(A Round-up of Several Good Posts on the Phony Rapture Prediction and What To Do About It)
As you've probably heard, self-styled "prophet" Harold Camping and his organization Family Radio have spent massive time and money publicizing the notion that the Lord is coming back on May 21, 2011! (Woohoo!) Followed of course in quick succession by the Rapture and the end of the world. Anybody who doesn't believe will get "left behind," which is a great way to spoil your weekend.
Myself, I'm perfectly convinced that this is indeed the end… of Harold Camping's career as a prophet. It doesn't take a brilliant Bible scholar to discover that Jesus said,
“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority." (Acts 1:5, NIV)
or that the New Testament says,
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2, NIV)
So, I don't see any particularly good reason we shouldn't buy green bananas on May 20. (I've always said that a doctrine has to be pretty bad when you can dismantle it with a single verse.) Of course, according to most interpretations of Scripture, the Lord could come back at any time. That's both reason to have hope for the future and reason to be extremely skeptical about charlatans who say they know the exact time.
But what does all this brouhaha mean for us? And what about the people who are duped or disturbed by Camping's phony prophecies?
Fortunately, a lot of other writers have been doing excellent work in the blogosphere lately, saving me the effort. Here's a round-up of several of my favorite posts on the topic. The first couple are funny; the rest are more thoughtful.
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FAQ for our students regarding the rapture by Spoonbot
Q: If my instructor is not raptured, is he really fit to judge me?
A: Yes, seeing as you were not raptured, you are still subject to the earthly judgment of the unsaved. If/when you are redeemed, a change of grade form will be automatically processed by heavenly authorities if they decide your grade was unfairly given by one of the damned.
Rapture Practice by Cathleen Falsani
If you are reading this on Sunday and the neighborhood seems strangely quiet, you’ve probably been left behind. Here are a few helpful hints to consider before heading to your post-Rapture picnic….
Is Judgment Day May 21? by Jason Boyett
There is no back-up date because “the Bible guarantees this.” Wow. This reminds me of another major doomsday prediction, when Edgar Whisenant predicted that the Rapture would occur sometime during September 13-15 in 1988 (his best-selling pamphlet was called 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988). Whisenant did a big media tour and announced on several occasions that “only if the Bible is in error am I wrong.”
He was wrong.
The Great Disappointment by Rachel Held Evans
I confess that beneath my playful derision lies a hint of fear, not that I’ll be “left behind” but that I’m already caught up—in a delusion, in false hope, in a God of my own making…and perhaps, in a looming Great Disappointment.
11 Days until Judgment Day (and I'm Not Laughing) by Jesus Needs New PR
Because there’s nothing funny about kids believing and anticipating THE END. And while I know that the kids who believe in May 21st have what they consider to be “great faith in Jesus,”–trust me, they are scared. They’re nervous. Some of them aren’t sleeping. They’re asking lots of questions. They’re hoping that it isn’t true. But they believe it is.
I Survived the End of the World (in 1988) by Elizabeth Esther
This is a true-life story about how one day when I was 10 years old, I actually believed the Rapture had happened and I’d been LEFT BEHIND!
After a few days (or weeks or months, in some cases) many Campingites or former Campingites will wonder how they could have been so blind to their teacher's faults, or how they could have been stupid enough to believe him, or so gullible. They will not understand how easy it is to be taken in. They will be in very good company. Many people, emerging from spiritually abusive churches and groups, ask the same thing. How could this have happened to ME?
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"In case of rapture, this vehicle will be unmanned, making it a missile, which means my religion could kill you." –Rob Bell
"Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in your own home." — Good Omens