I Wish We’d All Been Ready

The most recent hype surrounding the Family Radio ministry’s prediction that Jesus would return on May 21, 2011 has really got me to thinking and reading. According to the Pew Research Center, most Christians (almost 80%) believe in the second coming of Jesus in some way, shape or form. However, from what I have read, most of the mainline Christian groups regard Harold Camping a nut-job.

the-rapture

As examples of this, I need only point to my friends on Facebook, many of which I would consider a fairly typical sampling of Christianity in America. During the build up to the non-rapture that was supposed to occur on May 21, I posted an interview with a follower of the group on my Facebook page. The first response I received said quite plainly, “that guy’s an idiot; just saying”. This is from a pastor friend of mine who firmly believes in the second coming of Jesus, but disagrees that anyone should be so bold as to attempt to place a date on the event.

Another friend wrote this on her Facebook page on May 21 (spelling is hers):

Happy end of the world….lol. Funny cause if you read the Bible it would tell you we wont know the day or time, to always be ready….lol. Love those who.make christians look like idiots.

I honestly laughed out loud when I read this quote. Yes, I too love those who make Christians look like idiots. Those that tend to make Christians look like idiots are, well, the Christians who don’t think they are idiots.

The Stupid Church People site was started with the intent of pointing out the stupid things that Christians say and do. It’s still about that. However, it’s not enough to point out just the idiosyncrasies of believers. I truly want to respect the beliefs of others and “live and let live”, but those that laugh at the nonsense of others and then espouse equal nonsense (although more accepted) truly make me scratch my head.

Here’s what I am saying regarding the whole “end of the world rapture thing”. It’s not going to happen. Never. It’s a myth. Jesus isn’t coming back like a “thief in the night” to save us from ourselves.

More interesting to me is the irrational logic implored by so many Christians when refuting the Family Radio Ministry and Harold Camping’s predictions of the Rapture occurring on May 21. As my friends on Facebook have shown over and over, the Christians that I know didn’t have a problem with the rapture part of the prediction, just the date. They believe the following:

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  – Matthew 24:36

That it is more acceptable to believe in the “unspecified, can happen at any moment rapture”, doesn’t make it any less “idiotic” or laughable. One could even argue that it could be dangerous. Many people were upset with Camping for spreading fear surrounding his prediction. One radio show I heard took several calls where people talked about their children having trouble sleeping in the days leading up to May 21. Others were outraged at the amount of money raised by this ministry to spread the word of this non-event.

I wonder why it is that this outrage isn’t turned against Christian churches and believers everywhere that ultimately believe and do the exact same thing. Several warn of the unknown time and date of Jesus’ return, urging us to always be ready. Unless things have changed, isn’t the ultimate goal of churches to raise money to spread the good news that Jesus will save us from being caught on the wrong side of the rapture event?

Churches may not talk about that side of their doctrine much anymore because doing so would make normal people just laugh at them. It’s better to keep the message about building better families, improving your self-image, cleaning up the environment, helping Africa and finding your purpose. That stuff sells books and most importantly brings in donations.

Don’t be fooled by these window dressings. Most likely your Christian neighbor believes that on some unknown day in the future, a trumpet will sound and the earth will shake. They believe that graves will burst open and the dead will rise. They believe that all saved believers, living and dead, will rise up to join Jesus in the sky and be ushered into heaven. They also believe that unbelievers, like me, will face terrible turmoil and strife for a period of time and ultimately spend eternity in hell. That is what most Bible-believing, God-fearing Christians believe.

Larry Norman sang a song years ago titled, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” which was used in the film “A Thief in the Night”. That film was used to scare many young people in the 70′s to “turn or burn”. It certainly did a trick on me back in the day.

I wish we’d all be ready too… ready to use our minds and think rationally and use common sense. But that would be too easy and many of us weren’t taught that way. According to my pastor friend that thinks Harold Camping is “an idiot”, I’m just in denial about all of this. From where I sit, that’s better than living in a constant delusion.

Unlike my pastor friend, I wouldn’t call those that believe in the rapture “idiots”… I’d just call them believers. Some might say it’s one and the same.

Delusional D-Day, May 21

May 21 is coming! Yes, the end of the world is upon us…. again. At least that’s what Harold Camping says.

You’ve probably heard about this already, but just in case, here’s a brief description of what is expected on that day.

On May 21, 2011 two events will occur. These events could not be more opposite in nature, the one more wonderful than can be imagined; the other more horrific than can be imagined.

A great earthquake will occur the Bible describes it as “such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” This earthquake will be so powerful it will throw open all graves. The remains of the all the believers who have ever lived will be instantly transformed into glorified spiritual bodies to be forever with God.

On the other hand the bodies of all unsaved people will be thrown out upon the ground to be shamed.

The inhabitants who survive this terrible earthquake will exist in a world of horror and chaos beyond description. Each day people will die until October 21,2011 when God will completely destroy this earth and its surviving inhabitants.  ~ from familyradio.com

Today, I heard on the radio one of the followers of this movement (if it can be called that) proclaim his unshakeable faith and belief in this date. He has invested $140, 000 to help buy advertisements to tell others about the date and to warn them to repent.

During the interview, he was asked the question (and I’m paraphrasing), “So what happens when May 22 occurs and nothing happened. What do you think you will feel?” I couldn’t wait to hear his answer because this would be a very pivotal moment for this man. Certainly he’s given thought to the fact that he could indeed be wrong. Hasn’t he? His reply was a matter-of-fact “I wouldn’t even consider this because it’s going to happen.” He reiterated this two or three times. “It’s going to happen”.

Now you might consider this man to be a whack-job or crazy, but I don’t. It’s my contention after hearing him speak that he truly believes the conclusions he has reached after countless hours of study, research and reflection.

How different is he really than anyone else that has reached the same conclusions about the end times? Most, if not all, evangelical Christians believe the same thing about this day. I am sure many of them laugh at this man for setting a date when it will occur, however they probably don’t laugh at how he describes the events of Judgment Day.

I am certain that more revelation will come to light following May 21 that will allow Camping and his group to backtrack from this proclamation. I feel a little sad for the followers who are delusional enough to believe this nonsense. I hope they will be able to handle it when May 22 arrives and it’s just another boring day here on planet earth. No global earthquake. No rapture. No big deal.

Delusions are relative. At least these guys had the cojones to set an expiration date on theirs.

Until the next time.