The End of the World: 2011 Edition

I can’t just title this page “The End of the World” because that has been predicted before. And before that. And before that, and — well, you get the idea.

Yeah, a large variety of the world’s nutballs throughout history just can’t stand the thought of peace and harmony: the ultimate disaster must be at hand! Whether it’s overpopulation, nuclear war, Y2K (or other random numbers), a solar eclipse, spacecraft reentry, 2012’s “End of the Mayan Calendar”, or even global warming, catastrophe is nigh! Run! Scream! Repent!

And that reminds me: we haven’t even gotten to Christ’s Second Coming yet!

So here’s the latest example of that, from True’s 15 May 2011 issue:

May Day May Day May Day

Harold Camping, 89, president of California-based religious broadcaster Family Radio, says the world will end on May 21, and has been buying billboards to spread the word. Robert Fitzpatrick, 60, believes him: the Staten Island, N.Y., man has spent $140,000 — his entire retirement savings after working 26 years at a desk job — to buy bus and subway ad placards to alert people to the impending doom. “Global Earthquake: The Greatest Ever!” the ads scream. “Judgment Day May 21, 2011.” The Bible, Fitzpatrick says, provides “proof that cannot be dismissed,” and God will only save True Believers from the apocalypse. “Most churches teach that if you just believe, you will be saved,” he says, but admits to “just a little doubt” that he’ll be one of them, since “it is God’s choice.” Of course, Camping also predicted the world would end in September 1994 — just one of hundreds of wrong end-of-the-world predictions made by religious groups over the years. What if the latest prediction is wrong too? “Everybody asks me that,” Fitzpatrick says. “I don’t want to talk about it.” (RC/New York Post) …“I personally guarantee the world won’t end on May 21, and Camping’s followers are fools to believe him.” —Every rational person on Earth

How Could He Possibly Be Wrong?

No, It’s True This Time! A 1945 book that warns of The End since, after all, Revelations 16:9 notes that “They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues” — and certainly the atomic bomb seemed to be bringing that home.

Of course, I fully expect that Camping won’t apologize; he’ll just say he “miscalculated” the date …and come up with another one.

No matter that Family Radio’s billboards plastered all over the country scream “The Bible Guarantees It!” (that’s odd: I don’t recall ever seeing the date May 21, 2011 in the Bible…).

After all, Family Radio has gotten plenty of great publicity from this silliness. And from publicity comes money — from fools that will be fooled again, and again, and again.

Fools like Mr. Fitzpatrick, from the story above, who had retired from his job, and probably now needs to go get another one so he can afford to eat.

Care to Rebut?

All that said, I’m really, truly hoping that not everyone who reads this agrees with me — I’d love to hear from someone who believes this so-called prophecy (use the Comments form below).

No, really! I’ll urge you to pick up a Lifetime Subscription to This is True for just $10,000. If you’re right, you’ll have no need for the cash. If I’m right then, well, you could use a lifetime of a publication that encourages you to think, couldn’t you?

And hey, if you’re still worried, it’s never too late to get a stack of Get Out of Hell Free cards! As I like to say, “Don’t Leave This Earthy Plane Without One.” Click the card to order.

May 22 Update

Not surprisingly to “every rational person on Earth,” the world didn’t end as scheduled by Camping. But Mr. Fitzpatrick, of course, was quite surprised. I followed up on his story in the 22 May issue:


“I just don’t understand,” said Robert Fitzpatrick over and over again. Fitzpatrick, 60, of Staten Island, N.Y., was so sure the world would end on May 21 that he spent his life savings warning people about the apocalypse. “I’m very surprised,” he said as the appointed moment — 5:59 p.m., local time — came and went. “I fully expected that something would happen.” He was in Manhattan’s Times Square for the apocalypse, surrounded by crowds and media. “It’s 6 o’clock we’re still alive,” yelled one onlooker, generating applause from the crowd. Others in the crowd had been chanting “Hell no, we won’t go!” Fitzpatrick now admits he “doesn’t know” what will happen on October 21, when the entire universe is supposed to be consumed by fire, according to the prophecy he previously had embraced. (RC/Staten Island Advance) …“It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” —Carl Sagan, American astrophysicist (1934-1996)

I hadn’t planned to write a follow-up story, but I just loved the concept of the crowd taunting him with the chant, “Hell no, we won’t go!”

October 21 Update: This Time He Really Means It!

What, you didn’t notice?! The world ended today. It did too! Because some jackass said “The Bible Guarantees It!” you know it happened. Because, you know, it was guaranteed. By the Bible!

Camping’s prediction of “rapture” on May 21 flopped when nothing happened. Camping retorts “IT DID TOO!” (which may be a slight paraphrase): May 21 really was Judgment Day, he insisted, and God has done all the reckoning He needed to (despite Camping preaching that the world would, in no uncertain terms, end May 21 in a giant Earthquake; God apparently decided to be much more subtle).

Those Closest To Him

Camping’s own employees didn’t buy it, by the way: “I don’t believe in any of this stuff that’s going on,” a Family Radio receptionist at their Oakland headquarters told CNN in May, “and I plan on being here next week.”

But, she said, some co-workers did actually blow their life savings on nice cars or vacations in anticipation of the world (nay: the entire universe!) ending, because, you know, God would want them to have a nice ride to Armageddon.

The receptionist noted that “about 80%” of Camping’s own workforce didn’t believe his prediction, and admitted that the calendar she keeps had lots of appointments scheduled for well after the supposed Armageddon.

“Thus we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those who are presently saved (the elect), are under the judgment of God, and will be annihilated together with the whole physical world on October 21, 2011, on the last day of the present five months period.”
—Family Radio’s web site, as of October 21, 2011 (emphasis added)

So why did Camping change it to today? Apparently He (God, not Camping) needed to process a bunch of paperwork, which would take exactly five months, and the world will really, Really, REALLY end October 21. And this time he (Camping, not God) means it!

Yet you didn’t even notice you’re dead now. That just shows how observant you are!

Looney Tunes?

Well of course Camping is a whackjob. You know that as well as I do. My point is that he was able to convince scads of followers to quit their jobs and blow their life savings on spreading his message of the end of the world. Repent! Hurry! Time’s almost up!

Of course few listened to the gullible fools who now are jobless and broke in the worst economy since the Great Depression. Yet still, millions of people — let’s call them “lesser fools” — still listen to Camping’s radio stations and the horribly errant words of a false prophet.

And why does that matter? I’ve actually heard people say that since the world is ending, we don’t need to take care of it. Fill our air with carbon dioxide and whatever nasties we burn. Dump chemicals into the waters we need to drink to live. Our children’s children don’t need a wholesome Earth …or do they?

Because OK, so Armageddon didn’t happen this time (or the time before that, or the time before that, or the time before that, or the time before that, or the time before that, or the time before that, or the time before that, or the time before that, or the time before that, or [repeat literally hundreds of times!]), but surely it’s coming really, really soon, so why worry about pollution, or climate change, or dumping old tires in streams, or living in a way that’s sustainable for our children, their children, and the generations to come?

They’d rather think that God made the world …so that we could screw up His creation. This makes Biblical sense (or even common sense!) …how? The bottom line becomes: if God doesn’t destroy the world, then we will. Yeah, surely that is what God would want for His creation!

So my contention, as stated in my tagline on the first story on Camping, is that those who believe this garbage are fools, and “every rational person on Earth” knows it. It takes a pretty big ego to think the world will end in your lifetime.

But hey, don’t worry: when I said it’s the end of the world “2011 edition,” you can count on another prediction in 5… 4… 3….

But… The Mayans!

I’ve got it! How about the end of “the” Mayan calendar? Because clearly, the Maya knew the world was going to end in 2012, so they quit doing the calendar for that reason, not because they ran out of flat rock to chisel it on.

Here’s the truth: the Maya actually had a number of calendars, ranging from 260 days to a generation — 52 years. The world didn’t end when those calendars did, now did they?

But then there’s the Mayan “Long Count” calendar that spans from the modern calendar’s August 11, 3114 BCE, and ends 5,126 years later on December 21st, 2012 — because it was designed to. And obliviots contend there’s some significance to that, and (EEEEEEEK!) say that must be the end of the world.


No, just like the other Mayan calendars simply started over after 260 days, or 365 days, or 52 years, so does the Long Count calendar. Pretty obvious when you think about it, but fear mongers don’t want you to think, they want you to fear. They want you to be irrational — the opposite of rational. Do you just swallow that, or think about what you want to believe?

Meanwhile, no one seems to wonder that if the Maya were so smart to know that the world would end well over a thousand years in the future, why weren’t they able to predict their own civilization would die out much, much sooner? Because it did — in the 9th century.

Go to the Back of the Line

When the “world ends in 2012” prediction joins the hundreds before it and also proves false, you can be sure there will be another one. (See: “It takes a pretty big ego to think the world will end in your lifetime,” above.)

Fear mongers want you to live in fear; that gives them power. I refuse to, and invite you to live with me — with common sense and rationality. That’s the sort of thing you can do when you think for yourself, rather than listen to obliviots who do numerology on select Biblical passages, or on the lint in their navels, or the dust on their brains.

And yet, Camping’s Family Radio is still asking for contributions to Spread The Word. Yes, really.

The truth is, life is uncertain. It’s likely to continue for thousands and thousands of years into the future, and there will be good times and bad times, just like always. The best we can do is to leave a better world for our kids than our parents left for us. Is that really too much to ask?

This is True is about thinking for yourself about issues that matter, not following fear mongers, idiots or politicians (I know: that’s redundant). If you’re not already a subscriber to my weekly newsletter, I invite you to click here to open a subscribe form. It won’t hurt: the stories are quite entertaining since I want you to enjoy the process. It’s why I call True “Thought-Provoking Entertainment.” And basic subscriptions have been free since its start in 1994.

March 2012: Another Message from Camping (But!)

Harold Camping has issued …no, not another prediction, but rather an apology!


“Events within the last year have proven that no man can be fully trusted,” he wrote on his web site in March 2012. “Even the most sincere and zealous of us can be mistaken.”

This was no little mistake: at Camping’s insistent urging, people quit their jobs and blew their life savings to “get the word out” (or, if you prefer, “get the Word out”) to the world. Some left their families. All because of the ravings of an admitted “zealot.”

Camping, Complete and Unedited

Dear Family Radio Family,

In this time of confusion and turmoil, God’s Word remains the only truth in which we can trust. God has shown us again the truth that He alone is true. In Romans 3:4 God declares: “Let God be true but every man a liar.” Events within the last year have proven that no man can be fully trusted. Even the most sincere and zealous of us can be mistaken.

The May 21 campaign was an astounding event if you think about its impact upon this world. There is no question that millions, if not billions of people heard for the first time the Bible’s warning that Jesus Christ will return. Huge portions of this world that had never read or seen a Bible heard the message the Christ Jesus is coming to rapture His people and destroy this natural world.

Yes, we humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing; yet though we were wrong God is still using the May 21 warning in a very mighty way. In the months following May 21 the Bible has, in some ways, come out from under the shadows and is now being discussed by all kinds of people who never before paid any attention to the Bible. We learn about this, for example, by the recent National Geographic articles concerning the King James Bible and the Apostles. Reading about and even discussing about the Bible can never be a bad thing, even if the Bible’s authenticity is questioned or ridiculed. The world’s attention has been called to the Bible.

