Africa: Bloggers Discuss The Failed Rapture

The American Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping predicted that the Rapture will take place on May 21, 2011. According to Wikipedia, the Rapture is a reference to two verses in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 – 17. It is the time when Christians will be caught up in the clouds to meet Jesus. The verses read:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Rapture Ready Decision Tree. Photo courtesy of Flickr user richardmasoner (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Rapture Ready Decision Tree. Photo courtesy of Flickr user richardmasoner (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The Rapture did not happen. However, Camping has reset the date for the Rapture: October 21, 2011.

Blogger Collins notes that the end of the world “is not coming at the behest of a human interpretation”:

It is now clearly apparent that the end of the World (which in itself is a matter of different interpration and subject of immense confusion among the churches of Christendom) is not coming at the behest of a human interpretation.It is just amusing how time and again those claiming belief in the bible openly go against its tenets,moving many to wonder where can you truly get satisfying answers.

Despite the prediction being wrong, Camping and his followers have a right to believe in anything:

I will not question Harold Camping's faith and those of his followers.They have a right to believe whatever they choose to believe just that “it may not be right” like it clearly was .True their doctrine has now shifted to 21st October 2011 being the penultimate date but i pity their cause.I can bet 1 to 100 that they will be terribly dissapointed as serving God with a day in mind is just wrong in itself .Unfortunately that tendency to pre- Judge what God would do and when without scriptural backing often proves disastrous and yields suicidal tendencies.

Kenyan Mom freaked out when she heard about it:

I heard about it sometime last year. I read about it properly a few months ago. Either way, it did make me uncomfortable. O come on! Don’t tell me you did not pause for a moment, contemplating the rapture! Every cynic I know had an opinion about it.

Yes, I know, you are wondering, so what was my opinion? Frankly, I was freaking out. Not because of the heaven/hell concept, but the thought of everything not being the way I know it. I don’t handle change very well, and everything that threatens change, especially in the magnitude that the rapture drama took? I’d be lying if I said I was not somewhat cowering. Humans behave in very interesting ways when confronted by a situation they know little about, or worse, one that tends to threaten the perceived perfect balance they find themselves in. Yes,I said perceived. Trust me. There is no such thing as the perfect balance.

She asks her readers how they reacted upon hearing about the Rapture on May 21. Wiselar responds:

Frankly I didn’t pay much attention to that Camping fella. Did you see him on TV? How now would such a fella be believable?
Would be interesting to know how he’s explaining why the rapture didn’t happen. Or maybe he will blame it on a computer, I know some fellas who have before him.

Otienno Hongo was amazed to find out that people took the prediction serious:

I was actually amazed that some people took this so seriously! I am not the greatest believer in religion (I mean I am consider myself a christian but I do not actually believe in the creation story- I know this is contradictory!) but even the basic reading I have heard of the bible is enough to inform me that such claims are nonsense. So on Sato I relaxed with some shots of viceroy and tonic in Eldoret town and at the zero hour, I was checking into a flight back to Nairobi – determined to soak in the rapture view from the air!

Caught up in the rapture. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Analogick (CC BY 2.0).

Caught up in the rapture. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Analogick (CC BY 2.0).

Nittzsah identifies 4 lessons
she learned from the failed Rapture.

Lesson number 1: There Was That 1% of Doubt:

Even those folks who knew that Harold Camping was lying from the creases on his wrinkled face kept wondering – what if? But they’d shrug with that one-liner defense “nobody knows the day or hour.” The other one “he’ll come like a thief in the night” was not easy to conjure in the mind, in a country full of thugs and robbers. The common knowledge among Christians is that He’ll come – regardless. A fact that is embedded in the Apostles Creed. But then no one knows when, and it sucks like hell (pun intended), which is why quite a number of people paid attention to Camping. Could it be the same reason the Kenyan church waited for so long to distance themselves from Camping’s math despite the fact that the Billboards had been there since January this year?

Lesson number 2: Everyone Wants to Leave:

We all want to proceed to the afterlife, the other heaven, but what have we contributed to this one we are in. If anything we’ve done out best to trash it. We’ve cut trees, polluted the air, killed elephants for their tusks and exploded minerals out of the sea and land leaving both lifeless and derelict, for nothing but our selfish gains. Why would God want to hangout with us? I’m just thinking, if you had kids who trashed your house, none of your relatives would love to have them over now, would they? I don’t know. I’m no evangelist. Please ignore me.

The end of piano lessons. Photo courtesy of @david_hammar.

The end of piano lessons. Photo courtesy of @david_hammar.

Fiona is glad the world did not end:

I can't imagine it's a whole lot of fun to get up the day after you expected the world to end. While I appreciate that there are a lot of disappointed people out there, personally, I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

However, I do think we have a lot to thank Harold Camping for. No, not because he encouraged lots of people to sell up their lives and sit around waiting to be sucked up into the sky, nor because he seized upon the opportunity to once again play to divisions in society (You're a believer – off to heaven, you're not – down below). No, because he inspired a global moment of reflection. I think there are plenty of people, many of them sceptics, who for a few seconds stopped and wondered, What would I like to be doing if this was the end of the world?

You may use these tips from Parklife
to avoid the Rapture on October 21:

1. Vote ANC – Here's a GUARANTEED get out of jail free card, right on your door step!

2. Plead the 5th…

“Cameron did you steal that Fizpop from Mr. Gilopoppomoledes Cafe’ when you were 5???”

‘I cannot answer the question on the grounds it may incriminate me…’

3. Misdirection – Mention you watch Desperate Housewives and when the Big Guy says, “Me too,” you say, ‘Ha… you TOO!’ and stroll on past the Pearly Gates.

4. Miscommunication – I prayed on Sunday, but never got a response? So just took it as a ‘yes'!

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