Judgement Day – Christians, let's make a deal.

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It is beyond my understanding how someone like Harold Camping can convince so many gullible people into believing that he’s been able to figure out the exact date of the rapture, via some calculations based on some numbers in the bible.

Just before the flood Noah was instructed by God that in seven days the flood would begin (Genesis 7:10-16). Using the language of 2 Peter 3:8 that “a day is as a thousand years,” it is like saying through Noah, who was a preacher (2 Peter 2:5): “mankind has seven days or 7,000 years to escape destruction.” Since 2011 A.D. is precisely 7,000 years after Noah preached, God has given mankind a wonderful proof that Judgment Day will occur in the year 2011.

Now, kill me for not having done a good job searching for a provided time zone, I mean, when everyone is expecting to be raptured on this side of the world, it’s gonna be the 22nd in Australia, right?

Let me quote Camping’s exact words on this interview:

“There is just no reason in the world, no possibility that it [“it” being the rapture] will not happen”

Nonsense.

How in the world can he say these things with such certainty, especially when he has predicted this event before, with the obviously known results. “It” did not happen.

The most appalling thing is all these believers are Christians, who base their own beliefs on the scriptures, yes, the bible. The same bible Camping used to come up with a calculated date. But I bet you didn’t count on me having a tweet for that, huh?

.bbpBox{background:url(http://a0.twimg.com/profile_background_images/259380074/red-bar.jpg) #3d1322;padding:20px;}

#May21? No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.Matthew 24:36 #atheism #atheistWed May 18 05:52:23 via SocialScope

Twitter link

Exactly. The bible says, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36 Look it up. Yes, really. It is in the same book you hold up when you yell hideous things at gay people.

That’s the problem when you think critically, it’s not about bashing Christianity, or its followers. To me it is only logical that you look up your own source of enslavement knowledge, before even starting to make plans for the end of the world.

I’m sorry, Christians, but you can’t square this circle. What your fear and faith in Judgement Day tells me is that you think Harold Camping is god, in which case I don’t see why you’re not all hunting him down and asking for clarification.

This is when I ask, sarcastically, I must specify, where is the harm?

The harm is that irrational fear leads people to do the stupidest things. Like this suicidal woman calling to Family Radio, “What should I do Mr. Camping? I am so nervous, I am not a Christian I know I do not live right, what should I do.. Maybe I should kill myself? Mr.Camping.. Maybe I should kill myself.” Just to cite one of them, because it is related and relevant. Also, let me point out that the author of this post failed to provide evidence of this occurrence, but take in consideration that she herself is a Christian.

Also, I read somewhere about a man and a woman who have given up all their possessions. They have two kids, and another one due in June. So, how this family is going to survive having given everything away, is one tough question. But a more puzzling question is, what happens to that unborn baby? I mean, it needs to be baptized to be saved, right? Actually, I was just now having this conversation about original sin with my friend Marty, who thinks people are conceived sinful, and I think they are born sinful. But I digress.

I might have to go more in depth about the harms of irrational beliefs on another post, but here’s a really good example of the issues that concern me, and should concern you, too.

So I want to make a deal with you, Christians. Can I make a deal with you, please?

I don’t want your money, and I certainly won’t volunteer to walk your dog. What I want of you is to reason and think about this faith thing. This is a win-win. I promise. Hear me out.

If the Crapture Rapture does happen, well, we’ll have nothing more to talk about, actually, we won’t be given the chance, will we? But if it doesn’t happen, then you will commit to do three things:

  • Read the bible in its entirety, and question all the dates, and sources of the scripture; and instead of justifying its contradictionsfaulty laws, and dubious morality, I encourage you to start reasoning.
  • Support science and critical thinking. I’m not asking you to become an atheist, I’m asking you to stop accepting unquestionable truths –  there’s not such thing.
  • Ask your pastor the questions that you have asked yourself, and if you haven’t, then you should!

What say you, dear Christians, are you game?

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18 thoughts on “Judgement Day – Christians, let's make a deal.

  1. Did you catch the latest Real Time with Bill Maher when he talked about Christian hypocrisy? I was just wondering because two of the lines you used in this post reminded me of it, when you said “Yes, really. It is in the same book you hold up when you yell hideous things at gay people.” and “I’m sorry, Christians, but you can’t square this circle.”
    Not that I am saying you took them from Bill, quite the contrary. It just reminded me of what he said. If you didn’t see it, check it out here, I think you would probably agree with most, if not all, of what he says.

    • No, Jeremy. I hadn’t seen that episode of Real Time, it is a freakish coincidence. I coined that “square a circle” phrase back in May 2010, (although I’m sure someone else must have used it before,) when a close relative… You better go check yourself, I totally blogged about it.

