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Archive for May, 2011

The End Is Nigh?

Hey there, it’s been a while. You look great! Did you change your hair? Those shoes are adorable on you.

You may have noticed I’ve been taking a break from blogging, I’ve been focusing more on my University work, haven’t really had time to update.  The other day however, I saw something that forced me into action, enjoy…

Whilst driving around Sydney recently, you may have noticed some curious billboards with slogans along the lines of “The world will end on May 21st! The Bible guarantees it!”

The dramatic billboards also feature the address of the website for “Family Radio,” A Christian radio religious broadcasting network in the United States, founded in 1959 by Richard Palmquist, Lloyd Lindquist, and Harold Camping.

Harold Camping is the man behind the May 21st predictions, he says that May 21st will be the date of the return of Christ and around 200 million people (approximately 3% of the world’s population) will be raptured, with the remaining 97 % of the world left to suffer in agony for 150 days.

He claims that he has come to this exact date through a series of mathematical equations as well as through “signs” he says have appeared as predicted by the bible.

Mr Camping is the leader of the group that some have labelled a cult. Members of the group have so much faith in the prediction that they’ve put up billboards and they’ve handed out fliers. Some of them have even burned through all of their savings, so convinced are they that the world is going to end on May 21 and they’ll no longer need it.

Just how accurate are Harold Camping’s predictions? Camping made similar claims of the apocalypse back in 1993 saying that the world would end the following year, even releasing a book on the subject. When 1994 rolled around a red-faced Camping had to back pedal pretty hard, eventually saying that his calculations had been done incorrectly.

Mr Camping reminds me of those kids you knew in primary school, you know the ones, the children who made outrageous claims that they could fly by jumping off a roof only to turn around when someone challenges their claims and say that they can only do it when no one else is watching them.

How is it that so many people are still clinging onto the preachings of a man who has already proved once that he’s full of shit?

I think that people who join cults like these do it so that they can remove all personal responsibility from their lives. There must be great comfort in the notion that they no longer have to think or act for themselves, that one man makes all of there decisions for them. I believe that people chose this kind of brain washing enslavement because in a weird way being powerless makes them feel free.

While that sense of freedom might feel good now it is going to be a very short-lived experience, the followers who are now preparing for the end of days are going to be in for a rude shock come May 21st.  They’re not going to feel very good when the world doesn’t end and they’ve destroyed their entire lives in the process of preparing for the rapture.

It may seem like this movement and their leader could be dismissed as harmless eccentrics, but make no mistake, people like Harold Camping should be treated like dangerous extremists. We should not ever forget what happened in Jonestown. In 1978 Jim Jones led the member’s of his cult the “People’s Temple” into a mass murder/suicide .

A total of 909 Temple members died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning, in an event termed “revolutionary suicide” by Jones and some members on an audio tape of the event and in prior discussions. The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at a nearby Port Kaituma airstrip. The victims included Congressman Leo Ryan, the first member of Congress assassinated in the line of duty in the history of the United States. Four other Temple members died in Georgetown at Jones’s command.

There are numerous similarities between Camping and Jones, both follow the pattern of progressive revelation through “one man”, date-settings and predictions of annihilation, all designed to isolate and alienate people into following them blindly.

The disciples of Harold Camping believe that they are following the will of god, they are not. They are following the will of  one flawed human being and one can only hope that these people are able to free themselves before it is too late.

What will you be doing come May 21st?

I’ll probably just be hanging out with some friends, maybe drinking a few beers, and toasting to the fact that my life is not ruled by one insane old man.

Have a good one folks!