May 21st 2011
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08-02-2011, 03:35 PM
RE: May 21st 2011
(08-02-2011 03:16 PM)Kthulu Wrote:  It should be noted that most mainline/conservative Christians don't give any heed to Harold Camping and his troupe of sadistic end-timers. They're generally regarded as a fringe-group, sometimes even a benign cult. Though, I will admit, I have a hard time seeing any group that looks forward to the end of life via divinely orchestrated violence as "benign."
True, but the point of contention with many of them is simply that we don't and can't know when the end times are coming. There are plenty of conservative (though I admittedly know less of the mainline type of Christian) Christians who firmly believe that Jesus will return someday and destroy the Earth along with the unrepentant sinners in a glorious bloodbath.

Because God is love.

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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08-02-2011, 05:44 PM
 
RE: May 21st 2011
(08-02-2011 03:35 PM)TheSixthGlass Wrote:  
(08-02-2011 03:16 PM)Kthulu Wrote:  It should be noted that most mainline/conservative Christians don't give any heed to Harold Camping and his troupe of sadistic end-timers. They're generally regarded as a fringe-group, sometimes even a benign cult. Though, I will admit, I have a hard time seeing any group that looks forward to the end of life via divinely orchestrated violence as "benign."
True, but the point of contention with many of them is simply that we don't and can't know when the end times are coming. There are plenty of conservative (though I admittedly know less of the mainline type of Christian) Christians who firmly believe that Jesus will return someday and destroy the Earth along with the unrepentant sinners in a glorious bloodbath.

Because God is love.

Big Grin Yes, indeed: God will destroy everything because he loves everything. Just like the abusive husband destroys the cowering wife and child. Amen.

Sarcasm aside, however, the biblical admission that "no one knows the day or the hour" (Matt. 24:36) does speak to a very definite problem in the eschatology of Camping and his misfit followers: how can Camping know if the book he believes is infused with the credibility of a flawless, wholly reliable god says "no one knows, not even the angels, or the Son"?

On that last note, in bible college, I was particularly troubled with the notion that the god I praised, who was also Jesus the co-equal heir of God the Father, had no understanding of his immanent return. It seemed to me that if Jesus was co-equally god with the Father, and had all the same attributes of the Father, that Jesus would have knowledge of his 2nd advent.

So, I asked my theology professor about this. He responded by asking, "was Jesus simply a man?"

I answered, "No. He was acknowledged to be both fully God and fully man at the Council of Ephesus."

My professor inquired further, "Then is it possible that Jesus was saying that even despite his full godhood, his manhood did not know, and that he was speaking from a subordinate position in his manhood?"

At the time, the rhetorical nature of my professor's question was enough to satisfy my need for an answer: that Jesus, as a man, didn't know. As god, he did. But it wasn't for man to know, and in not knowing man would continue in faith to acknowledge Jesus as divine.

But the problems such an answer creates are manifold.

First, it is premised in special pleading. Jesus is god and man, therefore the god portion of Jesus knows but the man part doesn't. In other words, no man can know except the man who is also god, but even he, as a man doesn't know.

Second, if the man part of Jesus doesn't know, even though his god part does, we are looking at a rather interesting personality disorder.

Third, if Jesus the man has no understanding of the things of god, just like the rest of humanity, then the proposition of Ephesus (that Jesus's two natures are a hypostatic union) is another case of special pleading: Jesus knew all the things of god, except this one thing. And that one thing, according to the measure of the fullness of a god (whatever that is) would render Jesus less than fully god.

In any case, there is so much wrong with Camping's theology and the doctrines it calls into question that we can safely say that without the world ending, the rug has easily been pulled out from under Camping before he even has a chance to enter the room, let alone the new Zion.

Okay. I'm done babbling now.
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09-02-2011, 01:18 AM
RE: May 21st 2011
(03-02-2011 04:58 PM)gaglamesh731 Wrote:  Their minister predicted the end in 1996 too.

And his followers still follow him. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. dumb.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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09-02-2011, 01:29 AM
 
RE: May 21st 2011
(09-02-2011 01:18 AM)No J. Wrote:  
(03-02-2011 04:58 PM)gaglamesh731 Wrote:  Their minister predicted the end in 1996 too.

And his followers still follow him. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. dumb.

Of course they still follow him! People follow chaps like Camping not because they believe in the truth-value of what Camping declares, but because they are caught-up in the social pull, the dreamy appeal of Camping's message. Camping, and others of his ilk, are essentially personality cults. Thus Camping can be wrong and still attract and keep a following.
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09-02-2011, 01:33 AM
RE: May 21st 2011
How F*&%ing sad.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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09-02-2011, 01:37 AM
RE: May 21st 2011
I never understood the doomsday predictors. There is NO upside. When you're wrong, you are ridiculed for your ridiculousness, and if you're ever right (say a massive comet hits the earth), the world ends... there's no one to brag to about being right. You get about 5 seconds between "hey the world IS ending today" and dying.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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09-02-2011, 01:43 AM
RE: May 21st 2011
I don't understand them either. I am sane, they are not. You understand me so you must be sane, or at least a hell of a lot saner than them.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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09-02-2011, 08:17 AM (This post was last modified: 09-02-2011 08:20 AM by TheSixthGlass.)
RE: May 21st 2011
Google "when prophecy fails and faith persists" - you'll find a link to a pdf of a study done on some religious prophecies that have failed and how some of these groups continue to exist after the failures. Many of them manage to convince their followers that something did happen, but explain it away by saying there was a shift in the spiritual realm, or something of that sort.

I imagine a group like the one we're talking about might say that because of their efforts of warning people and spreading the gospel, God decided to postpone the end for a little while (making appeals to his mercy and patience and things of that nature, of course).

Any way, you should read that little paper. It's only 20 pages or so and pretty interesting. These people basically become so convinced that they're right that even when they fall flat on their faces they manage to keep a core group of believers, and many of these groups even flourish more after the failures. I pity these people. I really do.

edit: Also, I did send them a message yesterday. I'll see if they write back. I'm not holding my breath.

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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09-02-2011, 07:59 PM
RE: May 21st 2011
I remember back in 1975, when I was in 7th grade, the world was supposed to end at noon on a specific day and we all sat around in silence in the lunchroom staring at the clock....the minutes ticked by....and nothing happened. We all went back to eating.
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