Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The crack of doom

I really do wonder how outwardly sensible, rational people could have believed the absurd Doomsday prophecies of some 89-year-old Bible-basher from Oakland, California.

A belief so passionate that some of them spent their life savings, sold their homes and gave up their jobs to publicise the prophecy and prepare for imminent Armageddon at 6pm on May 21.

Could they seriously have expected that on the appointed day they would be wafted up to heaven in a state of rapture while non-believers were wiped out and sent to hell by the wrath of God?

What were these devotees taking? Some potent hallucinogenic? Or were they just so desperate for someone to give their lives a meaning they latched on to the strident certainties of this grey-haired old nutter and his bizarre mathematical calculations?

Were they not aware of the umpteen Doomsday prophecies that have sunk like a stone while everyday life continues unaffected? Did it not occur to them that the avuncular Harold Camping was getting an impressive income out of his loopy prophecies, prophecies no more credible than the trite ramblings of the local palm-reader?

Had it not struck them that if God wanted to end the world, He or She would probably do it whenever the impulse arose and not at some deadline calculated by an elderly preacher in California?

It was painful to watch these misguided souls trying to reorient themselves after the witching hour came and went and absolutely nothing happened except a thousand more Big Macs and Chevrolets.

They were gob-smacked by the anti-climax, frantically groping for an explanation. Maybe it was another test from God to persevere in their faith? Maybe they misunderstood something? Maybe they were using the wrong calendar? Maybe they'd been swindled? No no, that last possibility was foul-mouthed blasphemy.

The omniscient Harold Camping was not on hand with the definitive explanation however. He went missing as soon as the Apocalypse went missing and hasn't been seen since. Perhaps he was the only one raptured up to heaven?

And if you think it's all just a hilarious con trick, think again. Lyn Benedetto from Antelope Valley, California, was arrested for attempted murder-suicide after slitting the throats and wrists of her two daughters, because she was convinced the world was ending.

PS: Mr Camping has re-emerged to say how embarrassed he is that he got it wrong, and that the correct date for Doomsday is in fact October 21. Sure, and ferrets can play chess.

Pic: Harold Camping

39 comments:

Miss Scarlet said...

The crack of doom?
Quite right, Nick, Harold Camping was talking out of his arse.
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - He sure was. All the supposed cryptic clues in the Bible were more like red herrings.

Baino said...

I guess there really is a sucker born every minute. The schedule has now been changed so we've got time to prepare, next doomsday event = 21 October, so be prepared! It's a shame we can't euthanase stupid people, haha what Miss Scarlet said. Awesome.

Nick said...

Baino - Oddly enough, I don't think it's worth noting Doomsday for October 21 in my diary. Based on a mathematical interpretation of The Lord of the Rings, my prophecy is that October 22 will appear as expected.

Rummuser said...

Nick, you have to attend some of the evangelical shows put on here and see how the speakers make the crowd go nuts and do unbelievable things. The preachers of course live in luxury and get financed by collection drives plus some very handsome donations from American churches who pay per head converted. I wish that I had become a preacher! I would have disappeared too.

Eryl said...

Holy f***ing cow about Lyn Benedetto for Antelope Valley. You'd have to be really scared to do that. It's Mr Crack-Camping who should be up for murder.

Eryl said...

That should be from Antelope Valley.

Nick said...

Ramana - To me, most of these preachers are just ranting and raving, but to others they're the voice of truth and wisdom itself. Funny what people choose to believe.

Eryl - You're right, she must have been really scared, totally convinced her family was finished. I haven't seen any expression of regret from the Great Prophet.

Anonymous said...

I've tried to comment, but blogger seems to huffing with me...
Anyway, I think it's sad and scary that we can be so fooled by charlatans. What else are we deluded about?

Speccy

Grannymar said...

Nick, did you see this:

http://www.broadsheet.ie/2011/05/24/an-open-letter-to-harold-camping/

Nick said...

Speccy - Blogger can be a bit bolshy sometimes. We're probably deluded about all sorts of things, especially when we have no first-hand knowledge and we're trusting other people to be honest and accurate.

Grannymar - Very good! Indeed, just a little mistake, not the end of the world.

Macy said...

Why is the end of the world never set for a work day huh? THAT would get a couple of million more (temporary) adherents to the cause.

Nick said...

Macy - October 21 is a Friday! Only trouble is, if Armageddon is still scheduled for 6pm, we'll have to do a day's work first. Rats.

