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The End is Nigh

by ROY SPECKHARDT

 

 

For those of us outside one particular extremist Christian circle, May 21st is expected to be just another Saturday. There are errands to be run and friends to see, sleep to catch up on and bills to be tackled. (And for Washington D.C. residents so inclined, the first strategic summit of the Secular Coalition for America is being held.)

But in preparation for May 21, some Americans have quit their jobs, settled their affairs, and arranged for their care of their earth-bound pets, for they believe this Saturday - May 21, 2011 - is the Rapture.

The Rapture refers to a passage in the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, describing what is also referred to as End Times, when God calls all good Christians home to Heaven, leaving the non-believers to an Armageddon plagued planet.

 

"... and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord"

 

This doomsday calculation has been most loudly touted by Harold Camping, founder of Family Radio Worldwide, who also predicted the Rapture to fall up on the earth in 1994. He was wrong then and he's wrong now, but followers continue to line up behind his word, preparing for the final countdown.

Why?

History is wrought with false prophets, men and women offering to lead the way and claiming to know the "truth." These misguided movements aren't always steeped in religion, either. From the large scale atrocity of the Holocaust to the cult-oriented tragedy at Waco, humanity is frequently wounded by such belief-based fanaticism. Actions taken without reason or rationality pose a danger, not only to the individual, but to society as well.

Expert analysis isn't required to confirm that Camping's theories, just like other religious zealot rantings, are without a scientific basis. The clash of science and religious belief is a frequent narrative and old tale.

In 1633, Galileo was tried for heresy in Rome, namely due to his support for heliocentrism, the since-confirmed theory that the earth revolves around the sun. Leaders within the Catholic Church were outraged by his assertions, referring to the scriptural claims of the earth's position within the universe. Galileo, who refused to withdraw his theory, was sentenced to a life under house arrest.

Galileo's discoveries, so vehemently opposed by the religious powers of the time, set the groundwork for modern science. This begs the question, how much of our earthly life could be improved and revolutionized without the cries and protests from the religious fundamentalists, who continue to look for meaning in dogmatic outdated texts, instead of seeking meaning in the only world they will ever know.

Many humanists and atheists are finding great opportunity in May 21st. Not only has this proven to be a business prospect (some have started a pet care service for families who believe they will be taken to heaven without their cats and dogs), but other humanists and atheists are taking time to celebrate the event, throwing "after rapture parties" across the country.

With the devout either gone or (much more likely) rationalizing another failed faith prediction, nontheists will have reason to celebrate reason. It certainly frames those who don't believe in any gods in a favorable light when we are seen having a good time instead of preparing for an eternal exit or mourning our continued existence on Earth.

Unfortunately for some of Camping's followers, the repercussions of May 22nd will be considerable. The thousands of bus, billboard, and radio ads weren't free, but were funded by many people who didn't expect to need the money much longer. There will be no divine safety net for those who have just spent their life savings. Will they turn to each other for support?

Or will they turn away from the dogmatic teachings that sadly lead them astray in the first place?

I suppose we'll find out on May 22.

 

[Courtesy: Huffington Post]

May 20, 2011

Conversation about this article

1: Pritam Singh (North Carolina, U.S.A.), May 20, 2011, 7:22 AM.

You know, George W. Bush was right about the 'Clash of Civilizations'. But, it looks like it's the Sikhs who are going to win ... if he and his ilk get recalled tomorrow!

2: Harsimran Kaur (New York, U.S.A.), May 20, 2011, 7:28 AM.

Thank the good Lord that only Christians will be "pulled up" during this Rapture. I don't mind being left behind. Do you? There will be more jobs, better jobs, cheaper gas, more room ... The good Lord has his ways. Hallelujah!

3: Bholi (Chandigarh, Punjab), May 20, 2011, 7:44 AM.

We'll miss our dear, dear Christian friends. But the consolation is that they are definitely going to a better place. So long, friends ... may you have a swift and painless journey. Do send us a postcard.

4: Mohan Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), May 20, 2011, 7:46 AM.

Numerology is my hobby, and I personally do not forsee any thing major on this 21st of May, 2011. There is no destruction of the earth; however this 21st century is a turning point of the new millennium, a century of drastic change. Since the year 2000, natural calamities are repeatedly occurring, more then ever before. What we have witnessed so far in the first decade is just a glimpse of what is to come in the future. The level of water will increase around the world and also there will be serious catastrophes in years to come, including war and civil wars.

5: Harinder (Uttar Pradesh, India), May 20, 2011, 8:01 AM.

We with our own raptures will be having a party on 22 May, 2011.

6: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), May 20, 2011, 8:11 AM.

I write this comment on 21st May, 2011 a quiet night outside my window - the day has already turned in Malaysia. I don't know where this doomsday clock might be ticking. "I don't believe," said the agnostic. It is the 21st of May here already, and beyond. The internet traffic has not abated, the stars are shining and nearly a full moon is in its fullest glory. But, the believers will still have the last word. "See the power of our prayers, the world is saved!" is what the kooks will claim. Let's instead listen to Guru Nanak: "Kaho Naanak kartay kee-aa baataa jo kichh karnaa so kar rahi-ahh" - [GGS:469.12] - 'Nanak speaks the stories of the Creator Lord; Whatever He is to do, He does." It is the so-called good people who do a great deal of harm in this world by proclaiming kaljug now and then and proffering mumbo jumbo as stock of their trade for the gullible - a thriving business indeed. Good bye, good pandit Christians.

7: Jesroshan Singh (Malaysia), May 20, 2011, 8:47 AM.

There is this girl in my class who makes jokes about my chest hair and my long hair. I don't wear a turban because I am still growing my hair. Nevertheless, her jokes are sickening and I hope the Lord comes to Malaysia and takes her too. At least she will gone - even if it is to "heaven" ... and I won't see her on Monday!

8: Hardyal Singh (Belgium), May 20, 2011, 9:29 AM.

Mohan Singh ji (#4): There is only one kind of numerology in Sikhi: Ik (1) Oankar, Punj (5) Pyare, Chaali (40) Muktey ... Other than that, there is no room for Numerology in Sikhi. Sorry, but what you say is pure bunkum.

9: Taran Kaur (Patiala, Punjab), May 20, 2011, 9:33 AM.

Mohan Singh ji (#4): Balderdash! Ever heard of ecology, and the way our actions and omissions (and emissions!) are messing up the planet. Nothing to do with your numerology hocus-pocus, trust me.

10: Harinder (Delhi, India), May 20, 2011, 9:38 AM.

I urge our Christian brothers and sisters to opt out of this "Beam me up, Scotty!" ride and elect to stay behind with Sikhs to enjoy a bountiful life jointly.

11: Ken Jamieson (Illinois, U.S.A.), May 20, 2011, 9:41 AM.

Here's what I suggest: Those who believe in this Rapture business and do go "up" on Saturday, wonderful! But those amongst them who get left behind: President Obama should send each one of them a certificate on rich parchment, carrying the official seal of the Unites States of America and the Presidential signature. It should carry the title, "CERTIFIED IDIOT".

12: R.S. Minhas (New York, U.S.A.), May 20, 2011, 3:05 PM.

Is it too late to put in a request to book a single room in the Hyatt Regency in Heaven for me, please?

13: R.S. Minhas (New York, U.S.A.), May 22, 2011, 4:17 PM.

Still around. "U Haul" did not show up at the appointed time.

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