an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

Pointing and Laughing

It wasn’t just atheists having a chuckle at Harold Camping’s failed May 21st Rapture Prediction, no, sizeable, bordering on vast, numbers of his fellow Christians also mocked. ‘No man knows the hour!’ they crowed, “Matthew 24:36! Matthew 24:36!” other brayed, showing to the world what a total idiot-hole Camping was. Boy shucks was Camping a fool, seemed to be the Christian consensus.

But what, exactly did the think he’d got wrong?

Was it that Jesus, a possibly fictitious 1st Century Jewish carpenter, would return to the Earth alive and well? No, they’re all over that.

Was it the laughable notion that believers would be swept up into the air, to meet the returned Christ in the clouds? No, there may be some debate about whether the rapture happens or not, but most Christians are ok with this as well.

Was it that Camping thought that all non-believers, non-Christians, and anyone else his god didn’t like would be left behind to suffer ‘hell on earth’? Surprisingly no, despite the Christian’s repeated claim that ‘god is love’.

Surely the notion of the dead rising from the grave at the sound of a loud trumpet blast was a little beyond the pale for those attacking HC? Again, no. They’re looking forward to that.

Perhaps it was the idea that his god was going to destroy the entire Universe, because the whole of so-near-to-infinitely-huge-as-makes-no-difference reality was made purely as a backdrop for events centring on the fate of one small group of one species on one planet? No, again other believers saw nothing wrong at all with that.

Was it that he claimed it was going to happen very soon indeed? No, Christians have been claiming that since before Jesus supposedly vanished into the sky in the first place, they’ve been happily proclaiming that we’re all living in ‘the last days’ for 2000 years now.

So what could have caused them all to be so furious/amused/dismissive of Harold Camping? The date. He had the cheek to haul this whole fantastical event into the realm of reality, and claimed to know the date when it would happen.

It’s a bit like a bunch of people mocking someone for claiming Father Christmas would come in April, yet not having a problem with the ‘Father Christmas’ part of the equation, or getting annoyed because a friend had claimed that Hobbits live in Coventry, when we all know they live in Middle Earth.

Camping had such confidence in his delusion that he attached a date to it. He went a mere one step further than all the millions of Rapture Ready believers around the world, and for that he’s being mocked by other who are just as completely wrong as he is.

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