Think Only a Few Fools Believe in the Rapture? Think Again.

May 3, 2011

I am leaving for the CFI cruise soon, and probably will not be putting up another post for a couple of weeks.  But, don’t worry, I will be back in plenty of time to grab a front row seat to witness the failure of the Rapture to take place. 

As you know, some of the god-intoxicated have predicted the Rapture will occur on May 21, followed five months later by the end of the world.  (In between, the unsaved will experience horrible torment, including being forced to watch a continuous loop of Battlefield Earth.)  This latest doomsday prediction has provided a good deal of amusement, with skeptics scheduling Rapture parties and the like.  This absurd prophecy deserves all the ridicule it has received.  Almost as absurd as the prophecy itself is the spectacle that will occur on May 22, as the true believers engage in verbal somersaults, stammering out excuses and rationalizations in a pathetic attempt to explain away the Big Non-Event. 

However, although I do not want to put too much of a damper on skeptics’ festivities, we should keep in mind one sobering thought: although only a relatively few fundies think the Rapture will occur on May 21, an astonishing 41% of the American public believes Jesus will return sometime before 2050.  That’s right.  According to the Pew Research Center, “41 per cent say Jesus Christ will return within the next 40 years.”  41% .  That’s more than the number of Americans who voted for Bob Dole for president in 1996 or for Walter Mondale in 1984. (It’s even a few more than read my book, Future Bioethics.)

In other words, a substantial portion of the American public—more than 4 out of 10—disagrees with the May 21 Rapture freaks only with respect to the date and some of the details of Jesus’ return. Think of that stat the next time you’re assured by some liberal theologian that the arguments of contemporary atheists are directed against targets that no longer exist.

Comments:

#1 anon (Guest) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 at 6:46pm

wow, you truly sound like an arrogant man.  get rid of some of that stress.

#2 Ryan (Guest) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 at 7:34pm

I’m so outraged that I’m going to post as anon! Lmfao! Stress is for christians…not us. Then again, being threatened to spend eternity burning in hell would spike the stress levels wouldn’t it? There’s no getting through to these brain washed zealots. I speak rational atheism whenever I can and hope something sinks in…usually I get hated for it though. With all that “endless pain” stress on the mind though for masturbating to Miley Cyrus videos, I can see how they’re a bit jumpy. Hey, who wouldn’t want an imaginary friend in the sky who always makes everything better? Yet atheists are the ones who are crazy? I out grew santa and the easter bunny AND “god” a long time ago. God-Less America!

#3 Bruce (Guest) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 at 7:42am

I’m going to a concert on the 20th, and then a baseball game on the 22nd, so needless to say it should be a good time that Friday, and I’m really looking forward to short lines at the baseball game on Sunday.

What a bunch of fear-mongering BS.  Of course, what some people predict as the Rapture may truly be Pakistan hitting us with an ICBM.

#4 Apathetic Agnostic on Wednesday May 04, 2011 at 8:32am

Why is it that those who have absolute certainty about the existence of God and who have certain knowledge of God’s plans and priorities so often accuse those with reasonable doubts of “arrogance?

#5 Reba Boyd Wooden on Wednesday May 04, 2011 at 7:12pm

The sad thing is that those who predict these things cause gullible people to make unwise decisions about their lives.

#6 Bruce Long (Guest) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 at 7:13pm

Perhaps the thing that we should be worried about, with all of the monetised hyper-pragmatist psychopaths and their channels for pushing woo, is whether they are going to try to emulate the rapture and especially the apocalypse through conventional means (i.e. not involving any VNSFs: very nasty sky fictions). There are so many political, faither and religious puppet shows going on, the hyper-real pseudo-information measure has reached epic proportions.

I mean, they do a pretty good job of convincing 40% of Americans (and I suspect nearly as large a proportion of Australians) to submit themselves and others to a murderous, duplicitous, psychopathic, hate-filled, contradiction-ridden and blatantly bigoted doctrine and worship a fictive personality of the same kind and then sell it as something positive and peace-giving. If they can do this with a bit of psycho-social stress, some neuro-linguistic programming, and a bit of well set-up cognitive dissonance (you need ‘Messiah X’ to save you from sin construct ‘S’ and hell construct ‘H’: belief in one is required along with the other). You may as well believe Dim Il Sung will save you. You know - like Pol Pot did with his people. (Not that capitalist religionists played any part in their suffering or anything like that.)

