One of the most popular tropes in Christian “Rapture” fiction is the destruction and chaos immediately surrounding the Rapture itself.
(For those unfamiliar, “The Rapture” is a belief from certain strains of American fundamentalist Christianity. According to this belief, all of the true believers in the “correct” Christian denominations, along with all children too young to be accountable for their actions, will taken bodily to Heaven before the commencement of the horrors of the Book of Revelation.)
Rapture fiction lovingly describes scenes of plane crashes and car crashes, the vehicles deprived of their Washed In The Blood pilots. Some describe pregnant women’s bellies deflated, emptied of their innocent fetuses (they don’t usually take into account the complications this would cause). Some take a certain spiteful pleasure in describing the suicides of those who succumb to the despair of being Left Behind, but most seem to forget the deaths caused by doctors disappearing out of surgeries and other, less-spectacular incidentals.
If the purpose of the Tribulation – that is, the seven years of cataclysms between the Rapture and the Final Judgment (as described by those same strains of Christianity) is to give those Left Behind one last chance to repent and accept Jesus-ah, this all seems both counterproductive and cruel. After all, every person who dies in the chaos surrounding the Rapture goes straight to Hell, with no chance to even figure out what’s happening!
With that in mind, Chris the Cynic of Stealing Commas has given us two alternatives.
The first assumes that the Rapture and the Tribulation are necessary on some level so fundamental that even a merciful God has no choice but to go forward with them. For that, Chris gives us:
The other assumes that God hasn’t given the angels sufficiently good reason for horrific things He’s about to do, so they decide that they’re not going to stand idly by and let it happen:
Chris actually wrote both some time ago, but I was reminded of them when he reposted them in the comments of this Left Behind Fridays post by Fred Clark, which discusses the utterly inhuman sociopathy of the “Heroes” of Left Behind.
For the record, I don’t necessarily think that Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins, the writers of Left Behind, are sociopathic themselves, despite the fact that they clearly think their characters’ concern with travel arrangements and telecommunications in the face of mass death is a sympathetic plight. More likely, it’s just that they’ve lived lives of wealth and privilege for so long that they think their own daily struggles represent true human hardship. Kinda like how Stephen King, who, at the beginning of his career, could do remarkable portrayals of a wide variety of working-to-middle-class characters, but who now has trouble writing anyone but wealthy writers (but because he’s a much better writer than L&J, can still muddle through if he tries).