Posts Tagged ‘rapture’

Post Rapture Looting Interview Now Available

March 16, 2013 2 comments

by Noah Lugeons

Haven’t even had a chance to listen to it myself yet, but I wanted to make good on my promise to link it ASAP.  Just got home and this was my second thing I did.  The first one wasn’t exactly legal, so we won’t be going into any details on that…

You can, of course, find the Post Rapture Looting Podcast on iTunes, and, if you’re a fan of humor and irreverence from an atheist perspective, you should probably just go ahead and subscribe.  But it you don’t have time for that, you can also hear the interview by clicking here.



Categories: Podcast Updates Tags: , ,

Harold Camping: 3rd Time’s the Charm!

by Noah Lugeons

This is why I’ll never understand the faithful.  Harold Camping predicted the rapture would happen on September 7th of 1994.  When that didn’t happen, he predicted it again in 2011.

So let’s try to get beyond that first. You fail in predicting something as grandiose as the fucking rapture, you shouldn’t be qualified to guess weight at a carnival from that point forward. If a scientist predicted the end of the world and then it failed to pass, nobody on this planet would listen to anything that scientist said again but to mock it.

But religion doesn’t work that way.  Harold Camping got a mulligan.

And it wasn’t even like his followers were slightly less credulous the second time around. It would be easy to say that after being burned once you’d at least accept the possibility that he was going to come up short again this time. But if you look at the results from this latest failure it seems that if anything, their faith in their leader increased. At the very least their financial support grew if the national advertising blitzkrieg is anything to judge by.

From my rational, atheistic point of view it seems like the idea of going out to witness the end of mankind again would be a red flag in itself. But not for these unquestioning Camp-ites. They are doubly sure this time because they were wrong the time before.

Different year, same result. No rapture. And Camping gets a mulligan.

That’s right. Camping has spoken. Turns out that the rapture did occur on Saturday. I figured as much… as though he might suggest that us linen-wearing, indiscriminate meat-eaters weren’t good enough to be spared, but he chose the more “loving Jesus” approach to the whole thing.

Camping’s explanation for why the rapture failed to happen is simple. Jesus reappeared and took a look at humanity and his big-old Jesusy heart just couldn’t bear to put us through all that torment. But have no fears, Camping isn’t backing off from his original October deadline for the actual end of the world. He’s just saying that Christ didn’t have the heart to rapture his loyal followers up to sky-candy land. Seems that this pang of conscience didn’t extend to not actually killing everyone and sending the vast majority to an eternity of suffering in Hell.

I’m sure Camping lost some of his flock, but if even one person is still clinging to the ramblings of this deranged old kook it is one too many. Come to think of it, I feel the same way about Jesus.

Crucifying Straw Men

by Noah Lugeons

The collective voice of the non believers cried out in a chorus of criticism this week as a small contingent of Christian kooks camped out to await the rapture. Twitter was alive with jokes like “No rapture? Don’t sweat it. It’s not the end of the world”, “If the rapture doesn’t happen Saturday Christianity’s cancelled right?” and “So can I have the Vatican when you’re gone?”  We laughed at their gullibility. We laughed at their mindless adherence to a numerological interpretation of a poorly written compendium of ancient mythology. But between the jokes and insults, we also roundly criticized them for perpetuating such a moronic belief.

Of course, Saturday came and went with the same number of raptures as the Saturday before that and now as Harold Camping’s disillusioned followers slowly start to reassemble their lives. Largely we’ve stopped picking on them and moved back to picking on Christians and faithful folks in a more general sense.

But there’s also been a backlash against our criticism. Many within the religious community are now faulting the atheists for “attacking the extremes”. This is a pretty common critique; that non believers find the most outlandish and ridiculous examples of Christianity and then hold them up as examples as though they represented the average Christian. When Bill Maher’s film Religulous debuted, the majority of critics accused him of only showing the lunatic fringe of faith without mentioning that it was not an accurate representation of Christians in general.

But is that a fair criticism? Do we really only attack straw men? And if we do, is that really a bad thing?

This weekend provides the perfect example. Sure, an overwhelming majority of Christians were not expecting the rapture to occur yesterday. They correctly predicted that Harold Camping and his ministry were full of shit. So is it fair to paint all Christians with the same brush strokes you use to cover these religiou-tards?

Well, I would argue that it is. The rational people rejected Harold Camping because he was an idiot numerologist that thinks the bible is the word of god. The religious people rejected Harold Camping because they thought he had the math wrong.

Christians expend a lot of effort trying to distance themselves from the more extreme end of their spectrum. When Fred Phelps protests at military funerals, the Jesus-ites are quick to remind us that he is doesn’t speak for them. He is a small and insignificant extremist with a warped view of Christianity and they cannot be judged by his nonsense any more than atheists can be judged by the random mental ejaculations of Joe Rogan.

On its surface, that seems like a fair argument. After all, you can’t say Catholics are murderers just because Hitler was a Catholic. You can’t say that scientists are all full of shit just because Andrew Wakefield was a scientist. If you don’t bother to examine it very deeply, the charge that we attack straw men seems fair.