We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world. Though many dates are circulating, Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date. God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding.

We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours! We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically.

We realize that many people are hoping they will know the date of Christ’s return. In fact for a time Family Radio fell into that kind of thinking. But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that “of that day and hour knoweth no man” (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God’s divine plan.

We were even so bold as to insist that the Bible guaranteed that Christ would return on May 21 and that the true believers would be raptured. Yet this incorrect and sinful statement allowed God to get the attention of a great many people who otherwise would not have paid attention. Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish His purposes, so He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible. However, even so, that does not excuse us. We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.

So we must be satisfied to humbly wait upon God, and trust He will guide His people to safety. At Family Radio, we continue to look to God for guidance. If it is His good pleasure for us to continue on with our original mission, the proclamation of the Gospel, God’s Word, then we must continue to look to Him.

We consider you to be a real part of this ministry and the tremendous opportunities which God, by His unfathomable mercy and grace, continues to give to us. And, your steadfast involvement and support is so appreciated!

May God bless you,

Harold Camping and the staff of Family Radio.


Is Camping truly repentant? You be the judge. He goes on to defend his actions: “The May 21 campaign was an astounding event if you think about its impact upon this world. There is no question that millions, if not billions of people heard for the first time the Bible’s warning that Jesus Christ will return.” (That was a “warning”? Huh: I thought it was a “promise.” But whatever.)

Here’s another of his two-faced mea culpas: “Yes, we humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing; yet though we were wrong God is still using the May 21 warning in a very mighty way. In the months following May 21 the Bible has, in some ways, come out from under the shadows and is now being discussed by all kinds of people who never before paid any attention to the Bible.”

Notice how short the apology is, and how long the “yet” portion is. One almost expects the phrase “So the end justifies the means” to pop up at any moment.

Camping still can’t help but admit that “We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world. Though many dates are circulating, Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date.”


Then he goes on to say that “God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding.” God didn’t humble you, pal: the world did.

And then there’s this: “Reading about and even discussing about the Bible can never be a bad thing, even if the Bible’s authenticity is questioned or ridiculed.” Yet few did that. No, Mr. Camping, we were ridiculing you, your self-importance, and your insistence that only you knew the truth. Address that and maybe you’ll redeem yourself — a little.

It Was There All Along

Camping admits “we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man’ (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong.” — and he doesn’t pull that punch with an excuse.

But he goes right back to that in his next statement. He acknowledges that while he “guaranteed that Christ would return on May 21 and that the true believers would be raptured” was an “incorrect and sinful statement,” he goes on to say that foolishness “allowed God to get the attention of a great many people who otherwise would not have paid attention.”

Sinful? You’d need a calculator to tally up the ways, Camps. And sorry, but if God wants to get our attention, he’s not going to do it through a tin-plated radio (or TV!) preacher. Nor is He going to “punish” some specific country for allowing gays to marry by wreaking wholesale destruction on random cities by the use of foul weather that visits every year anyway.

“However, even so,” he continues, “that does not excuse us. We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.”

Right: women who initiate divorce will go to hell to burn in painful eternity, but false prophets who urge the faithful to quit their jobs and throw all of their money away will be forgiven (but too bad about those suckers’ families, eh?!)

What incredible gall.

Oh, and Send Money!

“So we must be satisfied to humbly wait upon God, and trust He will guide His people to safety,” Camping says. “At Family Radio, we continue to look to God for guidance.” How about using common sense and the brains that were provided to him? Nope: no sign of that.

And even after all of this, Camping still wants you to $end $ome ca$h, plea$e: “And, your steadfast involvement and support is so appreciated!”

Remember, that which you reward, you get more of. At least we didn’t get a teary “He will call me back to Heaven if our financial needs are not met! Quick! Send more money!” Yes, well, his “real” followers don’t have any now, eh? He needs new suckers.

When someone tells you “the Bible guarantees it” or even “it’s in the Bible,” I have some advice: Look for yourself. Don’t take anyone’s word for it. (Then consider asking yourself, “Who translated this Bible? From what source? Did they have an agenda in mind while doing that translation?”)

And if they tell you scare-mongering ghost stories — and won’t you please give them some money so they can tell that story to others? — you might want to turn your back. Fool you once, shame on them. Fool you again and again and again and again and again, shame on you.

The End…?

Camping had a stroke on June 9, 2011; his “end days” were spent trying to recover.

Family Radio, meanwhile, suffered huge financial losses, and many of the staffers quit, with some denouncing Camping as a cult leader.

In late 2013, Camping fell at his home, and died two weeks later, on December 15. He was 92 — and the rest of the world still goes on.

But you can bet some other false prophet will rise to take his place in 5… 4… 3….

– – –

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153 Comments on “The End of the World: 2011 Edition

  1. Are rush orders available for the cards? I mean, if ya need them, this Saturday might be the last chance =P LOL

    Yep, we even do Express Mail. But hey: there really isn’t a need for much rush, is there? -rc

  2. You are right. The man is plainly a fool. God tells us in the Bible no one but Him knows the day of Jesus’ return. Anyone says he knows the date is sorely needing to read all the Bible. Having said that, it is plain that it is apparent you have no faith. I wish you did because everyday we get closer to Christ’s second coming. Are you prepared?

    Because I call fools what they are, “it is plain that it is apparent” I have no faith? No, you cannot ascertain my beliefs, Michael. I’m secure in what I believe, and don’t need help from those who aren’t. -rc

    • I believe in the teachings of Christ as contained in PARTS OF the new testament. I reject those teachings that did not come directly from Christ who spent his whole far too short life teaching love and tolerance and rejecting the old testament.

      In spite of the old testaments demand that women be stoned to death for “crimes” that men were allowed to commit he refused to participate.

      In spite of Leviticus he wore his hair long.

      In spite the old testament saying people like the Samaritans were contemptible he spoke on their behalf. Etc.

      Those teachings are diametrically opposed to the teachings of most churches who claim to be Christian but teach all the hatreds, biases and intolerance of the old testament.

      To me you claim faith but, from your comment, you are one of the intolerant old testament believers or you would never have claimed that RC is faithless.

  3. That dude is wrong. The end of the world was on May 1, 1959. I know. I was there. We are now in a new world with solid state stuff and LCDs and cell phones and wrist computers that we didn’t have before May 1, 1959. We don’t even need punched cards or paper tape to run machines any more. Wow. I like this new world.

  4. I feel really bad for the people doing these drastic things; I know they should think about the cost of what will happen if the world doesn’t end, but their lives are going to be severely affected by this.

    Yes, well, most of the people featured in True have a deficit in the thinking department, eh? That’s part of the point: to help people learn that there’s a cost to not thinking. -rc

  5. If you have a look at his page — well I suppose it is his, because… well I suppose — there is a very interesting fact:

    7 BC — The year Jesus Christ was born (11,006 years from creation).

    Wow. I didn’t know Jesus was born before he was born. Neat. Nobody ever talks about that! 😀

    No, isn’t Camping’s, that one is from Ralph Workman in Pennsylvania; Camping is in California. In any case, if your contention is that Christ was born on 01/01/0001, you have some learnin’ to do. -rc

  6. Camping is 89 – maybe he just means it will be the end of his world.

    An appealing thought, but it doesn’t explain his 1994 prediction…. -rc

  7. At 89, the end of the world for Camping may well be nigh, but I’ll pass on the grape Kool-Aid, thanks.

  8. Aw c’mon, I want to at least make it to 40!

    Oh, wait (counts on fingers), yep, that’s a few days AFTER my birthday. I’ll be 40 already… oh god, the world IS ending!

    Wow: you’re the first with a plausible explanation! -rc

  9. Randy, I was being sarcastic. 😉 I thought it was funny to see how this person clearly acknowledges facts proven by mere humans. And yet… only to use them to help his own cause, and be a vital part to his fantastic calculation.

    Oh, how I love the irony!

    Fair enough! -rc

  10. Michael in Missouri has the typical “professional christian” attitude that if one doesn’t believe as they do, and most importantly, give them lots of money to spread their hate in god’s name, one is, of course, damned. Remember what Ghandi said: “I like your christ, but not your christians…they too often do not act christ-like.”

    Let’s all have a toast to fools on May 22nd!!

    I’ll drink to that. The full quote is: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. The materialism of affluent Christian countries appears to contradict the claims of Jesus Christ that says it’s not possible to worship both Mammon and God at the same time.” However, there is no authoritative source for Gandhi saying this. It is still a thought-provoking quote, and apparently adapted — by Gandhi or someone else — from Bara Dada: “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians — you are not like him.” Source: E. Stanley Jones, “The Christ of the Indian Road”, Abingdon Press,1925 (p114). -rc

  11. “In any case, if your contention is that Christ was born on 01/01/0001, you have some learnin’ to do. -rc”

    No, He was born on 12/25/0000. 🙂 LOL

  12. Melanie, pretty much all scholars agree that Jesus was born several years BC. The early folks got the date wrong, but they came pretty close. Probably between 2 and 6 years. Yeah, I know you were joking around, but thought I’d just mention that.

  13. What IS it with these so-called “Christians” that insist time is running out for people to make peace with God, Christ, the Holy Grail, and whatnot? I made my peace long ago, although occasionally I have to revisit it again when I screw up. But I sure don’t need somebody’s doomsday prediction to inspire me. If you ain’t got it by now, you ain’t gonna get it when the lights wink out. So what if the world ends on May 21? Think I’m gonna give one whit on May 22? I’m comfortable with my God. It’s a crying shame that these jokers aren’t comfortable with theirs. Just another empty promise in a long list of comet rides.

    Remember Oral Roberts and his glass cathedral in the 80’s? How he needed to raise $8 million by some deadline or God was going to “call him home”? At the last moment, an anonymous donor came up with the bulk of the cash. Personally, I think the “anonymous” donor was Roberts, himself, just so he wouldn’t have to explain why he was still alive.

  14. It says… “God will only save True Believers from the apocalypse.”

    I believe in ThisisTrue, so that makes me a True Believer right. I guess then that all ThisIsTrue (believers) are safe?

    I would think so, but keep some GOOHF cards around to be sure! -rc

  15. Totally agree with Peter in Texas. I BELIEVE that I will be toasting the world NOT ending on May 22!

    BTW: What time is the world supposed to end? USA time or Australian time? I might miss my favourite TV show!

    Fitzpatrick says the time will be around 6:00 p.m. New York time. From what I’ve read about the “logic” behind the prediction, I don’t know where that idea comes from, though. Best to drink every hour on the hour, then, eh? -rc

  16. Interestingly enough, there is a disaster predicted for May 21. The Mississippi is expected to crest that day. Unfortunately, things like this seem to pushing that off the news cycle.

    I have to admit, as a Christian I cringe. I believe God supports our freedom to choice so thoroughly that He still loves those who tell everyone He’s a vengeful, sadistic monster. I can’t live up to that yet.

  17. That’s my birthday, and God told me He wasn’t going to end the world that day. I figure my line to God is just as direct as his.

    Better: you’re not interested in publicity and sales. -rc

  18. I must confess that I’ve been laughing about this the last several weeks. The billboard in my town says, “Save the Date: Christ returns May 21, 2011.” It has a picture of someone writing in a daily planner. I mean, seriously? “Oh, it’s the 21st. I’ll go to the zoo this morning, take a nap, hang out with some friends, and in the evening, saunter on over to say hi to Jesus! Welcome back, bro!!”

