Archive for …and I feel fine

Only Two Months Till The World Ends Again

After last year’s excitement when Harold Camping prophesised the Rapture not once but twice - and then fell mysteriously silent, perhaps because he’d been Raptured, perhaps because he was very embarrassed, who can say? – this year’s big end-times news has been the alleged prophecy, from the ancient Mayans, that the world will end in December 2012.

In fact, there never seems to have been any such prophecy, but that’s OK, because there is another end-times contender of much more recent provenence, with very specific ideas about the way 2012 is going to unfold. Ronald Weinland, leader of the generically-titled Church of God, is very clear that “Jesus Christ is returning as King of kings on May 27th of this year”. But first there will be global religious war and economic chaos and – um, more stuff like that, I haven’t read the whole of the 250-page .pdf that goes into proper detail

I am impressed, though, by his statement early on regarding the various people who have previously predicted the world’s end: “Obviously, those who made such pronouncements were weirdos, crackpots and unsound religious zealots”. Good to know that he’s not any of those things.

Weinland is being taken seriously by some but mostly he’s regarded even by other evangelical groups as a false prophet. Not that he cares, presumably, because it’s more fun to be the only one making a prediction – you get to sound persecuted, and you get all the glory if it comes true. Well, assuming you’re one of the few people who survive the whole thing. How embarrassing would it be to prophesy the coming of Jesus and then fail to make the grade when he turns up?

So what of the timeline of events? Well, the book has this to say:

The soon-coming time of trouble and devastation is so great that God says there has never been a time like it during man’s 6,000 year period on this earth. This great physical tribulation will last for three and a half years. Then, on the very last day, the greatest destruction of all will come upon mankind – thereby ending World War III. On that day, God Himself will bring judgment, death and destruction upon this world. On this same day, Jesus Christ, the prophesied Messiah, will return with 144,000 resurrected members of the Family of God – the Kingdom of God – to reign over this earth! A new world order, with a single world government, will begin ruling on the earth.

This is interesting for at least two reasons. Firstly, what he’s describing, as he makes clear here, is the last three and a half years. So since 2008 we’ve been having a worse time of it than any period in the last 6,000 years, apparently. Worse than the Dark Ages. Worse than the Spanish Inquisition. Worse than any of these events. I’m not saying the last 3.5 years have consisted entirely of sunshine, kittens and the tinkling laughter of small children, but in terms of overall human history, calling it the greatest period of trouble and destruction ever is definitely way overstating the case.

The other interesting thing is the use of the phrase ‘new world order with a single world government’. A lot of conspiracy sites talk about the New World Order and single global government, but all the other ones are against those things. Ronald Weinland, on the other hand, is using those phrases to describe the upcoming reign of God. So either Weinland is an unwitting tool of Satan, which of course is what the false-prophet sites are basically claiming - or, intriguingly the leader of the shadowy, homocidal and arguably reptilian New World Order, as described in every other internet conspiracy site, is actually the Messiah. Which would make so terrific a plot for a novel that I think I’m going to end this blog post here and start writing it immediately. After all, I’ve only got a couple of months.


Five Definite Predictions for 2012

It is the Weekend of the Two-Faced God. Saturday is the old year, Sunday is the new. We look backwards then forwards, as if crossing the Motorway of Life, except that would be looking left then right. And you don’t usually cross motorways. But you know what I mean. 

With this in mind, I present Five Definite Predictions For 2012. Like Harold Camping and the Mayans, I can assert with absolute confidence that all of these will come to pass. Unlike them, I’m actually right.*

1. Everyone you know will have a birthday. 

2. 2012 will be a Leap Year. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do. Leap Years are years when everyone is contractually obliged to spend at least 50% of their time leaping like frolicking baby lambs. Have fun! The last recorded Leap Year was in 2008, which was a really long time ago when you think about it. We had a Labour Government, many of the world’s dictators were still alive and dictating, and I only had one child. This is not related to the first two facts. Probably. 

3. There will be snow. And sun and hail and tornadoes and hurricanes and monsoons and that drizzly spattering rain that smells funny. Not all of these will happen in the UK, of course, but globally, over the course of the year, I have no hesitation in predicting the arrival of virtually every type of weather. 

4. There will be new gadgets of many kinds. And my partner will make a brave and concerted attempt to buy all of them. (I, meanwhile, will doggedly refuse to part with my cracked and dropped-in-the-bath iPhone, because I don’t think you should abandon objects just because they’ve very nearly stopped working and inspire one’s friends to wordless pity.)

5. The world will not end. Or if it does, it will be because of giant super-intelligent robots, not the Rapture. Which, of the ways for the world to end, is probably my favourite. So that’s OK. 

*I am being deeply unfair to the Mayans, who did not in fact predict the world would end in 2012. Sorry, Mayans. I needed a famous second example and you’re not around to complain about being misconstrued. 


Rapture 2: This Time It’s Fluffy

First published at the Huffington Post

Back in the spring, you may remember, a man called Harold Camping informed the world that the Rapture was going to take place on May 21st. The Rapture according to Camping would consist of one day in which all true Christians would be raised up to Heaven, and then a six-month period during which the rest of us would suffer in the ruins of a fiery Earth. (I wrote a blog post at the time called You May Experience A Burning Sensation, in which I speculated that God’s reason for the six months of fire was that he had some really big sausages to toast. Probably lost me a few brownie points in Heaven.)

Anyway, as you may also remember, the Rapture didn’t happen. But as is the way of self-styled prophets, Camping is undaunted: his website explains that Christ did come to earth on May 21st – spiritually, of course, not visibly or publically or anything, that would be silly – and the Rapture period began then. It will climax, by which I mean actually be noticeable, on October 21st with the actual carrying-people-up-to-heaven part.

So far, so good. Well, no, not good, but it’s impossible not to admire a man with such ability to bounce back from disappointment. I mean, seriously, Camping should write a self-help book. (Carry on, Camping? Camping in Heaven? The potential titles are endless.) Or if he doesn’t have time for that before Friday, he could write an inspirational song. It could be called Don’t Stop Believing In Camping.

However! Reading through his announcement, I noticed that Camping has softened quite considerably since May. The original prediction has been startlingly revised. To quote:

“We have also learned that God is still teaching that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked and will not punish the wicked beyond what is called for in Deuteronomy 25.”

Good news. Because I looked up Deuteronomy 25 and it doesn’t say anything about fire, or the world perishing, or any of that. It says the loser in a dispute can be beaten – ok, not ideal, but we’ll adjust – and it also has a few other laws which are frankly bizarre, but presumably aren’t going to come up that often. I’m thinking of this one:

“If two men fight together, and the wife of one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of the one attacking him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the genitals, then you shall cut off her hand.”

and this one:

“You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light.”

I don’t know about you, but I can probably manage to avoid those two sitations.

So basically, the prediction now is 1. All true believers will be taken to heaven (but you won’t know if you are one till it happenes) and 2. Everyone else gets to stay as they were, except for obeying a random handful of archaic rules. No problem.

There is one more thing, though. I would like to alert Mr Camping to a potential issue he may need to be aware of. Has he heard of Project Blue Beam?

Project Blue Beam – of which you have probably also not heard, unless you like the odder corners of the internet or have read my book, in which it features – is a fascinating (if you’re me) offshoot of Rapture theory. It holds that the New World Order is designing a false Rapture using special hologram-based technology. The purpose of which would be to make true Christians believe the Rapture has happened and they’ve been left behind, thus causing mass outbreaks of panic and atheism, which are of course what the New World Order likes best.

This would be such a great – if cruel – practical joke that I almost wish someone was designing it, but to the best of my knowledge they aren’t. However, that doesn’t stop these people believing it. Or these people. Or these people. Oh yes, there is a corner of the web that is forever Blue Beam.

I was going to write a paragraph that started “So, why are people so keen to believe these things?” but really, there’s no mystery at all about it. It is blindingly, face-meltingly obvious that we all want to feel that we’re being paid attention to and that we’re special. This can manifest itself in becoming an actor, in writing a blog, in getting drunk and smashing things up, or in devoting your life to the idea that a huge, powerful and secret organisation is so obsessed with breaking you that it will create elaborate and wildly expensive schemes in order to destroy your faith in yourself. In fact, that could loosely describe so many movie plots that it’s hardly surprising the idea is spilling over into real life.

Best of all, the fact that there is no evidence for it doesn’t matter at all because a) obviously a secret all-powerful group would be good at hiding its tracks, and b) it hasn’t happened yet. All in all, it’s the perfect conspiracy theory in many ways.

So: if Friday comes and you see the people around you slowly ascending into the air, don’t panic. It’s always possible they may be holograms.


Torchwood: In Hell

As a substantial proportion of you will already know (but I shouldn’t assume, so will do this quick explanatory paragraph), Torchwood was originally a spin-off from (and indeed an anagram of) Dr Who, set in Cardiff. Now it has mutated into Torchwood: Miracle Day and is set in America. This post won’t contain any specific spoilers: what I want to talk about is the overall premise of this new series.

Woody Allen, whom I am legally obliged to quote at this point, said “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying”. He should do a guest spot on Torchwood, his quote made flesh. As the show starts, death stops. It’s Miracle Day: everyone lives. The only mortal left is the main character, Captain Jack (John Barrowman), who until then has been the only immortal.

My problem is, I think the show should have been called Torchwood: In Hell. I find immortality terrifying. By the end of the first episode I was just sitting there curled into a childlike ball, thinking “Why are people still going to work and talking about stuff and developing interpersonal relationships? Why isn’t everyone just hiding in a small room, gibbering?” From talking to other people, though, I’m in a minority – maybe even a minority of one, though it seems unlikely – because other people are coping fine with this premise.

But how? This isn’t just immortality. When Captain Jack had it, he also had eternal youth and limitless healing powers. This new ‘miracle’ just means you can’t die. You get hurt (often a lot), you get older (presumably – it’s too soon to know), but you stay alive. And conscious, apparently, although I assume people are managing to sleep (which is a bit of a plot hole then, but never mind).

In other words, this is a nightmare, specifically my nightmare but also, surely, everyone’s. Eternal suffering, without relief. Oh, and babies are still being born, so soon there will be no resources and everyone will be hungry and homeless except the very rich and callous. Suffering and starving and on the streets. If there’s even room on the streets. Within a year people will be stacked on top of one another like very thin, softly moaning Jenga.*

It’s not just Torchwood, though. It is a mystery to me why anyone thinks eternal life is desirable in any way. The only vaguely bearable version is the kind where you can choose to die. If you don’t have that option, it’s just horrific no matter what you’re doing with your time.

The Christian version sounds all right at first glance. From what I can gather you don’t exactly experience time passing in heaven; you just… stop, or something, and enjoy eternal bliss. Fine. I’ll assume you never get bored or irritable or want to eat a pie, and I’m sure the presence of the Almighty is very soothing. But I still don’t want it. I want to die and be gone – living a long and happy life, yes, living on in my children and whatever I’ve written, cool, but that’s my hard limit.**

Because there’s absolutely nothing that’s fun to do a billion billion times over (and that definitely includes singing Hallelujahs to the god who gave you eternity in the first place). And also: endings are what gives everything shape.

Like this.

*What will actually happen, I assume, is that the Torchwood team resolve the problem and people start dying again. Though what should really happen is that the Doctor turns up to resolve everything, because this is still his universe. But never mind.

**And while you’re at it, give me a quick stab or something just to make sure I’m dead, because my other big phobia is being buried alive. Thank you.

I can't believe I found this in Microsoft Clip Art. What kind of Powerpoint presentation requires a homicidal cherub?


You May Experience A Burning Sensation

(Thanks to for republishing this on their site!)


As many of you will already be aware, this Saturday is an exciting day in the history of the world. According to the eBible Fellowship – and who can argue with them based on the robust and convincing evidence they provide? – on this Saturday, May 21st, true Christians will be removed from this world and taken to heaven, there to watch the 99.9% who weren’t chosen cope with a five-month-long global fire before the world is finally put out of its misery on October 21st.

Yes, the cream is being skimmed off the top of humanity; and as often happens, without any cream we may find that we experience some burning.

I love Rapture cults. This is going to be evident later in the year when my novel comes out, and frankly I would have appreciated it if the eBible Fellowship could have chosen a later date for this Rapture, as it would have provided a great gimmick for marketing my book. As it is, I’m just grateful I’m being published electronically and not in paper, since all the paper will have long since been burnt. I can only hope Kindles are flameproof.

On the plus side, it’s going to be very interesting to see how people react to the impending knowledge that there really is a God, he really does adhere to the beliefs of a minor evangelistic Christian group, and he really is extremely pissed off with the world. I mean, should we all convert, or what? Is there any point? The obviously-infallible eBible Fellowship is clear that after this Saturday, you’re either saved or you’re not, and those who aren’t are going to be denied any kind of afterlife. (Don’t bother with those good works, and praying is definitely going to be pointless). God no longer cares enough even to torture us for eternity; we’ll just die and that’s it, gone forever. Which, coincidentally, is what I believed was going to happen to me anyway. So all that’s really changed from my point of view is that a few people get to live for eternity. Good luck to them.

I am a little unclear, though, on God’s motivation is for the five-month gap between Rapture and destruction, if we have no hope of redeeming ourselves. My best guess is that he has some really big sausages he wants to barbecue.

I am of course assuming that everyone reading this is going to be left behind. If I’m wrong and one or two of you find yourself suddenly ascending into the air on Saturday, I wish you well, and I hope that you enjoy the next five months watching the rest of us running around screaming “It burns! It burns!”

Except that a true Christian, surely, would never enjoy the suffering of others, particularly when the others will almost certainly include loved ones and family members (not to mention pets, unless you’ve taken steps to protect them), so I presume that for you as well, most of the summer will be spent feeling fairly miserable. Still, at least you won’t be on fire.


Luckily, God owns the world's largest fork.