Sunday, 27 March 2011


Oh they make you laugh, don’t they?

What does Tris, I hear you ask....

Well American evangelical preachers of course, silly...

I mean take this one. This dude called Harold Camping, who is 89 years old, is predicting that the world will end on May 21st. 2% of us will be “raptured” to heaven, and the rest of us will be going to hell. (Can you imagine what the crush will be like down there?)

Mr Camping isn’t just telling his congregation from the pulpit that this is going to be their fate. Oh no, and this is the bit that actually makes me laugh. Mr Camping is a radio evangelical preacher who speaks to his “parishioners” through the Family Radio Network, funded entirely by donations from listeners. There must be quite a few of them because the assets of the radio station are around $120m and the network now owns 66 stations in the US.

Mr Camping, who makes programmes in 48 languages (well not him personally, but his network), has tens of thousands of followers across the world. He also owns stations in South Africa, Russia and Turkey.

Camping, a baptist, started his Family Radio around 60 years ago. He does not believe in evolution and is against all abortion, not unusual beliefs in the Sarah Palinesque world of America's religious right.

He has convinced some disciples of the veracity of his predictions enough for them to give up their jobs and travel around America warning people of the fate that awaits. One of these men a 32 year old good ole boy from Kansas called Adam Larsen, said that this was an important task. He went on to say that his favorite pastime was hunting raccoons... but that this was more important. Tells you all you need to know. I wonder if they’ll give Adam his job back...

Of course the obscenely rich Mr Camping is belting and bracing and so has also paid for a massive billboard advertising campaign. I’m not entirely sure what advertising it will do. I mean you can’t really be “out of town” for the big event. I guess he may be thinking that if a few spend more of the time left to them praying and atoning, there will be a little less of a crush down there.

Oh well, by the sounds of it there’s a money making racket at the back of it somewhere... or maybe Mr Camping is getting mixed up between the end of THE world and the end of HIS world... Well, he doesn’t look too good, despite the money, does he?


  1. Well if 2% of the faithful are to be ruptured all I can say is I welcome a vacation in warmer climes (-9 c here today -12 c with wind chill).


    Ur ya ready?

  3. Ewwww, that's not so good. Where are you? Antarctica?

    I wasn't totally certain what 'raptured' meant, and I didn't want to investigate it too thoroughly unless it happened to me, and I didn't like it. You know what I mean?

    Anyway, I never for a minute thought that it was synonymous with ruptured.

    Anyway, how can lifting something heavy and having some sort of accident get you a vacation in warmer climes?

    Come to Scotland; it was a balmy 15C here today, although I admit that that was probably summer and we’ll be back into autumn tomorrow!

    PS, is a warmer clime the same as a warmer climb... you know, up Ayers Rock...?

  4. Ahhhh, well now I know.

    In many ways it’s just like life now: train crashes, disruption in transport systems, broken homes, disrupted milk deliveries, confusion in the church (and worst of all NO MAIDS).

    I think rupture sounds better.

    As for the film....ewwww, it’s s l o w.

    But thanks anyway. It was erm.... interesting!!
    Even the bit about great tribulation and noisome sores.... nasy.

    Afterthought: Does anyone know why they have to use "ye" instead of "you" when they talk about religion?

  5. Southwestern Ontario Tris - still in the icy grip of winter.

    "Does anyone know why they have to use "ye" instead of "you" when they talk about religion?"

    That's acaws yer Bible wiz wrote bae a Scot ye ken.

  6. Theology is one more area about which I am utterly ignorant, and can thus speak quite freely, and opine at length.

    You sure have it right about there being money in this stuff Tris! The "End Time" preachers have found fertile and extremely remunerative ground in American Christian fundamentalism.

    Historically of course, guys have been preaching this BS as long as anyone remembers. The boldest of them set a date, gather their followers around (often on top of a hill for some reason), and await the last trump...the end of days. Then when it doesn't happen, they quite unashamedly march back down the hill and continue their preaching. A guy named William Miller, born in Massachusetts in 1782, did this twice. First on March 21, 1844. When nothing happened, he recalculated the date as April 18, 1844. Then when April 18 passed without incident, you might think he was disgraced. Not a bit of it. His followers continued....well, "following".....and he is now revered as the founder of American "Adventism," including today's important "Seventh-day Adventist" denomination.

    As for the details of the end time, it can be quite complicated. It involves terminology such as the rapture, the tribulation, the white throne judgment, the antichrist, etc. Seals are broken, horses with really creepy riders go forth across the world, the Battle of Armageddon occurs, a Messianic Kingdom is established. Quite a show!

    Piecing this all together from the Books of Revelation, Daniel, and elsewhere, was apparently the work of an Englishman, John Nelson Darby, who developed "Dispensationalism" in the 19th century. And to the point about immense profits to be made, Christian Dispensationalist Prophecy has been nothing less than a gold mine for two guys named Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins who have achieved rock star success here in the states with their immensely popular "Left Behind" series of numbering 16 and counting.

    And what exactly is so annoying about all this? It's the fact that the people who believe in this stuff all vote Republican on election day. And their votes carry exactly the same weight as mine. So I'm thinking maybe we were wrong to throw out the King in favor of a democratic republic. An enlightened absolute monarchy might not be all that bad, all things considered. ;-)

  7. I wonder what the excuse will be on May 22nd? Do they have trades descriptions laws in the States? I would sure want my money back if i didn't wake is it raptured or ruptured?

