Animals and the Rapture

So I was heading east last week from the Canal Street stop of the Number 1 train to Lupe’s East L.A. Kitchen

Destination Chili Verde and a Modelo Negro. (Lupe's is at Sixth Ave. & Watts: you know you want to try it.)

when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a bus proclaiming “Judgment Day: May 21 2011”.

Judgment Day warning rolls through SoHo and Tribeca

 Let’s take a closer look.

Oh, the Bible guarantees it. Well, that's different.

May 21st, 2011 is the most recently set date for the Rapture, when a relative handful of good Christians will be air-lifted up to Heaven while the rest of us stay below to suffer apocalyptic horrors that include floods (check), earthquakes (check), war (check), famine (sadly, always a going concern in this world) and many other disasters, man-made, natural and super-natural.

May 21, 2011.  Hey, wait a minute, that’s soon. Like, tomorrow.

Well, before you all go, I have a question: what about the animals?  I walk in the park every day, and can attest that the critters are blithely going about their animal business.

"Rapture? What Rapture?" Tufted titmouse in mid-April.

What’s in store for the animals after the Rapture?  Or can they come, too?

A Red-bellied woodpecker hunts for insects, not salvation.

An internet search reveals that many believers in an end date for the world have given real thought to the question of animals and the Rapture. Most of the concern is about pet animals, and the general consensus, often expressed with sadness, is that animals don’t have souls, or not the right kind of souls, and so will be left behind to suffer the Tribulations, as the dire post-Rapture period is called.

Soulless beast among blossoms.

The question of whether animals have souls is a vexed one in religions around the world and through the ages.  We won’t even talk about Descartes’ animal-machines here. As with most ideas, religious texts and tradition may be used to support any number of positions on the subject.  For many Christian American pet-lovers, the question seems to boil down to: Will I see my pet in heaven?  Sadly, for Rapture believers, the answer is no.

Concern over having to abandon beloved pets on Judgment Day has led to creative business opportunities for entrepreneurs.  After all, who’s going to feed Fido and Fluffy after you’re gone?  Well, you can pay ahead for Atheists, Jews, Buddhists, Bad Christians and other Left-Behinds to care in perpetuity (better get a clear definition of that term) for your animals. As the atheists of England’s Post-Rapture Pet Care say, “Just because we are atheists doesn’t mean we are not animal lovers.” Some of these offers are hoaxes, of course, but several seem, well, “legit” might be stretching it, but let’s just say, “serious.”  At least, they’re serious about taking the money – in advance, please, because your checkbook doesn’t work in heaven.

I’m guessing that if pets don’t make the Rapture cut, wildlife are way outside the salvation pale.

"Hey, what about me? Rapture me up, boys! Can't I come, too?"

I didn’t find much discussion of wildlife, other than as disaster statistics. As you can see on Rapture Watch‘s web page on wildlife deaths, animal deaths are used to bolster arguments that all signs point to the End.  No mention of big business, greed and lax government regulations, of oil spills, mass poisoning from pesticides and other toxic substances, habitat destruction, collisions with man-made structures or the myriad other human-caused wildlife hazards.  Animal deaths supplement the horrifying human suffering caused by earthquakes and war, and point the way to heaven.

If you’re leaving us tomorrow for the nature-free zone in the sky, be sure to bid farewell to geese and goslings

Cute don't buy no tickets on the Rapture train.

Say “Sayonara” to the night herons of Morningside Park

"Who wants to go to heaven if there aren't any fish?"

Wave good-bye to the sparrows of Saint John the Divine, where even nesting on saints can’t save ya.

Too cozy to leave, anyway.

And say “So long” to me.  I’m staying behind with the animals.

Staying put.

NOTE: Are you reading this article after May 21st?  Well, guess what? The end date is being recalculated, even as you read. Apparently, the math may have been off, but the end is still coming. And the animals still don’t care.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2011, In the City, May, strange encounters, Wildlife/Natural History

Tags: , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

18 Comments on “Animals and the Rapture”

  1. […] approach to the end of the world than the Christian apocalypse. There’s no Rapture to whisk away believers before the apocalypse, just death and destruction for […]

  2. […] Jerseyites, are you out there? Did the Rapture come and take you away, leaving behind this dissolving […]

  3. Wild_Bill Says:

    My biggest problem with this “Rapture” stuff is that it is totally egocentric, or human centric, meaning the world will end along with all of its beatuy and wonderful creatures, and glorious history, so a few “Christians” can go on to the after life.

    Sound familar? Like going back to the days when people considered themselves the center of the universe. Remember? The entire universe orbited around the earth.

  4. Barbara Says:

    Your irony is delicious.

    Here I sit the day after JD, light rain washes my deck, the goldfinches still line up on the railing, the fish surface in the pond to see if I’ve got food, the dogs and cats laze on their beds as I type away…I seem to have been left behind.

    And I wonder what is it that makes some people believe that they are the ONLY ones, that there is no other way to live but THEIR WAY? How sad that we can’t all learn to love each other and get along without pointing fingers or trying to change the rest – we are, after all, made up of the same materials. No one is different when you get right down to the physics of it. Everything in and on this planet is only energy.

    But you, my friend, have brought humour and light to a sad situation. I agree with Charlotte “Rapture me up boys” has to be one of the best lines ever and that photo of the raccoon to go with it? Perfect!

    As always, your posts are a delight, but this one is a keeper…if I can find a way to save it I will.

    Essau is looking simply amazing sitting on the pink petal carpet and posing for you with the river behind him. What a dawg! Wish he and my Labrador boyz could meet… they’d have a lot to talk about.

    Thanks for making my day – like you, I’m hanging out here with the critters and nature around me.

  5. p hoey Says:

    I was absolutely enraptured by this wittiest and most serious of blogs. And by the photos that more than hold their own.
    More, please.

  6. mthew Says:

    Does stomach bacteria get Raptured?

  7. Charlotte Says:

    I’m sorry but this is hysterical, “Rapture me up boys,” has to go down (up?) as one of the most memorable lines uttered by a blogger before May 21st. After JD maybe it won’t be so funny but for now i’ll just laugh as i read this again….

    love the dog in pink.

  8. Rebecca Says:

    In the book Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, the author (Janisse Rey) imagines a letter written in heaven by John James Audubon to John Bachman, for whom he named Bachman’s Sparrow. In the letter “Audubon” mentions taking St. Francis his new friend Roger Tory Peterson for a walk in the woods of heaven to see the red wolves and Carolina Parakeets. That’s the sort of heaven I would be interested in going to.

  9. Your empathic resonance and brilliance are unmatched.

  10. No animals and apparently, not so many kids, either. Did you read the piece in the LAT this morning about the couple who believe the END is coming but their teenage kids don’t?

    Glad you considered this, and your sayonaras are a lovely visual litany.

    I used to wonder about those unbaptized babies hanging out in Limbo after the Pope declared Limbo null and void (or maybe that’s an oxymoron.)

    • Yes, Louise, I saw the article in the NY Times – quite amazing. Poor kids. Very sad, too, about some of the people who have given up jobs & spent their money trying to warn the rest of us – now what?

      Yeah, what about those babies…?

  11. Very well said, a heaven without animals would not be heaven. What is with these folks that have the arrogance to think that God speaks to them?? We have the same billboard here in my town, they should have spent the money to shelter homeless animals and wildlife restoration, or how about feeding hungry children.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: