Judgement Day is just ten days away. May 21st will see believers whisked away to heaven in the Rapture. Those of us who remain behind (and I'm positive that will include me) can look forward to the End of the World on October 21st. (Damn. That means Pamela and I won't be celebrating our 11th anniversary as planned on that day.)
You don't believe it. Well, you can parse the complicated calculations based on interpretations of various Bible verses over at eBibleFellowship.com.
The great thing about free markets is that even the end of the world offers opportunities for people to provide services to their fellows. For example, Washington Post columnist John Kelly reported on Monday about the pet care service offered by Bart Centre to people who expect to be taken up in the Rapture, but are worried about what will happen to Fluffy and Spot once they are basking in glory in Heaven. As Kelly reports:
Bart Centre does not believe in heaven, but he's pretty sure that if there is a heaven, your pet is not going there.
After all, he points out, "All Dogs Go to Heaven" is the name of an animated movie, not a line from the Bible.
Not that Bart believes in the Bible. Or God. He is an atheist, and proudly so. But he knows that plenty of people do believe in God and do believe in heaven. And some of them believe in the Rapture, the day when true Christians will be called up to Jesus Christ. Some people — including a group that put ads on the backs of buses in our area — think the Rapture is coming May 21.
The Rapture could leave a lot of dogs and cats looking longingly at their food bowls after their owners have floated off to heaven. That's where Bart comes in.
In 2009, he launched Eternal Earth-Bound Pets USA. Bart guarantees that if or when the Rapture comes he or one of his 44 contractors in 26 states will drive to your home within 24 hours, collect your dog, cat, bird, rabbit or small caged mammal, and adopt it. (Rapture rescue services for horses, camels, llamas and donkeys are limited to New Hampshire, Vermont, Idaho and Montana.)
The cost is $135, plus $20 per additional animal. Payable upfront, of course, and good for 10 years.
"Right now, we have over 250 clients," said Bart, 62, who is retired from a major retailer and pens anti-religion books under the name Dromedary Hump. Most customers are in the Bible Belt. Bart said he can handle relatively secular western Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, where he lives, all by himself.
Bart says he has carefully screened all the rescuers. They have to love animals, of course, but just as important is that they don't love Jesus. For obvious reasons, they're all atheists.
Surely Centre is bilking the credulous? As he explains to Kelly:
"Who's providing the false pretences?" he said. "I do not promote the Rapture. If I were promoting it, then soliciting people to take my services, I could see that being a scam. I let the religious people promote it. I am offering them peace of mind. We can commit to you that we have the resources and infrastructure to rescue your pet from certain slow starvation or thirst, at just over a dollar a month. I do not feel like I'm taking advantage. I am satisfying a demand."
Bart thinks it's a pretty good deal.
"Who knows whether I'm taking advantage of them," he asked, "or they're taking advantage of me?"
He takes PayPal.
Satisfying a demand—that's what markets are all about. Since I'm staying behind, I can take care of our two cats, Milton and Mario.
Whole Post column here.