For Unto Us The Kneel Bell Tolls – by Abubakar Ibrahim

It’s been a busy week trying to keep up with the apocalyptos. I don’t just mean with the people zigzagging across town reading news and billboards about the end of the world. For the followers of Harold Camping, the prime mover of this particular hysterical moment, who looked out at humanity’s eschatological yearnings, saw that they were without form and void, and breathed shape onto them in the guise of an exact date.


I mean all the media apocalyptos have flocked to this story like it’s December 21, 2012. So be it. Lots of thoughts have crossed my mind prior to today. I have called friends to have a feel of how they were feeling, tested peoples pulse on social networks and did some introspection myself.


I laughed till I cried to some memorable thoughts, felt sad at some moments and kicked myself for what I could have done better. I have been having this facebook messaging with my friend who was teaching me important lessons in life which had an element of all aforementioned feelings. I thought for a moment why the Old Man up there won’t allow me to finish taking notes before throwing in the big rock.


As a person so passionate about reading, I asked myself which books I would read if I had one last chance in life to. Several titles crossed my mind. But for awhile this morning, I attempted to I settled on two; Charles Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’ and Sidney Sheldon’s ‘Doomsday Conspiracy. The latter because it’s the only book I’ve ever read three times, so I may as well have one more go at it. It’s ridiculously entertaining, a sort of devour-in-one-sitting book, and I think it would be a pretty decent distraction with all the fire and brimstone flying around.


Were I to be watching something on my final day on earth, a taste or preview of heaven, it’d be ‘The Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2 which tells the story of heroic of a panda; birth and brought up a bird, the upheaval of a quieter life during wartime and an imprisoned selfish villain. With a movie like this, who needs a rapture?


For most people if it were their last day on earth, they would not spend it with a book or a movie, which suggests that we all need to examine how we spend our days when we don’t think the world’s coming to the end. Elsewhere around the web, people have been responding very entertainingly to the present anti-crisis with some conversation groups raising some valid questions I asked ‘Ace’ Kojo Annan Ankomah, a renowned lawyer about. The question was: If the world doesn’t end May 21st, can we sue the people who put up the billboards for false advertisement?


I mean, especially if someone believes them, and has monetary of plus other losses, because of being told the world was going to end. Maybe the proponent of this sick theory would be less false Prophets, if they were held monetarily and legally responsible for their false testimony and how it effects other people’s lives?


What if people don’t bother paying their taxes, because the world is going to end? Shouldn’t the IRS hold the Billboard people accountable for fraud, and pretty much telling everyone not to worry about paying their taxes, cause the world is going to break in half, anyway? I think less people would make up false ending dates for the world, and everyone wouldn’t always be having to hear the next theory about when exactly the sky will be falling next, if they were held legally accountable to the results of their testimony, don’t you?


If some version of this scenario does come to pass (and I am making no predictions), I have no doubt the plaintiff would have no trouble finding a lawyer to take the case. It’s no good for the defense to argue that the Bible/Quaran itself predicts such an end. Wait a minute! Did Jesus not say, ‘Of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my father only’?’


There have been some explanations of why people like thinking about the end of the world. Perhaps all the apocalyptic worldview springs from a desire to reconcile two conflicting beliefs. The first is that there is something dreadfully wrong with the world of human existence today. On the other hand, there is a sense that there is a higher good or some purpose for existence, a hope for a better future.


It is worth remembering that many apocalyptos are drawn to last things for the intense joy they promise, not only for the judgment and suffering they’ll rain down on non-believers. At least that is what we are made to believe.


It appears that the word “rapture” didn’t come into use in this second sense until the mid-eighteenth century, thanks to the difficulty in translating the original Greek (something akin to “harpy,” for something that uses an instrument like a grappling hook to snatch things up) and St. Jerome’s Latin (“rapere,” which already had negative sexual connotations by the fifteenth century.


Oprah understands precisely the positive sense of the word “rapture.” At the final taping of her talk show a couple days ago, she teared up and said: I’ve never experienced anything like this and I say once again thank you for taking me to a place that’s beyond joyous. I’m going to have to process it and look at it on tape to see what actually happened here. It feels like the rapture, so thank you all for that!


Perhaps my favorite discussion of the rapture, though, is taking place among those who believe the end is near, just not that near. We who don’t spend much time thinking about these things until a prophet like Camping appears tend to forget that for many people, it’s always maybe about to be Rapture time.


I think I would be surprised if Christ doesn’t come back soon. By that I mean perhaps in my lifetime, perhaps in my children’s lifetime, and certainly in my grandchildren’s lifetime.