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Memo to Rapture Letters: FUCK YOU RIGHT BACK.

Maybe it's all the Bioshock I've been playing lately, but I've been giving a disproportionate amount of thought to the idea of Rapture. Not the fictional Objectivist undersea dystopia, but rather the theological doctrine that says how at some point, all the right-thinking Jesus-loving folks are going to vanish like passengers on a Millennium plane, called into Heaven, leaving us non-believers to rot in a nigh-literal Hell On Earth.

The idea is the basis for a lot of things - the Left Behind books, the Left Behind movies, the Left Behind PC game, some truly awful fucking bumper stickers, and, depending on who you ask, United States foreign policy from Jan 2001 to present. And I love it dearly, because the Rapture (which, if CafePress is as reliable a research source as I think it is, is currently scheduled for December 21, 2012), is the ultimate Fuck You of Christianity.

The members of lots of religions believe that because of their belief, they will be going to an eternal paradise of wonderment after they die, while the heathen fucker sitting next to them will be condemned to an eternity of torment as a result of his wicked lifestyle, sinful ways, and Internet column mocking creationists.

For most people, "you're going to Hell, and I'm not" would be good enough. But all of that happens after we die. We have to get the cancer, or get hit by a bus, or eat really cheap sushi before the godly can collect their reward and the ungodly can earn their punishment. And in the meantime, the ungodly are having lots of sex and sleeping in on Sundays and having all the fun.

The Rapture changes all that. Now, at any moment, possibly in just under five years, all the fun could stop. The faithful get called to Heaven in an entirely bus-free manner, and the rest of us are in deep shit, left to try and survive in a world without preachers, home school moms, gift shop clerks at the Creation Museum, and Mike Huckabee. It's gonna suck.

The joy of a Huckafree world aside, the Rapture is a big FU to the heathens. Because not only will they have been right, but they'll have been shown to be right in the first clearly demonstrable and visible act of God, well, ever. But even that Fuck You is missing one vital component. Gloating. You can't gloat from the Great Beyond. Not without technology, at least.

Now, I know I'm about three years behind on talking about this, but Rapture Letters is a website where, and I mention this on the off chance you hadn't stumbled across it either, you can submit an address to a list. Every week, the site's owner resets some kind of internal toggle, and as a result, every week, hundreds of form letters do NOT go out to everyone on the list. In the event of the Rapture, however, the site's owner will be called to Heaven, the reset will not happen, and everyone on the list will be notified that the Rapture came and THEY MISSED IT.

Oh sure, the letter claims to be full of good Christian charity, caring about those left behind and urging them to turn to Jesus, although I'm really not sure what the point would be after the Rapture. I'm pretty sure there's nothing about an End-Times Do-Over in Revelations. So really, it's just gloating. But my absolute favorite part of the form letter is this. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I am sure that there will be a lot of speculation as to what happened to all these people. The theories of some scientists and world leaders will have so much credibility that most of the world will believe them. It will sound like the truth!"

If you sometimes find yourself perplexed as to the fundamentalist attitude toward science, look no further than this quote. Science is out to get fundamentalism. Science is SO out to get fundamentalism that, if millions of people on Earth were to vanish overnight, and the only thing they had in common was that they were all fundamentalist Christians, the scientific community would concoct an explanation to keep people from realizing the truth. And they would be SO GOOD AT IT that we'd all be convinced.

That's not how it would work, of course. Never mind all that other stuff that's supposed to happen during the end times. If just the disappearing part happened, even I'd have to seriously consider that something Biblical might have happened. Until then, of course, I will drive around town confident that at no time will some of the cars around me lose their drivers to the Almighty, no matter how much their bumper stickers warn me.