      The other thing is just something I’m always saying, because, you know me, I love Leviticus.

  2. To be clear, not all Christians are convinced the rapture will take place in two days.  Many of us–hand raised–do not support the notion of a rapture.  I understand what you are saying, though, and would encourage people to seriously consider what scripture is, and not continue to use it as a calendar of events, self-help book or mere toilet reading.
    Thank you for your post.  Stay blessed…john

    • Hello, John. I am aware that not all Christians believe this rapture prediction, or in the notion of a rapture at all.

      Now, to me the bible is just a work of literature, and not a very good one for that matter.

      Having said that, I appreciate that you take the time to check out my posts, and consider and question my thoughts — I really like that.

      Thank you very much for your comment.

  3. It really highlights how dangerous blind faith can be. Tomorrow night, after the Rapture is over, I’m going to wake up with a hangover and continue my day as though nothing happened. Because nothing will have happened. I just hope nobody does anything stupid because of this bogus prediction.

    • I worry about the more vulnerable and weak, Marty; like that suicidal girl calling into Family Radio. I just hope they run into people sane enough to make them remain calmed.

      Loved your latest post on the subject, too.

  4. Most of us Christians who have any degree of reasonableness about this are psyched.
    This just means lots of atheists will be having rapture parties. Which I will be attending. Atheists buying Christians booze? I guess some good CAN come out of fringe cult doomsday predictions.

    • “I guess some good CAN come out of fringe cult doomsday predictions.”

      Yes, indeed. I agree with you on that one, David. I look forward to the post-failed-rapture opportunity to make my Christian friends aware of the lunacy of their beliefs.

      I would totally buy them drinks.

      • I wouldn’t advise that you say, “See, Camping was wrong; your beliefs are lunacy by association.” If you want to do any good, tell them “See how stupid people look when they believe things in blind faith without examining the evidence to see if it holds up?” We tend to be a touchy group, especially when faced with guilt by association.
        I’m all for joining the parties before 6 pm tomorrow. Drinking afterwards would be just anticlimactic.

      • However, 99,9% of Christians do believe in the rapture, they just don’t agree with the timeline… so, to them Harold Camping is not entirely wrong, his predicted date is just a bit off.

      • That is the point I wanted to make earlier.  Your estimate of 99.9% of Christians is way off.  Though I could not give you a percentage, many Christians do not believe in The Rapture.  I just wish more of us would be willing to say so.  Many of us consider, for example, the Left Behind notion of the end of the world, which has to include The Rapture, as mere fiction and, more disappointing, a misguided reading of our sacred text.
        The Bible is our stories that demonstrate our understanding of God and who we are supposed to be as God’s people.  It is not a “work of literature.”  It is many works of literature rolled into one.  Most of it is good literature.
        Stay blessed…john

      • Eh….to the substantially smaller-than-99.9% fraction of Christians who believe in a Left-Behind style rapture (I’d say it’s closer to 20-30%), Camping was off on a lot more than just the date. For one thing, he declared that anyone who didn’t believe in his May 21 date wouldn’t be saved….that’s a pretty big one. Also, his whole “churches are from Satan” line is vastly offensive to any Christians who have any respect for the history of the faith. The “rapture and end of the world” he predicted wasn’t really similar to what the 20-30% of Christians who believe in a Left Behind rapture are expecting. “Not entirely wrong” is giving Camping far more credit than he deserves.
         
        It’s kind of like saying, “99.9% of Democrats support abortion, so to them murder isn’t entirely wrong, just a little late.” See how over-generalized that sounds?

      • Okay David, let’s put it this way:

        You don’t believe in the rapture, or according to you “in a Left-Behind style rapture.” Only 20-30% (I wonder where you got that number, you might be off by a lot on that one) of Christians believe in the rapture, right?

        Christians, the ones I spoke with anyway, are not of the opinion that these people are crazy due to the fact they believed that a supernatural man from beyond was coming to take them away to a magic place because they have accepted him as their savior, while everyone else was left behind to face eternal punishment and torture. To literally all of the Christians I have discussed this with, these people were simply crazy because they believed in Camping’s prediction that it would happen on May 21st, not because the belief itself is irrational, and based on nothing but a few lines from a book of stories invented by superstitious, ancient tribes.

        However you do believe the core thing – there’s a guy in the sky who created the earth (not the universe, Genesis says “the earth”) and Adam and Eve, and the talking snake, and we all descend from them; and that Jesus came to die for your salvation and rose from the death on the third day (which doesn’t add up either. Friday through Sunday – not three days.) and in heaven and hell, right?