  8. Ah sorry McG, it sounded suspiciously like the South Pole to me. When does spring start in your neck of the woods?

    Oh and thanks for the explantion of the "ye". Just as well it was a highlander whit wrote the bible then. If he'd been from around here he would have said "yous boys".

  9. Hi Munguin....There seems to be no specific qualifications for an end time prophet. As for a date, Mr. Miller did not attempt another prediction after April 18. No fool he!

    As for that rapture thingy, when it happens, the righteous Christians will disappear from the sight of the sinners, as they are "raptured" up into the clouds where they escape the years of tribulation. There is an enduring internet story that airlines are careful not to pair two Christian pilots in a cockpit, so that in case the rapture occurs, the airplane will not be left without a pilot.

    For more information on this, you will wish to consult "Left Behind" by Messrs. LaHaye and Jenkins. Available in paperback on Amazon.UK for 6.99 pound sterling....LOL.

  10. Ah Danny, very drole. Ever the modest one. The Missouri interpretation of utterly ignorant and the Scottish one must surely be poles apart.

    It's very interesting that so many people have made such comfortable livings out of this. It just has to be manipulation of the masses, but apart from money making I just can't see why. Are the Republicans gaining in some way, apart from maybe having shares in the radio stations?

    I’m not aware of any such “hill marching” organisations here, although I have a theory about that. If you’ve marched people up to the top of a hill Duke of York style then the chances are, in our unhealthy McDonald eating society, that at least half of them will have raptured by the time they get near to the top. And the rest will have ruptured.

    We do have a Seventh Day Adventist Church thing going on here, and they have “services” on a Saturday instead of a Sunday. I’ve never been interested enough to try to find out why, but I drive past their church on the way to my mother’s house and they have just built a massive extension painted a sort of mauve colour, so maybe the hills around here are a bit on the steep side for them.

    I was wondering, with what I must admit was a streak of jealousy about how someone, or someones, can manage to get 16 books out of the fact that the world is about to end. Damn it, it’s difficult enough to think of plots for a book where there is a future, without limiting yourself to the fact that it’s all going to finish on Friday around 8...

    And I’ve just had another thought; is that 8 Eastern Standard, or British Summertime, or Russian Zone 4 time... or does it roll round the world so as to make it easier for the admitting administrators in heaven and hell?

    One last thought then I really must get some work done: How on earth is that poor old man going to get up the top of a hill at 89?

  11. Yeah trust you, Munguin, to want your money back. No rejoicing that you were till alive, but right to the front of the refund queue. Tut tut.

  12. Oi Danny! What's with the sales pitch for the Messrs LaHaye & Jenkins? Are you on commission?

    Years of Tribulation, you say?

    It's already started here...seriously 3 years of Brown and now bloody Cameron... Ewww.

    Still, it's cleared up one mystery. I always wondered where all these fathers of the single parent families had gone, and why the trains and buses seemed to run to rather random timetables that bore no resemblance to the printed ones; why operations were cancelled in hospitals and kids were learning nothing at school.

    It's because those responsible have bee raptured. Hmmmmm. I wonder when they are likely to take Cameron, Charlie Windsor and George Osborne up into the clouds? Soon please.

  13. Tris...You've certainly grasped the essential point here, involving the ingenuity of the preachers in making money on end time prophecy. In particular, the supreme ingenuity of LaHaye and Jenkins, who've made a ton of money writing books, NOVELS no less, about the end of the world. It almost makes me want to read one out of pure curiosity.

    And how cleverly you have resolved the hill climbing, with the rapture/rupture issue. But I hadn't considered the time zone problem. Perhaps dates and times are specified in terms of the prophet's local time...and then coordinated with GMT of course.

    The Seventh Day Adventists are now a sizeable protestant denomination. (Wiki says it's the 12th largest religious body in the world.) In fact, I had a great-grandmother who was 7th Day Adventist. They observe their Sabbath on Saturday, the seventh day of the Jewish-Christian calendar. (Essentially the Jewish Sabbath tradition I guess.)

    As far as climbing that hill at 89, I believe that the hill climbing tradition is actually more or less optional at the end of the world. And as for my hawking that book, you must realize that there is no more cherished and sacred American tradition than the making of money by whatever legal...and sleazy... opportunities present themselves. And the END TIME biz looks big to me.

    Finally, how clever of you to spot the likelihood that the Rapture has already begun in Britain, and that you are in fact in the midst of the Tribulation. Entirely consistent with a GMT starting time I'd say. ;-)

  14. Danny, I am delighted that you appreciate the intellectual endeavour that went into my pronouncements. It’s not easy being this clever.

    It also didn’t escape Munguin’s attention (the wee furry money maker) that, as you were hawking the books on his website, you owed to him a share of whatever $ you made out of the deal. You don’t to a media mogul like Munguin, without grabbing every chance to turn a buck or two.

    Beside’s which, life has become so hard in this place, what with wars to fight and tax evasion to cover, every penny helps.

    I too have a relative (very distant and by marriage) who became a Seventh Day Adventist some time ago. To be fair it appeared to do him a power of good. To each his own I guess.

  15. The furry one has just pointed out that intellectual endeavour or no, I can't spell droll!


  16. We'll negotiate the cut on the book sales. It's only fair...LOL.

    And I just assumed that "drole" was the British spelling. ;-)

    A long time removed from the original "Millerites", the Seventh Day Adventists are now pretty much a mainstream Protestant denomination I think. It's just always a surprise to find a church parking lot full on Saturday morning instead of Sunday.

  17. In this country it's rather unusual to find a church parking full at any time!!

    How kind of you to assume I could spell!!!! Paricularly embarrassing for me as it's really a French word!