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Strange, I'm Still Here
Ren
#1 Posted : Tuesday, May 24, 2011 6:35:59 PM

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Posts: 36

Unless you've been disconnected from the TV and the internet for the past couple weeks, I'm sure you've heard about the end of the world. You know, the one that was supposed to happen May 21st. Some kooky old man out in California has been declaring it for awhile now and he happens to be a very big person at some radio station. So the station put up all sorts of billboards and other advertisements for the end of the world because this old guy somehow interpreted the Bible to give an exact date of the Apocalypse. If you're like any sane person, you didn't believe this nut for a second, so who cares, right? Well, you should.

The first thing that should concern you is how many people actually believed this guy. This guy had thousands of people believing him. Many people donated to the station that has been propping up this guy. A few people believed him so strongly that they did extremely stupid things like quit doing their ordinary daily tasks, quit their jobs, or spent/donated all their money. How can someone believe this guy so strongly that they'd do those things? It's kind of creepy.

It's not like this guy has a great track record. I don't believe he has any track record of predicting earthquakes or storms or anything like that. Hell, I'd feel a little better if he could at least predict the time of the sunrise one month from today... science can do that one easily enough, but somehow I doubt he could do it to the nearest minute without consulting some scientists. Even worse than his lack of accurate predictions is the other big prediction he did make.

This same guy made the same prediction years ago. After that prediction fell through, he claimed that it was a mathematical mistake. He had simply calculated it wrong. Seems like quite a big oops. Maybe he should have had someone check his work for something that, if real, would be monumentally important?

Maybe the problem is that there's no way to check his work. Just open up your Bible or use an online version. You can read dozens of translations of the bible in multiple languages. Where does it give you any information that you could combine to create a date for the Apocalypse? Without personally being a Bible scholar, I don't believe that information exists. Anyone with a Bible or a connection to the internet can verify it for themselves if they want to spend a bunch of hours reading. Hey, if you find it, come let me know. I'll pass on doing the homework this time.

So, how can people be so gullible? Well, let's try something that might be even more humorous. Do you know what many Bible scholars have to say about Revelations? Many scholars claim that John (the author) thought he was living in the end times. The Apocalypse wasn't something that was going to happen 2000 years later. No, it was something he was going to experience in his own lifetime. Many scholars claim that John believed Nero, the Roman Emperor during part of John's life, was the anti-Christ. It was going to be Nero who would lead the forces of hell against the Christians in a final battle of good versus evil. During Nero's reign, the Apocalypse would occur. Living through Nero's terrible persecutions against the Christians, I'm sure it felt like the world was ending. Yet, Nero came and went and the world continued on. It's nearly 2000 years later and we're still here.

It's a bit of a problem. On the one hand, the Bible is supposed to be the perfect book written by God. On the other hand, one of the major independent interpretations of the Revelation chapters within the Bible predicted the end of the world approximately 2000 years ago. It doesn't add up. So something very important must happen within the Christian community.

Since the Bible is supposed to be perfect, the interpretation that would make the Bible wrong must be explained away and rejected. The spin machine starts spinning and voila, Revelations is about some unknown time in the future. Only kooky non-Christians would believe that John meant the world was ending during his own lifetime. As I pointed out in A Bible Flaw? Galileo's Grievance, Revelations isn't the only re-interpretation of the Bible in order to make it correct. After 1000+ years of believing the Earth was flat and the Sun revolved around it, newer interpretations of the Bible claim that the Bible knew the Earth was round long before humans knew it. The only difference in the reinterpretation of Revelations is that it happened very shortly after being written rather than having 1000+ years of being blatantly wrong. It doesn't end with just those two things either. There are giant lists of re-interpretations, dubious explanations, and spins designed to explain away the errors in the Bible.

As an independent observer, it's quite saddening, yet it seems to be so ingrained into some people. Despite a complete failure of his prophecy, this new radio guy is now turning on his spin-machine and actually claiming that the rapture *did* happen, but it was purely spiritual, not physical. Spin spin spin. If the choice is between admitting that you lied and lying even more so that you never have to admit the lie, too many people will keep digging in deeper. He's already lied, most people know it, so what more personal harm can one more lie do?

Sadly, he's not the one who is hurt most by his lies. The people who believe him often face the worst punishment. I'd like to believe that people would wizen up and ignore idiots like this guy, but I know better. These people have been trained from birth to believe in spin, rationalizations, and dubious explanations by the people they are supposed to trust most... their parents, their peers, and their religious leaders. It's not surprising that they can be suckered in by a guy who's doing the exact same thing that they've not only accepted, but completely revere in their lives. And when doubts creep into their heads, and a glimmer of hope emerges to break the cycle, a simple saying destroys it all.

You must have faith.

Faith and eternal bliss or hell, you choose. The spinners keep on spinning and the sheep keep getting fleeced. The cycle continues.
Ren
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