Posts Tagged “biblical”

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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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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Queen EstherAs someone who is interested in the history of religion and who works in technology, this story piqued my interest. The New York Times reports on an aspect of the targeted Stuxnet virus which is currently making its way through various countries (WebCite cached article):

Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament tale in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them.

That use of the word “Myrtus” — which can be read as an allusion to Esther — to name a file inside the code is one of several murky clues that have emerged as computer experts try to trace the origin and purpose of the rogue Stuxnet program, which seeks out a specific kind of command module for industrial equipment.

The article goes on to show the various inferences — both drawn from within the Stuxnet code and outside of it — that Israel may have been behind its development and deployment and that it’s intended to hinder or halt Iran’s nuclear program. The Times also goes over the label “myrtus” that’s embedded within it:

Several of the teams of computer security researchers who have been dissecting the software found a text string that suggests that the attackers named their project Myrtus. The guava fruit is part of the Myrtus family, and one of the code modules is identified as Guava.

It was Mr. Langner who first noted that Myrtus is an allusion to the Hebrew word for Esther. The Book of Esther tells the story of a Persian plot against the Jews, who attacked their enemies pre-emptively.

“If you read the Bible you can make a guess,” said Mr. Langner, in a telephone interview from Germany on Wednesday.

Carol Newsom, an Old Testament scholar at Emory University, confirmed the linguistic connection between the plant family and the Old Testament figure, noting that Queen Esther’s original name in Hebrew was Hadassah, which is similar to the Hebrew word for myrtle. Perhaps, she said, “someone was making a learned cross-linguistic wordplay.”

As interesting as this may be, this sounds like pretty slim evidence of religious motivation or of Israel’s involvement. There’s no doubt that Israel would love to derail Iran’s nuclear program, but the inclusion of “myrtus” within Stuxnet code can hardly be considered compelling evidence of either.

Update: The New York Times ran a report this morning (1/16/2011) on the development of the Stuxnet virus (cached). It doesn’t mention any religious motivation behind it, or religious content inside it, but it is a fairly comprehensive — and interesting — chronicle of how it came to be.

Photo credit: Lawrence OP.

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