Tuesday, 24 June 2008

I'll be in touch

God has given us through various messengers a great deal of information about how many of us are going to Heaven when The Rapture takes place. This fellow with a beard and a tartan cap, for example, tells us that he has been provided with authoritative statistics, updated daily, confirming that in Phase One 800,000 adults and 9,600,000 children will be moved up. The balance of the population that is left behind must then endure the first twenty-one months of a Great Tribulation while waiting for Phase Two, in which 389,600,000 more people will be wafted aloft. But others have heard quite different Words of God, and it is difficult to know whom to believe.

When it comes to the date for the great event there is even less consensus among the experts: you can decide to believe top end-time prophet Robert Weinland, who says that the preliminaries have already started and the demise of the United States will take place before the end of 2008, or the brothers Septimus and George, who provide some spectacular illustrations and give a firm date in 2011, or RaptureReady, which states firmly that the prophecies in Revelation will not be fulfilled "in our generation". Others believe that it will be in their own lifetime, or speak of "very soon", which comes to the same thing, since most Rapture buffs are of advanced age: it takes many years of diligent bible study to reach the highest level of lunacy. Still others say that Jesus is keeping the actual date very close to his chest, and that we will never know until it happens; there may be portents, of course, but these are notoriously unreliable

Personally, I am keeping an open mind on all this. However, there is no real need to change my beliefs and way of life in order to be sure that I shall be among those chosen to ascend, for according to an organisation called Rapture Letters it is possible to arrange to be notified by email so that you can make the switch, rather like a Catholic death-bed repentance. In other words, I carry on coveting my neighbour's maidservant, making all sorts of idols and permitting my slaves to work on the Sabbath until I get the tip-off and then, Bingo!, a quick profession on my part of deeply held faith and, no sweat, I'm on my way skywards.

This seems a very good deal. It is all explained on this website, but the basic idea is that you give the organisation the email addresses of all your friends and relations and these will be stored in a database. Then, when the Rapture has taken place and everyone left is wondering where all the pious people they know have gone, your loved ones will get an email automatically sent out explaining that the saved ones are in Heaven and all they have to do to join them is to say that their life of sin was all a terrible mistake, that they have really always been great fans of Jesus and that now they want to join him for an eternity of bliss, please. And it's FREE!

Since the scheme became widely publicised on talk radio and the internet it has been the butt of many unkind jokes such as:
The code really needs to be tested in order to weed out bugs, so we need to ask God to throw us a mini-Rapture during a beta period. It would be really embarrassing if people failed to get their letters just because of a missing semicolon or something.

And there are cynics who say that this is nothing but a scam to harvest a huge number of email addresses which can be sold on to netmarketing companies. I am sure that such lies are being put out by agents of the

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