Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
May 23, 2011: Timothy Dalrymple / Philosophical Fragments – May 21, 2011
Camping should take heed of Proverbs 3:7 himself… – SJH
When people say, “It’s not the end of the world,” they usually mean those words to be comforting. Yet those words will not be comforting to you. Not today. That the Day of the Lord did not arrive when you had expected it to arrive will be a source of profound disappointment, of embarrassment, and perhaps — now or in the days to come — of disillusionment with your faith.
You were wrong. Let’s face that fact. You were confidently wrong. You believed with all the fervency of a hopeful heart, a heart that longed to see God and longed to see the day when suffering would cease and justice would reign and the truth of God would be made known. When people mocked you for what you believed, you thought to yourself, Just wait and you’ll see. Today I will be thought a fool for Christ; tomorrow the world will see that we were right.
Harold Camping, the 89-year-old founder of the Family Radio Network, used his broadcast empire, two thousand billboards and a flood of tracts and posters to warn the world that Judgment Day would arrive on May 21. He expected earthquakes that would spread across the world; two percent of the world’s population would be raptured to heaven while the rest would be left behind for tribulations. You believed it. You kept in prayer throughout the day, you shared important words with your loved ones, and you waited eagerly for the news you were sure would come. Yet the earth never shook. This day was just like so many other Saturdays before it. The sun rose, the sun fell, and the world kept turning.
Now, some of you may be wondering: What happened? Did God change his mind? What if Mr Camping was just a day or two off? Perhaps the Gregorian calendar has not been perfectly kept, or perhaps Christ was crucified a day later than Mr Camping had suspected, and so perhaps we have not yet reached 722,500 days since Golgotha? If you’re asking yourself these things, this letter is not for you — yet. But I hope you’ll bear it in mind and return when you’re ready. Because, my brother, my sister, I think we’ll all still be here a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.
This letter is more for those who are wondering: How did this happen? Why was I deceived? Why did God allow me, when I sought the truth in prayer, to believe this and go into the cities and distribute flyers and tell my loved ones that they should prepare for the Day of Judgment? How do I face the mockers now? And how do I know that my faith as a whole is not a falsehood as well? When I once went about with my youth group or college group or small group and proclaimed the gospel, and told people earnestly that Christ had died for them and that they should receive God’s gracious offer before the end — was believing that and pronouncing that any different than believing and pronouncing that May 21st was Judgment Day? What if it’s all just a silly story, and I’m a fool to believe it?
Tonight the Rapture Parties will go on. The atheists will gloat, the mockers will mock. Yet there’s nothing funny about this for you. You are broken and crestfallen, left abandoned in the ruins of unfulfilled expectations, among them the very highest expectations a human can have — the hope of union with God, the hope of a world made new, the hope that every tear will be wiped away. You are left disoriented. You were so sure of this. People you love and respect — perhaps your parents, your pastor, your mentor, your brother and sister — may have believed it too. You do not feel relieved that the end of the world did not arrive. You are not rid of this world yet, so all of its weight fell back upon your shoulders.
So let’s reflect on this together. First, what can be affirmed? What were you right to feel and to believe?
1. Your heart was in the right place. This may sound like a minor matter, or it may sound like condescension, but I assure you it’s not. This is a rare and exceedingly important thing. It’s perfectly right to yearn for the day of Christ’s return. It’s right to desire with all of your heart that you could be with God right now. ”Better is one day in your courts,” writes the Psalmist (84:10), “than thousands elsewhere.” You longed to be in those courts together with the saints. It is a good thing to thirst for God and to look forward to the day when God’s truth and grace and justice will be made known to all humankind. I believe that desire is precious to God.
2. You were right to believe that God will, one day, gather his children unto himself and draw history as we know it to a close. The most persuasive falsehoods are always the ones that contain the greatest proportion of the truth. Although only a very small slice of the Christian community believed that Judgment Day was arriving on May 21st, the vast majority of the church around the globe and throughout its history has believed that Christ would come again to bring judgment and restoration, and ultimately the beginning of a new age of peace and justice. We should always live as though Christ’s return is imminent. Today is always the day of salvation.
3. You were right to spread the warning. It’s important to say this, because the Harold Camping prophecy and the movement he mobilized will be used by the skeptical press to make Christians in general look silly. Yet given what you believed was coming, it would have been irresponsible and unloving in the extreme if you had chosen not to spread the news as broadly as possible. Some will jeer at the billboards that were rented and the literature that was distributed. Given your sincere belief that the end was near, sounding the alarm was the only loving option.
