Let me begin by telling you that the newspaper article below is fake; it was generated from a web site that creates realistic-looking newspaper articles from user-entered text. I’m not sure why the author wrote this article, but since it’s dated only one day before the supposed Mayan Apocalypse, I suspect that it was intended to be an early sign of the end of the world.
Which got me thinking… what if this article was on the level, and was a sign of another end of the world scenario – specifically, the Rapture? Suddenly I saw this amateur hoax as an Onion-level piece of social and religious satire: The Rapture has occurred, coinciding almost perfectly with the date of the Mayan apocalypse. Jesus returned to Earth, took a look around, and then decided that only creatures who were worthy enough to be taken up to heaven were the dolphins! To quote an old Dean Martin song “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head”.
First, a little background. As I’m sure most of you know, some fundamentalist Christians believe in The Rapture – an unspecified date in the future when Jesus will return to Earth, scoop up all of the decent, kind, benevolent and worthy people, and then leave the rest of the heathens behind to fend for themselves. The Left Behind series of books and movies were all based on this belief.
I don’t believe in the Rapture myself, but a surprising number of people do. When 60 Minutes aired a segment on the Left Behind book series in 2004, it was revealed that 58 million copies of these books had been sold. Shortly after that segment aired, I remember reading that some special interest group asked major airlines not to ensure that at least one person in the cockpit had to be a “non-believer” (someone who didn’t believe in The Rapture) so that if it did occur, then there would still be someone left behind to fly the plane. The request was not taken seriously and not policy changes were made. However rumours were still circulated during 2003-2004, but were debunked by Snopes.com. Personally, I found that airline request amusing. I doubt very much that it was made out of genuine concern for others; the only people who would care enough about the religious beliefs of the pilots would be the passengers on that flight who were also “believers” and who felt at risk of being left behind themselves! For all of their piousness, they apparently aren’t above asking a “heathen” to save their lives.
And this is why that dolphin article amuses me so much. Although we humans – perched confidently on top of the evolutionary ladder – think we’re wonderful and are without a doubt God’s greatest creation, we aren’t as enlightened, civilized, or even as well-behaved as we like to think.
So why did dolphins win out over humans? I’ve thought of a few reasons:
- Dolphins have no carbon footprint, and have always lived in harmony with nature.
- Dolphins don’t deplete the planet’s non-renewable resources.
- Dolphins don’t kill each other.
- Dolphins do not subjugate other dolphins
- Dolphins do not impose their religion or ideologies on other dolphins.
- Dolphins may kill fish, but they always eat what they kill.
- Dolphins don’t kill other animals just to use their scales or hides to make fashionable shoes or handbags.
What I find most amusing of all is that not only were we humans left behind, but we didn’t even know that the Rapture even happened. In my opinion, that colossal lack of awareness makes us a pretty “low-bandwidth” species. That’s an inherent problem with living at the top of the evolutionary ladder – all we can do is look down on everyone else.
Finally, just in case you feel that Jesus made a mistake because you were left behind during the Rapture, let me set you straight. The dolphin disappearance was not a mistake – Jesus did this on porpoise!