But it isn’t. Fred Phelps didn’t decide that God Hated Fags. It’s written right there in the Christian instruction book. Harold Camping didn’t decide that the world was going to end like the intro to a Michael Bay movie, it’s a major tenet of their faith. These people are simply taking the accepted beliefs of the larger group and carrying them to their logical conclusion.

When Christians faulted Camping by quoting Matthew 24:36 they acted as though this was somehow less stupid than Camping’s original claims. But polls show that the majority of Christians do believe in the same fanciful crap that he was selling. How can you fault one man for assigning it a date without also faulting the moronic set of beliefs that got him there?

Socially conscious Christians do their best to sweep the fundamentalists under the rug. They like to pretend that these are just the insane ramblings of someone who “doesn’t get” Christianity. But all the fundamentalists do is take the crap that mainstream preachers pretend to believe seriously. Some pastors and parishioners might tell these stories with a nod and a wink, but how can they fault someone for taking them seriously when they say that to do otherwise is a ticket to eternal damnation?

Fundamentalism is a predictable and even necessary offshoot of religion. Anyone who endorses the bible as the “word of god” is guilty of fostering them. Anyone who has ever given a dime to a church is guilty of harboring them. Anyone who ever told their children that there was a lake of fire where the bad people spend eternity is responsible for creating them.

Christianity cannot divorce itself from the extremists until they admit publicly that the bible is just a collection of prehistoric essays. Until they admit that Jesus has no more substance than Santa Claus, they are just as guilty as the people holding the protest signs or giving away their worldly belongings in time to get raptured.

You can’t blame an idiot for being an idiot. The only recourse is to stop feeding the stupid.

Camping Out

by Noah Lugeons

I watched it all.  I had the good fortune of being in the streets of Manhattan at precisely 6 pm, just when the rapture was not happening.

The group has been there all week. They’ve been everywhere, actually, plaguing the city like a dumber version of New York’s sewer rats. They’ve been handing out pamphlets, preaching to innocent people waiting on the walk light, waving end-of-the-world signs around and reminding New Yorkers that there are worse infestations to have than bed bugs.

I’m talking, of course, about the missionaries sent out into the world by one Harold Camping. His “precise” “calculations” were enough smoke and mirror to inspire plenty of mathematically challenged dim wits to follow him into the wild broke yonder. But it wasn’t enough for them to sell their property, pull their children out of school and quit their jobs. They wanted you to come too.

I’ve passed them almost everyday over the last couple of weeks. I’ve choked down clever insults throughout. As I watch them in their devoted fervency I don’t know whether to feel sorry for them or mock them. So I mock them. They cringed when I said “see you tomorrow” yesterday.

But today I could not bring myself to say a word. I got off of work early enough to be on the subway by 5:30, but I made excuses to stick around. They were still there in the streets and I couldn’t leave until I saw their reaction.

I wish that this was the part of the blog where I embedded a time-lapse You-Tube video of their growing disappointment. I was unprepared for my reconnaissance mission today so instead I’ll simply leave you to imagine the slow and dramatic shift in facial expressions that I witnessed between 5:58 and 6:02.

For many of them you saw the whole spectrum of facial nuance. Fear, acceptance, joy, impatience, confusion, disbelief, sadness and anger passed by in quick succession as the minutes ticked away and they all started to wonder if the good lord knew about day light saving time. Much of the crowd looked heavenward, shielding their eyes from the setting sun and waiting in palpable anticipation for the clouds to part and Ted Nugent to appear behind them.

That much I expected. Hell, that was the show I’d been waiting around for. That part didn’t surprise me.

What surprised me is that you really had to look for it. You see, the faces in the crowd that were filled with emotion were in the minority and the ones filled with genuine emotion were rarer still. Perhaps many of them were too stoic to bear their inner feelings. Perhaps they’d already heard that the rapture had failed to occur in every time zone between the International Date Line and Labrador. But I find another explanation far more likely.

Perhaps they knew they were full of shit.

I don’t doubt that many of them were completely snowed by Camping’s fraudulent hysteria. I would say that at one time even the majority of them were blinded by their desire to live in the end times. But I suspect that as the day drew nearer the conviction began to fade. I suspect that by 6:00 pm, not a damn one of them actually thought that the rapture was on its way.

I visited with a friend downtown before heading home. On the way, I swung by the spot on 6th Avenue where I’d seen them and to my surprise most of them were still there, still wearing the same dejected expressions they’d worn when I happened by them before. I was left wondering if any of them had a place to stay that night. It would have been pretty disingenuous, after all, to pay for an extra night at the hotel. It might well be that the stragglers I saw tonight were broke, homeless and estranged from their family because of the lunatic they chose to follow.

I think of the 7th Day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses and I feel that I understand them so much more. These people will have no choice now but band together in their destitute humiliation. What other church would have them after this fiasco? Rather than admit to their own gullibility, they will continue to elevate the con-artists that brought them here and they will continue to praise the con-artist prop that lives in the clouds.

Think of the parents of these drifting, wayward automatons. The majority likely tried to talk their offspring out of such a bastardization of the scripture. Many of them likely tried desperately to reason with them while they were selling their homes and cashing in their retirement. Many of them failed and then sat miserably at home wondering what went wrong.

