a beloved grandparent alighting gently and lovingly on your head, like a blessing. Heaven is looking up at the sky on a dark night and catching your breath at the sight of the Milky Way. Heaven is listening to a sublime piece of music and feeling the tears prickle at the back of your eyes in sheer awe of it all. Heaven is reading a poem written by one lover to another, no craft and no reason and no rhyme but all heart and all passion – an open door into the human spirit. Heaven is watching a whale breach out of the ocean, for no other reason, apparently, than just because it can, and it wants to. Heaven is listening to birds waking up and a chorus of birdsong starting to chitter and chirp and warble as you open your own eyes to a new day. Heaven is holding hands. Heaven is looking up and up and up and still not seeing the end of a tall tree as it stabs the sky. Heaven is curling your toes into the wet sand as the foam of an ocean wave breaks around your feet. Heaven is listening to the whispered whoosh of that ocean, hidden in the whorls of a shell you are holding up to your ear. Heaven is a smile that crinkles up the corner of the eyes of somebody you love when you tell them something that they find funny, or moving, or worthy of taking pride in. Heaven is the scent of hyacinths on a spring morning. Heaven is the golden eyes of a lion. Heaven is right here, right now, if only people would take the time to stop and see it. God didn’t MAKE the world, and take himself out of it. God is IN the world.
We cannot – despite the Raptureites – know what awaits us beyond the final veil. But why why why can’t those people find ways of taking joy from this world – why are they so ready, nay, EAGER, to sell it down river into hell and sulphur and brimstone and everlasting destruction, together with 90-plus% of its population, in order to fulfill some kind of selfish, simplistic, and self-selected "superior" fantasies of their own (where they themselves will be Top Dog or if they cannot be then they will damn well be the Only Dog In Town…)? Why is Christianity, with its whole nine yards of "love thy neighbour" and "love one another", so ready to consign everything other than its ever-so-holy self into the scrap heap?
This is not the God I can love, or believe in. This petty, selfish, vengeful, egotistical, twisted little tyrant who demands unquestioning obedience and adoration. If that is the God that awaits us, I’m just as glad that I am unlikely (and especially after this blog post) to make it to any Rapture event, current or future-scheduled.
I’ll wait, thank you. And some day maybe I’ll be reunited with the people and the animals whom I have loved, with whom I have shared THIS life. And perhaps I won’t. I don’t know. All I do know, right now, is these things:
1) I "survived" the Rapture.
2) My cedar woods are still green and fragrant all around me.
3) I am loved.
And I am content. For here, for now, I am content. If God decides to call me home, wherever home is, we’ll deal with that then. But in the meantime, to all those who are out there today disappointed that they are not knocking at the Pearly Gates and being handed the keys of Heaven by Saint Peter… stop. Think. Feel. Smell the roses. Find what joy you can right here, right now. Or, like the dog in Aesop’s fable, lust after the "bigger" bone that you can see yourself holding when you are looking at your reflection in a still pond, and lose the bone God already gave you, secure in your possession. Sure, the prize might not mean standing around in white robes and playing celestial harps from here unto forevermore – but you have a prize, nonetheless. It’s called your life. God gave you that, YOUR God. Stop wasting it by hankering for it to end.