Weather alert: Fire and brimstone warning issued for May 21, 2001, redacted due to flawed data.
The entire blogosphere is likely talking about the second, yet vastly more public failure of Harold Camping. First he predicted the Rapture would occur in September 1994, and after that first doomsday came without anyone being miraculously carted off to Heaven, Camping said his math was off and offered a second date: May 21, 2011.
It is now May 22, 2011 (or later, depending on when you’re reading this). Another predicted Rapture that didn’t happen. The closest thing we came to any indication of an apocalypse is Iceland’s volcano erupting again – though not nearly as bad as last year’s eruption that interrupted air travel in the region for months.
What many people are failing to see are the effects this prediction has had. People have given up their entire lives because of this prediction and significant portions if not the entireties of their savings and assets. Others have killed family and committed suicide because they didn’t want themselves or their family to suffer through seeing the world end – presumably those who committed such atrocious actions were also convinced of not being worthy of being taken to Heaven with Jesus. So here’s an interesting question: should Camping be held legally responsible for the actions taken as a result of his prediction? There is no legal device currently at common or statutory law by which he could be held responsible for that death and destruction, but you know people are laying blame on him and his radio network.
Camping’s 1994 prediction didn’t go very far. It couldn’t have much reach because no one would give it much publicity and the world-wide web was still in its infancy – Yahoo! wouldn’t be founded till 1995, Google till 1998, and close to all newspapers and news organizations weren’t yet on the WWW at that point. We all know about it now because of the publicity the Internet and news organizations have given his 2011 prediction, and the only reason his 2011 prediction went so far and reached so many people is because of the advances of technology since his last prediction.
So what excuse will Camping conjure this time? Was his math again flawed? Were we spared because he spread the word? Or did Jesus just feel that not enough people have accepted him to meet the "quota"? What thoughts currently occupy the minds of those who so vehemently followed Camping and worked so feverishly to spread his message?
One thing that should be clear is simply this: no doomsday prediction should ever be taken seriously. Yet people are easily manipulated.
And when you tell people who are convinced that they are "saved" that the Rapture is coming and soon they’ll all be with Jesus, how can they not be excited? That is, after all, what they’ve waited their entire lives to witness. Christians are raised to live their lives as if the Rapture will happen tomorrow. When Jesus calls the saved few to Heaven before God destroys the Earth, do you want to be left behind, left with those to be cast into the dark pit of a hellish and tortuous eternity?
Yet when the Rapture is predicted, and the predictor sounds so sincere about it, and then it doesn’t happen, the question that really needs to be asked is why so many people allow themselves to be so manipulated by self-appointed mouthpieces who allege themselves to speak for God on God’s behalf?
If this latest Rapture prediction has given us any lesson it is simply this: no one person or book speaks for God, not even the Bible. Not me, not you, not any Christian, and certainly not any pastor, priest or reverend up to and including the Pope. There are no prophets and never have been. No prediction of the Rapture has ever come to pass as predicted, and no action of God that has been predicted by these self-appointed, brainwashed, imbecilic mouthpieces has ever come to pass as predicted.
Instead people look upon actions after the fact and say "that was God who did that". Pat Robertson is a very famous example of that with his many gaffes ascribing various disasters in modern recollection to "God’s wrath".
Here’s an idea: perhaps God wants the Rapture to be a surprise, you know, just like the Bible says. You’re walking along the sidewalk, and suddenly, *poof* you’re in Heaven. Or perhaps God will pull a Star Trek VI – just as you’re about to hear or say something dreadfully important to whatever you’re working on or whatever is going on in your life, *poof* and you’re saying the entire time "Damn in, damn in, God and Jesus, just when he was about to tell me who killed my wife! Oh wait, I suppose you can tell me that, right?"
If there is a God and if there will be a Rapture, He will decide what will happen and when. At the same time, one cannot simply point to something that occurred purely by coincidence and say "that was God". In short, we cannot know, and any assertions or statements of fact made about God, what he will do and what he allegedly has done, require evidence. Yet where is the evidence that conclusively and exclusively supports these false predictions and prophecies and statements post facto of what God has done?
There is none. No evidence whatsoever.
The Rapture didn’t occur as predicted because Camping is not a prophet of God. His assertions that he found "evidence" in the Bible pointing to a May 21, 2011, date for the Rapture are flawed. And that evidence is flawed because the Bible is knowingly and provably flawed beyond any hope of repair or redemption. The Bible is flawed because it was written by men and not inspired or actually penned by God.
The God asserted by Christians does not exist. As such I feel it safe to say that the Rapture will never occur, so stop wasting your time and energy praying and hoping to be one of the chosen few and just live your lives.