Monday, May 16, 2011

Less than one week to make amends!

Allison Warden poses with her car showing a message about the Rapture. Warden, 29, has been helping organize a campaign using billboards, postcards and other media in cities across the U.S.

Are you enjoying life these days?

Hope so!

Because you don't have much time to dig in and grab life by the proverbial horns!

If you are a Bible thumping True Believer who listens to California radio preacher, Harold Camping, this is old hat to you. You've already cashed in your stock portfolio, purchased your ring side seat to the Battle of Armageddon and booked your flight to Jerusalem.

By Camping's careful calculations, the long awaited return of Jesus Christ will take place on Saturday, May 21st.

I am not sure if all Hell will break loose, as St. John's Revelation advises, or if those closest to God will be raptured out of their beds, cars or airline seats and miss the final dust-up between the Forces of Good and Satan's minions on a dusty, desert floor outside Jerusalem.

But it's worth noting, and raising an irreverent Victory HopDevil, that this is just the latest prediction in a long line of (failed) predictions that the End of the World is at hand.

Why make a fuss? Good question. Especially since this same End Times prognosticator published a book with the very same prediction 17 years ago called 1994?

He was wrong then.

He'll be wrong again on Saturday.

And if you think me impertinent or imprudent for saying so, please send me $1 immediately. I'd be willing to give you 1000 to one odds Camping is wrong again!

(....although if he happens to kick off on Saturday, I will gladly return your $1 to you, because that would be a pretty remarkable coincidence!).

I have no doubt if Camping is correct, and I lose my bets to the True Believers, they'll come hunting me on Sunday morning in the sixth circle of Hades, demanding I pay up. (If you read Dante's Inferno, you'll find that the sixth circle of hell is reserved for skeptics such as myself. Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden and Karl Rove will be the quartet playing AC/DC heavy metal riffs down in in the basement).

Why make fun of all of this? The End of the World ought to be serious business, should it not??

I couldn't agree with you more. But hear me out please. I'll tell you why.

Logic resists the idea that the world will end for numerous reasons. One would think the Good Lord would like us to use the brains (S)he gave us.

Here are a few of the most obvious reasons that bear some meditation.

1) Jesus will not return as an Avenging Warrior because that's not who he was, who he said he was, or what he stood for. Jesus was a pacifist. He ministered to the poor and befriended prostitutes. He healed lepers. He had no interest in winning a military victory for Israel because he knew his reward would not come on Earth.

2) Jesus told his disciples to "love your enemies" and to "turn the other cheek" when they were struck. When his disciples heard this message, in the Sermon on the Mount, they asked him, with no small wonderment, how many times they were supposed to allow themselves to be struck by their enemies: seven times? Jesus told them "No. 70 times 7 times." This is not humanly possible. When we are attacked, every fiber in our body demands retribution. We fight back. It's what people do. Our survival instinct kicks in. Darwin called it "survival of the fittest." (This incredible utterance by Jesus, the greatest paradigm shift in the history of the world, strikes me as a rational argument for his divinity. No mere human would promulgate such a notion and try to pass it off as morality.)

3) The world is in a very sorry state, to be sure, but the Chinese are too smart to take the Pakistanis at their word that America really is
the Great Satan or that President Obama is the Anti-Christ. They have no intention to lead the charge to Jerusalem with their standing army of 200 million. (I have to admit that that 200 million figure, first noted by Hal Lindsay in his apocalyptic bestseller The Late Great Planet Earth is pretty frightening, but I stand by my skepticism and by the inherent intelligence of the Chinese. They won't attack Israel on Saturday).

4) The Bible itself warns readers not to make predictions about the End of Time because no man can possess such knowledge and Jesus's own followers believed he could come back within their lifetimes. If he did (this is open to debate) he didn't return the way John predicted he would.

5) Camping's 1994? prediction was wrong 17 years ago. What the heck!!! We should believe him now? William Miller tried this in 1843 and it turned him into the biggest practical joker of the 19th century. Why Camping would risk another such Great Disappointment and the attendant ridicule that will surely follow him to the grave is beyond me.

Locusts lie buried in the Earth for that long and then take shed their horrid skins, take flight and chew down acres and acres of healthy crops. That's a working definition of apocalyptic.

Some radio preacher merely telling us to believe him again is not.

So, enjoy your Saturday. Take a nap. Watch the Phillies.

Wash your car. It probably needs it and you may want to resell it some day.

Whatever you do, DON'T donate it just yet to the Salvation Army.

1 comment:

  1. "Though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators." G.K. Chesterton