Saturday, May 21, 2011

Judgement Day, May 21, TODAY! You laugh?

I'm sure you've all heard about Harold Camping's prediction that the rapture will occur tonight, May 21, at about 6pm. His multimillion dollar Oakland CA based radio station, Family Radio, claims they have infallible, absolute Biblical proof, 100% guaranteed, no plan B. A million dollar billboard campaign has posted over a thousand Judgement Day billboards. "Project Caravan" has been traveling in decorated RVs proclaiming the end. It appears as though Camping has convinced hundreds, maybe thousands of believers worldwide, many of whom have made drastic preparations for the end. One man, Jeff Gonzalez, quit his job at Intel. One couple, Jessica and Eddie Ramos, quit their jobs, pulled their life savings out of the bank, and pulled their children out of school.

Quote from Camping:
"How can anyone dare to dispute with the Bible concerning the absolute truth that the beginning of the Day of Judgment together with the Rapture will occur on May 21, 2011?"

Quote from a Camping follower:
"I'm positive that the same question (what if you wake up on May 22?) was asked of Noah, and all those who asked that question perished for unbelief."

Most Christians hold Camping and his following to be nutty fanatics, even a cult. But this is a dissonant position, because Christians believe that the foretold events themselves are indeed going to happen, just not necessarily on May 21.

For example, Dr Wayne Grudem says, "And then what will happen on May 22 will be this, he'll (Camping) say 'whoops, I got the math wrong, let me recalculate' and then he'll set another date. It'll go on probably until he dies. Unless (begins to grin) Jesus does come back, which could happen any day."

Grudem's last statement seemed, to me, intellectually disconnected from his previous thoughts. It's as though a different person started talking, or he was suddenly speaking from a different motive. Regardless, what he does indicate is that it's not the predicted events that Christians consider nutty, it's just the predicted date.

Or is it? Can a date trigger such a gut feeling of laughter? I contend that the knee-jerk response of humor and disbelief that most Christians (and non-Christians) feel toward Camping's prediction reveals how superficially they believe in the Rapture and Judgement Day. These Doomsday events are doctrinal items which most Christians merely nod to, not real expectations which shape their behavior. It's not the date which makes Christians laugh, it's the Doomsday events themselves.

If a seismologist predicted a major earthquake on May 21, he/she wouldn't be laughed at nearly as much. This is because people genuinely expect that earthquakes will happen. Christians don't genuinely expect that Doomsday will happen; if they did, Camping's prediction would not incite the dismissive reaction it does. At least that's my prediction, laugh all you want!

No comments:

Post a Comment