Apocalypse Now

Well, tomorrow anyway.

Our friend Harold Camping is still claiming that the world will be destroyed by fire tomorrow, October 21. He already failed to predict the Rapture on May 21. By the end of the day, everyone was still here even though lots of people jokingly left clothes on the ground in random places as though people had been spirited away.

Camping later claimed that it was a “spiritual rapture”, or a “rapture of the spirit”. There does not seem to be any reference on what that term means precisely. One could guess that means that the spirits or souls of believers were taken on May 21, leaving their bodies behind on auto pilot.

Camping still claims that the rapture (albeit a different kind) DID occur on May 21. Therefor Judgement Day is still scheduled for tomorrow. “Probably”. Yes, he is already hedging his bets according to an article in the Global Post.

Camping said “the end is going to come very, very quietly probably within the next month … by October 21. Probably there will be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against God,” he said, according to the Post. “We can become more and more sure that they’ll quietly die and that will be the end of their story.”

He has said nothing else about the Judgement of non-believers and sinners. According to the above line, our Judgement, as with everyone else, is to cease existing. Which is what scientific evidence shows us anyway.

Before the supposed Rapture last year, I subscribed to Camping’s email just so i could keep tabs on what he is up to. The following is the most recent email that has been sent out:

Web Site Update 10-19-21

1.    New message on Luke 11:5-13: Does this mean salvation has been and is possible during the 5 months.”  This message was done in response to multiple people sending me emails on this subject.  It can be accessed from here.

2.    Our prolific writer, Brother Robert Fitzpatrick has completed a new article entitled “May YouBe Like The spider,” which is accessed in left-had column of site here.

I really look forward to seeing all of you who are God’s elect very soon in paradise. As I contemplate what is most likely to take place within the next couple days, I have to remind myself that we walk by faith and not by sight because it is all just too incomprehensibly awesome to be able to put one’s mind around. Our human natures alone would not allow us to believe in such things, but through the faith of Christ, we believe it, for after all, it does come from the very Word of God, and to my knowledge, no one has legitimately disproven the biblical calendar of history. Is it possible we do not see all things clearly? Absolutely, for as long as we are still in this world, we see through a glass dimly. Nevertheless, I am convinced that whether one is saved, or whether one is just an open-minded seeker of truth, if all the evidence and proofs for the accuracy of the biblical timeline are carefully examined, there is just too much support from the Bible to think this is just some falsely devised scheme of men. That is not possible!

Brother Mike

http://May-212011.com

May 21, 2011 was the beginning of The 5 Months of Judgment Day. There is no longer any possibility for salvation!  October 21, 2011 is The End of the World by fire.

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Personal Heroes

Ken and I were fortunate enough to take part in the Amazing Adventure 5: Skeptics of the Caribbean sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation randi.org It was a wonderful, rum-soaked seven days full of laughter, bonding and skepticism.

We were also treated to the presence of the Amazing One himself, James Randi. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Randi, go to YouTube and search. He has been working to expose charlatans for a good number of years. His favorite adversary was Uri Geller. Yes, that spoon-bending guy.

Scientists actually studied what they called The Geller Effect. Mr. Geller never admitted that what he was doing was nothing more than a trick. He constantly swore that he was just doing something that came naturally to him. Scientists were actually fooled by this. If he were, after all these years, to admit what he had been doing, he would be sued for fraud by multiple agencies.

Randi also took part in the first card trick ever done in outer space. He created the Alpha Project projectalpha.html which fooled paranormal researchers for over two years. Banachek, who grew to have a full career in stage magic and mentalism, was one of the Alpha Kids.

He was also kind enough to take a personal interest in my own journey as a fledgeling skeptic. I have been very fortunate to be able to spend some one on one time with him. Thanks to Randi’s kindness and advice, I’m finding my footing in the skeptical world.

Another personal hero that I’ve mentioned in previous articles is the wonderful George Hrab of Geologic Podcast fame: The Geologic Podcast Home. His humor and insight have influenced my development as a skeptic. He’s the one that taught me, and keeps reminding me, that personal heroes are people just like me. Even though they’re giants, they still put their pants on one leg at a time.

