So, things were looking good for Rapture 2011. We’ve had a few years now of horrible earthquakes, wars…the makings of the perfect antichrist in office (nothing personal, Mr. Obama). Family Radio’s Harold Camping had done his derndest to gather together a skittish flock for the purpose of mobilizing placards and billboards all over the world. People had been warned. Bank accounts had been budgeted to hit the end on May 21st. And when 6pm came and went without incident, well, let’s just say some people have been left bewildered. (I’m looking at you, Kirk Cameron.)

Left with nothing but the finale of American Idol to look forward to, many of us found ourselves obsessively going over the events of the past several weeks. What happened? What went wrong? Why the hell are we still here?

Aside from this entirely plausible explanation, here are a few reasons why the Rapture may have failed:

10) The flight suits required to transport millions of people got hung up in production.

9) Father and Son had a last minute argument over what to serve at the Feast of the Lamb. (Jesus had been kind of hoping for chicken.)

8) It didn’t actually fail. Has anyone seen any Moonies lately?

7) My dead grandmother gave God a piece of her mind about this rapture tomfoolery and convinced Him to keep things going at least until her great grandchildren could graduate from college.

6) God was not exactly comfortable with having to syndicate FamilyRadio.com in heaven. Something to do with investors and image….

5) God got distracted playing Angry Birds. Forgot what day it was.

4) One overheard wayward pastor on telephone late one night desperately turned: “Fudge and Play – 21 /

Gay” into: “Judgment Day – 21 May” to his cross-armed, foot-tapping wife standing in the doorway.

3) Heh. There never was supposed to be a Rapture this year. What we all witnessed was simply an underhanded attempt at the right wing’s version of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act: Incentive to spend all or most of your money by May 21.

2) God took stock of the company he was about to be keeping for all eternity and had second thoughts.

1) As it turned out, there was actually somebody interested in finding out what happened with the American Idol Finale.*

*As it was Scotty McCreery who won, the Rapture will proceed as planned on the given raincheck date of October 21.

** Many thanks to Beanie Brady for your additional insights that went into this list.

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ERIKA RAE is the author of Devangelical, a humor memoir about growing up Evangelical (Emergency Press, December, 2012). She is editor-in-chief at Scree Magazine and nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. Erika earned her MA in Lit­er­a­ture and Lin­guis­tics from the Uni­ver­sity of Hong Kong and to this day can ask where the bath­room is in Can­tonese, although it is likely that she will not under­stand the answer. In her dream world, she fan­cies her­self a kung fu mas­ter clev­erly dis­guised as a gen­tle moun­tain dweller, eagerly antic­i­pat­ing dan­ger at the bot­tom of every latte. When she is not whipping one of her 3 children and denying them bread with their broth, she runs an ISP with her husband from their home in the Colorado Rockies.

43 responses to “Why the Rapture Failed”

  1. Irene Zion says:

    Erika Rae,
    I am 100% positive that it was your grandmother.

  2. Jorge says:


    I heart this! As well as everything else you put on here. (Duh!)

    Hilarious, as always.

  3. Lorna says:

    Bahahahaha! You are a funny girl, Erika Rae. I’m laughing my sexy laugh. 😀

  4. karyn says:

    Love it! February 2012 and the release of Devangelical cannot come soon enough!

  5. Thomas says:

    I’m voting for number two. Because most people I know who believe in the Rapture sure don’t live their daily lives like they do. Shouldn’t they be devoting their entire lives to Christ and helping the less fortunate and using all their money to feed the poor and heal the sick, instead of buying big houses and Cadillacs and trips to Branson?

    • Erika Rae says:

      Hi Thomas – Yeah…modern Christian culture is an interesting one, isn’t it? So conflicted. More culture than faith, it would seem. And still, I know there are people out there who do just what you’re suggesting – the true seekers. They’re just so quiet and humble we rarely hear from them. It’s a shame so many of the more ostentatious ones are the ones who drive the reputation.

  6. Ha! I’m inclined to think #8 is the answer.

    Also, #10 is feasible. Which reminds me … I’m sure you saw many of the “rapture bomb” photos of clothes without people in them. But surely God doesn’t want everyone to show up naked. I mean, in my rapture picture on the wall of my childhood room, anyway, everyone ascending had their clothes on. I’d always hoped I’d be wearing something cool, like the turtle-neck top with my name in calico letters on the front.

    • Erika Rae says:

      I was surprised by those funny photos, too. The thought that people would be taken without clothes had never occurred to me. As a matter of fact, my biggest obsession has been over the fact that we failed to provide the funeral home with boxers with the suit for my dad who passed away 7 years ago. Boy, was he going to be pissed.

      I think somebody should do a study on how many people “dressed for the rapture”. What did they choose: Brand names? No brand names? Sassy Tees? God Rock shirts? Were people in: Dresses? Jeans? Jammies? And what did they stuff in their pockets: Chapstick? Old love letters? Flash drives with important files?