When I was a berlievur my rational (and perhaps empathic and human-loving) mind kept asking me what kind of unbelievable arsehole would create a place like hell in the first place. What’s more - what kind of staggering prig would bullshit all of the human beings - to their tangible practical daily detriment - that there is some kind of sin element in themselves and babies. Furthermore, what kind of astonishingly unbelievable scumbag would blame simple mortal being they themselves had created for evil (the poor brutalised female more specifically). I eventually figured out this would have to be someone with an areshole (and a belly button). That or an utter arsehole of an ancient astronaut (or else Arthur C Clarke was right about poo-spermia.)

These people (faither woo shovellers) trade on causing stress and cognitive dissonance. Believers are in a multi-tiered delusion. If they stop believing in the Messiah construct, they are faced with the hell threat that only becomes real for them when their salvation solution is removed. The fear has to go first.

Christian Believers are telling the truth when they tell you they don’t fear the hell and sin constructs. This is because they believe in the such protective constructs of the Messiah construct and Rapture narrative. Islamic believers have the same thing going on with different constructs. Sorry, but Buddhists and Hindus have dualist (metaphysical and mental) constructs and narratives that serve similar purposes. Take away the constructed fear objects (if you can overcome the hero ego): Sin, hell, being resurrected as a toad, falling out of step with ‘nature’, no longer being numb to those horrible desire things, failing to meet Allah as a warrior and get your several virgins (or is that Odin and Valhallah - they all start to look the same. No wait - you can have booze in Valhallah.)

We should be vigilant. If what you say is true about another round of daft predictions (which as I understand they are not even supposed to make according to their own doctrine!) I look forward to seeing their cognitive dissonance double when none of this nonsense comes off. That would be a good time to say - hey it’s okay. There’s always transhumanism: if you stop giving your money to chaplains and start giving it to medical scientists, you may in fact live a really long time.

People can and do improve their IQs through adult neuroplasticity, and even intelligent persons can be reasoned with if fear is removed from the equation. They just need their self esteem saved from the battering ram of their (Ernest Becker) mortality denying hero-egos, which are programmatically controlled by their woo-pusher masters. Of course, there is more cognitive dissonance to face there, because good old lucifer - the metaphorical human who likes to think for themself and avoid woo at all costs - has been devilled like an egg in doctrine. Hmm, I wonder why that is?? I just can’t figure it out…

To Guest anon faither #no1 (if you are not wearing funny clothes to make you seem important to the impressionable): The stress of facing material reality is less than the stress of religious narratives. Beware of wearers of funny robes and preacher coats. They have already faced material reality - 10% plus love offerings of your material reality. If you are wearing funny clothes, take a horseshit prevention pill and GO AWAY.

I am not a troll. Religionists are the trolls of society. Feel the burn of the cognitive dissonance, berlievurs.

#7 Steve (Guest) on Thursday May 05, 2011 at 12:36pm

It’s easy to say you believe vaguely that Christ will return sometime in your lifetime.  This figure of 41% actually makes me feel optimistic, because I would have predicted a much higher figure.  It means a significant proportion of Christians do not believe Christ is likely to come back soon.  And since that’s a pretty basic thing that Christians are supposed to believe, maybe they don’t care much about their religion.

#8 Seattle Rattle (Guest) on Thursday May 05, 2011 at 1:11pm

Bruce Long: spot on, stout fellow. The rational arguments contrary to the alleged existence of magical, invisible beings far out-number the fallacies attempting to support such balderdash. Consider, too, how “holy” texts conveniently build in a caveat explaining why at least one imaginary, omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omniscient “being” cannot and will not manifest itself for all humanity to globally observe without doubt of its existence; to view said creature would result in certain and immediate death. How convenient an excuse!

