Posts Tagged “jesus christ”

Judgment Day: May 21, 2011As I type this, it’s just after 6pm EDT where I am. Harold Camping’s promised May 21, 2011 Second Coming & Rapture — which he had said would occur at 6 pm in each time zone around the world (WebCite cached article) — has gone by, but without Jesus Christ reappearing, and with no discernible ill effects. The same time (i.e. 6 pm) has previously gone by, in — what? — 17 time zones around the world already, but likewise with no Jesus showing up, and no ill effects. And all the Christians are still here … no one, again as far as I know, has been vacuumed up into the sky to meet Jesus.

It would be easy for me to say something like, “I told you so!” or “I knew it!”, but honestly, that’s too easy. Anyone with half a functioning brain knew it wasn’t going to happen. For millennia, so-called prophets have claimed to know when “the End of the World” would come (cached), only to be proven wrong later, when the world managed, somehow, not to get exterminated at the appointed time.

For the record, the universe is also not going to end on December 21, 2012 … the so-called “Mayan Apocalypse” … either. The Maya did not actually predict any such thing, but even if they had, their credibility would be limited by the fact that they didn’t foresee the collapse of their own civilization around 900 CE.

I must, however, congratulate Camping and his sheep at Family Radio for diligently promoting this false prediction. The (failed) prophet was interviewed by many media outlets over the last few months, but never once conceded he might be wrong, and consistently refused even to entertain the question of what he would do if his Rapture never came.

That said, I’m still laughing at the cadaverous Bible scholar religionist crank, and at the morons and idiots who actually believed his nutty scenario. What do you fucking clowns think now that your “Bible-guaranteed” Second Coming never took place!?

Photo credit: JonDissed.

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The End is Near sign at Sweet Melissa's, SavannahI’ve blogged a number of times about Bible scholar religionist crank Harold Camping of Family Radio and his wingnut prophecy that Jesus is going to return on May 21, 2011 (this Saturday! hallelujah!) and that the world will end five months later, in October. It’s obvious the guy’s theories are whacked. But what I find amusing are all the other Christians out there who are trying to angle away from Camping and his sheep. Just one example of this is Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who penned a whine for the CNN Belief blog about how Camping makes Christianity look bad (WebCite cached article):

What harm is there in an 89-year-old preacher making prognostications about the end of the world?

First, such predictions give non-Christians one more reason to discount the Bible.

There are plenty more examples I could cite, but this one is enough to make the point that a lot of evangelical and/or fundamentalist Christians are tripping over themselves trying to get away from the lunatic Camping and his “prediction.” The problem is that their religion is inherently predisposed to such predictions! Christians through the millennia have repeatedly predicted death, doom and destruction, based on any number of suppositions and extrapolations, only to be proven wrong eventually (cached). In fact, the founder of Christianity — none other than Jesus Christ himself! — made some very clear and explicit “End of the World” predictions, which likewise failed to come true:

“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Mt 16:28)

“But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (Lk 9:27)

Those are not the only such predictions Jesus made, but they’re enough to make the point: No Christian can really be a Christian without believing in a Doomsday, and without believing in Doomsday predictions. To condemn Camping for making such a prediction, and triangulate away from him because he did so, is laughable. Selectively veering away from the more ridiculous aspects of their religion only makes Christians look like “fair weather” believers … eager to trumpet their metaphysics when they think it makes them look good to do so, but equally eager to get out of the way of the follies which are part and parcel of Christianity.

In case anyone isn’t already clear on the matter … all Biblical prophecy is bullshit. All of it. All the time. Forever and ever.

Photo credit: mmwm.

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Repent The End Is NearAre you excited? I’m sure the idiotic sheep from Family Radio who follow Bible scholar religionist crank Harold Camping are. They’ve been roaming the country lately, telling everyone they meet that Jesus Christ is returning in less than a week to suck up all the Christians and leave the planet to wallow in misery and torment, until the End of the World arrives, six months from now.

I eagerly await Camping’s prediction going bust, but cringe to think what sort of twisted rationale he’ll cook up to explain why it was wrong. The last time he made such a prediction, back in 1993, that September 6, 1994 would be “the End of the World,” he later said he’d made “an arithmetic error.”

I leave you with a link to a Salon article about Camping and his latest prediction, which ends thusly (WebCite cached article):

What will the Nostradamus and Mayan Calendar people say if the apocalypse doesn’t come in 2012? And how about the Family Radio believers and other Christian Adventists, with their appointed dates for Armageddon?

Well, the current predictions may prove false, but the doomsayers need not worry. The numbers can always be crunched again — and again and again.

Photo credit: Robert Bejil Photography.