  19. I can’t wait for the 22nd to get here, I want to know what happens next. That some number of people believe this guys “prediction” is amazing and fascinating to me — but not terribly surprising. There doesn’t seem to be a component of the people who’ll suicide to go to an afterlife in the tail of a comet… but it’s still a pretty good opportunity to see some people really stretch their legs and take their crazy for a walk.

    For my own amusement I searched on “Judgement Day May 21, 2011” and went a little slack-jawed at the number and variety of links that were found.

    After the 21st has come and gone, and these “believers” are still around I’m going to be a little sad, there may be a tear; how can we miss them if they won’t go away? ;-}

  20. Okay, so since I’m the Official This is True Pastor (yes it’s been a long while since I’ve been active, but I am still out there), how did I miss this? Actually, I didn’t miss it. I knew this guy was out there. It’s funny too. It reminds me of the book that told us the world was going to end in 1983 I believe. The book was entitled something like “1,983 Reasons Why The World Will End in 1983”. When that didn’t pan out the following year the same person published a second book entitled “1,984 Reasons Why the World DIDN’T End in 1983”.

    It’s about time you showed up for work, Padre! -rc

  21. But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert[e]! You do not know when that time will come.
    -Mark 13:32-33

  22. Unfortunately, Christians have been using the Bible for years to justify their beliefs, one way or the other. That’s how South Africa sustained Apartheid for so long. But like it was said earlier, I’m pretty sure the Bible isn’t going to give us a time table for the end of our time on earth. Just another excuse to have a doomsday party!

  23. Any serious student of the Bible knows that Jesus and his followers predicted the “Second Coming” and the “end of the world” in their life time. There are dozens of examples, but see a clear one in Matthew 24, especially verses 30-34.

    Skeptics like Bart Ehrman disbelieve Jesus because of these very statements. Most Christians find some way to explain such plain time statements away.

    The truth is that what we call the New Testament WASN’T WRITTEN to US. Jesus was clearly talking about an impending disaster in their WORLD in their day, i.e., the utter destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. That’s why He specified that those in Judea get out (verse 16). (P.S. They had no concept of the planet Earth and material universe like we do!)

    I am praying for the day when all Christians understand that the Bible documents were not written to anyone who lives today, nor about our problems in particular, nor about the end of our world. A preterist understanding of the Bible will put an end to the preposterous date-setting and damaging fear-mongering.

    As a Christian who takes the time statements of Jesus seriously and His apocalyptic language figuratively (as He obviously intended), I also guarantee the world will not end on May 21.

  24. These people really need to listen to this a few times — at least until it sinks in (if that’s ever likely to happen).

    And note; this one’s getting on for 50 years old!

    Note: Link removed because the video was, and there isn’t even any information there on what it might have shown.

  25. Trust me the world will not end on the 21st. My 50th birthday is on the 31st. And I’m gonna live to celebrate my 25th anniversary in 24 more years.

  26. If Robert Fitzpatrick was a true Christian (not one of these crazies who calls himself one and makes those rational folks who are comfortable in their faith look bad by association), wouldn’t a true Christian act be to give his money away to the poor, to the unbelievers, or to anyone else who might be worthy, instead of pi$$ing it away on advertising an impossible-to-predict event?

  27. “As a Christian who takes the time statements of Jesus seriously and His apocalyptic language figuratively (as He obviously intended), I also guarantee the world will not end on May 21.”

    You know, Oscar in Alabama, if you’re wrong, I’m gonna sue your butt off!

    (Right! Like I’m gonna find a lawyer in Heaven.)

    I was going to say! -rc

  28. A few things I appreciate about the site:

    1) Just a couple weeks ago their donation page was still set up for “monthly donations” — even though there was less than a month left.

    2) Their Verisign credentials were shown then to conveniently expire May 20th, 2011 — waste not, want not.

    3) Now their web page is better prepared for the Apocalypse — they will still take your money — but there is no monthly contribution option.

    4) But rather perplexing, the Verisign seal is not clickable anymore! Apparently Satan’s interference is preventing me from trusting

  29. Well, if Judgment Day doesn’t come on May 21st, we have another chance at the end of 2011. According to many, the Mayan calendar ends with 2011. No more time after December 31st. That’s just as valid as any millenarian ravings!

    Actually, the Mayan calendar ends Dec. 21, 2012 (winter solstice), as I referred to in my essay. Most people ignore the the inscription at the end: “Continued on next rock.” -rc

  30. What do you do if you think the world is gonna end on such and such a date? Do you wake up that day and go hide in a closet? Do you quit your job the week before and then get screwed when you have no job?

    I really want to go to all the believers and ask to buy their houses real cheap. Because technically (according to literature one of these believers gave me) may 21st isn’t the end of the world, it’s the rapture (the end of the world is October 21st) and since I’m “obviously” not going up in the rapture I’m going to need a place to live for the next 5 months. Then I can sell their houses back to them for normal price on the 22nd. heeheehee

  31. Is the Lifetime Subscription to This is True only $10,000?

    Surely this is a bargain! 🙂

    Shall I put you down for two? -rc

  32. I am confident that Jesus will return on May 21st — to finish that landscaping job for my niece in Fort Myers, FL.

  33. I really do hope this so-called “Rapture” occurs tomorrow. Then we’ll finally be rid of all those obnoxious people who won’t shut up about it.

  34. I can’t help but wonder why Family Radio isn’t giving away the reported $100 Million that has been donated to them during the past year. It’s not like they’re going to need it after tomorrow.

  35. My employer has offered to pay me $1000 an hour to work that day (Regular work day for me) But the EOW must happen while I am on shift! If EOW does not happen then I get my Regular pay 🙂

  36. This is really good news. If the bible clearly predicts the rapture on May 21st, and it doesn’t happen (we’ll know in a few hours) then the bible is clearly in error. If it has even one proven error then the fundies have a problem: Either the bible is not completely the word of god, or god is proven wrong. Either way, their credibility vanishes. Oh what fun.

  37. Don’t these people understand: “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). As long as they keep setting dates that can never happen.

    If they really want the end to come they need to act like it never will.

    In short: we need to fake God out.

  38. As a Christian, I just wonder if any of the people being raptured tomorrow would be willing to sell me their house for next to nothing….

    Only if you promise to take care of their pets. Apparently they’re not eligible. No dogs go to heaven. -rc

    • Randy — Now you’re mistaken. Only catholic dogs to to heaven.

      Too late to ask now, but I’d guess Camping would say NO Catholics go to heaven, human or otherwise. -rc

  39. It would seem people know about this and they’re not spending their last day in the temporary realm by going to the electronics store. I haven’t seen a soul since we opened this morning.

    Any sign of empty sets of clothing littering the streets? -rc

  40. I don’t know; I just thought the End of the World would be a little more dramatic than this.

    I’m reminded of a Peggy Lee song, “Is That All There Is?”

    Then let’s break out the booze and have a ball.

  41. In honour (Btit spelling) of the prediction, last night I read C.S. Lewis’ “The World’s Last Night” which is in a book of his essays having the same title. (Google is your friend.) He discusses (from his personal perspective) apocalyptic writings, the Rapture, and our attitudes toward them. A calm and reasoned approach, as I always find in his writing.

    I’m sure he’s chuckling at the inanity of the present contretemps.

  42. But, wait! If all the “believers” are taken up, who will be left for us to snicker about? This could seriously affect the quality of our lives! And…who will pay their share of the taxes? Does this mean that those “left behind” must bear an increased tax burden to support government services? What about gas prices? Public transit maintenance? Police/fire? Hospital staffing?

    Based on the criteria I’ve seen to be “saved”, I don’t think enough people will be taken up in the rapture to really make a difference. Yaknow? -rc

  43. As an act of faith, to celebrate the end of creation, I planted a fig tree in a friend’s yard. In a few years it will bear sweet fruit for the enjoyment of all of us smart enough to understand that the Bible is not a code book to be deciphered by one egomaniac to frighten the gullible.

  44. All I can say is. “Bring it on!!” When (if) it happens. Whichever place I end up in I plan to kick a lot of butts.

  45. I’m sure you’ve heard the (false) urban legend about a mistaken Rapture. I wondered if it would be feasible to stage that as a prank, but I was informed that the sex dolls are too heavy to be buoyant, and the seams would leak, too.

    Another variant of the prank would be for a lot of people to choose to be suddenly “missing” on Rapture Day. Style points if you got up early and left a set of clothes lying on the floor or out on the sidewalk, positioned as if their owner had vanished. Super bonus points for getting Camping himself to believe that the Rapture happened, and he wasn’t in it.

  46. OMFG!! People have been fading away right before my very eyes all day long!!

    …but that tends to happen in an MMORPG no matter what anyone predicts. Ha!

    Thanks Randy, Staff, and contributors for seeing us all through these troubling times! For Gods’ sake people, log on and Level!

    I read that as “log on to life” or “log on to reality” — good advice! -rc

  47. From my own point of view as a Buddhist, I find that these people who believed in Rapture do have rather narrow view of the world. According to them, the other religions, older and newer than Christianity do not count.

    So if the rapture happens, the immigration might not be an issue in US for a while. After all, people in India and most of SE Asia are not Christians and would love to find jobs there. At least we in Thailand would not have the living dead problem. Cremation is the preferred method for funeral service here.

  48. Oh, damn! And here I had stopped cleaning the house, doing laundry, bathing, and brushing my teeth. Do I have to clean up my act or is there another Doomsday coming soon?

    The next one is just next year! 21 December 2012, to be exact. Probably ought to complete your list before then, though…. -rc

  49. Pete in Bangkok: it’s even narrower than you’d believe. “According to them, the other religions, older and newer than Christianity do not count.”

    According to one old bag I was talking to, years ago, not only are the other religions doomed, but even the other sects of the Christian religion. The only sect that has a chance of salvation is the Church of the Nazarene. And even then, it has to be members of the correct Church of the Nazarene, specifically the one on Altama Avenue in Brunswick, GA.

    So, depending on how you count them, some 50-100 billion people throughout human history have been automatically condemned to hell, and only maybe 200 in a single church stands a chance. And not all of them, necessarily, either.

    If I were one to believe in that woman’s God, I’d have to say his massive experiment was a massively disastrous failure. Fortunately, I made my peace with my God long ago, and the End of the World is just the beginning of a new adventure.

  50. What, no dogs in Heaven? Glad I am still here then.

    As for Camping now the 21st has been and gone I wish the same for him as for everyone else. I hope that he gets what he deserves.

    Camping says we’re still on for the entire universe’s destruction on October 21. I, also, hope he gets what he deserves. -rc

  51. In the comments, Randy referenced the (presumably) Gandhi quote, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. The materialism of affluent Christian countries appears to contradict the claims of Jesus Christ that says it’s not possible to worship both Mammon and God at the same time.”

    I’ve heard that quote many times from the pulpit. It is a good reminder for us to not just call ourselves “Christians” but to actually follow Christ’s teachings.

    That’s why only the most rabid anti-Christian would have anything negative to say about Mother Teresa. Her life of following Christ’s teachings means that everyone, regardless of religious beliefs, would find it commendable.

