by Joel Bowman
"If you’re reading this issue from the comfort of your own home, here on earth, Heaven’s Day of Reckoning has not yet come to pass. The sun has risen and – to the ignominious consternation of Rapturesayers the world over, we would imagine – our random, rocky orb continues to hurtle around it. Or, perhaps they have The Daily Reckoning (and an Internet connection) in Heaven, and you’re actually reading this atop a fluffy cloud, the Twelve Disciples looking over your shoulder and Mother Theresa helpfully correcting our ungodly grammatical errors (but not judging us for having committed them). Who are we to say?
Alternatively, this weekend’s issue might simply have arrived in your inbox earlier than usual…and maybe the Rapture is not scheduled until later. If this is the case, true doomsday enthusiasts may wish to take advantage of one, or both, of these helpful services we came across earlier in the week…
The first, called simply, though unapologetically, “You’ve Been Left Behind,” offers a post-Rapture line of communication for paradise-bound Christians who wish, for whatever reason, to contact their heathen, earth-shackled brethren. Seriously, can you imagine a better time to send an “I told you so!” email? According to Wired magazine, “For just $40 a year, believers can arrange for up to 62 people to get a final message exactly six days after the Rapture, that day when – according to Christian end times dogma – Christians will be swept up to heaven, while doubters are left behind to suffer seven years of Tribulation under a global government headed by the Antichrist. “You’ve Been Left Behind gives you one last opportunity to reach your lost family and friends for Christ,” explains the company’s website, which is purportedly run “by Christians, for Christians.”
According to Wired, “The domain name is registered through an anonymous proxy service, presumably to protect the proprietors from the Forces of Darkness, and not because they’re up to anything shady. The e-mails will be triggered when three of the site’s five Christian staffers ‘scattered around the US’ fail to log in for six days in a row – a system that incorporates a nice margin of safety, should two of the proprietors turn out to be unrepentant sinners or atheists.”
So, that’s your “you should have listened to me” email taken care of. And, presumably, God already has you taken care of. (We imagine He has a pretty sweet pad up there, and, if English writer Sidney Smith is correct in his picture of the afterlife, you’ll be too busy “eating foie gras to the sound of trumpets” to care about much else anyway.)
But what about your beloved pets? What is to become of them? Ah, glad you asked. That’s where Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA, comes in. Bart Centre, a New Hampshire atheist, author and entrepreneur, began the after hours pet care service back in 2009. According to the company’s website, it’s “The next best thing to pet salvation in a Post Rapture World.” Umm…can we get a “Halleluiah!”?
As The Wall Street Journal explains, “For a 10-year policy that costs $135, he [Centre] and his band of atheists promise to come to their [true believers’] homes after the Rapture, collect their pets and care for them. He says his 259 clients tend to be devout believers over the age of 40 ‘who love their pets and are sincerely concerned for what will happen to them.’”
Mr. Centre carefully screens all job applicants, making sure they are both animal lovers and, perhaps more importantly, not Jesus lovers. “These are people not likely to be Raptured under any circumstances,” Mr. Centre told The Washington Post. Continued the paper: “After a background check, each rescuer must satisfy Centre by blaspheming in accordance with Mark 3:29, the part of the New Testament that reads: ‘But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.’” “We leave it up to the imagination of the rescuer to come up with a blasphemy that would be offensive to a Holy Spirit,” explained Centre, adding, “if there were one.”
Needless to say, this service is not for everyone. Some believers, for instance, are convinced their pooches will be whisked away alongside their God-fearing/-believing owners. Others reckon they’ll be left behind, due in no small part to their distinct lack of a soul. Either way, animals didn’t fair too well in The Great Flood, so it might be better to just err on the side of caution with this one. No matter how quickly Fido learned to sit and to stay, he probably still doesn’t grasp the subtlety of, say, Pascal’s Wager. That’s not likely to change by rapture-o’clock either.
Of course, your editors have no idea what Heaven or Hell look like, or whether they even exist. And, more germane to the usual theme of this publication, we certainly don’t know what unemployment figures might look like in a post-Rapture economic landscape, or what might happen to Greek or US bond yields. Presumably things would change – the size of the available, earthly workforce, for example – but we can only guess as to how. Truth be told, we have enough trouble just making heads or tails of events in this world, never mind the next one.”