Rapturous Applause

The end of the world did not come yesterday, as the blogosphere, and Facebook etc delighted in reporting.  A tsunami of anti-Christian jibes and jokes spewed forth.  The Rapture is a beautiful if troubling idea.  It is a miraculous end to the world, and beginning of judgement, that is harsh, punitive, and, obviously, unwelcoming to non-Christians.  One of the most troubling of aspects of fundamentalist religions is that they are predicated on the idea that those who are not signed up will be damned.  This tends to go down badly among enlightened, secular, broad-minded people who are clearly doomed to hellfire.  So of course, a certain amount of mockery is to be expected when such predictions sputter out.  However, the age of enchantment is over when the world assumes that such hopes or fears as a catastrophic, God-driven teleology are just silly.  Yeats was silly.  But great poetry can derive from seemingly mad or implausible spiritual expectations.  The tissue of reason that seems to keep the world sober is torn when we imagine ghosts, or whispers of immortality, angels and werewolves; bad luck; good luck; prayer; and telepathy.  We laugh in an arid space when we laugh at what is impossible, miraculous, terrible, and potentially inspired.  Some day, something truly magical is going to happen.  Or wouldn't it be nice, at least, to think so?

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