Suburbia said...

unbelievable isn't it?

blackwatertown said...

Aren't we being a bit hasty, snide and complacent here. How do we know it didn't happen? Just because nobody we know was holy enough to be taken up.
Or - maybe Harold Camping got the date right but some of the small print wrong. Perhaps it applied to inanimate objects not people.
Don't believe me? Well where's that missing sock? Huh huh?
And the top of my pen?
They've been raptured.

wendy house said...

the ways of faith are fascinating. We all have faith, whether it's faith in our spouse being monogomous as promised or in some form of God. Evidence is always incomplete, faith is always a part of understanding - how the balance between evidence and belief can shift so far from what is probably is baffling... ...but then the improbable does happen...

blackwatertown said...

I... er... got a bit carried away after that comment above http://wp.me/pDjed-Wa
I blame you.

Nick said...

Suburbia - Unbelievable. So will all those who fervently believed in a May 21 Apocalypse now equally fervently believe it's on October 21?

Blackwater - Yes, maybe the world ended but we don't realise because we're still seeing an illusory after-image? Like still feeling an amputated leg?

Nick said...

Wendy - As Speccy said, it's easy to be deluded. Yes, evidence may be shaky and faith is just that - faith. But usually reason and common sense stops us believing out-and-out shite.

Blackwater - Getting carried away is perfectly acceptable on this blog. If only Harold Camping had got carried away as planned we could forget all about him.

secret agent woman said...

There have always been and will always be cults with charismatic leaders who convince their followers to do fool-hardy things. But let's face, when it comes to even mainstream religion, people are willing to accept all manner of illogical beliefs.

Wisewebwoman said...

Go to my blog. Because I got something special after The Rapture.
Na-na na-na-na!
XO
WWW

Nick said...

Secret - True, his Doomsday prophecies are just an extreme version of the commonplace rantings about heaven and hell, fire and brimstone etc.

W3 - Ah yes, the official form for having your soul duly processed in the afterlife. So the bureaucrats have even muscled in on life after death. I think my polluted soul will probably end up in celestial landfill.

nursemyra said...

I heard the date had been changed this morning..... unfuckingbelievable

Nick said...

Myra - Yep, October 21 it is. Definitely. Guaranteed. Without a shadow of doubt. Or it might be November 21.

blackwatertown said...

You've been linked - I used the Barbara Kruger quote.

Nick said...

Blackwater - Linked? Linked where exactly?

Liz said...

If I may be all Christian and serious for a moment, it actually says in the bible, in fact Jesus says, that no-one except God knows when it will happen.

There was a good website though that made lots of money out of arranging to look after people's pets after they'd been raptured away ...

Nick said...

Liz - "No-one except God knows when it will happen." My thoughts entirely. Well, except that I'm a blaspheming atheist of course.

I hadn't heard of the pet-care website. Amusing that they made so much money before the false Doomsday came and went.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I really hoped the traffic would get thinned out here.

Nick said...

Heart - Good thinking. Except that there are so few saintly souls out there, I guess only about .0005 per cent of the drivers would have been raptured.

kylie said...

my ferret plays chess better than i do ;)

Nick said...

Kylie - Your ferret is a damn smart cookie.

Roses said...

I had a lot of fun with the whole Rapture business on Facebook. I got my milage out of mocking the righteous, the stupid and the deluded. Frankly, it was time well spent.

Idiots.

Miss Scarlet said...

I thought you were commenting on Nick's current post, Roses... you'll see what I mean when you read it.
Sx

Nick said...

Roses - Sorry I missed all that. If you send your Facebook link to nickhereandnow@hotmail.com I could become your Facebook friend! What fun that would be!

Indeed, Mr C has done very well out of the righteous, the stupid and the deluded.

Scarlet - Hmm, don't quite see the connection. Children who're at the mercy of righteous, stupid or deluded parents?

Miss Scarlet said...

Your current post about missing people???
Perhaps over time they have been raptured.
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - Of course, silly me. Somehow I doubt if they've been raptured. Either they've made a better life for themselves or come to a sticky end. Perhaps they've been eaten by Mr Camping.

Nick said...

Roses - It's okay, I've found your Facebook page now via Miss Scarlet. Not that I usually demean myself with such proletarian pursuits as Facebook of course.

Roses said...

Bwhahahaha!

Facebook friends now!