Teaching your children that magic exists and that anybody who invokes the name Jesus can wield it has consequences. When you raise them on lies you make them easy prey for liars. How can you reason a person out of one ridiculous belief if you’re trying to move them to another, equally ridiculous belief? The mainstream churches have been quick to disavow Camping and his followers, but they won’t go as far as to disavow the product that he is selling. The rallying cry of “don’t believe bullshit unless it’s our bullshit” doesn’t inspire the customer as much as you’d think.

So I implore the Christians of New York City to go out and clean up the mess they made. Open your home to one of these idiots while they get on their feet again. Wander around the city with a tent. Bring a chicken dinner to Chicken Little. You’re the one’s who sold these vulnerable minds the foundation of nonsense that Camping exploited. It’s the least you could do.


May 21, 2011 4 comments

by Noah Lugeons

What? No apocalypse? No rapture? No dead rising from the grave? No Christians being carried to heaven on a sunbeam? Who would have guessed it?

Like me, I’m sure that you’re sick of hearing about the sputtering doomsday prediction.  Even well before the anticlimactic hour arrived just west of the International Date Line, I was already bored with the jokes and the inane ALL CAPS Facebook posts warning us of our impending death-by-brimstone. We marvelled at how easily people could be drawn in by the spectacle of a person who was predicting the world’s end for the 2nd time.  We listened as dumb people argued with dumber people about whether or not anyone would know the date of the rapture.

I’ve planned for several weeks to debut this blog on the day of the crapture but as it drew nearer I started to wonder if there was too much saturation. I started to wonder if the internet had room for yet another person poking fun of the nimrods that sold everything they owned on the word of a guy who claims to be a biblical scholar despite having no qualification beyond an engineering degree. I feared that there were no jokes left unuttered, no insults left unhurled.

But as I scrolled through the unforgiving depths of cyberspace, I started to notice one point that was not being made. It was so glaringly obvious to me that I expected to refer to it with a quick quote and a hyperlink and yet I couldn’t find anyone who was saying it. I’m sure I’m not the first to posit the question, though I’m surprised that such an important inquiry would manage to get buried under so many less important criticisms.

Why the fuck isn’t Harold Camping sitting in a jail cell right now?

Okay, sure. He has the right to believe whatever bullshit he wants. He even has the right to say whatever bullshit he wants. But he doesn’t have the right to sell it. What’s more is that even a cursory glance at his business practice demonstrates with all but certitude that he didn’t believe a damn word he was saying.

Family Radio (Camping’s “non-profit”) still had their employees scheduled to work this week. That, of course, proves nothing. Camping never said that the world was going to end today, but rather that the rapture would occur. For all their upper management knew there were some closeted heretics in their ranks and it would be damned presumptuous for them to assume that all their employees were going heavenward on the conga-line of immortality. Surely one or two of them would have unforgiven sins or last second impure thoughts that would hold them at the station. The schedule was just there for the ones that got left behind.

Many also faulted them when the station presented a 5 day forecast the other day with no mention of brimstone or frog-rain. But, of course, other than the earthquake and the rising dead Camping’s theological diarrhea wouldn’t have effected meteorology. Even after the rapture us unlucky heathens would still need to know whether or not to bring an umbrella so that makes sense as well.

But CNN reports that the hypocrisy goes much deeper. The organization has filed for tax deferments on payments that wouldn’t be due until after the October 11th “whole-world-destroyed” date. They still had a holiday schedule printed that included things like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even the upper echelons of the business didn’t bother cashing in their 401k in time for the rapture. Sure, they encouraged their followers to give up on all their worldly possessions, but they weren’t convinced enough to do the same.

At a certain point this goes from tongue-in-cheek to knife-in-back. As easy as it is for me to sit back with my fully functioning cranial facilities and laugh at all the dumb-assses that bought into Chicken Little’s latest prediction, we’re also talking about gullible people getting bilked, lied to and left penniless as the rapture fails to materialize. As of 2009, Camping’s ministry had fucked its loyal adherents out of about $80 million.  Up to about $73.08, that was funny. After that it is simply criminal.

Camping should be arrested for fraud. Sure, all preachers are committing fraud and I’m of the mind that the vast majority of them know good and well that the word their selling is nonsense.  If a preacher actually believed there was an all-powerful, all-knowing, magical, omnipresent, jealous, vengeful deity watching over them, I think they’d be a little slower to speak for him. But in this unique case we can prove the deceit beyond any reasonable doubt.

The leaders of the Christian church (or any religion for that matter) are detestable scum that live well off charity they’ve guilted from those who cannot afford it. They prey on the poor and the ignorant, they don’t hesitate to use brutal psychological tricks against defenseless children and they do it all while somehow maintaining an aura of moral superiority.

In the end, I feel like I owe Harold Camping and Family Radio a thank you. If nothing else, they’ve helped to demonstrate that there is no amount of fraud one can commit in the name of religion that will be punished. No amount of deceit will be prosecuted. There is no limit to the amount of extortion one can get away with as long as they remember to say Jesus often enough.