Posts

Competing Definitions of Orthodoxy

With the recent mania surrounding Harold Camping’s failed rapture prophecy, Christianity has been in the media spotlight a little more than normal.  If you somehow missed the media blitz surrounding yet another failed prophecy of Jesus’ glorious (and terrible) return – Harold Camping used his small media/radio empire familyradio.com in order to promote his unquestioning belief that Jesus Christ would return to earth on May 21st, 2011 – he claimed to know this using a strange combination of Numerology and the Bible. He and his followers have spent an excess of 200 Million dollars buying billboards, radio ads, internet ads and other assorted media – many of them selling their homes and depleting their savings accounts in order to pursue the goal of “sounding the warning trumpet”.

Though this event unsurprisingly gained meme status among the atheist crowd, many were surprised to see that a number of Christians also had a tendency to mock Camping and his followers.  As a former Christian, I actually understand this entirely. Like many others, I know that the Bible has many references to man’s inability to know the date of Christ’s alleged return. For the most part, this is an accepted orthodox position.  However, with hindsight comes understanding, and though I likely would have ridiculed Camping as a Christian I now have to look at him and all Christians in a different light.

Read more

Any day now…really! (The Rapture)

“The Rapture” is one of the most often used fear tactics used by Christian believers in order to scare unbelievers into repentance. You see, the way some people interpret the Bible there will be a point in time when Jesus calls up all the living and dead believers to heaven, they call this event the Rapture (The term itself does not appear in the Bible). Now, there are many different beliefs as to when this is supposed to happen, there are Pre-tribulation believers that believe that it will occur prior to the 7 year Tribulation prophesied in the Book of Daniel as well as post-trib and mid-trib and even more theories/beliefs that I can’t remember from my Christian days.

The problem with this whole “Rapture” deal is that it has supposed to have been coming soon…2000 years ago. In fact Jesus said that he would come back before some of the disciples died in Matthew 16: 27-28.  Clearly Jesus was either confused or wrong. So why is it, after all these years, people still trust that this man is God and is coming back to earth for them? Some people go so far as to predict the date or time frame of this glorious event:

  • This Site has gone so far as to predict that the actual rapture will occur this Fall of 2009(Just a few days ago they said it would happen today, Wednesday November 11th 2009 but they changed it earlier today). The site includes plenty of warnings to repent, lots of fear mongering here
  • Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins wrote the wildly popular Left Behind series of fiction books to explain how they believed eschatology would play out  in the near future, including the rapture where all the Christians disappear randomly leaving behind their neatly folded clothes – Kirk Cameron even starred in two movies based on the book series a few years ago.
  • Video’s have been passed around among the Tea Party elite (and other groups of fundamentalist/Republican half-wits) that claim to prove that President Barack Obama is the Anti-christ, which means that the rapture must be coming soon. Here’s one such video (don’t laugh too hard, people actually believe this stuff): Click for video.

It’s a sad reality, really, that people are living as if Jesus will show up in the clouds tomorrow especially after 2000 years of fruitless anticipation and preparation.  These types of claims should be met with the same skeptical eye as any other unsubstantiated claim and utterly rejected  in the likely event that they turn out to be just another control mechanism of faith.

One more thing…if the Rapture does happen, can you imagine how wonderful our world would be? All that superstition just floating away with Jesus in the clouds? I can’t wait!