#9 magicant (Guest) on Thursday May 05, 2011 at 2:20pm

I certainly hope Jesus comes back. He did a terrible job on the lawn last week and I need him to fix it in time for my Rapture Cotillion.

#10 muraydog (Guest) on Thursday May 05, 2011 at 2:24pm

So, anon, since you obviously won’t need them, I’d be happy to pay you $500 for your house (with all contents), your car, and every other material thing you own.  I’d give you the money now, and take possession Oct. 22, 2011.

#11 ADE on Thursday May 05, 2011 at 5:33pm

Interesting and disturbing article. I’ve read stats like that before and thought that I was living in some crazy land where reality wasn’t, in fact, reality. Apparently I missed the memo about having unfounded, unproven, delusional beliefs. Then again, with the amount of pressure the religious place on our government it does not surprise me that it is 4/10 people who believe they will be carried away by the Jewish zombie in their lifetime. I’m sure 100 years ago people were believing the same nonsensical bull. If anyone is interested, check out the blog I write:

Seeing as how today is the National Day of Prayer, in my most recent blog entry I ask a series of questions regarding the day and would love some feedback. Please check it out:

http://americansforconstitutionalintegrity.blogspot.com/

#12 asanta on Friday May 06, 2011 at 2:28pm

These are the same people who deny global warming, or acknowledge global warming, but have decided it was ‘god’s will’ and to do anything to stop it would be to show lack of trust in ‘god’. Those are the REALLY scary ones!!

#13 L.Long (Guest) on Friday May 06, 2011 at 6:01pm

They are correct as it will happen some day about 3billion years from now when the sun goes nova and destroys the Earth.

#14 asanta on Saturday May 07, 2011 at 1:23am

Yes, but no need to sell the farm now!

#15 Paul Meade (Guest) on Saturday May 07, 2011 at 7:29am

It is amazing how many permutations of a concept can be created by taking a couple of bible verses out of context. There is not just one rapture theory but several. Pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, etc.
The idea that Jesus will be coming back “any day now” has been the rapidly moving goalposts of many Christian sects and cults for two thousand years. I guess you have to take notice of the Kings of apocalyptic predictions, the Watchtower Society. They finally gave up and said Jesus came back in 1914, and has been ruling the planet ever since.
In 2050 the goalposts will move to 2075, etc. We can only hope they are fewer self-delusional people then and it will no longer be newsworthy.

#16 WOW (Guest) on Thursday May 12, 2011 at 9:28am

All of you people judging religious “freaks” and saying all religious people are closed minded and trying to push their beliefs on you…need a wakeup call! Don’t like it? Don’t listen. I have faith and I’m proud of it! But guess what? I don’t go to church and donate money, I don’t push my beliefs on other people, but I have amazing faith in myself by having faith in him! I would rather have faith and walk “blindly” as some of you say, then walk alone and mad at the world. I also love how you stereotype and group all religious people together….their putting pressure on the government blah blah blah…u sound so hypocritical! I’m religous and I left the church a long time ago…I have a personal relationship with, as you guys put it, “the easter bunny in the sky”. I have faith, strentgh, and believe in something greater than myself. I don’t like people pressing their beliefs on me either, but grow up! Its none of your business and religion isn’t the downfall to society. Its greed, hate, and people that are so mad at their situation they blame everyone else for their problems instead of taking ownership for them! Every one of you saying people who believe are idiots or sad, are too afraid to accept the fact that God may exist…and heaven…and most importantly..hell. Too afraid to accept the fact that if they live without a care for their actions, treatment of others, and basic respect for themselves and their creator…they might burn for all eternity? If you created something so great and gave so many gifts would you maybe want a THANK YOU? You don’t have to agree with religion or be a part of it. Its your decision, but before you go pointing fingers of anger and blaming others for all of lifes problems…look in the mirror and realize how hypocritical most of you sound. I’m not saying I’m going to heaven because I love God or respect others, but I am saying I would rather have faith in something BETTER than what the world has grown into. Why not hope for that? Seems like everyones glass is half empty. It really opened my eyes today finding this site and seeing the there are a lot of people who believe in NOTHING. It sad and its why our society has turned into a circus. “If you don’t believe in something, you’ll fall for anything”...and we continue to fall for EVERYTHING…and that will be the downfall of society…falling for a false prophet. Look it up, write a blog about it and tell all of us religious people how much you hate us. Because even if you don’t believe in God or something better…I hope the hate in most of your hearts does not consume you. God Bless

