The president of Family Radio, Harold Camping, prediction that the Rapture will occur tomorrow May 21, 2011 is getting a lot of commentary and the question is does R.E.M feel fine.
I’ve noticed that a lot of the commentary on the social networks and new sites is predominantly of the secular “look at those crazy Christians” variety. That Camping’s views are pretty much lumped together with all Christians. People have also had much fun with the idea of the Rapture as popularized by the Left Behind series. Though I doubt most realize that the idea of the Rapture is certainly not universal among Protestants and of course totally alien to Catholics and the Orthodox. Of course the Rapture is rather a modern idea invented by John Nelson Darby a Irish Lawyer and the father of dispensationalism later popularized by Scofield.
That Camping’s prophecy is mocked is not surprising and of course much of that criticism comes from Christians. The end of the world chicken littles are nothing new and often should be smiled at and laughed about. That Camping has made a previous prediction makes is more laughable and of course there was the Edgar Whisenant best seller on why the Rapture would occur in 1988, and not surprisingly he sold less copies when he subsequently predicted it in 1989. These types of false prophets are laughed at and of course they have no credibility.
Now if you want to be a false prophet and predict things that never happen and not only keep your credibility and even get a high paying job you need to be a environmental prophet. No matter how badly you off in predicting the future, it doesn’t matter as your latest prophecy will seem just as credible to many people.
For example President Barack Obama Science Advisor John P. Holdren predicted the “great die-off” for the 1980s. Oh well we all make mistakes. In 1986 Holdren predicted “carbon dioxide-induced famines could kill as many as a billion people before the year 2020. Just two years ago when queried on this:
Vitter: So you would stick to that statement?
Holdren: I don’t think it’s likely. I think we should invest effort – considerable effort – to reduce the likelihood further.
Vitter: So you would stick to the statement that it could happen?
Holdren: It could happen, and …
Vitter: One billion by 2020?
Holdren: It could.
Talk about faith.
Modern critics have noted his role in Paul Ehrlich’s famous wager with Julian Simon: Holdren chose five metals that he believed would be more expensive in ten years’ time due to scarcity, while Simon predicted each would be less expensive. A decade hence, Ehrlich’s group was $1,000 poorer (a chance to reduce their carbon footprint, perhaps).
Or how about Rachel Carson who wrote the book Silent Spring which was the death knell for millions who subsequently died of malaria? Lets forget about that bit of science prophecy and concentrate on Harold Camping.
- A 1990’s textbook said “some scientists estimate that the world’s known supplies of oil, tin, copper, and aluminum will be used up within your lifetime.
- Harrison Brown, a respected member of the National Academy of Sciences, published predictions in Scientific American in 1970 which estimated that humanity would totally run out of copper by 2000, and that lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would all be gone by 1990.
- Paul Ehrlich, famously predicted in his best-selling book The Population Bomb: “The battle to feed all humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines; hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”
- Ehrlich, in an article entitled “Eco-Catastrophe” in The Progressive magazine, offered a scenario in which four billion people would starve to death between 1980 and 1989, 65 million of whom would be Americans.
- “Within a few years “children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” Snowfall will be “a very rare and exciting event.” in the year 2000 Dr. David Viner, senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia
- “[By] 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots…[By 1996] The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.” Michael Oppenheimer
- “By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” Life magazine, January 1970.
And the list of faulty environmental predictions go on and on and on and yet retain secular credibility. Certainly there is a double standard among false prophets so if you are going to be one be a environmental false prophet.
And all this time, the prophets of Science continue to prove P. T. Barnum right. Fortunately, we don’t base social policy on the loony predictions of Camping and the “Bible Coders”. Unfortunately, we do base social policy on the loony predictions of Ehrlich and the chicken littles of Science. Jim Jones only got 300 people to drink the Kool-Aid; Margaret Sanger et al. have got the Western hemisphere buying it by the trainload.
It gets better: Holdren and the Erlichs wrote a text book back in the 70’s called EcoScience. They get into everything from forced abortion/sterilization to drugging the water supply with anti-fertility drugs, one-child policies etc. all accomplished with the aid of a “Planetary Regime” to enforce population control. I kid you not.
The more conspiracy-minded websites are having a field day with this, but if you poke around you can see scans of the pages of this book.
Reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode (or was it a sci-fi movie?) w/ the spacemen who have the book “To Serve Man” but it turns out to be a cook book. Holdren and company make Margaret Sanger look like Mother Teresa.
Have a look:
“I’ve noticed that a lot of the commentary on the social networks and new sites is predominantly of the secular “look at those crazy Christians” variety. That Camping’s views are pretty much lumped together with all Christians”
And over at Standing On My Head, we get the variation “look at those crazy Protestants”. Longnecker attaches Camping’s views to a nebulous “good number of Protestants” (while getting Scofield’s name wrong), which in the combox quickly escalated to “all the prots”.
An even better instance is the wet-firecracker of the “Y2K disaster”, which had both the baleful prophecies, and the game of Telephone about what the prophecies were. (Did anyone actually claim that “planes will fall out of the sky”, as opposed to people saying that people were saying that someone said so?)
“I’ve noticed that a lot of the commentary on the social networks and new sites is predominantly of the secular “look at those crazy Christians”
Yep, and little good is it to say well Catholics don’t buy into this stuff because we are talking about a version of “all black people look the same.”
I used to hang out with Evangelical Protestants. Some of them were into pre-tribulation rapture. Part of their imminent end times evidence consisted of an unprecedented number of earthquakes and other natural disasters in the 20th century. Every time a natural disaster struck, it would get blamed on North America forsaking its Christianity. All the scientific brights laughed at the idiocy.
In the 21st century, the environmentalists say the same thing about earthquakes and natural disasters except everything gets blamed on carbon emissions. But the scientists dont laugh.
I’ve often wondered how the public would react if you took all the horrible things Dawkins and Hitchens said about religion: intolerance, violence, anti-science, anti-education, anti-negotiation, xenophobic, isolationist, only willing to accept a new idea or person at the intervention of their deity – and wrapped all this bile, which the Christian faith supposedly spews, in the trappings of eco-religion.
Then I saw the much acclaimed Avatar…