  52. This goes into the “Great Idea to Fleece the Religious Obliviots” file…a service they can pay to take care of their pets after the rapture. The service employs only “certified atheists” who come to the home and care for the unfortunate pets after their families have flown away to live forever with Jesus. There is a one-pet fee with a discount for any additional animals in the house. What a racket! And why didn’t I think of this? And…who certifies the atheists?

    You just gotta love these situations!

  53. this is fake
    its just a gay bitch who wants fame
    ummm… u cant understsand revolations
    fuck off

    We may not “understsand” the book in the Bible called “Revelation”, but at least we can spell it. And your last line makes it really clear what kind of Christian you are, “bob la” — the kind that chases people away from religion. Congratulations on your great success at that. -rc

  54. I agree with the Ghandi quote above. Christ’s message gets lost when Christians pick and choose which parts of the Bible they want to follow. I have trouble believing anything in the Bible because it was written by MEN, not God. The New Testament was written a long time after Christ died so its accuracy is iffy at best. An empire was built based on a book. Perhaps in a thousand years, someone will dig up a copy of Harry Potter and witches will be worshiped instead.

    Many academic careers will probably be based on your last sentence. -rc

  55. Because I recognise that this isn’t the place to get into a big argument about religious beliefs, I debated with myself whether to reply to Beth, Florida’s assertion “The New Testament was written a long time after Christ died so its accuracy is iffy at best” or not.

    So I’ll just leave it with a short statement of fact: There is a lot of evidence (to me, evidence that is beyond reasonable doubt) that most of the New Testament — in particular the 4 Gospels, Acts, and Paul’s letters — were written within a short time of the events, while the people who were eyewitnesses were still alive. If you’re interested to look further into this, I suggest The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel (available on etc.)

  56. People have been declaring that the world will end since the first fanatic got his loin cloth in a bunch. It is a way to make the gullible shake in fear and give more to whatever religious leader they follow so that they can hitch a ride to whatever afterlife they believe in.

  57. As a Christian, I’ll say Camping really, really offends me. He’s another of those people who make the majority of us Christians have to say, “But, really, we’re not like him…”. He completely ignores scriptures that say no man knows the day or the hour, while claiming Biblical inspiration.

    And the thought that we aren’t to be good stewards of the resources we are given — personal, monetary, natural — is equally offensive. But these are people who thinking “ruling” = “tyranny” rather than stewardship.

  58. Well, if it’s any consolation, better days ARE coming. They’re called Saturday and Sunday.

    And, I predict, there will be another pair of those next week, too! -rc

  59. Well, as I write this the day isn’t over yet, so there’s still time — at least locally. Since all this was supposedly based on the Bible, wouldn’t the Last Day be ending around now? Why, I might not be able to finish this sente

    And as I approve this comment, it’s Saturday. Hope your hangover isn’t too painful. 🙂 -rc

  60. Holy Cow – common sense! Thank you.

    Someone has to have a little. Thankfully, it can be developed. So my point isn’t to display mine, but rather to encourage it in others. -rc

  61. end of the world 2011
    He did not really predict the end of the world
    He predicted that the rapture would happen.
    All the saved would be called up and the unsaved would be left behind.
    It looks like The rapture happened and no one was saved

    And if you believe that, I’ve got some ocean-front property in Flagstaff to sell you. -rc

  62. Upgraded my subscription from free just because of this story.

    What a great report and well written. gonna recommend to all my friends, (May just be 2 or 3 🙂 ) to upgrade.

    Thanks for your work.

    Thanks for your support, Joe. I need those upgrades to keep TRUE going. -rc

  63. While these end-of-the-universe kooks are, indeed, kooks, there may be a germ of intellectual value in the method of their madness. To elaborate, I need to relate a personal experience.

    I road raced (as an amateur) for some years and, of course, had a number of “events” that were less than stellar. In one in particular, I found myself about 2/10ths of a second away from what appeared would be a head on collision with stationary objects at a speed in excess of 100 mph. The details of how those objects actually contributed to my survival are of no importance to this narrative. What is, though, is the operation of my consciousness during those 2/10ths.

    We’ve all heard the claim of “your whole life flashing before you” in such circumstances. Well — not even close. But, in recalling the event, that fraction of a second was sufficient for me to experience an amazing number of memory fragments, even entire scenes, while maintaining a full awareness of everything around me — the number of tires in the stack I was about to hit, the marks and scrapes on the concrete wall to my left, the color scheme of the car to my right, the location, clothing, and number of corner workers watching — but, more significantly, discussions I’d had with others, dances I’d attended and the music that had played in the past, and many many other fleeting yet vivid and complete recollections. Indeed, for me, “time slowed down”.

    Now to my point: I postulate that, in the brain’s process of dying (excluding the case where it was blown apart by a bullet), time slows down, more and more as the end approaches, to the extent that, in those fleeting dying moments, one lives … forever.

    The existentialists are correct. Just they didn’t carry their philosophy far enough.

    And, so: The kooks may be right. The end of the universe did occur. We’re all in the process of dying, and the world each of us is experiencing is actually a dying hallucination.

    An interesting thought to be sure, but I don’t think you “really” buy it any more than I do. -rc

  64. Thanks, Randy for your comments on this.

    It is sad to see so many people caught in superstitions. That’s all it is. Untruths sold to the fearful. Christian means following the teachings of Christ. We all can do that, it does not take faith or religion. It takes personal responsibility.

    The reality is we are facing all the dilemmas you outline. This is True.

  65. Actually, they aren’t even sure that the date of Dec. 21st is correct. Check this Discovery article from 2010.

    So even if they were correct that the world was going to end when the Mayan calendar does (which is ridiculous in of itself), the problems with correlating the ancient calendar means that they can’t really be sure of exactly when that calendar would end. Personally, I think they just love the idea of bleating about the end of the world so they can gain lots of attention.

    I’m sure the world will eventually end. I just won’t be around to see it when it does in a few billion years or so.

  66. People love to point at a nut job and say “that’s Christianity.” Funny how the unibomber (a green nut job) wanted to save the Earth by killing people.

    Had I said that Camping is “the” or “the best” representative of Christianity, your comment would make some sort of sense. But I (nor, as I recall, any of the commenters) have made such a statement, so I have to wonder: why so defensive that you must retort against something that’s not here? -rc

  67. What a fool. We all know the world ends on January 19, 2038, when the Unix calendar breaks. 🙂

    (see Unix Millinium Bug for those unfamiliar with it.)

    I’m sure it’ll be just as catastrophic as the COBOL-induced Y2K problem — and that linked page even discusses the problems people have spelling “millennium”. -rc

  68. The rapture and Christ’s 2nd coming ARE NOT the end of the world. They are the end of the age of grace. The earth will go on because the Bible clearly states that it is a world without end. Every prophecy in the Bible has been or will be fulfilled because the Bible also clearly states it was not written by people it was written by God.

    I know this and you know this, but Camping — a self-professed Bible expert — seems not to. He speaks of a “Global Earthquake: The Greatest Ever!” and that “we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those who are presently saved (the elect), are under the judgment of God, and will be annihilated together with the whole physical world” (emphasis added). This page isn’t about Bible prophecy, but rather one lunatic’s interpretation of it, and the fools who follow him despite repeated and clear proof of his fatuity. -rc

  69. Congratulations Randy, once again your common sense has said what many feel about Camping and his ilk. If there were more people like you and less like him, this world could be headed in a better direction. Please keep speaking out!!

    With your support, I can. -rc

  70. After what you wrote about the Mayan Long Count, I checked, and the truth is worse than I had thought — according to my calendar, the world will end on New Year’s Eve, 2011. Duck and cover!

    It may indeed be true that your world will end that day, but I’m sure there will be plenty left behind to mourn you. -rc

  71. People have had predicted Apocalypse in pretty much any age and time. Oh, they had many different names for it, many different ways for world to end, but world would always be ending soon enough.

    Such a convenient tale. World ends, so let’s squander all we have on amusement and luxury — because who’d enjoy all that after the sky falls? But, damn it all, it makes me worry. I could’ve understood conmen using this tale and their talents of persuasion to part the naive and simple from their coins. But when prophets of the end believe in it too? Things get a bit too serious to just overlook.

    Who knows — maybe one day, some of them prophets will decide to speed things up and end the world themselves. Not a pretty perspective.

    Right. Which makes it imperative we don’t vote for them. -rc

  72. the world may indeed “end” some billions of years from now, either “in fire or ice” depending on which scientific prediction you choose to believe in. the burn out of the solar fusion reaction and “death” of the sun going cold, or the sun going nova and exploding, flash frying the solar system. neither are an immediate worry for humanity.

    as for “armageddon”, it is an actual place, “har megiddo” in israel, and has been fought over by many armies over thousands of years, since at least the early bronze age. so which “battle of armageddon” would you like to choose as the “real” one.

  73. I absolutely love your rant and I am going to quote you on a big ego being needed to believe the world’s going to end in your lifetime. Perhaps the obliviots in my direct sphere might start thinking asofar they have not already (as I tend to surround myself with pretty smart people).

  74. In defense of Alvin Columbus, I don’t think he was referring to this blog with the usual litany of nutjobs being Christian, but that it’s common to see such comments throughout the internet. As though Christians have an exclusive patent to nutjobbery(?). What religion, or even non-religion, doesn’t? To paraphrase Sting, there is no monopoly of common sense on any side of the religious fence.

  75. I’d have to agree that there are many obliviots out there, including those who call themselves Christian but don’t know the first thing about Christ. If any of them had ever actually READ the Bible, they would know that the intended return of Christ will be when NO ONE is anticipating it. That doesn’t sound like a specific date to me. 🙂

  76. Aren’t the persons repeating charges of an immanent global weather catastrophe a variant on this species?

    Seems kind of similar: “I can tell you the future” (based on “Scientific Consensus” vs “Biblical Authority), then: “follow my recommendations and all will be fine…”

  77. As a Christian, what I find so unbelievable is how much these people ignore what the Bible actually says. Jesus (who is GOD for actual believers) made it perfectly clear that it is IMPOSSIBLE to know the hour and the day of his return, and by inference, the end of the world.

    Christians are called upon to 1) live as though the world could end at any moment; 2) live as though the world will never end; and 3) live as though you were a walking billboard for God himself.

    1) means that we live lives that we wouldn’t be embarrassed to die suddenly in; you know, moral, ethical, that kind of thing.
    2) means that you save, plan for the future, engage in good stewardship, that kind of thing.
    3) means that non-Christians look at how you live your life and see lives they would like to live.

    The doomsday prophets fail these in a major way. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to leave your brains or common sense at the door. In fact, a Christian has a greater responsibility to act and think intelligently.

  78. Love your comments about the Mayan calendar. I’ve been saying the same thing for years.

    “The calendar on my wall ends on Dec 31st. Doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Just means I have to buy a new calendar.”

  79. But it’s so much more fun to tell people the world will end when my husband turns 50… That’s his birthday.

    Well, he should know that life begins at 50! -rc

  80. Can we please add envio-mental-ists to these end of the world morons. In Canada we have David Suzuki who predicts complete environmental collapse in 10 years… Every 10 years. We need to get him on 60 minutes with recordings of his speeches going back to the 1960s. Worse this guy is trumped around like a hero and not a doomsday crackpot.

