Living Judgment Day, Every Day


[Originally posted on May 18, 2011, in the wake of minister Harold Camping's announcement that Judgment Day was rapidly approaching. Although the day passed without event, having seen an economic collapse, growing demagoguery around political candidates, an earthquake and an approaching hurricane, I'm tempted to think he was right. Maybe if I read this post again it will offer some perspective.]

Growing up in the Bible Belt--and in what some people would consider a part of Tornado Alley--at the height of the Cold War, I grew up used to looking to the sky. We knew we could be wiped out at any moment, whether by Rapture, twister, or the bomb.

Back in elementary school, I remember the drill where we all lined up, cross-legged, against the wall of the hallway, with our heads down on our laps and our hands folded across the base of our skulls, ostensibly to protect ourselves when the ceiling was torn off. (Although I may have heard one of the teachers whispering that it was so we could kiss a part of ourselves goodbye.)

I'm pretty sure Judgment Day isn't this weekend, in the way I'm pretty sure Elvis is really dead and Paul McCartney is really alive--although there are clues to the contrary, if you read the album covers a certain way or believe the testimony of a hobo in Kalamazoo--but the simplest explanation is no, things are actually the way they seem and the world will probably go on.

(I suppose it is possible for Judgment day to be this weekend, although the Bible definitely says no one knows the day or the hour it will occur. Using this logic, to actually have Judgment Day happen on the day that some crackpot says it will happen would be a double-fakeout, and not really in character for the God I believe in.)

Still, despite my doubts, I feel a deep down instinctual twinge of primal alarm when I hear about the prospect of Judgment Day.