Last Updated May 21, 2011 5:36 PM EDT
You may look at the Rapture as the Apocalypse. Not me.
I consider it a financial opportunity. That may be because I write personal finance and dicker a little with how Harold Camping believes this whole Judgment Day thing might go down.
By the way, I took a Bible as History class in high school, so I feel completely competent to take issue with Harold Camping's prediction that tomorrow will be the end of the world. After all, my one class is more formal training than Camping can claim.
Besides, I grew up Catholic. We didn't really read the Bible, but we did excerpt the better stories. (I consider that a better choice, since if you read the whole Bible you might find a lot of it contradictory with the "eye for an eye" stuff just a few chapters away from "turn the other cheek." Seriously confusing.)
We Catholic school kids also memorized the Beatitudes. This has helped me build an "after the Rapture" economic theory, which leads to something of a Judgment Day bright side.
Before we get to that, though, I'd like to just be clear that neither Catholicism nor the "Bible as History" class has helped me understand how Camping did the math. As far as I can tell, Biblical time references are a little obscure. Many scholars think that whole the "Earth was created in 7 days" thing uses a different definition of "days." (Definitions can be important. Just ask Bill Clinton.) And I'm not even going to be catty enough to mention that Camping also predicted the end of the world would hit in September 1994 and, well, even Camping is still here.
Since I can't figure out his math, I can't dicker with it. So, let's just say that the Rapture is within a day (in heavenly terms) of Saturday. What happens then?
This is where I disagree with the whole "end of the world" thing. My reading of the Bible indicates that when Jesus comes down, he takes the righteous directly to heaven and leaves the rest of us to cope with the floods, fires, pestilence and other unsavory happenings that result from our bad behavior. It's kind of a parental: "You made this mess, now you're going to have to live with it."
Remember your Beatitudes? The meek shall inherit the earth. (Or what's left of it.) See how this all ties together?
So what now? A whole lot of meek and less righteous, which I'm going to assume includes all my Facebook friends who are planning Looting Parties on Sunday, are going to be left here on Earth. And, as we all know from Economics 101, the same amount of supply and less demand means that prices are coming down for some otherwise expensive commodities. For instance:
Real estate: Here in Southern California, I will be looking for houses that the Righteous have now vacated in Malibu. Okay, there's not likely to be that many righteous people in Malibu. I'll settle for Santa Monica. There's gotta be a few righteous people there.
You wanted a house on a lake or at a ski resort? This is what Realtors call a "buying opportunity." On the other hand, I wouldn't expect a lot of bargain-priced real estate on Wall Street or Washington, D.C.. I'm pretty sure that everyone who works for Goldman Sachs and Congress will still be here.
Electric Cars & Hybrids: With gasoline prices being what they were prior to the Rapture, you couldn't get within a mile of a bargain-price hybrid. But now all those people who bought them just to be environmentally responsible are likely to be gone. That spells another buying opportunity for those of us who want them just because they're cool. I will be going to a Tesla dealer on Sunday -- or post-rapture, whenever that may be.
Stocks: You might want to sell your insurance company stocks. Between the fire, floods, earthquakes and "ascensions," insurance claims could hit record levels. Yes, insurance executives will adjust and just charge more for the risks. But, for a year or two, they might be somewhat less profitable. A word to wise, though: There's no hurry to sell prior to the Rapture. We all know how slow insurance companies can be to pay claims. By the time they pay enough claims to affect their earnings, who knows where we'll all be?