  81. I suppose it was only a matter of time before global warning was brought into this. It’s funny how the same dismissal can sometimes be seen against both Christianity and climate change (in my experience, contrary to the general stereotypes), when either seems inconvenient. Then again, it’s natural to be confident in both without knowing the timescale of either. Also, both justify careful stewardship if interpreted correctly, rather in contrast to what’s reported here.

    (Randy, I know people can’t claim that your’re holding up Camping as a representative of typical Christianity, but the same can’t be said for all commenters, e.g. Joe, NY on May 20 claimed that disproving the obliviot’s claims would disprove the Bible…)

  82. When judgement day comes, we had best hope that God does not hold mankind accountable for their stewardship of his creation. Better print up a big batch of GOOHF cards.

    They’re already printed at the rate of 60,000 a batch! -rc

  83. What Camping puts forth is just so much silly nonsense. Those who have been fortunate enough to have been touched by HIS noodly appendage know that Pastafarianism is the one true belief.

    I, for one, do not fear my death as I know I will be transported to a realm of beer volcanoes and stripper factories.

    All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster!


    This is for those confused by the above. -rc

  84. I agree with some of the comments about environmentalism… to a degree.

    I find it funny that the scientific community has little to no doubt about global climate change. (Note I did not say “warming”: it depends on where you are as to what will happen. In most places, it’s likely to be warmer, and weather will likely get more extreme.) The press, on the other hand, seems to have plenty of doubt.

    I suspect that’s because people want sound bites, and people hate bad news, and at the end of the day if news doesn’t sell, the news provider goes out of business… as you’re probably aware. 🙂

    But in short, while global climate change may be inevitable, it doesn’t mean it’s doomsday. It doesn’t mean we’re going to go up in a big ball of fire tomorrow. And it has nothing to do with the Mayan calendar or whatnot. We will have to deal with the change — whether we caused it or not. Instead of worrying about arbitrary dates we should be figuring out how we will handle the problems of the future.

  85. I bet Douglas Adams had it right:

    “There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

    No doubt somebody figured out the universe on the 21st, and it popped out of existence, only to pop back in again in an even stranger form. God alerted Mr. Camping that this was going to happen, but he (Mr. Camping) didn’t receive the message quite right. In fact, this has probably been happening every time there is an end-of-the world frenzy!

  86. I agree with your comments regarding Camping. HOWEVER, his radio stations are NOT entirely purveyors of useless information. Family Radio’s shortwave service relays Radio Taiwan to a global audience. The signal is loud and clear and gives voice to a nation that is not recognized by very many nations. I listen to both Radio China International and Radio Taiwan. It is good to get different perspectives on what is happening in China and Asia.

    While Camping IS a whackjob his creation, Family Radio, is Not entirely useless; just 90% of its material is worthless There are lots of individuals and organizations that have a total value of zero percent.

  87. If people would just read the Bible, they wouldn’t believe people like Camping. The Bible is an ancient Near Eastern document from beginning to end. This is true whether you believe it has a divine origin or not. It was still written by and to people in the ancient Near East.

    It is very easy to see that the time statements for “the end” found in the Bible express imminence. The New Testament writers and early Christians all expected “the end” within their generation. It is also easily demonstrable that they didn’t mean the end of the material universe. Just to use a single example, Matthew 24 is one of many similar apocalyptic passages. It is clearly about the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. It was the end of the world — their world as they knew it — but not the end of the material universe.

    If we will only start reading the Bible from an ancient Near East document and dispense with the ridiculous notion that it was written for or about 21st century Western society or world (planet) events, we can stop 90% of the madness in “Christianity,” but Tim LaHaye, et. al will have to get a new job!

  88. As I’ve been saying all along, the Mayan calendar rollover is just Y2k all over again without even the possible excitement that might have happened had anyone used any of those calendars in their software/firmware in the bad old days of expensive computer memory.

    In short, nobody’s ICBMs are going to launch themselves, no chemical plants are going to mis-cycle and spew deadly clouds over the countryside, etc., just because all the Mayan “odometers” roll over to zero at the same time.


  89. Actually, Camping is part of a secret conspiracy to prevent the end of the world. Since the only guarantee we have in the Bible is that “no one knows the hour or the day”, thousands of people are brainwashed every year to believe with all their hearts that they know the particular day and hour the world will end. Thanks to the heroic sacrifices of 8,760 brainwash victims every year (8,784 on leap years), the end of the world continues to be postponed indefinitely.

  90. OMG! I just looked at my calendar! The world is definitely going to end on – are you ready for this? – December 31, 2011! Because that’s when my calendar ends! Get ready! Yikes!

    I have a 2012 calendar, so I think we’re all good. -rc

  91. Rumor is that all subscribers, even free ones, get $100,000 from you the day after the true EOW! Any truth to that? 🙂

    As Geraldine Jones (Wilson) would say “The debbil made me do it.”

    See, that’s just another crazy rumor. Only Premium subscribers get the $100K. Just another reason to upgrade, folks. -rc

  92. To be fair, there are and were several tragic things going on worldwide after 21 Oct 2011.

    Floods in Thailand and Queensland Australia

    Earthquake in Turkey

    and just yesterday, massive flooding in Ireland — when was the last time you heard about flooding in Ireland?

    By the way … 6pm in New York on 21 Oct is 7:00am 22 Oct 2011 in Sydney Australia — the day AFTER the world was supposed to end.

    “Don’t worry that the world will end tomorrow, it is already tomorrow in Australia.”

    Yes, there have been some disasters in the world. How is that different from any other year? -rc

  93. “I have a 2012 calendar, so I think we’re all good. -rc”

    Oh, WHEW! Thank God! Or, should I say, Thank Randy…?

    Whatever. The point is, we get to live. So who’s going to take the responsibility to buy one for 2013? You can’t just depend on me every year! -rc

  94. “Whatever. The point is, we get to live. So who’s going to take the responsibility to buy one for 2013? You can’t just depend on me every year! -rc”

    No problem. Google Calendar seems to just keep going on and on and on year after year after year….

    Why didn’t I think of that before? Of course Google will save us! -rc

  95. Someone posted that the Bible says we won’t know they day or hour of the end. NO, NO, NO. Listen. They Bible said THEY wouldn’t know the day or hour of the end of THEIR world. They did know the generation: Mt. 16:27-28; 24:34. And there are many more. Google “101 Time Statements.”

    Further, Revelation is the favorite book from which science fiction Christians make millions in book sales, scare people, and even abuse people. Folks, when the book was written, the things that were written about were to happen shortly (1:1; 22:6), the time was near (1:3), He was coming quickly (3:11; 22:7; 22:12; 22:20). The time was NEAR THEN (22:10).

    Audience relevance. It was written to them about their time and their world. Taking apocalyptic language literally is anachronistic. Audience relevance. Thinking these first century writers were concerned with a world 2000 years ago is quite egocentric. Did I mention the importance of audience relevance? Good grief!

  96. There are too many hysterically funny entries on this subject to answer individually but rest assured I laughed myself silly everytime I got an updated email from the blog. Thanks guys!

  97. From the original “rant:”

    “The bottom line becomes: if God doesn’t destroy the world, then we will.”

    And when that happens, you know that the EOW folks will point to it and say, “see, we were right, God did that!”

    I’ll believe it when I see it! -rc

  98. That is the new “religion” we teach our kids. Isn’t it? That humans are going to destroy the world.

    I have a suggestion. Get a copy of “The Population Bomb” written in 1968 and read their description of the end of the world. It was due before 2000. Then have a good laugh. None of their doom and death predictions came true. In fact the population went up and everything got better. That is “Environmental Extremism” — the new religion our schools teach.

  99. I was raised in a doomsday cult. Every few years they “corrected the date”, when the end didn’t happen. But it makes for a painful childhood to know you will die any day now. My mother didn’t even bother to teach my little sister basic social and educational skills when she was born and small — the world would end before she got to school (she is 35 or so now). I was taught to be prepared to be rounded up like Jews, starved, raped in concentration camps, and gassed. And to make friends was to open myself to the very people who would turn me in for torture, so you never trusted — not even nice people — because the “end would come”. I had bibles in the walls of every house I lived in for when the end came I might be able to reach them. It makes for some pretty scarred childhood. And a lot of mental anguish to get over at 46.

    Thanks for what I’m sure is the very short version of your story, to show just a hint of the damage caused by these idiots.You just may have saved someone else from having to go through it. -rc

  100. One thing he misses is that the ridicule wasn’t just heaped on him — by association a lot of people see his antics and associate them with all Christians. Now we need to spend our time and energy distancing ourselves from a lunatic con artist and not speaking love and truth to people who need it.

    As a Christian, I’d love to see him sent off to jail with the rest of nut-job con artists that masquerade as religious figures.

  101. Ah, but Harold Camping is last year’s news (ouch). This year, it’s Ronald Weinland, and he’s predicting the end of the world on May 27, 2012. He adds an interesting “proof” to his prediction: he says that if you don’t believe him, you’ll die of cancer.

    My first response to that proof: Will I die of cancer before May 27, 2012, or after?

    My second response to that proof: My odds of dying of cancer are 1 in 7 anyway, so that’s not much “proof.”

    I put a note about Weinland on my blog in January.

    Yeah, as noted on this page, Camping was far from the first — or the last. So the real damage to children and others, as noted by my update and by Michelle in Georgia (a couple of comments above), will continue as long as there are obliviots who believe these con men have a direct line to God. -rc

  102. I lost a good friend over something called Raelians or some-like. These people are coming to rattle our cage as we are not treating the planet the way we should. In matter of fact this particular nonexistent planet & its aliens have been debunked by NASA but still they insist the planet is hidden by zuba rays or some such. And guess when they are coming to zap us? Yes, Dec 2012 just like the Mayans said (they did not). Here is the clincher. This guy is an ex-CIA guy that I used to know very well. He used to be sane, or so I thought. Of course, after all the poison gas and such that he handled he may just be a victim of his own chemical background. He is totally isolated with his new wife, the true believer herself. I am hoping he does not kill himself the day before the expected take over.

    To heck with him, I just hope he doesn’t take innocents with him! -rc

  103. How nice of Harold Camping to give lip service to Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 (“of that day and hour knoweth no man”). I wonder how long it will be before he decides (again) that “no man” doesn’t apply to him.

    I had to snort when he compared the EoW debacle with Baalam’s efforts to weaken the twelve tribes in the Bible. Yes, both Camping and Baalam were charging forth in their stupidity. The difference is that Baalam’s stupidity didn’t result in making a mockery of the Bible and Christians, and no one but Baalam suffered as a result. God’s power and glory and protection of his people was clearly illustrated through Baalam. None of that can be said for Camping’s stupidity.

  104. Predicting the end of the world may be a psychological disease. You have people misquoting the bible. Misquoting Mayan calendars (which are more scientific than religious). People predicting the oceans will rise and drown us when they haven’t “based on science”.
    It is an odd factor of the human condition. Far more interesting when you look at *any* emissions graph over the last 30 years. North America and Europe have been putting out steadily less pollution over the last 30 years. Yeah 1st world! But you’d never know it from the news broadcasts. Why is that?

