Friday, May 20, 2011

Editorial: Rapture 2011

Just when you thought 2012 doomsday predictions were all the rage, we're getting another one - for tomorrow.  Although unlike the lamestream media, to crib a certain Palinism, I suppose I should explain.  The concept has been promoted by a mister Harold Camping, president of the Christian radio network Family Radio.  It's not as simple as the world blowing up on the date; here are his predictions.  On May 21st, 2011, the Rapture will call 200 million people, approximately 3% of the world's population, to Heaven.  On Earth, mighty earthquakes are to occur at 6PM for each of the world's time zones.  The actual destruction of Earth is not scheduled to happen until five months later, or October 21st.

So where does he get this stuff?  He combined two Bible verses: Genesis 7:4 (Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth) and 2 Peter 3:8 (With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day).  Since he previously dated the Great Flood (the one with Noah's Ark) to 4900 BC, he added seven thousand years to get in the ballpark of AD 2011.  As for the specific date, he converted the Hebrew date of the Great Flood from Genesis 7:11 ([...] on the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day, all the wells of the abyss did overflow, and the storehouses of the sky did open.) and converted it  Furthermore, the chain of earthquakes across all time zones was inspired by Jeremiah 25:32 (Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth).  He explained more of his mathematification in an article on SFGate.com2.  Long story short, it involves the time in days between Jesus Christ's crucifixion, given as  April 1st AD 33, and May 21st 2011 equaling the squared product of some arbitrary values...  Sorry, dude, you're gonna have to tell me why atonement = 5, completeness = 10, and Heaven = 17 before you start to make a lick of sense.

This concept is at odds with the beliefs of many other Christian scholars, especially Catholics.  They don't believe the Bible is a code book waiting to be cracked.  They cite verses like Matthew 24:35-36 (Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away./But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.) which state that only God is supposed to know when it will happen.  Atheist thinkers are also standing against him, with Richard Dawkins of the Washington Post writing, "[...]he will inevitably explain, on May 22nd, that 'there must have been some error in the calculation, the rapture is postponed to . . . and please send more money to pay for updated billboards'."3  While I have become more cynical over the past few years and am tempted to agree with him, Mr. Camping does seem to honestly believe he is right.  "I know it's absolutely true, because the Bible is always absolutely true."4  If I may be allowed to do some Biblification of my own, I would like to point out a contradiction.  Camping is saying the Great Flood refers to the Rapture, and that since a day on Earth supposedly lasts a thousand years for God, it hasn't happened yet.  But at least as far as the Bible goes, the disaster did happen - it was the whole point of Noah's episode!

At this point you may want to consider the idea that, from a secular point of view, the Bible was written by man instead of God, but I won't officially claim that to be truth or falsehood.  Rather, let's understand where this man is coming from.  Now, he has made a series of doomsdate predictions before, as early as September 4th, 1994.  So what's his excuse?  "That, he says, was a mistake, a misreading of the biblical codes used to decipher the exact date of the 'rapture'.  In order to get the warning out in time he fudged his calculations, a mistake he maintains he did not make this time."  All the same, it's something to be said if he's been wrong before.

Oh, and you know what really strains this man's credulity in my eyes?  In one of his countdown videos, he's claiming that the gay pride movement is another sign of the apocalypse.  Any further extrapolation on this topic will have to wait (or better yet, let someone else handle it), but long story short, this places him in the same cage of nutcases as the Westboro Baptist Church.  That's right: self-presumed "religious crusaders".  Didn't we kill one of those earlier this month?  ...Okay, so it would be a little harsh to compare Camping and the WBC to the likes of the late Osama bin Laden.  The main difference, of course, is that these guys lack the military force to spread the message in a bad way, and in all honesty, we must be thankful for that.

All mudslinging aside, I do not believe what Harold Camping has said to be will transpire.  Sure, I am honestly worried inside, but rationally speaking - something he seems incapable of doing - I cannot picture it happening, especially so suddenly.  Going back to my opening statement, look at the disaster movie 2012.  The disaster therein didn't peak on the day itself, rather the characters noticed it starting up a few years before the title date.  Certainly we would've noticed a trend like that in the real world a lot sooo...  ...I'm sorry, there seems to be a Haitian, a Chilean, a New Zealander, a Japanese, and a Spaniard in the room with me.  Joke aborted!  Long story short, lemme tell ya: if we get through tomorrow unscathed, the 2012 prophecies are gonna look a lot less credible.  But in the quite unlikely case I don't make it, for this or any other reason, I encourage all my readers, and then some, to question popular opinion and find the truth at any cost.

This is IchigoRyu.

You are the resistance.

12011 end times prediction. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 2011 May 20.
2Dawkins, Richard. "Biblical scholar's date for rapture: May 21st, 2011". On Faith, Washington Post. 2011 May 10. Retrieved 2011 May 20.
3Dawkins, Richard. "Science explains the end of the world". On Faith, Washington Post. 2011 May 10. Retrieved 2011 May 20.
4Daily Mail Reporter.  "Doomsday campers Project Caravan say the world will end May 21". 2011 March 8Retrieved 2011 May 20.

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