5 Lessons Learned from the Apocalypse Fail

5 Lessons Learned from the Apocalypse Fail

Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

May 24th, 2011, 3:06 pm #1

Opinion
May 22, 2011
5 Lessons Learned from the Apocalypse Fail, Or, It's Not the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel So-So
By Gary Laderman

And so the world still turns. No rapture, no living hell, no Armageddon. We are where we were before the weekend with no signs of Christ's return, facing the same ol' same ol': Arnold's love child, Newt's latest flame-out, life without Oprah.

At the moment, Family Radio offices are closed and Harold Camping, the self-made millionaire-cum-biblical prognosticator who set the media ablaze with his doomsday discourse, is silent.

We can read about all those who believed his prediction about the end of the world and took action-long family journeys in the minivan, disappointment about not entering a better world than this, grudging acceptance of the fact that life as we know it goes on-as well as numerous more humorous accounts, if not outright ridicule, of what to make of all this silly, over-the-top religious nonsense.

Perhaps this might be a nice teachable moment to reflect on all this-not nonsense at all, but rather an illuminating cultural moment that reveals an awful lot about the role of religion in our crazy world. What are the key takeaways from the "mediapocalypse"? Here are five for your consideration:

1. Old white male Christian religious fanatics sure get our attention.

Even as American society grows more religiously diverse and increasing numbers prefer spiritual freedoms to affiliation with one religion, all it takes is one older white fundamentalist Christian proclaiming some message of violence or hatred to a create a media frenzy and get the world talking about theology on the fringes (which can, in the right political circumstances, take the fringe to the heart of the mainstream). Terry Jones is one recent example with his attack on Islam but the list is long and includes such figures as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and Jerry Falwell.

2. The Christian fundamentalists are not alone in this religious obsession.

In fact, most religions project end-of-the world scenarios.

Taking a step back from the current focus on Camping and thinking more comparatively, it is clear that most religious movements and communities incorporate some form of eschatology-knowledge of end times-into their worldviews. Let's face it, Camping would fit right in with the early followers of Christ who also believed in the imminent end of the world.

But even beyond the confines of the familiar preoccupation with apocalypse in the Abrahamic, monotheistic faiths, examples from other religions abound. In Hindu mythology the God Shiva is a world destroyer and, like Buddhism, expresses a cosmic view of periods of world destruction and world renewal.

Closer to home, the pan-Indian Ghost Dance movement included a prophesy that the current world would end and the whites would disappear. And let's not forget about that Mayan calendar which many believe foretells the world's destruction in 2012.

3. Americans are fixated on world destruction.

Forget about what the religions of the world say about the end, just look at the incredible bounty of apocalyptic images and storylines in popular culture to see a widespread societal obsession with the end of the world.

Think of End of Days or Armageddon; more recently there's been 2012 and Battle: Los Angeles. The list goes on and on: Independence Day, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Day after Tomorrow, and far too many others to name.

Why this fixation? No doubt multiple reasons exist, including America's love of violence (what could provide more awe-inspiring scenes of violence than movies depicting the apocalypse?); America's need for heroes and villains (these films are generally framed as good v. evil, even if the evil is global warming or huge meteors or space aliens or zombies); and, perhaps, more deep-rooted existential anxieties about mortality, finitude, and death (though in these films the shift is away from the personal to human society writ large, away from struggling with individual death and toward a larger cosmic frame that encompasses world destruction and the death of humanity). In this context, these films are as much about religious sensibilities as entertainment.

4. Religion is not rational, most of the time.

Another lesson to learn here is tied to the naïveté of the non-believers who keep asking about Camping's followers, "why do they believe this silliness?" This, to me, is like asking: "why do all those Christians believe Christ was resurrected?"; or: "why do Hindus believe in reincarnation?"; or: "why do Jediists believe in The Force?"

It is simply missing the point of the power of religion to bring a rationalist frame of mind to religious phenomena.

Camping's followers are not all from the poorer classes who are seeking some kind of radical upheaval that will finally give them their heavenly rewards; they are not all psychologically delusional and have personality disorders that draw them to wacky beliefs and predictions; they are not simple-minded, ignorant conformists who easily follow the authority of charismatic leaders, or a leader with a charismatically compelling message. While the New Atheists would like human beings to lose childish, supernatural superstition and replace it with more realistic, scientific-based acceptance of the world-a position aligned with Freud's view of religion as an illusion-the sad truth (maybe happy truth?) is that irrational religion rules this world.

Like DNA, religious motivations, commitments, investments, desires, etc. are built into and elemental to human life.

5. This is not the end of the end.

America has a long history of producing doomsday theology and predictions of world destruction.

Indeed, it appears there is something rather generative about end of world scenarios, something that stirs the imagination, brings people together, confirms certain moral absolutes, and leads to the possibility of ultimate transcendence.

The future, ironically, is bright-and ripe for ongoing prophecies about the end of time.

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PAUL
PAUL

May 24th, 2011, 4:31 pm #2

Well you are right Mondo no matter how many failed prophecies happen,no matter how many mad preachers speak,no matter how the world goes on regardless,it will not end the end of the world prophecies because the end of the world is coming...

