In reality, nobody expected the rapture. At least, almost nobody. Impending doomsday theories are good lead stories, and they're fun to... well... make fun of. And that's what everybody did. The atheist blogosphere was full of scathing editorials. Rapture parties were scheduled all over the country. The Black Nonbelievers of Atlanta furnished refreshments for what turned out to be a huge event sponsored by the Central North Carolina Atheists and Humanists. Scores of Christians -- many who believe the rapture will happen one day -- made fun of Harold Camping and his "gullible" followers.
That's a bit of a puzzle. A little calm reflection raises a sobering question: What about the addition of a specific date moves the rapture myth from believable to comic?
The story itself is pretty far-fetched. Jesus -- the miracle working man who died two thousand years ago -- will return briefly to wave his hands or speak magic words... or something. When he does that, the billion or so people who chose the right magic words to say in church will disappear to a mystical spiritual Disneyland to live happily ever after, except with no sex, booze, or... well... anything fun.