        And, how exactly does that make you look better than Camping’s followers?

      • I didn’t say that I didn’t think a Lahaye-Behind rapture is possible; I really don’t know and I’m not sure how much I care. I figure it will all work itself out.

        The 20-30% was a fairly random estimate. But I think it holds up to rough demographics. The catholics, orthodoxes, and anglicans number around 1.6 billion; the protestants and the restorationists total around 710 million. So this cuts out 70% or so, because protestants and restorationists are the only ones whose traditions allow for the whole Left Behind Rapture business. Of the protestants and restorationists I’ve met (and I’ve met quite a few), the case could be made that around 2/3 of these hold to a Left Behind style rapture, or that pretty much all of them do. Hence, 20-30%.

        In any case (and this has more to do with my earlier analogy than you might think), my point is that Christians won’t be terribly impressed if you say “see, this is silly, your beliefs are silly too”. Camping’s slough of teachings seem so different to Christians from what they believe that you simply aren’t going to get very far by trying to point out similarities. Christians exist in a world that they believe is just a tiny slice of a much larger reality. Describing Christian belief as “a supernatural man from beyond coming to take them away to a magical place” might make some of them chuckle (or make the more tightpants ones upset), but it won’t help them draw any connections between their beliefs and Camping’s. I’m not being dogmatic here; I’m just making rhetorical observations about the rhetor-audience relationship.

        Requested elaboration: That my analogy makes no sense to you exemplifies my point. You see murder as a completely different event than abortion, so it makes no sense to you when someone calls murder “late abortion” because you don’t compare murder to abortion. Likewise, Christians see Camping’s predictions (that his followers would be snatched up on a predetermined date and all the churches burn up in brimstone over the following five months) as a completely different event than whatever they are expecting, so it makes no sense to them when you say “I was comparing two possible dates for an event” because they don’t compare the two events.

        Again, I’m not making any dogmatic assertions here. You’re a very intelligent woman, and you have an admirable desire to correct superstition and blind faith wherever you perceive it. I’ve followed you on Twitter for some time. I’m just making observations about why your argument might be less rhetorically compelling than you might have expected.

        As far as the other things in your first response, a few misconceptions I feel like correcting (pardon me if I’m a bit snarky):

        In general, Christians don’t think God lives in the sky. They think God created a reality called time, and that observable spacetime is a small subset of this larger reality. Since I’m a physicist who dabbles in computer programming and toys with set theory, there are all kinds of fun analogies we can discuss regarding that, but that’s outside the realm of this discussion.
        The universe is spacetime, and spacetime requires time, and Genesis says “in the beginning”. So yes, we figure that God made the universe too.
        I’d point out that you, too, believe in “an Adam and Eve and we all descend from them”. Mitochondrial DNA traces all humans back to one woman (“mitochondrial Eve”); Y-chromosome DNA traces all humans back to one man. Now, we might disagree on the timing and location a bit, but there’s still a similarity.
        Jesus didn’t die on Friday. He died on Wednesday, the day before the Passover Special Sabbath. The Catholics got confused over the Good Friday thing a long time ago. **resists the urge to make a Rebecca Black joke** Three days, three nights.

        Just being a bit persnickety. Thanks for indulging.

      • Oh, I almost forget. This analogy of yours?

        “It’s kind of like saying, “99.9% of Democrats support abortion, so to them murder isn’t entirely wrong, just a little late.”

        makes no sense to me. See, when I said “99,9% of Christians do believe in the rapture, they just don’t agree with the timeline… so, to them Harold Camping is not entirely wrong, his predicted date is just a bit off.” I was comparing two possible dates for an event. You’re comparing being wrong (of an opinion, even) with being late? I’m starting to wonder if we’re speaking the same language here.

        Care to elaborate?

  5. Sometimes we do not do a good job of distinguishing theological concepts in the Bible.  For example, the Creation story in Genesis does not have to be a check point record of what went down at the beginning of time.  It reflects our understanding that what is, what we call Creation, was created by God.
    Another example: What is so confusing about the book of Revelation, material that is important for Judgement Day and rapture theologies, is our attempt to make it reflect our current global situation.  The writer is not trying to tell us what is about to happen.  It is about the message that Christians hold to, that there will come a time when all things will be made right.  The world that God created in Genesis, that was intended to be one of God’s peace, will be restored.  That is why Revelation comes last in the Christian Bible.
    Now, in my experience, many Christians have been taught Revelation is some weird book that no one can understand.  When you try to do what Camping and others do and have done, then of course it makes little sense.  Revelation, though, is not the only example of apocalyptic literature; it has its functions and familiar characteristics. 

    Stay blessed…john
     

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