|Billboard in Oakland, CA|
For Jews, its the coming of the Messiah. Periodically, end-of-time believers release a new date.
The people who engage in these calculations are known as mehashvei kitzin. Our tradition raps them on the knuckles. No one holds God to a timetable.
Evangelical Christians await the coming of "the rapture."
A new date for the rapture is upon us. According to this e-mail that was personally sent to me (outreach to Jewish clergy?), we can expect the rapture this coming Saturday, May 21.
"The Holy Bible tells us that May 21, 2011 will be this appointed Day of Judgment! Following it there will be 5 months of awful torment for this world; and then on October 21, 2011 God will destroy this earth and the entire creation."Good news for some of them. Bad news for everybody else who won't make the cut. Apparently, God's is powerless in the face of the space limitations of the rapture.
Since the birth of Christianity, the imminent return of the Messiah has inspired the faithful. The first generation of Christians expected Jesus to come back in their lifetime. Ever since, periodically, a new date is announced. In the past, devout believers have sold their possessions and quit their jobs in preparation for the great day. Only to be left with nothing once the date came and went with no sign of the Messiah.
Everyone's entitled to their belief in the absolute truth. But, as the folks over at atheists.org point out, who will pick up the pieces for those believers who quit their jobs and disrupt their lives in preparation for this Saturday's rapture?