In fact false prophets is one of the many signs given that it is coming...
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JVH
Joined: July 20th, 2009, 1:33 pm

May 24th, 2011, 5:44 pm #3


 

..... eventually.
<p align="center"><a rel="nofollow"><img border="0" alt="" src="http://images.bravenet.com/common/image ... a.gif"></a>


-it is not what we (think we) know that matters, it is what we can show true that does
after all, truth is demonstrably fact and fact is demonstrably true - everything else ... mere conjecture-


New!! Improved!! Now With T-Formula!!
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Joined: July 1st, 2008, 11:52 pm

May 24th, 2011, 5:54 pm #4

for me it came 18 years ago

Jesus said, the world has nothing in him and he has nothing in it......his KINGDOM was of another world


and so it is for those who are BAPTIZED INTO JESUS NAME

I am not ashamed of this gospel (good news) of Christ, even though everyone tries to shame me for bringing it to this world

this world loves its own, even if they hate them at the same time

the love of the world is not the same love as the love of God the father in us:

every day is a new day to die to the old and live to the newness of life
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PAUL
PAUL

May 24th, 2011, 5:55 pm #5

 

..... eventually.
<p align="center"><a rel="nofollow"><img border="0" alt="" src="http://images.bravenet.com/common/image ... a.gif"></a>


-it is not what we (think we) know that matters, it is what we can show true that does
after all, truth is demonstrably fact and fact is demonstrably true - everything else ... mere conjecture-


New!! Improved!! Now With T-Formula!!
But not as soon as camping thinks...
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JVH
Joined: July 20th, 2009, 1:33 pm

May 24th, 2011, 6:07 pm #6


 

How soon do you think I think it will?
<p align="center"><a rel="nofollow"><img border="0" alt="" src="http://images.bravenet.com/common/image ... a.gif"></a>


-it is not what we (think we) know that matters, it is what we can show true that does
after all, truth is demonstrably fact and fact is demonstrably true - everything else ... mere conjecture-


New!! Improved!! Now With T-Formula!!
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PAUL
PAUL

May 24th, 2011, 6:07 pm #7

for me it came 18 years ago

Jesus said, the world has nothing in him and he has nothing in it......his KINGDOM was of another world


and so it is for those who are BAPTIZED INTO JESUS NAME

I am not ashamed of this gospel (good news) of Christ, even though everyone tries to shame me for bringing it to this world

this world loves its own, even if they hate them at the same time

the love of the world is not the same love as the love of God the father in us:
"for me it came 18 years ago"

Your "enlightenment" cant save the earth we live,on so you are obviously not talking about the end Jesus forecast...

"Jesus said, the world has nothing in him and he has nothing in it......his KINGDOM was of another world"

Absolutely but that world that Jesus is no part of is the one we live in and in case you hadn't noticed you are still here...

"and so it is for those who are BAPTIZED INTO JESUS NAME"

Well I was baptied in Jesus name 21 years ago......

"this world loves its own,"

I dont love this "world."

"even if they hate them at the same time"

And I certainly dont hate you...I'm a Christian,practising Christian principles remember...

"the love of the world is not the same love as the love of God the father in us:"

And on that we agree...

The world is passing away and so is its desire but he that does the will of God lasts forever...






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Joined: July 1st, 2008, 11:52 pm

May 24th, 2011, 6:08 pm #8

But not as soon as camping thinks...
what benefit is that for a Christian?

God wants to Get CHRISTIANS OUT OF HERE spiritually before that time comes......so they can BE HERE TO HELP THOSE who suffer as this world gets worse and worse as we will see happening more and more

how will they help them?

with the MESSAGE OF THE EVERLASTING GOSPELS from the mid-heavens because these are like the angels who are in the FIRST RESURRECTION............


the rapture
every day is a new day to die to the old and live to the newness of life
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PAUL
PAUL

May 24th, 2011, 6:12 pm #9

 

How soon do you think I think it will?
<p align="center"><a rel="nofollow"><img border="0" alt="" src="http://images.bravenet.com/common/image ... a.gif"></a>


-it is not what we (think we) know that matters, it is what we can show true that does
after all, truth is demonstrably fact and fact is demonstrably true - everything else ... mere conjecture-


New!! Improved!! Now With T-Formula!!
Most who dont know say "it wont happen in my lifetime."

If you say that,it will happen "sooner than you think."

If you want a date...No man knows the day and hour...
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PAUL
PAUL

May 24th, 2011, 6:21 pm #10

what benefit is that for a Christian?

God wants to Get CHRISTIANS OUT OF HERE spiritually before that time comes......so they can BE HERE TO HELP THOSE who suffer as this world gets worse and worse as we will see happening more and more

how will they help them?

with the MESSAGE OF THE EVERLASTING GOSPELS from the mid-heavens because these are like the angels who are in the FIRST RESURRECTION............


the rapture
The physical world is not ending but unless God steps in and changes the world SYSTEM(Goverments etc) they will destroy the earth because Mathew24:22 warns that no flesh will be saved lest God steps in..

"God wants to Get CHRISTIANS OUT OF HERE spiritually before that time comes......so they can BE HERE TO HELP THOSE who suffer as this world gets worse and worse as we will see happening more and more"

That is already happening now...

Gods people are answering the cry to get out of her now...

"the rapture"

There is no rapture...

Man was created to live on the earth and thats where he will continue to live after this old world system is destroyed...
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