#17 Paul Meade (Guest) on Thursday May 12, 2011 at 4:47pm

Wow, take it easy. I said nothing about hating anyone in my Post. I am sorry if you misunderstood me.
You say you have “Faith” as if that is something to admire. Faith is just trying to make a virtue out of not thinking. Why should faith be more moral than proof or reason.
I see no evidence of a god, the burden of proof is not mine. If you come up with some I will be more than happy to take a look at it.
I do not hate religious people, I dislike groups that try to turn our beautiful democracy into a theocracy.

Please calm down and try to see our argument, that the stories included in the old and new testament were old when they were copied and put into the Bible.

If you are willing to challenge your faith,perhaps to make it stronger, I suggest Joseph Campbell’s “The hero with a Thousand Faces”

Good luck with your studies, please relax and have a beer.

#18 Bruce Long (Guest) on Thursday May 12, 2011 at 4:53pm

WOW 16 You are probably just a troll, but all faithers are really - especially the evangelical variety: programmed trolls. I think you are worth effort so -

How is an imaginary sky fairy with a horrible fictitious personality derived from that of the people who created it ever going to make the world better? I have no fear whatsoever that the monotheistic - or any other kind of gods - cooked up by faithers is real (except maybe as flawed malevolent aliens pretending, but humans pretending fills the functional role fine). Why? Not because I am arrogant but because not only are Pascal’s wager and all of the ontological arguments including Godel’s and Platinga’s (which fall to infinite regresses and other basic common sense and the natural logic which keeps us all alive) but because god characters are all basically disgusting and one has to ‘die to self’ including one’s reasonability - and especially one’s intellectual integrity and honesty - to accept them an most other things in faith doctrines and their frameworks.

The kind of things that the bible/Q’Ran/Torah requires you too believe in are not just unobservable. They are unreasonable. To claim otherwise on arguments from ignorance is where the real arrogance lies. They do not fit into some larger systematic framework based on true evidence in any reasonable way that requires personal honesty and intellectual integrity: that is why the buy-bull is so anti-intellectual and exhorts you to lean not on your own understanding. If you do that you will not be relying on the understanding of those controlling you with a programming narrative. Then you are truly free - mentally free - which they really don’t want. This goes for the well meaning doozers who don’t see the bigger picture too: just because they are dupes doesn’t mean they are not part of the problem. They still don’t really like anyone who doesn’t need the fiction like they do. They are just passive-aggressing against you because of their own misery. They love to see those who haven’t chucked in the towel on life like they have brought down to their level of ignorance and control. it makes them feel better for a moment: it makes life seem more fair to them. That is what evangelising is really about. It is about their momentary relief from the unbearable misery and lightness of their being - not your salvation eternal but their relief momentary. Now that is arrogant and shitty. Fight them friend. It is easy: just say ‘no’ to the worthless prayer-meeting busybodies who try and make god real through gossip and - getting things to happen (wow - they really don’t like that).

It’s not only that faith in the constructs of ‘faiths’ and religion doesn’t fix any of our problems - it evidently makes them worse, including at a personal level. They create unecessary and artificial stress. People who can’t behave decently without beliefs in such doctrines still won’t behave decently with them: they will just have their indecency and inhumanity made more dangerous and less apparent.

Instead of hoping for some despicable or radically illogical fiction - that on a mentally healthy day you would spurn as ridiculous and horrid - to do what you should to make a better life in an imaginary world after you die, work toward it in this world. Be really selfless and suppress your hero ego and face mortality. Memento mori without the afterlife. That is really selfless. It requires you not to give up and throw in the towel and opt for the Jamesian pragmatic approach of believing in something to make you feel better. The bonus bummer is that you just miss out on lots of really excellent stuff in life because you are too busy chasing your doctrinal tail. The doctrine to which you adhere is designed to make you do that. Napolean (not very nice himself) knew that religion and faith were just to keep the have nots out of the way of the rich and powerful. Perhaps you are really good looking and rich and can have whatever partner, toy, and delusion you want. Somehow I doubt you can really afford the latter.

