Friday, May 20, 2011

A brief note on the Rapture

Michael Hartell of the Sentinel and Enterprise interviewed me in my capacity as a spokesentity for the Boston Skeptics talking about the Rapture. Hartell's article focuses on Harold Camping's prediction that the Rapture will take place tomorrow. His article is worth reading, although there are a few things that didn't get into the final article that I think are worth mentioning: First, the entire "Rapture" doctrine as it exists in modern times is only a few centuries old and only became at all popular due to the preaching of John Darby in the early part of the 19th century. Second, this is a good example of the sort of serious damage that erroneous beliefs can create. The New York Times article on the same subject focuses on the Haddad family where the parents believe the Rapture will occur tomorrow and the children do not. In that article, the Haddads have stopped saving up for college for their children because they believe that it will never happen. The children will suffer when the Rapture doesn't take place and they then can't afford to get good educations. These parents are not going to risk their childrens' lives in the same way that parents who refuse to vaccinate are actively endangering their lives, but the basic problem is the same: hideously inaccurate beliefs about reality are hurting bystanders.

4 comments:

MKR said...

The really sad thing is that the children are suffering socially right now.

“People look at my family and think I’m like that,” said Joseph, their 14-year-old, as his parents walked through the street fair on Ninth Avenue, giving out Bibles. “I keep my friends as far away from them as possible.”

“I don’t really have any motivation to try to figure out what I want to do anymore,” he said, “because my main support line, my parents, don’t care.


It sounds as though they want to be normal human beings in spite of their freak-show parents. I am reminded of Lisa Simpson's comment on seeing her father and Ned Flanders mow each others' lawns wearing their wives dresses (in fulfillment of a bet made by Homer): "Why do I have the feeling that one day I will be telling a psychiatrist about this?"

There is a very informative piece about "Reverend" Harold Camping by Jason Boyett here.

sniffnoy said...

Camping has actually explicitly stated that he means 6 PM local time. It's not entirely clear whether he means that to be based on legal time zones or astronomy, though...

Jay said...

I'm glad to see you zeroing in on the impacts this has on the people who have been caught up in this ridiculous rapture nonsense.

MKR said...
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