What Is So Crazy About End Times?
The eschatologists are the new birthers. I’ve not only seen the “May 21, 2011” predictions on newspapers like USA Today, but I’ve talked to many people who think it has a fair chance of happening.
A 2010 Pew study showed that 41 percent of Americans believe Jesus Christ will literally return to Earth by 2050. As for the date, they aren’t so sure.
The Rev. Randy Carson believes the world is in its last days and that the time is quickly approaching for apocalyptic biblical prophecies to come true.
What he doesn’t believe is that it’s going to happen on the third Sunday in May, as proclaimed by a California-based biblical prognosticator.
“It’s just another crackpot,” Carson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Nahunta, Ga., said of the proclamation of Harold Camping, who says Christ will return on May 21.
Yes, when a person believes in the Biblical apocalypse on a specific date, that person is a total crackpot. But when a person believes in the Biblical apocalypse without specifying a date, that person is a normal Christian.
This “Biblical apocalypse,” of course, involves the following.
The rapture is described primarily in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. God will resurrect all believers who have died, give them glorified bodies, and take them from the earth, along with those believers who are still alive and who will at that time also be given glorified bodies.
…the rapture is the return of Christ in the clouds to remove all believers from the earth before the time of God’s wrath. The second coming is the return of Christ to the earth to bring the tribulation to an end and to defeat the Antichrist and his evil world empire.
Hear that kids? At any given time, all the Christians in the world, including the resurrected corpses of all the dead ones, will suddenly disappear into God’s world. For the rest of us atheists and other non-Christians who are still on Earth, God will send his wrath and judgement for some undetermined period, but maybe 7 years. (But a day in God’s time could equal billions of years, ask any Christian scientist).
Of course, whenever religion tries to make some prediction or claim about the world, it doesn’t make it very coherently, and there are many different versions of the End Times, all of them claiming to be the right “metaphor” and “interpretation”. But let us not get confused here.
Religion has had thousands of years to make its claims. It’s been tested again and again and again. And the best it could do, after events like the Great Disappointment, was to align itself reluctantly with science.
Carl Sagan put it brilliantly, as usual.
Think of how many religions attempt to validate themselves with prophecy. Think of how many people rely on these prophecies, however vague, however unfulfilled, to support or prop up their beliefs. Yet has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science?
Posted on May 15, 2011, in Religion, Science and tagged biblical apocalypse, biblical prophecy, Carl Sagan, end times, eschatology, Harold Camping, May 21, prophecy, Rapture, science as a candle, Second Coming, the Great Disappointment. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.