    I’ve seen a lot of reports about how much cleaner the air is in the U.S. compared to days past. Maybe you should look for some! Meanwhile, the air in China looks like Los Angeles in the 1960s. -rc

  105. A “warning” that Jesus is coming? Why, what’s so terrible about that? To the believers, that would be a good thing. And to the non-believers, it’s a nothing thing. What “warning” is needed? I’ve got a bumper sticker on my car that says, “Jesus is coming and, boy, is he PISSED!”

    All this talk of the End of the World only reminds me of a scene from Ghostbusters:

    This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions!

    What do you mean “biblical”?

    What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor. Real wrath of God type stuff! Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!

    Forty years of darkness, earthquakes, and volcanos!

    The dead rising from the grave!

    Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

    Great comedy…

    Are you sure your bumper sticker doesn’t read, “Jesus is coming and, boy, is she PISSED!”? 🙂 -rc

  106. I don’t know…if Camping had made another prediction I don’t think anyone would have believed him, thus making it the perfect time for the Rapture since “none will know the time”….

  107. My heart goes out to Michelle of Georgia. What a terrible thing to do to a child.
    What a perversion of the teachings of the man who said, “Let the little children come to me, and don’t hinder them.”

  108. I’ve always chalked it up to a coincidence of language. The last day of the Mayan Calendar is literally translated as “End of Days.”

    The Mayans did indeed believe that the world was destroyed when time ran out, but they also believed it was recreated fresh and new a day later, on “Beginning of Days.”

    Depending on whether the gods were (to borrow a British-ism) taking the piss with humanity, it’s entirely possible for such a destruction and recreation to go unnoticed by mortals (since mortals, being part of the world, get destroyed and recreated with it). The Mayans did believe it had happened before, after all.

  109. Ron, MI: “Every prophecy in the Bible has been or will be fulfilled because the Bible also clearly states it was not written by people it was written by God.”

    Where does it say it was written by God? I must have missed that. And if so, it’s surprising He couldn’t get His story straight. Why do you suppose there are two separate conflicting stories of the creation, and two of Noah’s Ark? And why do you suppose He wrote of Himself in the third person?

    Also, there are a few things which he probably wouldn’t have included, him being all-powerful and all-knowing and all — like Adam being able to hide from him in the garden. He might have noticed that he warned Adam about the Tree of Knowledge before Eve was ever created, so the story of The Fall has a few holes in it. And why did He lie to Adam, telling him he’d die if he ate of the fruit, when all that happened was that he got smart? If God wrote this, He needed an editor.

    [Cut to Wiley’s great cartoon: “God’s editor”, who sits at his desk and tells God, “It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done in 7 days.”]

    Oscar from Oklahoma: “It is very easy to see that the time statements for ‘the end’ found in the Bible express imminence. The New Testament writers and early Christians all expected ‘the end’ within their generation.”

    I see. So apocalyptic pronouncements about the end are part of the tradition.

    And they sure worked out well. “Insanity: doing the same thing again and again, and expecting different results.” -rc

  110. I don’t know about how LA looked, but I used to live in China and the smog is amazing. It says something when the local government counts the number of days the SKY IS BLUE in a year.

    Ironically, I never had allergy problems when I lived there, because I’m allergic to flower and tree pollens… NO PLANTS COULD SURVIVE IN THAT. Seriously, I watched them plant flowers, and then flowers die from the soot and dirt. All the time.

    And everyone thinks the apocalypse is tomorrow. My infant son thinks it’s every minute he’s awake and not being held or given food. 😉

    I was in China four years ago. It was — pretty much over the entire countryside that we saw — at least as bad, if not worse, than L.A. in the 60s. I talked about their air problems a fair amount in this blog post, with photos. -rc

  111. I prayed to God to see if the world was going to end and an angel appeared to me! The angel said God was spending quality time with his wife and couldn’t answer in person. God’s standard answer according to the angel is that he is a professional and all of his work is guaranteed so no, the world won’t end. It may not continue to have humans on it but it isn’t going away any time soon.

    Or maybe I just made all that up? Either way people should send me large amounts of cash in small unmarked bills. After all, I’m just as qualified to speak for God as anyone else.

    Those wishing to contribute to Tom can send the small unmarked bills c/o This is True, PO Box 666, Ridgway CO 81432. I’ll forward the cash over in a blink of God’s eye. -rc

  112. Gotta be careful with those blinks of G-d. Last time He blinked, we called it “the dark ages”. Fortunately, when He opened his eyes again, we had the renaissance.

  113. My parents raised me to think for myself and to ask questions and to seek answers. I try to do that for my kids too. Lately my kids have been asking me a lot about the end of the world, because that’s the primary focus in many Churches (and society) these days — everyone is talking about it online and offline. Many Churches try to get you to live in fear of the end of the world coming, so they can use that to convince you to join (and to make donations). It’s all just silliness. Every single time a date passes, a new one is set, because there are people who are making a fortune off of it selling books, collecting donations, etc.

    As far as the Bible goes, there isn’t much to go on. The Apocalypse of John mentions new heaven and a new earth, and the book of Daniel mentions the end of time. Both books use a literary style unfamiliar to most people today, and can’t be taken literally. So we don’t even know for certain that all matter will be obliterated in the universe, or if there is just going to be an end of time (I guess that means I won’t need a watch), or if it’s just the earth that gets burned up with big giant fire balls from heaven. For all we know, some Vogons are going to show up and demolish the Earth to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. In all my studies I have found that there is very little known about what to expect. The primary focus should be on loving one another, and doing to others as we want done to us — which is probably why very little attention is given to the end times in the Bible, but a lot of attention is given to how we should live our lives.

  114. Renaissance? Wasn’t that about the time of the Protestant Reformation, too? Not to mention the Age of Reason, something that various fundamental elements campaign vigorously against? Hmm, maybe Ken, New York, is onto something here….

  115. In reading through I stopped on Gary from Austins thought, Oct21 2011. I think that is just as viable as any other explanation on how and why we are, and where we are going. Creation or Evolution, both seem as unlikely as likely to (to me), either way the result is inevitable. We are doomed.

    Well sure: we all die. Your choice is, do you live in the meantime, or waste your entire life worrying about something that will not happen? I choose to live. -rc

  116. @Jon in Ohio,

    Jon, Jon, Jon, you wrote: “The primary focus should be on loving one another, and doing to others as we want done to us — which is probably why very little attention is given to the end times in the Bible, but a lot of attention is given to how we should live our lives.”

    If we all lived according to the “Golden Rule(s)” in the Bible (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth), imagine the total chaos of our existing world! There’d be no shellacked pompadour TV preachers to send our money to!!!

  117. So, I’m moving this fellow from my list of “End of World Predictors, Persistent” to my list of “End of World Predictors, Admitted They Were Wrong”.

    There’s still a lot of them on the first list, but the few on the second I regard in a little better light.

    Yes, the hysterias last year were damaging, but I’ll give him credit for a public groveling. As for his sincerity, well, no one can be sure what goes on inside another person’s head, and I can’t judge that (that will be God’s job).

    (By ‘damaging’, I include the folks who gave up their life savings, and I remember the story that went around the net about some woman who had her pets put down the day before the Rapture. I can’t apply the word to the hit on the Christianity’s reputation — a lot of religions have their nuts, it is more truthful to admit that before the world and admit that Christ’s church is made up of ‘humans’, and to let folks know (if they don’t already) that they don’t have to be perfect to follow Christ.)

    I’m going to wait to see what kind of new leaf this Camping guy has turned over.

    I sure didn’t see groveling. I did see that for every mea culpa, there were several “BUT!”s. -rc

  118. I am a born again, advent believing Christian.

    The Bible clearly teaches two things: 1) One does not (and cannot) know when the second coming will happen and 2) one should be in, but not of the world.

    In my mind, this translates to: as a citizen of Planet Earth, I should be a good steward of the planet and its resources while at the same time being ready for the apocalypse of Bible prophecy. Ready in a spiritual sense, not by having tons of gold and ammunition to keep the world at bay.

    I don’t know whether the apocalypse comes tomorrow or 20 generations after my death. If now, I am ready. If long after my death, I have done my part to leave the planet a better place for my children and grand children.

    BTW, Jesus didn’t have kind things to say about the false prophets who teach otherwise.

    I am embarrassed by the multitude of idiots who teach non-Biblical themes to prey on their victim’s fears while fulfilling their own selfish wishes for fame and/or money. They don’t serve God, They serve God’s enemy.

  119. He claims he studied the Bible, In the Bible is the ONLY prediction as to when the world will end that I believe. I can’t for the life of me understand how he could claim to have read the Bible and not seen this:

    “You shall not know the day, nor the hour, Only the father in Heaven knows”.

    In fact, the speaker stated even he did not know, and he… Was… Of course Christ. The son of God, in fact the word “Constubantal” was invented by the Catholic Church to profess our belief that there really is no difference between God the Father (GOD) and God the Son (Christ) they are the “Same substance”. And he did not know.

    How can a preacher, who claims to have studied the Bible, not know that? (Clearly he skipped a verse or 20.)

  120. I can’t quite understand why people get so freaked over the bible to begin with. Considering it was a book written by men over two thousand years ago. Some people say it was divinely inspired. Some people claim that about Mormonism, Muslimism, Catholicism, Judaism, Mithraism, Scientologistism…you get the idea. The bible, as a historical document, is important. But the bible itself has gone through so many revisions, rewrites, translations and plain old overhaul that it’s changed considerably. Then when you take into account the Council Of Nicea was formed to determine which books would be considered canon and which books would be considered apocryphal you see it’s been tampered with even more by man. It should be taken for what it is, a history of a people that lived thousands of years ago in some very pivotal times. It has stories (lots of stories!) and words to live by, prayers and contemplations on the divine. But to make it anything beyond that can be tricky. I know a lot of Christians are going to go apoplectic over this, but who actually said it was the Hand Of God that wrote it? I think it’s a very nice book. I’ve read it completely through 5 different times. Each time I’ve gotten a little something different from it. But at the end of it all, it is still written by, and for, men.

  121. Laura in CO, what you aren’t getting is the true believers don’t think that men wrote the Bible. For them, it is literally the WORD OF GOD! Every word in it is exactly what HE wants it to be, and will come to pass exactly as HE says it will. I am not exaggerating, I am close friends with several people that believe exactly that. They don’t think climate change is real because the evidence goes back tens of thousands of years, but the earth is only 6,000 years old.

    These aren’t stupid people. But when it comes to anything that disagrees with the faith they have in the Bible, they will not listen to evidence or reality. Personally, I think they are afraid if they do, they will not have enough faith to continue to believe in God.

    It surprises me that people are adamant that every word in the Bible is true and the (as you say) WORD OF GOD …even though it contradicts itself in many places. So, an omniscient being dictated errors? Sure. But I know, as you say, that’s what they believe. -rc

  122. I believe the Bible. Humanity, except for Noah and Mrs. Noah and their children, was destroyed in the Flood. Then, the kids re-populated the world. This makes all of us in-bred and explains a lot.

  123. If god were to reveal himself completely so as that no-one could have any doubts, then everyone would be a goody tooshoes cos they know they have to. Then you wouldnt be able to tell who is actually a good person, or whos doing it to be saved from hell. That relates to my thoughts about Christians, are they just trying to avoid hell? Whereas a non believer who is good and kind, without the fear of god or anyone else watching. But only because they care about fellow humans, and other creatures, and the planet (If they are REALLY good). Would, or could God hold the non belief and faith thing against them?. He’d be missing out on some of the best picks if so. God’s perfect. He wouldnt send them to hell, surely.

