This week, on the “(Is It) Good for the Jews?” podcast …
Larry Rosen: Say, Eric, do you remember what you were doing a few Saturdays ago?
Eric Goldbrener: I can’t remember what I was doing before you got here, much less a few Saturdays ago.
LR: Well, that’s sad, but not as sad as what was supposed to be going on then.
EG: … which was …?
LR: Brace yourself: you missed the Rapture.
EG: Like the Blondie song?
LR: According to Christian astronomer David Meade, the Rapture was supposed to happen Sept. 23.
EG: Slipped right by me.
LR: Meade predicted that 33 days after the recent solar eclipse, the Rapture would begin. Something to do with the age of Christ when he died, some other stuff. Roundly dismissed by theologians — Christian ones! Nonetheless, Meade kept with it. Some secret planet called “Nibiru” was supposed to pass by Earth and start the rapture.
EG: Oh, yeah, right. All the good people were supposed to be swept up in the sky.
LR: Like in “The Leftovers.”
EG: And the Earth would plunge into darkness. This is ridiculous. You think God is going to do all that work on the Sabbath?
LR: What if it’s the Christian God?
EG: (voice rising) It’s the same God!
LR: Sure, but which Sabbath does He honor?
EG: He invented the Sabbath! It’s Saturday.
LR: Christians celebrate it Sunday.
EG: They don’t know that they’re doing.
LR: Okay, how about this: If it had come to pass, how does it work? Is God hands-on here? Or does he just set it all up and let the dominos fall? It’s out of his hands? He’s still resting, keeping the Sabbath, and this is all going on, and he’s waiting for the righteous to join him. “Welcome, worthy non-Jews …”
EG: You ask a good question. There are many perspectives on that. There are some who believe that God acts and intervenes in the affairs of the world, and does miracles, and is the hand that …
LR: … allows Russell Wilson to score touchdowns for the Seahawks …
EG: It’s an act of God. And there are others who subscribe to the “watchmaker” brand of theology, where God set the universe in motion …
LR: And his work was through!
EG: Right! And everything is being perpetuated on its own momentum. God has the ability to intervene, but that’s not what He does.
LR: So if He reads His job description, it says more “creator” than “manager.” “My work here is done.”
LR: And if this were to happen, it’s been set in stone for eons. That’s what this David Meade guy — and that’s “Meade” with an “e” at the end, not “mead,” like the beverage. I don’t actually know what that mead is.
EG: It’s a fermented honey wine.
LR: So it’s not beer? What was that play where they’re always drinking mead? Henry III? And “Beowulf,” of course, which actually has scenes in a mead hall. Have you ever tried mead?
EG: Mead is delicious.
LR: I’ve never had it. You ever been to one of those Medieval Times restaurants?
LR: Where they’re jousting as you’re drinking mead?
EG: Oh, no, I’ve been to the Ben Jonson [a defunct old English tavern in San Francisco] on my prom night. There was no jousting, but there was a harlot with a pewter cup.
LR: A flagon.
EG: Right, a flagon. Full of mead. Came and sung bawdy songs to us. I went for my prom, 35 years ago … oh, wait. That’s where I was on Sept. 23. I was at my high school reunion. A lot of Christians in my graduating class. I was one of only a few Jews.
LR: At the reunion, did you notice anyone shying away from you?
EG: No more than usual.
LR: Did any of them slowly descend to heaven in a beam of light?
EG: Not that I can recall, no.
LR: Great conversation-starter. “By the way, did you know the world is supposed to end tonight?”
EG: “Us Jews will be right here if you need us, right here on what’s left of Earth.”
LR: Yeah, that probably wouldn’t have gone so well for us, would it have?
EG: Not great for the Jews. We dodged a bullet there.