Armageddon & Bull Sh*t Theologies


One week ago (Saturday May 21, 2011) we should have all been blown to cosmic dust, or raptured up into the Heavens, or put into purgatory, or…what is it about the end times that gets us all in a query of frenzy? What is it about mass death in the name of God that has a lot of religious pious individuals smiling from cheek to cheek and actually being overwhelmed with happiness? A lot of this has to do with the belief in something that is obviously bigger than us and brings us immense self-identity, self-worth, and a false sense of self-righteousness; the same concept happens with, say, health freaks, environmental zealots, and anyone who has found the “Gospel” in a “religious” type context. Sociologist J. Paul Williams depicts this religious process as 1) the secret level—which a person keeps to their self and does not discuss or divulge religiosity which transcends into 2) the private—in which the person divulges information with carefully selected people; then comes 3) the denominational—which the individual shares with many others in a large group and, lastly, 4) the societal—where the “gospel” is shared with all, typically vigorously, and with much passion (J. Paul Williams The Nature Of Religion 1962). It is at this point (The societal) which the person can become zealous and over energetic to share this new found “news” with others.
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Convicted On Judgment Day

You might have recently heard about Harold Camping. A California-based radio broadcaster, he has made news for his end of days predictions and his influence over thousands of followers who have given to and supported his claim of the coming Judgment Day.  Camping predicted that the end of the world would be ushered in last Saturday, May 21, 2011, and that 200 million Christians would be raptured amidst global earthquakes.

Many have written in jest or condemnation or love about this topic, but what struck me most was a thought I had on Saturday morning.  Knowing that Camping’s Judgment Day had arrived, and assuming it was another false prophecy consistent with a ministry rife with false teaching, I still wondered what it would be like for Christ to return that day.  As I contemplated this Second Coming, here’s what I thought:  I’d really like to finish the house first.

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What if today really is the day?

Even kooks can serve a purpose. Take Harold Camping, just the latest in a long line of Christian kooks who have populated the landscape for the past 2000 years. Camping’s prediction that the rapture would take place on May 21, 2011 stirred up all kinds of interest from secular and religious sources alike.

Overwhelmingly there were two reactions. Either people laughed hysterically at yet another weirdo proclaiming doomsday (these were the secular pundits), or they apologized profusely for someone who clearly never read the verse where Jesus says nobody knows the hour or the day when he will return (these would be the Christian apologists).

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