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Snapshot of Washington Post video of Harold Camping, his followers, and their Project CaravanI’ve already blogged about Bible scholar religionist crank Harold Camping, who predicts that Jesus Christ will return — and vacuum all the Christians off the face of the earth — on May 21, 2011. With that date now less than two weeks away, he and his followers are now traipsing around the country in their “Project Caravan,” trying to scare the country into believing his insane apocalyptic drivel. The Washington Post reports on their (largely unsuccessful) attempt to get the nation’s capitol to buy into the bullshit (WebCite cached article):

The unexpected and potentially rotten news that the world will end on May 21 rolled into the District on Thursday morning, plastered on a caravan of five recreational vehicles that parked near the Washington Monument. …

As if the message weren’t scary enough, the dozen or so occupants of the RVs — vanguard of a national campaign funded by a fundamentalist Christian radio network and fueled by bus ads and Internet buzz [cached] — wore highlighter-bright yellow shirts that said “Earthquake So Mighty, So Great.” They offered pedestrians handouts saying there was “marvelous proof” that “Holy God will bring judgment day on May 21, 2011.”

Note that the Post gets Camping’s scenario slightly wrong. Camping does predict Christ’s return on May 21, but he doesn’t claim that will be when “the world will end.” Camping claims that will happen on October 21, 2011, after the non-Christian remnant left on the earth endures 6 months of horrific “tribulation.”

Also of note is the glee with which Camping and his followers embrace this disastrous scenario:

“Have you heard the awesome news?” the side of the RVs asked, in big bold letters. “The End of the World is Almost Here!”

Their elation at what they believe will be other people’s suffering reminds me of the Puritanical Church Father Tertullian, who described in detail how he plans to revel in the eternal torment of non-Christians, in his De spectaculis, chapter XXX (you can read this wonderful and enlightening passage in full, in my post on this Great Christian).

At any rate, the Post has video of Camping’s crew and their admitted failure to reach everyone they meet:

How pathetic. Maybe we should give these people real jobs, so they have don’t have time to roam the country trying to scare people into thinking oblivion is on its way.

And … as I always do with any post dealing with “Biblical prophecy,” I’m closing this post with a link to my page explaining how and why all “Biblical prophecy” — whether Camping’s or anyone else’s — was, is, and always will be total bullshit.

Photo credit: Snapshot from Washington Post video.

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Futurama, end of the world panicJesus will return, exactly one month from today … according to Bible scholar religionist crank Harold Camping. I’ve already blogged about this wingnut and his apocalyptic claim that Jesus plans to return on May 21, 2011, and upon his arrival vacuum up the world’s Christians in an event known to “End Timers” as “the Rapture.”

The sad part about all of this is that, when May 21, 2011 comes and goes, neither Camping nor his sheep will admit he was wrong. They’ll just spew out ridiculous excuses such as he made an arithmetic error. Then they’ll listen closely when he announces yet another date for “the Rapture,” and look forward to that.

Oh yeah, did I mention, Camping has been down this road before? Yep. He pulled this same bullshit stunt back in 1994 (cached). His followers appear not to have given a crap that he was full of shit back then, so I don’t expect they’ll care that he’s wrong, now.

The basic truth about any kind of Biblical prophecy — whether it comes from Harold Camping or anyone else — is that it’s all complete, unmitigated, unfiltered bullshit. Plain and simple. That’s all it is, and it’s all it ever will be. Period.

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Hell: If you think Christianity exists only to help you avoid it, you're doing it wrong.The hubbub over evangelical pastor Rob Bell and his supposed universalism hasn’t let up yet. Perhaps in memory of a momentous article that magazine published decades ago (cached), Time magazine — in its cover-article overview of the Bell/universalism controversy — asks the question, “Is Hell Dead?” (WebCite cached article):

The standard Christian view of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is summed up in the Gospel of John, which promises “eternal life” to “whosoever believeth in Him.” Traditionally, the key is the acknowledgment that Jesus is the Son of God, who, in the words of the ancient creed, “for us and for our salvation came down from heaven … and was made man.” In the Evangelical ethos, one either accepts this and goes to heaven or refuses and goes to hell.

Bell, a tall, 40-year-old son of a Michigan federal judge, begs to differ. He suggests that the redemptive work of Jesus may be universal — meaning that, as his book’s subtitle puts it, “every person who ever lived” could have a place in heaven, whatever that turns out to be. Such a simple premise, but with Easter at hand, this slim, lively book has ignited a new holy war in Christian circles and beyond.

The Time article is in five pieces in its online form; here’s page 2 (cached), page 3 (cached), page 4 (cached), and page 5 (cached).

I’ve blogged a couple times already about this particular controversy and the fierce anger it’s engendered within the evangelical Christian community. The assumption seems to be that, if you take away the possibility that people might end up in Hell, Christianity suddenly becomes useless and moot.

