Saturday, May 21, 2011

What is *really* wrong with "Rapture" kooks

Randy "Macho Man" Savage died for all mankind, so the Rapture was averted.
More seriously, another hyped "Rapture", this time coming from the kooky old coot Harold Camping and his "Family Radio" organization, proves a bust. "But thank you for calling and sharing...."

If Harold Camping stole any money from his contributors, he should be arrested as soon as he returns to his Alameda, California home. But I suspect all the money sincerely went toward broadcasts, websites, podcasts, printed tracts, billboards and newspaper advertisements about the coming End Of The World:
With no sign of Judgment Day arriving as he had forecast, the 89-year-old California evangelical broadcaster and former civil engineer behind the pronouncement seemed to have gone silent on Saturday.
Family Radio, the Christian stations network headed by Harold Camping which had spread his message of an approaching doomsday, was playing recorded church music, devotionals and life advice unrelated to the apocalypse.
Camping previously made a failed prediction Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1994.
In his latest pronouncement, he had said doomsday would begin in Asia, but with midnight local time come and gone in Tokyo and Beijing and those cities already in the early hours of May 22, there was no indication of an apocalypse.
The Oakland, California, headquarters of the network of 66 U.S. stations was shuttered with a sign in the door that read "This Office is Closed. Sorry we missed you!"
Family Radio officials, with the help of supporters, had posted over 2,000 billboards around the country warning of a May 21 Judgment Day.
The headquarters, which appears to be normally closed on Saturday, was also shuttered on Friday.
Camping, whose deep sonorous voice is frequently heard on his radio network expounding the Bible, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
The shades were drawn and no one answered the door at his house in Alameda, California.
Sheila Doan, 65, who has lived next door to Camping since 1971, said he is a good neighbor and that she is concerned about Camping and his wife, because of the attention his pronouncement has received.
"I'm concerned for them, that somebody would possibly do something stupid, you just don't know in this world what's going to happen," she said.

What is sad is that other than the demented Harold Camping broadcasts, the other Family Radio broadcasts consist of nothing but old fashioned hymns (boring and atonal to my rock-and-roll ears, but I guess some people must find them comforting), Bible readings that sound mainstream, and advice on how to be a good spouse / parent / friend, etc. Even though all sensible Christians scoffed at Harold Camping's wacky forecast, I fear this otherwise normal aspect of Family Radio will be a tool of the liberal media and cultural elites to further bash decent Christian people. Never mind that 99% plus of all other Christian preachers properly dismissed Harold Camping as a kook.

I will still take a million goofy Harold Camping Christians predicting the end of the world over just one neck-slashing Muslim jihadist terrorist.

But what is sadder still is that all too many people -- and not only Christians -- fall for this nonsense known as "Premillennial Dispensationalism",which first made inroads to America in the 19th century but seems to have taken hold of even more imaginations since the 1960's.

Since then, once or twice each generation (just far enough apart for people to forget the last failed prediction) someone, making up calculations based on their interpretation of sections of the biblical books of Daniel, Matthew and Revelation and elsewhere in the Bible, inevitably predicts that Jesus will absolutely, positively return on a given day.

Why do people fall for this crap?
Personally, I think this fatalistic doctrine is popular because
(1) people love the idea of being "in the know" about what is going to happen...similar to people who visit the "Madam Lauras" of the world to get their fortunes told or wholeheartedly believe their horoscopes.
(2) people love the idea of being in the generation that won't die. Dying sucks and it's comforting to think you'll avoid that part.
(3) it absolves them of needing to do anything about the future. If there is no future, why plan for one, much less join the fight?

I spoke to one young couple twenty years ago who weren't having children because the world would soon end. Another father didn't think his boys needed to study advanced math because they didn't have enough time left on the earth to use it. One preacher told his congregation to run their credit cards to the max and "leave the debt to Satan."

America was built on the Protestant Work Ethic, not Premillennial Dispensationalism.
Unfortunately, far too many conservative Christians have deserted the Protestant Work Ethic.

1 comment:

Kime said...

The world didn't change a lot yesterday: Jesus said: "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Matthew 24:36