Over on TV the new summer season is in full swing and ads for one of the new shows have caught my attention. I don’t know where they are going to go with this but the premise is delicious – what would the people do after the rapture? Those who couldn’t make it and get left behind?
First reaction is that they all would be atheists who do not deserve to be saved so they’ll probably descend into compete and utter hedonistic chaos or something like that. Religion would lose its importance, there would be no hope, no point in trying to live a better life as no rewards would be forthcoming. Morality would totally collapse and people would live by made up rules. Whatever feels good and doesn’t immediately blow up in your face would be considered acceptable.
Abortions would be unstoppable, animal cruelty would be a matter of choice and people would insist on the right to be cruel, too. Parents would be abandoning children and children would be abandoning parents left and right. Family as we know it would cease to exist, being stripped of the religious component of the “match made in heaven”, and vows would be made before people’s own consciousness, not before God or any other immovable, ever present authority.
There would still be the state but it would be fully democratic, ie it won’t be obliged to follow any absolute laws but go strictly with the flow. Capitalism would be stripped of any remaining moral component because no computer model would ever justify being nicer to fellow people. Building and protecting your own nest would be more important than building public parks or donating to charity.
I don’t know what would happen to charity. I guess it would still be there because it would make people feel superior to the hoi polloi and there would still be need to be famous and adored and eternally indebted to, assuming that people receiving charity would feel any obligations at all. They’d probably treat it as their own right and would claim it without any gratitude.
Would I want to watch a show like that? Not really, it’s boring, and, I believe, it’s just the first, knee jerk reaction. Reality would be very different.
Instead of declaring religion dead people would realize that God is real, His help is real, His invitation to heaven is real, and they just didn’t make the cut. How would they react? Would they hope for the second chance? I believe they would.
I believe vast majority of the population values their relationships with God above anything else and would never ever abandon Him. They might not look outwardly religious right now but that’s because they think they are doing right by God as it is, and if they don’t make the cut they would only want to do better. For all the posturing and atheistic rhetoric, personal relationships with God trumps every other card.
We all know He exists, even if as a mental concept, and therefore we all position ourselves relative to Him. Some don’t like His interfering with their lives and become “atheists”, some want His permission to enjoy their given bodies and become regular believers, most are too busy with their lives to give it a serious thought but every time they hear the word “God” they quickly do a mental refresh of their relationships, to make sure they are still on the same page.
If God slights them and they don’t get raptured it would be a wake up call for them and it would put God front and center of their lives. Right now we live in His presence. He has made us promises and at the end of our lives we are expecting to be delivered. God is with us, separated only by time we spend before our death.
After rapture things will change. God will suddenly disappear, barring a new revelation no one would know if they are still on course to be saved. God would be lost, He won’t care for us anymore, He would create a large hole in our lives and we would feel very strongly about His absence. Like with everything else, we start to value things only after we lose them.
No matter what we say, God is the invisible force of good in our lives. When we want to do “the right thing” we mean right by our innate perception of what is good and what is bad, and that perception is given to us by God. We accept Him as our moral compass when everything else fails and our minds are confused. Not many of us are ready to admit that we owe our innate consciousness to God but that’s just how we perceive Him, that’s what God means to us personally. We can disagree on religions, forms, rules, morals etc but out innate feeling of the “right thing” cuts deep through all these external concepts.
God is what anchors us in our lives whether we admit it or not. In the universal scheme of things every human being has this obligation, that’s why we were born here as humans and not animals, and so every human being goes through some kind of quest for God. We might not do much and sometimes we slip back but deep in our hearts we all know that finding God is the most fundamental purpose of our lives, nothing else matters as much as this.
Ordinarily we are numb to such thoughts but they are nevertheless ever present deep in the background of our consciousness, most people just can’t express it in words. As devotees we can, we know that it is the Supersoul in our hearts, we know where voice of consciousness is coming from, and so we can see it talking to other people, too.
It is our duty to help people tune in and listen better, it’s our duty to amplify this voice so that it makes people dance and sing God’s glories. Whether they admit it or not, everyone is God’s servant and everyone serves God at all times, we just perceive Him differently. Even gross materialists are engaged in a loving exchange with the Lord – they are loving the bodies God has given them to enjoy just as we are loving Kṛṣṇa’s prasāda. Even when they don’t admit that they owe God anything, deep in their hearts they know that they should be thankful for their opportunities.
Thankful to whom? God, of course. They can say they are thankful to the universe or the society but universe without God is soulless and impersonal so there’s no one to thank, and the society is just an agent of God, His family that so graciously nurtures and protects us.
There would be another aspect of our reaction to not being raptured – revenge and rebellion, but those emotions are just another side of love and respect. We would be like teenagers defying or ignoring their parents only to run back to them the minute something goes really wrong.
The thing about God is that He is all forgiving. There’s nothing we could do to Him that He would not understand and forget the moment we turn up at His feet. Important point here is “do to Him” – things we do for our own pleasure bring results that are not His to forgive, we should take that up with our karma. If we rebel against Him and do some stupid things to make Him angry or to get His attention – He can forgive those when our consciousness is right.
This works in our ordinary lives, too, husbands and wives fight, parents and children fight, friends fight, but they all do it as a part of their relationships with their “enemies”. Fighting and hate is not a problem. Real problem is indifference and that’s the only feeling that we can’t afford to cultivate in relation to God.
One could say that after the rapture there will be people who’d just want to forget about God but we shouldn’t worry about that in our preaching – if living beings are born in the human form then they are not meant for forgetfulness, there’s always hope. It might be hard and it might take a lot of time and effort but human beings are meant for cultivating God consciousness just as fish are meant to swim. We’ll get there, there’s no question of futility, only of patience.
Hmm, perhaps I should give that show a chance and have a look how they approach this topic, perhaps they’ve discovered something fresh and unexpected that can help us strengthen our faith, too.