  124. Sometimes, I wish the world *would* end.

    Not because I think I’m going to be “raptured”, or at all religious. Just because, sometimes, it doesn’t seem like it would be all that great a loss.

    Humanity has a lot of potential. I’d like to see if we live up to it. -rc

  125. Most people are amazingly ignorant about their own faith, and Christians are no exception — making us all potential victims for scams like these.

    I am Christian. I am frequently horrified with my fellow Christians for something I regard as very blasphemous: assuming you know the will of God.

    I have only the vaguest clue (e.g. the Bible) what God is up to or what His plan is. For those of you who have read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, remember the fruitcake-powered machine that tells you exactly how big you are in the universe? Yeah, we’re that small, and we cannot possibly know what God knows.

    As far as the Bible having errors — of course it can. It’s not God. It’s a book. Inspired by God, written down by _people_, translated by _people_, trying to be read by modern people who often have no clue of the historical context of the writing. As someone pointed out, just read about the Council of Nicea. They picked what they thought were the best study materials for being a good Christian.

    Every time I hear someone say something along the lines of “God [thinks this]” I cringe. I’m not sure even how God thinks; I mean, this is the Almighty we’re talking about here.

    I believe that the best thing to do is just try to be a nice person.

    I hope I’m doing an okay job with that.

  126. I recently was able to get an early read on a book titled “Christ’s Ventriloquists” that will be coming out in April that addresses the whole ‘who really wrote the Bible’ question — it was quite fascinating. For too long people have allowed authority figures to tell them what to believe — we need to break out of that mindset and learn to seek out our answers for our own selves. Of course, with all that football to watch and that beer to drink, that would be way too much work … *sigh*

    Thank Gaia that there are people like Randy Cassingham that continue to draw our attention to the ridiculous, the ludicrous and the downright inane! Thanks!

  127. I actually know when the end is coming. If I can convince you to become the head of marketing, I’ll reveal the details. Hint: it can be delayed by infusion of cash.

    Don’t let it end! Send lots of cash to the This is True PO Box, and I’ll forward it to Jim. Really I will. Promise. -rc

  128. Lots of good comments, lots of off-the-cuff dismissals, pretty much par for the course.

    I’ve never been a big fan of the apocalyptic perspective in Christianity. Early in my faith-life I had a conversation with a friend about the End Times. He was asking about the rapture, the sign of the beast, etc. When he finally asked what I thought I simply said, “what does it matter?”

    I was told that I was copping out with that answer, but I contended then, as now, that if we’re living according to what Jesus said (refer to Gandhi attribution above) whether the End is tomorrow or a million tomorrows away it should have no bearing on our behavior. Admittedly, I fall woefully short, as we all do, but that’s the nature of being human. Anyone that expects perfection is in for disappointment.

    As always, Randy, thanks for moderating a great conversation! I can’t help but think it would be awesome to just sit on the porch and share some drinks with you and some other True subscribers. A lively discussion would just about be guaranteed. 😉

    That said, holler if you’re ever in Alabama… or would like to be.

    That’s why I like to host “gatherings” of readers when I travel. Very often there are, indeed, some great conversations. -rc

  129. There is not only nothing wrong with having spiritual beliefs, it is essential to living some sort of life where personal growth and improvement is a centerpiece. That said, it also seems that there is everything wrong with organized religion. Time and time again we have seen organized religions become led by self-appointed interpreters of spiritual messages, and follow it up by using their positions to manipulate people, control their actions, and condemn independent thinking on spiritual matters.

  130. I have to disagree with you,Vernon. As you stated, time and time again, we’ve seen organized religion do wrong by us. I find it hard to believe that a moral center can only be found in a belief of what one may call god. It is quite possible to be moral without having a faith in what some call our personal Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. You just need to be decent. How hard is that? “Belief” is the area so many of them wish to hang others upon.

  131. Dwight, history doesn’t actually suggest you are right. Most of our social services in the 500 years pre 1900 were all based on the church. In reality organized religion has done right by us time and time again. People just don’t want to see it. There is a reason why so many hospitals are religious. In the 1990s I lived in a town with a religious hospital and a secular hospital both funded by the government. There was no question that the religious hospital cared a lot more and did a better job than the secular one.

    You can have morals without religion. But anthropologically western society hasn’t achieved it. The majority of the non religious seem to fit into the “me first” “Hippy/Yuppy” combination group that values only “me at the expense of everyone else.” “Or we should fix that problem. Who other than me is going to pay for it?”

    Sure you are the exception Dwight. But John Kerry is worth a billion dollars and he managed to be so compassionate as to donate $0 to charity. Go post religious moral dude.

    If you haven’t seen a-religious people with fantastic morals and ethics, you’re hanging around in the wrong crowds. -rc

  132. This has certainly waxed philosophical!

    What I’m going to say is about “Christians” but it would apply to other religious groups as well.

    Those who claim to be Christians have started and been involved in cruel wars and warfare practices. They have tortured, raped, and stolen. They have attempted genocide and made slaves of certain races. All this they have not only done as a human weakness but in the name of Christ.

    On the other hand, those who claim to be Christians had a lot to do with the abolition of slavery, the foundation of such unparalleled charitable organizations as the Red Cross, hospitals, etc.

    Atheists have done all the same listed above. (And let’s not forget the distinction between being “spiritual” and “religious.” That’s for another discussion, but for sure institutionalized religion has great power for good or evil.)

    The real question is, which philosophy when followed to its logical conclusion would lead to the entire planet living in loving harmony with all other humans?

    For me (and maybe not for you), a purely naturalistic view of life, cannot lead logically to loving my neighbor as myself. Without a spiritual or transcedent reality, there is no one and nothing to define “moral.”

    And I’m sure an atheist would have the exact opposite view. -rc

  133. Oscar move in next to a bear and a mountain lion. See how long it takes until they eat you.

    You are reliant on the morals of others to exist. Which means you are reliant on some common understanding of morals between the people you live among. Christianity has served as the basis of the most successful version of those morals for about 2000 years.

    Although I am an atheist, I think you rate average atheist’s ethics too high. Invariably they are completely self involved. Ask them why they do anything it is always “I want”. Socialists are the worst because they invariably believe greatly in charity: As long as it isn’t their money being used and doesn’t require any effort from them.

    First, bears and mountain lions don’t have morals, they have instincts for survival. Second, you’re not hanging around good atheists; none of those I’ve gotten to know are “self-involved.” They are, to a man and woman, thoughtful, hugely ethical and moral people who I trust. I wish I could say that about the many self-avowed Christians I have known, but I’ve dumped a lot of them out of my life because they were horribly unethical, immoral, or both. (Yes, many Christians are ethical and moral; those friends I have kept.) -rc

  134. Yet the question persists: if nothing transcedent exists, then how can you have anything called “ethics and morals.” They would really just be an advanced form of the instincts for survival of the bears and mountain lions. Indeed, from a completely naturalistic standpoint, morality is ultimately reduced to chemical processes. This in turn leads to the same end as Augustianism/Calvinism (which is not Biblical in my view): that is, determinism. If all moral decisions are the result of chemical (or natural, if you wish) processes, then no one truly has the free will to control their behavior. Any perceived control is, in fact, just another biological process.

    John, I wish I knew how to give you my email address, for I would very much like to discuss with you the logic that leads you to conclude that Christianity is the most successful moral system in 2000 years and yet you reject one of its most basic premises: theism. But of course, I don’t want my email on a web page for spammers. Randy, would you pass it on and leave John the choice of contacting me or not?

    You would not get proselyzing from me. I believe people should share ideas, calmly and rationally, and see where the discussions lead, and never try to force people or them feel guilty if they disagree. Just like Jesus did.

    I’m interested in your point of view, because, while I’ve heard it before, it is rare.

    Your thinking is astoundingly narrow. How is it possible to have morals or ethics without religion? Are you serious? Let’s look at a dictionary (my fave is American Heritage):


    1. Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character: moral scrutiny; a moral quandary.
    2. Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior: a moral lesson.
    3. Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous: a moral life.
    4. Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong: a moral obligation.
    5. Having psychological rather than physical or tangible effects: a moral victory; moral support.
    6. Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence: a moral certainty.


    1. The lesson or principle contained in or taught by a fable, a story, or an event.
    2. A concisely expressed precept or general truth; a maxim.
    3. morals Rules or habits of conduct, especially of sexual conduct, with reference to standards of right and wrong: a person of loose morals; a decline in the public morals.

    Now, where in there do you see any mention of religion? Saying it’s impossible to have ethics or morals without religion (and you probably really mean Christianity) is a slap in the face of every non-Christian who has ever lived. You should truly be ashamed of that.

    As for wanting to send an email to John: yes, if you send me a message with a specific note in there asking me to forward it to him so that he can contact you or not as he wishes, I’ll forward it. But I need that explicit because my strict policy is to never provide customer addresses to non-employees without specific request otherwise. -rc

  135. John In Toronto and Oscar In Oklahoma:

    You guys sound like you are secure with the position you’re taking. I agree to disagree with both of you. You both make a logical statement for your (Mine…Ours?) perceived opionion. But you also believe …something… that just doesn’t seem right to me. I’ve sent an email to Randy saying that, if it’s ok for you, it’s ok for me to share my email address with you. This is a conversation that is interesting to me, but probably bores others.

  136. Where did you see the word “religious” in my post? And that I mean “Christian” is a false assumption which you shouldn’t make.

    If you understood my post, you would see that I was equally critical of Augustinianism/Calvinism which denies free will.

    I made it quite clear in a previous post that I have seen and history has demonstrated that both Christians and atheists have been involved in both terrible atrocities and wonderful acts of kindness (positive morality). Quite clear.

    You invented the “non-Christian” part of my post, Randy. And you invented the “religion” part. I was very careful to specify that I am talking about those who believe in a transcendent reality versus those who don’t. That is very different from “religion.”

    And I wasn’t questioning whether pure naturalists are capable of being moral, are moral, or have been moral. I stated specifically that they were.

    I questioned the philosophical underpinnings. I simply stated that everything would have to be a biological/chemical process. TO ME (correct me!) this seems deterministic. TO ME that doesn’t seem “moral.” However, people who believe pure naturalism have proven themselves to be perfectly moral. That was NOT my question, and, to repeat, I did NOT make that observation, but explicitly stated the opposite. I was equally critical about the actions of “Christians” and even picked on a specific “Christian” philosophy.

    I hope you will express yourself whenever you disagree with me, but I hope you’ll represent what I’ve said fairly. I have made terrible mistakes in reasoning and even morality in my life. I know I don’t have it all figured out. And I’m listening, but please don’t call me narrow about “religion” and “non-Christians” when I haven’t said a word about either.

    Sorry if I misunderstood your post — which is certainly possible. You wrote, “Yet the question persists: if nothing transce[n]dent [“Being above and independent of the material universe. Used of the Deity.”] exists, then how can you have anything called ‘ethics and morals’.” (typo correction and definition added) I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to understand that as saying that without religion, “ethics and morals” can’t exist.

    I don’t represent what you say: your exact words are published. My apologies for not understanding your intent — if it’s not how I took it the first time, then I still don’t. -rc

  137. This seems to be a common theme among ultra-conservatives: “The only reason people are good in this world is because they are afraid of eternal damnation in the next.” This is virtually always associated with the Christian concept of “hell”. I think this speaks more about their morals than anything else.