The god construct, once internalised mentally, becomes your proxy for all of your own vengeance and hate and anger, and for your natural bitterness over being born into such a hard existence. Everyone else, including your children, sill suffer because of your god-proxy internalised construct. That isn’t selfless at all. That’s extremely arrogant.

I had very strong faith in an imaginary god for a long time. I now realise that I was mentally ill and a victim of people who designed their doctrine over many hundreds of year for the purpose of deluding me to control both my behaviour and my resources. Faith is the very problem. When I read your rant, I just saw the ravings of a very sick anaonymous person for whom I feel great compassion and empathy.

I wish you all of my heartfelt and genuine best for a speedy and full recovery to full health. The good news is you can bite down a little and get better. Don’t be scared of the hell fiction: think about how much energy would be required to sustain such a thing forever, and how nasty the one who would make it in the first place is. The Jesus character was a bit of an arsehole for perpetuating it. Some murderers and thieves are saved because they buy into doctrine whereas others go to some eternal fire or loneliness because they don’t? Clearly, the person who cooked this fiction up was up to no good. A truly good and benevolent omniscient creator type being would make sure there were no murderers (themselves also often suffering worse than everyone else), and ensure that we could have something like free will anyway, or else they would not do it. Face it - the god proxy fiction that your controllers have created is a monster, no matter how nice they say the Jesus character is. If he existed and was anything like faithers say - which is very doubtful - if he knew anything (he was from a temple lineage - yes?) he was a charlatan and the fictive apple did not fall too far from the tree of strife.

As for spirits and the holy spirit: if you went to court or anywhere that people need proper information to survive and told them about such - you would be rightly spurned as a liar. If a lie is anything that does not correspond to any facts in the universe, the holy spirit is it. Get rid of the Q’Ran and the Bible - and the false opposites in communist political worship doctrines - and we will all be better off.

You can lie to yourself if you must about such stuff, but if you do the same to me, expect no respect and expect me to regard you as bitter, arrogant and mean hearted (or as a programmed drone with similar qualities).

#19 asanta on Thursday May 12, 2011 at 9:58pm

Waaaay too long to even bother to read…. try again, and remember..succinct..

#20 Bruce Long (Guest) on Thursday May 12, 2011 at 10:01pm

Too long for you to read maybe. I read all long posts I am interested in.

#21 asanta on Thursday May 12, 2011 at 11:27pm

Sorry, I’m just not that into you!

#22 Bruce Long (Guest) on Thursday May 12, 2011 at 11:43pm

What’s that got to do with your small capacity for reading Equivocate effort and ego all you like, whoever you are.

#23 Bruce Long (Guest) on Friday May 13, 2011 at 12:21am

Sorry, there is supposed to be a comic smiley after sentence one, and read as “tendency to read only short posts” (I can’t delete posts). I do wonder, however, what the point of a negative comment about a blog length is, unless you have other negative feelings about it. I mean, it’s not like we will run out of cyber space.

#24 Lensman on Friday May 13, 2011 at 1:58am

It seems that there is another group on the scene with a new perspective in disputing Camping’s prophesies. They make a compelling statement that “Jesus is here now.” Check out their billboard which I think will stir the pot a bit.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62779138@N08/5708063636

#25 Bruce Long (Guest) on Friday May 13, 2011 at 3:25am

@Lensman: I like the first sentence, but am worried that the overall ironic effect will be the opposite I was pleased to be visitor number 001562616 to the Merkaba Website. I may change my name to Brucifer. Did you know that there is a “Complete Idiot’s guide to the Kaballah”:

#26 Bruce Long on Friday May 13, 2011 at 3:32am

http://www.kabbalahbooks.info/product-p/complete-idiots-guide-kabbalah.htm.

I don’t know about you. I just found that very funny.

I feel like we really should thank them.

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