  7. Zara Potts says:

    I think it was your grandmother too. I’m glad she managed to change God’s mind, because even though sometimes it can be shitty living here upon this shaky earth -it’s pretty damn good to be alive.
    We don’t need no damn rapture, but we sure as hell need the lovely YOU.

    • Erika Rae says:

      My grandmother was very practical. She would have approved of your logic. (Except, shhhhh, she might have given you a talking to about your language, dear.)

  8. Nathaniel Missildine says:

    I heard somewhere that it did happen and none of us made the cut (with the possible exception of the Moonies and Randy “Macho Man” Savage), which I guess we should have figured. Looks like Kirk Cameron’s got more repentin’ to do.

  9. Uche Ogbuji says:

    I think it’s #5, except he calls them Angels.

    That does remind me that I ain’t believing any Armageddy rumors until I sees me some genuine Hot Hail!

    • Erika Rae says:

      One question. Where do I get myself one of those tricked out hover-mobile thingies? No, two. Where do I get that soundtrack? Damn, Uche. You’ve outdone yourself this time.

    • Irene Zion says:


      I didn’t know about the “Hot Hail.” Thinking about that makes me feel queasy while laughing. That’s creepy, Uche!

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      I know not everyone has seen one of the most awesomely weird movies of the 70s (complete with OTT Queen soundtrack, as you can hear) so I’ll just mention that at the beginning, as Ming the Merciless approached Earth meaning to conquer it as he had the other planets of his realm, he pushed various buttons on his control board unleashing a very Exodus (or Revelations) like series of plagues on us, culminating in Hot Hail, literally a hail storm of lava-hot rocks. And yeah, I’ll admit that the idea of Hot Hail kept me away a few nights as a kid after watching that.

      Erika, I assumed that air scooter thingie was how people were conveyed into the heavens in the Rapture. Maybe it didn’t happen because of a production shortfall in Taiwan?

  10. I, personally, believe that the birds should be angrier. These are your damn children, birds!

  11. Gloria says:

    It was me. I made a deal with God while shooting hoops. I promised not to disclose the details of our agreement. Sorry.

  12. Hank Cherry says:

    Are you sure the rapture failed? Maybe they just did it in secret.

    this was hilarious. Thanks a lot, yo.

    • Erika Rae says:

      I think I read somewhere that Camping is claiming that it was an “invisible judgment day”. Jesus came down to earth, silently judged us, and left. I have no idea what that means, either, but I do not find the ensuing silence particularly reassuring.

  13. You always make me laugh, clever lady. Thank you. (:

  14. James D. Irwin says:

    Like the actual Rapture, this post somehow passed me by… although looking at the date of the post it makes sense (I was in a pub all day drinking gin and tonics and laughing too much— sometimes in the face of God, other times not so much).

    This was much easier to comprehend than an apocalyptic event, and far, far more amusing…

    • Erika Rae says:

      Now that’s an image of God I quite like: sitting with you in a pub close enough that you can actually laugh in His face (And He, of course, right back into yours). I’d like to think God’s got a chummy sense of humor, anyhow.

  15. Joe Daly says:


    Thank you for getting me up to speed on the evangelical response to the events, or lack thereof, on the 21st. Number 8 seems the most fitting to me- maybe it did happen, but either no one qualified, or the only people who did were so holy that they lived in caves.

    Or maybe the Rapture happens on a special basis, with qualifying species being assumed into Heaven on an ad hoc basis. What if the glorious Dodo was in fact, a holy creature whose extinction was in reality, a Supreme Heavenly Reward for Good Conduct?

    I’ll be thinking about this all day long.

    • Erika Rae says:

      You’re too smart for me, Joe Daly. It would never have occurred to me that extinction was, in fact, the reward for a pristine soul. And now that it has (thank you very much), I will dedicate the rest of my life to making sure that my ears, as well as the ears of those I love around me, aren’t *too* clean. Wouldn’t want to get whisked away too quickly now, would we?

  16. Greg Olear says:

    I’m no theologian, Lord knows, but if God really wanted us to be aware of the date of the Rapture, wouldn’t He have just, you know, written it down in the Good Book, instead of inventing all this seven seals stuff?

    The photo is fantastic.

  17. Jessica Blau says:

    And you know, I was so excited for them all to leave! Was going to be three months of hellish fun down here!

  18. Dana says:

    I was traumatized as a kid with a rapture movie and a weird series of coincidences immediately following, so I was pretty happy to note approximately the same number of people roaming around my neighborhood as usual at the end of the day.

    Funny stuff as usual Erika! Looking forward to your book.

  19. Dana says:

    Btw, does anyone know if they got Duke? He seems to have disappeared from my facebook feed.

  20. jmblaine says:

    Well I for one
    was disappointed.
    I hoped to be eating fried chicken
    with Moses by now.

    Fried chicken & waffles
    & cheeseburgers
    meatloaf & mashed potatoes
    & biscuits & gravy
    & turkey pot pie
    & still be young & tan
    & beautiful forever?

    October when?

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