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End of the World - Unbeliever's Land
...The continuing chronicles...
End of the World
Here is the difference between science and religion.

The end of the world is nigh; May 21, to be precise. That’s the date when Harold Camping, a preacher from Oakland, California, is confidently predicting the Second Coming of the Lord. At about 6pm, he reckons 2 per cent of the world’s population will be immediately “raptured” to Heaven; the rest of us will get sent straight to the Other Place.
He says the world will end on May 21, because that will be 722,500 days from April 1, AD33, which he believes was the day of the Crucifixion. The figure of 722,500 is important because you get it by multiplying three holy numbers (5, 10 and 17) together twice. “When I found this out, I tell you, it blew my mind,” he said.

When a scientist talks about "the end of the world", he's referring to the damage humankind is doing to the planet's ecosystem.  Pumping greenhouse gasses into the air, melting the icecaps, raising the sea levels, that sort of thing.  He can point to hurricane seasons growing longer and more destructive.  He can point to global temperature readings.  He uses actual knowable things to make predictions, words them cautiously, and then nods sadly as the predictions slowly come true.

When a christian talks about "the end of the world", he means he selectively drew random shit from a 2000-year-old book, played around with a calculator until he came up with something soon enough in the future to be marketable, proclaimed it as absolutely certain, then hyped the hell out of it so as to increase his personal fame (and with it, wealth).  When the prediction fails (as it must; as all religious predictions do), he's not even slightly embarrassed.  He just shrugs, says "oopsie", and goes back to counting his money.

Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.

So fuck it.

Corvallis Secular Society will have an End of World party tomorrow (which happens to be our regular monthly meeting day).

We'll be sorely disappointed if we're not FINALLY rid of the Christians by 6pm, as promised.

But somehow, we won't be surprised...

Current Emotional State: amused amused

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amaebi From: amaebi Date: May 21st, 2011 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry you want to be rid of me. But given the very odd ideas you seem to have about me, I'm not surprised.
unbeliever64 From: unbeliever64 Date: May 21st, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Christians are the ones smugly telling US "have fun in hell".

I'm just saying, we intend to. :)

Religion is objectively harmful to rational thought, as it KEEPS proving OVER and OVER again. Faith MEANS irrational belief.

The Christian belief in "end times" and "rapture" (which they have CONTINUOUSLY believed was imminent for 2000 years, now) is doing REAL ACTIVE HARM. As we speak, there are right-wingers running congressional committees making critical policy decisions, based on the fact that it doesn't matter because Jesus Is Coming.

Yes, I want to be rid of that. I think you do, too. Your error is in thinking that faith is a neutral tool.

It isn't. Even when good things come as a result of faith, faith ITSELF does real intellectual harm. The kind of harm that leads people straight into the hands of the Harold Campings of the world.

The ends do not justify the means.
amaebi From: amaebi Date: May 22nd, 2011 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)
No, I'd never say that faith of any sort is neutral. I don't think faith of any sort is a tool, though faiths of all sorts make things possible that otherwise wouldn't be. Like skiing or sitting down, for instance. Sorry I wasn't raptured. I mean, sorry for your disappointment.

I dimly hoped to see a cow go up, but no soap.

Edited at 2011-05-22 01:53 am (UTC)
unbeliever64 From: unbeliever64 Date: May 22nd, 2011 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, 6pm rolled around after the meeting, right in the middle of a fancy shmancy restaurant meal Angela and I decided to have, spur-of-the-moment.

We figured, who knows? Maybe God likes atheists best of all, and we'll be the ones raptured. In which case, we'd have a fancy last meal -- and we wouldn't have to pay for it.

[At the very least, I was hoping for some cool special effects. You thought the movie "2012" was good; wait till you see GOD'S special effects!]

The waitress thought that was hysterical. But no dice. 6:30 arrived, along with the bill, and we had to pay up, same as always. And we didn't even get a show to go along with our dinner.

Some "God"... I could do better special effects on a Commodore 64.

I mean, come on! Just a few Christians floating up to the sky, and you know what? I'd Believe. It wouldn't be Faith, of course, because the evidence would finally have arrived. But I'd be a True Believer, just in time to miss the boat. Surely, that woulda been worth a few earthquakes, and a handful of floating Christians.

But nooooo. God seems quite happy to remain blissfully nonexistent.

And one more failed religious prediction gets added to the list...

The whole thing might have been less galling, had Harold Camping put his money where his mouth is and given away all of HIS millions, prior to today.

Waitaminute... [checks news]... see next post.
amaebi From: amaebi Date: May 22nd, 2011 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh. Rapture is such a marginal thing in Christian culture, that I learned about it from atheist SF reader acquaintances. Its Scriptural basis is one odd passage in one of Paul's letters-- and the dead should be hauled up first, which all the publicity surrounding Camping left out.

If I saw a few people rising into the air I think I'd wonder what was going on, rather than thinking, "Paul was literally correct! Glory, glory!"
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