From George I also learned patience in dealing with non-skeptical people. He was the first person I heard say that you cannot change the mind of a True Believer but you CAN plant the seed. He uses an adage from Patrick Swayze’s movie Road House. “Be nice. Be nice until it’s time to not be nice.”. And so, I try very hard to be nice even when I want to apply a baseball bat upside the head to knock some common sense into some of these people.

On the other end of that spectrum is my personal hero, Penn Jillette. From Penn I learned that it’s okay not to believe what everyone else believes. I’ve never really been part of the herd even though I spent most of my life trying VERY hard to be just that.  Please don’t misunderstand me, Penn is a very kind and compassionate man. It can be seen in some of the Bullshit episodes and his video blog episode about the man who gave him the Gideon pocket Bible. He just has zero tolerance for so-called psychics or other charlatans that cause harm or take advantage of people. This is evident from ANY of the episodes of Bullshit. I hope one day I’ll get the privilege of meeting him so that I can tell him personally what a difference he made in my life.

I am an adult, but I’ll tell you what; THESE are the people I want to grow up to be.

Elton John: “Jesus Was Gay”

The premiere of my series “Why It Doesn’t Work has been preempted by Elton John.

It’s been the talk of the news media and the blogosphere for days now. Elton John was quoted in an interview with Parade magazine over the weekend as saying “I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East — you’re as good as dead.”.

Unfortunately in his attempt to make sense of the figure of Jesus, he outraged a metric crapton (yes that IS an actual measurement) of religious groups. Of course it really doesn’t take much to outrage religious groups these days. So it’s not surprising that Sir Elton’s attempt to make sense of religion really pissed some people off.

Church leaders and biblical scholars rushed to dispute John’s views of Jesus.

Lecturer Joan Taylor, of King’s College London, insisted Jesus was celibate or “sexually ascetic”.

Stephen Green, director of Christian Voice, said the gay claim was “a desperate cry for attention”.

A kinder take on Sir Elton’s ideas from Catholic Herald editor Luke Coppen were: “Someone once said we all try to remake God in our own image. It’s just possible that Elton John might be guilty of that.”

A Church of England spokesman said insights on Jesus were “perhaps best left to academics”

Bloggers have come out of the woodwork decrying Elton’s quotes as well:

One blogger known as Rhardin tells Fox News’ 411 blog, “I will never listen to this man’s music again. How dare he speak of my Lord in such a disgraceful way. He should not speak on things he knows nothing about. I hope and pray that all Christians will take a stand on this one. Elton John’s lifestyle speaks for itself.”

Elsewhere, bobj72 tells TheDailyBeast.com, “While I have had some appreciation for Elton John’s music…he could not be further from the truth on this matter regarding Jesus. It is clearly stated in Leviticus 18:22, 23; that Christ sees homosexuality as an abomination.”

Upon investigation, Jesus did not say anything of the sort in that passage. Jesus wasn’t even quoted because Leviticus is one of the books in the Old Testament. Even in the Old Testament (NIV version) homosexuality isn’t called an abomination. It is called “detestable” : ‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. Technically homosexuality isn’t referred to at all.

Some Biblical scholars even claim that the interpretation is wrong and that quote actually means that two men shouldn’t have sex in the marriage bed that a hetero couple share.

All that aside, I think that too many people put far too much stock into what celebrities say. If I said that Jesus got it on with Mary Magdalene and they had a kid just like Dan Brown said in his novel, no one would give a rat’s hind quarters because 1) I’m not a celebrity and 2) most people know I’m a non-believer and would expect me to say something like that.

Lots of people worship a black Jesus, a European Jesus or a Spanish Jesus. They seek to make their god something they can understand and relate to. Elton did the same thing. Nothing more. I have no belief in any divine being, but I can relate to that.

Belief

I understand that belief in a capital-h higher power is a relatively complex thing. People believe for a number of reasons. I have to wonder though… How much of belief is a coping mechanism for helplessness.

For instance, a loved one is in the hospital with a severe illness. Someone who feels an overwhelming sense of being able to do nothing might turn to something larger than themselves in hopes THAT being can make it better. Perhaps praying, thus perceived as doing something, is better than doing nothing.

Would that then make belief a coping mechanism?

I understand that belief has been a way to make sense of the world. Can it be diluted down to that? Is belief in a higher power just a different form of homeopathy?

What do you think? Is belief a coping mechanism? A form of comfort? A way of making sense of the world?