This view is hypersimplistic, juvenile and short-sighted. It basically obviates all of Jesus’ teachings, and relegates him to the role of a cosmic magician whose death and resurrection are the only things about him that matter.

At the risk of — ironically — appearing to be a skeptical, cynical, godless agnostic heathen who dares to deliver a sermon on the meaning and importance of Christianity, I must point out that (if the gospels are to be believed, anyway) Christianity is about more than just “Hell-avoidance.”

Consider, for example, the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain. These two discourses are not just about getting a “Get out of Hell free” pass; they’re about humility and sacrifice, as expressions of divinity on earth. While they state that humility and sacrifice will be rewarded, the content of these is not about the reward itself (which is avoiding Hell), they are instead about the hard work of being humble and of the godliness of sacrifice, and about how doing it will make “the Kingdom of Heaven” real.

Moreover, these discourses were the product of Jesus’ apocalypticism, a view which held that the end of all things was imminent, so concerning oneself with the present, with the physical, and with triviality, was useless. Giving everything — and I do mean everything, even one’s own personal welfare and survival — up to God was far preferable. That’s what holiness was about, to Jesus himself while he walked the earth and preached. Evangelicals’ obsession with (what they view as) the horror of Bell’s “heresy” is, by contrast, perhaps the height of triviality itself.

Any Christians who think Hell-avoidance is the entire point of being a Christian, therefore, cannot really be Christians. They’re doing it wrong. They would do well to put a crowbar to their Bibles, crack them upen just a tiny bit, and deign to read the gospels they claim to revere but know little or nothing about.

Photo credit: PsiCop original based on Signorelli’s Hell, via

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Zürich - Kunsthaus - Rodin's Höllentor IMG 7384 ShiftNEvangelicals around the US have gone into fits of apoplexy over a book that hasn’t even been released yet, by a well-known Christian pastor, Rob Bell. The controversy began when a Christian blogger determined — based on blurbs about the book released by its publisher, in advance of publication — that it contains the horrific idea that all of humanity will be saved. This assumption on the part of a lone blogger has turned into full-scale theological war among evangelical Christians, as CNN’s Belief Blog explains (WebCite cached article):

[Christian blogger Justin] Taylor’s claim — based on a description of the book released by publisher HarperOne and a promotional video — ignited a wave of criticism against, and a counter-wave of support for, Bell. Some critics went so far as to label Bell a heretic. Prominent evangelical pastors on both the right and left rushed to condemn or defend the Michigan pastor. …

The controversy even caught the staff at Bell’s church off-guard. On Sunday, Brian Mucchi, an assistant pastor, told the church they knew a controversy could come, they just didn’t expect it to come so soon, according to a church member who was at the service but did not want to be identified.

Bell’s latest book is so disturbing to evangelical Christians, that it caused him to have to jump publishers:

“Love Wins” is Bell’s first book since his break from Zondervan, the Christian publisher based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that published Bell’s first four books and also publishes the New International Version of the Bible, one of the most popular translations of the Bible among evangelicals.

Bell’s split from Zondervan came in part over this new book. “The break with Zondervan was amicable,” Tauber said. “In the end the president of Zondervan made the decision. The proposal came in and they said, ‘This proposal doesn’t fit in with our mission.’ “

Criticism of Bell comes from a lot of the usual suspects, like Al Mohler, as well as from others. What these people find disturbing is that Bell’s “universalism” undermines the presumed exclusivity of Christianity; the idea that salvation and eternal life can only come from Jesus Christ and only in a certain way. Evangelicals, who can only see things in an “all or nothing,” black-&-white way, are aghast. For them, “universalism” renders all of Jesus’ career meaningless … because if salvation comes to everyone, with or without Christ, then what good is anything he said or did, and what good is it to believe in him at all?

This is all predicated on the idea that the only purpose of Jesus’ career was to bring eternal life; that he had nothing to say of any value or substance, which is not directly related to salvation. This assumption sells Jesus short — immensely! He taught many things, including humility, charity, compassion, and more. Do these cease to have any value, if it should turn out that salvation will come to everyone and not just those who believe in him in a certain way? Of course not! Humility, charity and compassion are all important and they all have value, even if no one achieves life after death.

The truth about evangelicals is that they use their presumed exclusivity, coupled with the threat of eternal perdition, as a bludgeon to get others to believe as they do: “If you don’t accept Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior™, you’ll burn in hell forever!” Their campaign of psychological terror, however, bears no resemblance to Jesus’ career. What it does do, is give them a lever by which they can control others.

At the moment, though, we don’t know what’s in Rob Bell’s book. The assumption that it promotes “universalism” is exactly that — an assumption. So all of this speculation may turn out to be a tempest in a teapot. But even if that’s the case, the nation’s evangelicals will have revealed themselves as the control-freaks and psychological terrorists they are.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Roland zh.

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