End Is Nigh
sure you see Armaggedon coming with handy end-time-monitoring
By David King
are all going to die!” That’s what I screamed when the Internet
informed me the world was scheduled to end earlier this year,
on June 6. But then I got excited, motivated! It was time
to do everything I had put off doing. It was time to get up
and really experience the joy of living. I was going to wash
my car, do sit-ups, vacuum. . . . But like everything else
I get excited about, instead of going out and doing something
about it, I spent hours fiddling around on the Internet.
As you know, the world did not end in June. Still, things
have really gotten exciting lately out in Internet-apocalypse
land. The message boards on raptureready.com have been brewing
over with sure-fire indicators, undeniable harbingers, in-your-face
omens, and perfect portents of the sweet suffering we will
all soon surely face.
Throughout human culture, there have been end-time cults.
They set a date, wait, and then get disappointed. But thanks
to the Internet and modern communication, every day can be
the last day for end-time enthusiasts, and every day can end
in sweet, sweet disappointment.
It has become impossible not to have a significant end-time
indicator once or twice an hour. Message-board threads like
“Breaking News: NK tests Nuclear Weapon,” “Why The U.S.A.
Isn’t in the Bible—or Is It?,” “With the World Spinning Out
of Control What About a Bomb Shelter,” and “Small Crash in
NYC could be a Signal!” keep popping up.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Get busy living or get
busy dying.” Well, the members of the rapture-ready message
boards are definitely getting busy dying. Members with names
like Stevangelist, Ifnot4him and ohhappyday, members with
blinged-out, spinning-cross icons and images of the Israel
flag, debate the finer points of whether the “antichrist is
to rule the entire globe.”
Although there is a decidedly Christian bent to the sites,
the posts vary ideologically. Some insist the decline of America’s
moral values will soon incur God’s wrath. Others muse about
whether a “lame-duck U.S. president” would fit into an end-times
Apparently, things have gotten so bad that raptureready.com
has been getting a lot of attention from media types like
me—so much that the webmasters have begun warning visitors
to think before they post. “With all of the publicity this
site is getting right now we must all (including me) watch
our words carefully? Our Christian witness (or lack thereof)
might make the difference with someone coming here for answers,”
posted raptureready.com moderator Kathe.
The biggest draw for Armageddon enthusiasts, the Rapture Index,
does not require lengthy posting. It catalogs and calculates
the level of “end times activity.” Forty-five categories,
from “False Christs,” “Apostasy” and “Moral Standards” to
“The False Prophet,” are given ratings. The current rating
for “Arms Proliferation” is 5. (The scale is not indicated.)
These ratings are then calculated into the index, which produces
the single Rapture Index number: As of Monday, Oct. 16, it
was at 157. Following their handy chart, you can tell that
this rating indicates we are in some hot water:
Index of 85 and Below: Slow prophetic activity
Index of 85 to 110: Moderate prophetic activity
Rapture Index of 110 to 145: Heavy prophetic activity
Rapture Index above 145: Fasten your seat belts
While it may be frightening to know that we are currently
in “Fasten your seat belts” mode, you may not want to start
building your rapture raft quite yet. You should know that,
according to the index, we have been through much more rapture-worthy
times. The Rapture Index high was on Sept. 24, 2001, when
it clocked in at 182.
The Rapture Index’s record low was 53, on Dec. 12, 1993. While
it may be possible to follow a general rise in “rapture-related”
incidents from 1993 to today, the unexciting truth is probably
not that terrible incidents in the world are increasing and
that we are headed for destruction of biblical proportions.
Yes, the world’s population is increasing; yes, the United
States has a confrontational president whose staff, according
to Bob Woodward, are wholehearted followers of end-time theory.
But in reality, the truth probably has less to do with the
message and more to do with the way the message is delivered.
Sorry to say, but there were probably just as many “rapture-worthy”
incidents on Dec. 12, 1993, as there have been every day this
year. The difference is that more people are hearing about
them today, and hearing about them faster than ever before.
Thanks to Al Gore and his invention, the IntraWeb, everyday
citizens are privy to the not-so-pretty things that happen
every second around the world, from teenage Satanist suicide
cults to child molesters to military coups. It has simply
become easier to find out how terrible things are then it
ever was before. So if you ever get in an end-times funk,
feel free to peruse the wealth of apocalypse-predicting Web
sites out there. It’s almost a comforting sort of thought
for me; if I decide to start looking for the end of the world
again, Google will always be there waiting to help me find