    I wonder what they think about people of other religions, where there is no concept of “hell”? Is it possible for a Jew or Hindu to be “good” or “moral” without the fear of such eternal punishment? Is it possible for an atheist to live by the golden rule, simply because it’s a good rule to live by? (I guess, according to them, the answer would be “no”.)

    I consider myself agnostic. (I’d say “atheist”, but I also believe that the lack of evidence is not the same as proof of non-existence. And, to me at least, the term “atheist” also implies throwing out many of the non-deist parts of my religion. Others might just call me “wishy-washy”.) That said, I was also brought up with some religious background. However, for me, these are simply a set of traditions and guidelines, rather than a “religion” in the common sense. I follow (most of) them because I think they are good guidelines and a good tradition, rather than some fear of punishment.

    What’s wrong with “do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do”?

    Yes, I’d rather associate with people who do the right thing because it is right, rather than because they’re afraid of punishment a lifetime from now. -rc

  138. I’m familiar with Oscar’s latest argument, and I agree with it except for the way in which it uses the term “moral”. (I disagree with him about the idea that believing that the urgency described in the bible might be relevant now is egocentric.) The problem is that he didn’t make it clear enough the first time that he was making a philosophical point about what morals are, not about who manifests them. The argument might be better expressed as follows….

    Either there is a creator or there isn’t. In the former case, atheists and theists both obey moral rules that the creator has wired into them, which are absolutely right because they correspond to the way He (or She or It) has created the universe. In the latter case, they both follow a mixture of co-opted survival instincts (which may be maladaptive in the present environment) and mutually agreed arbitrary rules (which are to the common good if people don’t realise they’re arbitrary and thus ignore them), but nothing is absolutely right or wrong.

    It’s probably worth adding, in reply to Brent, that I, and those of my fellow Christians with whom I’ve discussed the matter, attempt to be live good lives not for fear of Hell, but out of gratitude over the belief that we’ve already avoided it.

  139. Ken: Threatening people with eternal torment is immoral. Worse, it is sick. As a nationally certified counselor, I think those who hold this belief, and especially those who preach it, are either pathological, or awful close to it. I find all eschatological beliefs that involve torture, suffering, massive death and destruction, etc., to be awful close to pathological.

    Also we teach our children to always do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. And perhaps life would be better if people just left it at that. But, as human beings, we can’t. To say, “Do the right thing because it is the right thing,” begs the question: “What is the right thing to do, and how do you know?”

  140. Well it sure has been a challenge to make myself understood. I take at least partial responsibility for that. I was really trying to spark someone to answer a philosophical question, and I did not accomplish that without implying a judgment. Yet, I do think you read more into my words than what I actually wrote in the post, and in that type of post, perhaps you could have asked me what I meant instead of reading between the lines. For example….

    I really do think it is a stretch to equate transcendence with religion. It is not even necessary to equate transcendence with deity, though that is not a stretch. But scholars clearly delineate between transcendence and religion and also between spirituality and religion. At least we do in professional counseling and psychology.

    Perhaps part of the reason I did not make myself understood is that I am using words very specifically and perhaps even technically. Yet, I chose my words carefully for a purpose. And that purpose was that I was NOT arguing for a specific religion or even religion at all. By choosing not to use the word “religion,” I was purposefully avoiding any particular set of beliefs or forms of rituals, etc.

    Hopefully in looking back over my posts you can see that me “slapping every non-Christian” in the face was completely unwarranted. As regards personal conduct, I specifically stated that both Christians and atheists have done very moral and very immoral things. My question was about the philosophy behind a purely naturalistic view of human existence. It was not about who has been or is acting in a moral way. It was a question about “Why?”

    Thanks Neil for noticing, but now I’ve probably directly offended you by calling the threat of hell pathological. See, I offend people on all sides! I’m glad you live as in gratitude for escaping someone capable of eternally torturing another sentient human being, but I question the philosophical underpinning of that even more than a purely naturalistic worldview!)

    Furthermore, I gave a specific reason why pure naturalism seems deterministic to me and that determinism seems to me to preclude morality (philosophically). I am asking about cosmological and ontological aspects of morality. There is a difference in saying, “John Doe is an atheist/Christian who is a very moral person” and saying, “John Doe is very moral person BECAUSE he is an atheist/Christian.” I was very, very plain that atheists and Christians both act morally and immorally (and any other group you choose). What I asked about was the philosophical underpinnings of those who don’t believe in something transcendent.

    To simplify, my question is, “How does a person who believes that everything can be explained by natural processes define ‘morality’?” Or “How is a chemical process moral or immoral?” I think it would have been wonderful if all the peripheral issues had been ignored and I had just asked those two questions. I clearly said too much and probably have again. Please forgive. (Though I suppose a judgment can be read into those two questions as well. But asking questions is how we learn.)

    Although I was trying my best to avoid what my personal beliefs are, I will say now that I think most religions are toxic. I think many, but not all, forms of Christianity, are harmful to the adherents and to humanity. I think that many, but not all, forms of Islam are harmful to the adherents and to humanity. Plug in any religion. I could be wrong about that too. Maybe most forms of most religions are healthy, but that has not been my observation.

    I have to be finished with this. I’d be happy to email privately anyone who likes to discuss philosophical issues of this nature. I’ll give Randy permission to share my email address. If you’d like further discussion, email Randy privately and ask for my email address.

    Here’s a toast to all of us acting with the utmost kindness and respect toward everyone else in this world and toward working toward a world more like that, regardless of our particular philosophical bents!

    Yes, I can see a major part of the problem is your using professional jargon. OF COURSE lay people equate transcendence with religion in general. Regarding looking over your previous posts: only when you emailed me privately did I relate “Oscar in Oklahoma” with a Premium subscriber who has commented before, in the blog and otherwise; I don’t try to correlate who said what, because I simply cannot — not when the average post here gets 50+ comments, and it’s only one aspect of a fairly sprawling and busy business. Sorry! -rc

  141. I call myself a Christian. Not because I was raised as one; in fact, I rejected the indoctrination of my childhood. It was as an adult I came to interpret a multitude of events and history, along with my own philosophy, to accept that particular facet of spiritual guidance. It also combines much of other philosophies and spiritual teachings of non-Christian, and even atheistic teachings. I suppose, to other Christians, this means I’m not a “true” Christian. However, I can easily use “their” Bible to point out their own hypocrisies, as well. It really IS a guidebook, not robotic programming; otherwise, it would be pointless. You can always obtain “correct behavior” with good programming, but you will NEVER inspire creative, transcendant performance from it. Hence, Free Will. However, MY God and MY Jesus are MY interpretations of the knowledge I’ve experienced. No religion should ever be evangelical. Including atheism as well as any theism. I don’t try to convince others of my “proof” and I only ask the same courtesy from others. Feel free to discuss your philosophy with me, but don’t try to convince me of your infallibility. It will either strenghthen my own beliefs, or expose the fallacies in my beliefs, but either way, it has to come through my own acceptance of it.

    I do disagree that only through religion, especially theistic religion, can spirituality and transcendance occur. There are several Eastern religions in which there is no Living God, yet the Universe deliberately maintains a balance; a balance that is affected by our participation in it. Taoism is one such example. And many tenets of Taoism are the same as those of Christianity. And Islam, for that matter.

    Everyone, with enough time, will eventually arrive at the same core values that are common among all religions, all philosophies. Trouble is, most of us don’t have THAT long to live in our lives. So some of us turn to teachers who’ve done it before us. Whether that teacher is Jesus Christ, Mohammad, or Buddha. (Buddha was NOT a prophet nor a messiah.) The problem only comes up when, like schoolchildren, we fight about whose teacher can whip the other teachers’ butts.

    I should also mention that teachers are not perfect. As a martial arts instructor, I’m occasionally chided for not continuing my own training, thereby “always staying ahead of my students.” However, it’s not necessary. If I’ve done my job WELL, then I’ve taught my students how to continue learning long after they’ve left me. On their own, even. My greatest achievement, as a teacher, is not how well I’ve taught them, but how well they have been prepared to EXCEED me. Does this sound vaguely like the premise in Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001: A Space Odyssey?”

  142. Some of you might find this article intersting. At least one scholar says that the Book of Revelations wasn’t supposed to be a literal prediction of the end of the world at all:

    All the imagery of the rapt and the raptured and the rest that the “Left Behind” books have made a staple for fundamentalist Christians represents contemporary people and events, and was well understood in those terms by the original audience. Revelation is really like one of those old-fashioned editorial drawings where Labor is a pair of overalls and a hammer, and Capital a bag of money in a tuxedo and top hat, and Economic Justice a woman in flowing robes, with a worried look. (source)

  143. My opinion: EVERYONE has morals. Morals are a personal code of conduct. There follows that morals are a matter of opinion. A murderer has morals — just different, or lesser, than most of us. While I believe in Christ, I do NOT believe that only a Christian, nor that only a spiritual person, can have ‘good’ morals. Ethics, on another finger, are a code of conduct formed by any defined group.

  144. My ongoing admonition to such Cassandras of every stripe — NEVER make a short term prediction. You’ll look like a fool (sooner). ALWAYS make a prediction that can’t come true during your lifetime.

    Which reminds me — there’s one rule for liberals and control freaks that they hold sacrosanct — “Don’t look back.” Pass a law, hugs all around, and move on to the next liberty-stifling piece of legislation. Good intentions trump any resulting reality.

  145. Reading these comments again, today, serves to confirm my belief in the concept of “vive la difference” (probably misspelled). Life would be so boring if we were all the same. Let’s respect each other’s differences, work hard to support ourselves, and have a rockin’ good time doing it.

    I became aware recently that there is a term for certain folks who reject organized religion and subscribe to the notion of be nice to others…secular humanist. This is now what I answer when I’m asked about my religion. I think it covers everything.

  146. OMG, Randy!! My brain has exploded, reading all the comments, and I’m having a problem crawling back into my chair, having rolled around laughing for so long!


    Was definitely a fun page to write. 🙂 -rc

  147. We have certainly fouled our nest, and continue to do so.

    All the predictions of gloom and doom if (when) we fail to do (whatever) by (whenever) may (will) fail to result in the end of then world, though.

    May our children, grandchildren, and countless generations to come after them forgive us! God Himself as well!

    I agree that humanity won’t destroy the world. We could well make it uninhabitable for humans, sure. But the planet is fully capable of shaking us off to continue along without us. -rc

  148. What an ABFAB years-long conversation, Randy! My contribution:

    As one rabbi said about a couple of hundred years ago, ‘God bless the atheists because they do the right thing because it is right, not to gain merit.’ The world ends for each of us the moment we die. What came before birth, what comes after, is more than any of us can know. What each of us believes is interpretation of experience, teaching, and actions and consequences. As William James put it, each of us is a voice in the choir, harmonising.

    On Randy’s Random: Why Did God Create Atheists? is the same Jewish perspective, but in more detail. -rc

  149. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death. 21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.
    Deut 18:20-22.

    Lucky for Camping that we don’t practice Hebrew (i.e. biblical law) in this country.

    Not for lack of trying by a certain segment of the population …who themselves wouldn’t be able to survive the accusations backed by such laws. -rc


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