I normally leave the articles on the blog to other, more qualified folks, but I feel compelled to speak up, briefly, about something I read today. This is from an opinion piece at Chicago Now, which appears to be a part of the Chicago Tribune news contraption:
As for me, all this doomsday stuff about the non-believers burning in hell is what turns a lot of people off to Christianity, by the way. I just don’t respond to threats. However going so far as to mocking the Christians with a party is a little rude.
Our party is ‘a little rude’.
While I try not to throw well-meaningness immediately under the bus, I do think this sort of opinion is incredibly short-sighted, and the reason is right in that quote. And in this image:
We have a clear idea that Harold Camping and his retirement-fund-spending compatriots are expecting to get caught up in Lindsey’s “Great Snatch”. What is less clear is their proposition about the rest of us– the vast majority of the population on Earth, including most Christians– have in store in the months, years, and eternities that await us should we not heed the ravings of elderly men who are bad at math.
Allow me to enumerate some of what Camping, Lindsey and LaHaye have in store for us:
- itchy, untreatable boils
- stinging, Charlemagne-esque bugs
- the whole Deep Impact thing
- water turning to blood, no more salmon
- widespread and unceasing war, famine and death
- bad agriculture in Iraq
And while the assembled eschatologists quibble over how and when it occurs, and how much of it they get to personally see themselves, the story always ends the same way:
- eternal, unceasing fiery torture under the sanction of a god who feels that all of the above is not only just, but an example of loving kindness, in a pit run by his failed second-stringers
I’ve read “The Late Great Planet Earth”, most of the “Left Behind” series, and numerous other books detailing Christian eschatology. People think I’m into the end of the world when I’m really into propaganda, but that’s another story. In these books, time and time again, I see barely-contained glee for the concept that you, I, and likely everyone we know and care about is going to be tortured. Tortured for longer than the universe has existed. Billions tortured, since it won’t be just for us atheists, but the vast majority of other Christians as well as anyone who believes otherwise.
That’s silly. Laughable. Also, incredibly cruel.
Tomorrow, we’re celebrating the idea that Harold Camping is wrong: the world is here, we’re a part of it, there’s no one to torture us for failing to pick the right fable out of millions, and the long struggle for progress will continue. In short, we’re celebrating being alive. We could do that any day, but sometimes it takes a nut who wants you in pain to remind us.
UPDATE 1: As you’ll see in the comments, it turns out that the Camping Crowd are annihilationists, which is a divergent doctrine from most rapture believers. While Camping himself believes that I’ll have no conscious existence beyond death (Hey, I agree!), not everyone involved with the 5/21 shenanigans is in agreement on this topic, so I will continue to stand by what I’m saying here.
This is the first time I’ve seen this variant concept in the wild, so I’m happy to point it out. Thank you, Steve in ATL, for the information.