Due to a technical glitch, the rapture predicted by 89-year-old self-professed biblical scholar Harold Camping did NOT occur. While technicians work feverishly to identify where the glitch occurred, and its causes, preliminary indications point to… surprise, a multiplicity of HUMAN error on the part of Mr. Camping, his followers, and a news media.
From my personal research on this man, most of his critics chalk him off as someone who’s off plumb by about a half bubble. His followers, on the other hand, view him as an unerring extension of the right hand of God. In my opinion, however, his followers are the ones who are off plumb. And, they’re off plumb by a hell of a lot more than a half bubble.
Some of them spent their life savings—estimated in several cases to have been significant—on poster and media advertising getting the word out about this. There is one report that I’ve heard, but not verified, about a young mother who killed her child to spare him from “end time” horrors.
Although Harold Camping came from humble beginnings, he’s NO dummy. My late grandmother (I’m 70-years old) knew all about this man. In her words—speaking proverbially, of course—“his family didn’t have a pot to pee in nor a window to throw it out of.”
He managed to earn a B.S. degree (cum laude, I think) in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley (class of 1942).But, he didn’t earn his fortune building roads and bridges.
The man has plenty of grit, mountains of determination, an uncanny insight into human behavior, and ample amounts of talent for using other people’s emotional investment to his full advantage.
BOTH, politics and religion, are deeply rooted in emotions that make facts irrelevant. He would have been successful in either of these. But, politics isn’t ALWAYS outside the realm of rationalism. Religion, though, because it’s entirely faith-based, IS! As such, he chose religion.
In politics, finding political frauds and fantasies that people can believe in is not difficult given that average voter turnout (including presidential AND off year elections) is about 42%. Just find out what the political middle wants and promise to deliver it.
But religion is ALL faith-based. And, like all matters of pure faith, religion is beyond the realm of rationalism. We take the existence of God based on faith, not hypothesis-tested, empirically sound scientific proof. It doesn’t mean that there is NO God; it simply means that we can’t prove that there is a God.
We humans demand concrete answers to everything we encounter. God gets ALL the credit for the good stuff in our lives because the high priests have convinced us that we’re all undeserving scumbags.
Conversely, He gets NONE of the blame for the crap we have to endure—again, because we’re undeserving scumbags and it serves us RIGHT! But more importantly, we can’t prove a thing because we don’t base our religious beliefs on scientific, hypothesis-tested facts; it’s ALL faith-based supported by nothing more than our anecdotal gut-feelings.
Whenever medical science can’t explain why a loved one went into complete cancer remission, we call it divine intervention. And, this is a possibility. But we refuse to consider another possibility: that it was pure random coincidence.
And, whenever some natural disaster wipes out an entire town of innocent children, it’s HIS will. HE had HIS reasons for it and HE does not make mistakes. And, so, God can’t lose.
Camping is not a phony! He believes that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. If it’s IN the Bible, he believes it. However, his interpretation of what’s in the Bible is nutty. His predictive accuracy has been abysmal. “Often wrong, ALWAYS certain” does NOT resonate.
And, it’s never going to resonate until all of us stop underestimating the ability of men and women of the Cloth to (a), say a lot without telling us a thing; (b), do it with convincing flare; and (c), cover ALL of our insecurities. And, do you notice how similar this is to politics?
Camping and his followers fervently believed that on May 21, 2011, beginning around 6PM, a massive earthquake would hit New Zealand and continue erupting around the world over the next 24 hours until all time zones had reached May 21.
At the end of this 24-hour period, he and his followers were convinced that God would “rapture” all BELIEVERS. That He’d transport all of them alive right into heaven. One second one of us non-believers would be talking to one of them and suddenly… POOF; they’re gone!
The rest of the human race would remain behind to face the horrors of the “end times” and the final judgment that would cast them—me for sure—into into the eternal fires of hell, after which God would have destroyed the Earth.
What evidence convinced them that the world would reach its biblically predicted end on May 21, 2011? It was the major earthquakes in Haiti, Christchurch and Japan, along with killer tornadoes in America. And, what had caused God’s wrath?
As usual, it was the queers! Yes, God had finally reached the limits of His patience with Americans. The social decay in AMERICA because of the gay pride movement had to cease.
That’s right! God planned to get even with America by destroying the ENTIRE planet. The rest of humanity would become mere collateral losses. These fringe idiots make God appear as nothing more than a narcissistic schmuck!
I’m a scientist. I’m no expert on God’s nature—if, in fact there is a God. No matter, though, even if there IS one, I find it impossible to believe that He’d create people with gay orientations and then hold it against them.
So, all you sanctimonious God-people need to give this crap a rest. If God can actually hate any of His creations, especially humans, He’s more likely to hate YOU for misrepresenting HIM.
But, if you’re concerned about those earthquakes, I can address THAT. For the past three and a half years, I’ve been a contributor to a geophysical study concerning earthquakes. Using some of the most sophisticated software available, I’ve been tracking earthquakes around the world since January of 2008.
I receive instant notification of every earthquake cable of being felt by humans (3.0 or higher on the Richter scale). Anything less than a 3.0 magnitude will register on the Richter scale, but we won’t be able to feel any of its vibrations.
While seismologists have been tracking this data for decades with similar results, my records have recorded an annual global average of 11,315 earthquakes registering a magnitude 3.0 or higher. In fact, as of midnight EDT on May 21, 2011, the number of 3.0 or higher quakes for that day ALONE had reached 36.
And, since, according to long-recorded seismological records, earthquakes of less than 3.0-magnitude run about FOUR times those of 3.0 or greater, this planet experiences an average annual crop of over 56,000 earthquakes. This means that a whole lot of global shaking is going on and it didn’t start just recently.
As for this “rapture” business, the Camping-types have THEIR version of it and we doubters—meaning ME, most of my friends, and the gays—have our version of it.
I distinctly remember MY first introduction to the “rapture.” Her name was Denise. I was 19-years-old and she was 45-years-old. WOW! What a teacher. THAT was “rapture.”
There is nothing unusually seismological happening on this planet. Statistical inference dictates peaks and valleys in such occurrences. It’s been going on since we started keeping records a few centuries ago. That this does not jive with Camping and his followers’ anecdotal gut feelings is tough noogies! Get over it.
Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.