Second, what can be learned? What might you learn from this experience? I would suggest, in humility, five things:
1. Our faith is not placed in a person or in a prediction, but in the good news of Jesus Christ. The fashionably skeptical will be eager to tell you that you are wrong about your faith in Jesus just as you were wrong about the arrival of Judgment Day. Yet these things are worlds apart. The core of the gospel message has stood strong for two thousand years. It is communicated plainly in the scriptures and has undergone extraordinary scrutiny historically, philosophically, theologically and in every other way — and it has survived and thrived and spread and it is preached throughout the church all over the world. The belief that Judgment Day would arrive on May 21st was held by only a vanishingly small minority for a very small period of time; it was not revealed (at least not plainly so) in the scriptures themselves and most Christians did not think it stood up to scrutiny. Further, charismatic people come and go, and some propose new ideas and exciting interpretations of God’s Word. Yet our confidence in them should never be equal to our confidence in Christ. People and predictions come and go, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.
2. No one knows when the end will come–so we must always be ready. Jesus tells us specifically (Mark 13:32) that no one knows when the end will come. Mr Camping had ways of explaining that passage away, but I think we can agree that he should have taken that passage at face value. It’s one thing to interpret the times. It’s another to set dates on the basis of obscure mathematical formulae. To be sure, there are many mysteries in our faith. But that which can be known, and that which must be known, God has made known to us quite clearly. God does not conceal important truths in esoteric codes so that only the ultra-enlightened can figure them out. We do not know when the end will come — and this means that we must always live as though it will come tomorrow, and today is the last today to make things right with God and with God’s children.
3. We should remember the difference between scripture and an interpretation of scripture. The Christian scriptures did not say that May 21st would be Judgment Day. Harold Camping’s prediction was based on an interpretation of the scriptures that used some obscure tools and methods. An interpretation of the scripture does not have the same force as what the scripture says so plainly that no interpretation is required. So what was disproven in this case is not the scripture itself — not remotely — but an interpretation.
4. We should always beware the power of charismatic leaders and groupthink to sway our beliefs. I do not believe that Harold Camping is a crackpot or a cult leader, though some will construe him as such. I believe that he got caught up in a particular way of looking at the scriptures, and was eventually surrounded by people who believed likewise. I would guess it probably gave him a sense of extraordinary insight and excitement to believe that he could find hidden truths in the scripture that others could not. He should have been humbler. But his followers should also have been more critical, quicker to test him, and less quick to explain away the inconsistencies. They also should have listened to the gentle criticisms and encouragements they received from fellow believers who did not accept the May 21st prophecy. In any case, I will soon be writing a series on this blog on why we believe the things we believe, and I hope you’ll subscribe and follow along.
5. Finally, we should never believe that we’ve got God figured out. God always confounds our expectations. Sometimes we have to die to one way of thinking about God in order to come alive to a new one. And yet soon, even that new way of thinking about God may become an idol as we begin to think that this new way of thinking about God has God figured out, has God in a box. If some of you find that “your faith” is crumbling as the reality dawns that you believed in a falsehood, let me suggest to you, gently, that any faith that capsizes when Judgment Day fails to arrive is not a proper faith to begin with. If your faith is shattered here, then your faith was not in God but in a particular way of thinking about God and God’s plans. There’s a very important difference between the two.
When you want to believe something, and someone you respect tells you to believe something, and everyone around you also believes and wants to believe the same thing, those are extraordinarily powerful forces. I wish that you had not believed in the May 21st prediction, because I fear that it damaged the credibility of Christians in the eyes of some. But I see no reason now to belabor that point. Rather, I hope you have grace with yourselves. Those forces operate not only in religious groups. They operate in political movements, activist groups, even in enclaves within scientific communities. In fact, when your friendly neighborhood atheist mocks you for what you believed, you can point him or her to scientific evidence that atheists in general are more gullible.
And you know what? God has a way of using even our mistakes. Perhaps your expectation of the imminent return of Christ helped you assess your life, remember what’s important, reconcile with your brother or your sister, take refuge in God’s gracious provision for sin in the work of Jesus Christ, and pray with great fervency that you have lived a life worthy of the gospel. If you did all these things, then perhaps you should not regret that you were wrong about the whence.
May 21, 2011—NOT Judgment Day!
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” – Proverbs 3:7 KJV
Link to original article below…
May 20, 2011: Robert Roy Britt / LiveScience.com– May 18, 2011
The word “rapture” is not written anywhere in the KJV Bible! – SJH
With the end of the world looming this Saturday (May 21), non-believers are planning “Rapture parties” to poke a little fun at the Doomsday prediction and also raise awareness for other causes.
Harold Camping, 89-year-old leader of the ministry Family Radio Worldwide, has predicted that a five-month destruction of humanity will commence Saturday with a Rapture, in which believers will ascend to heaven.
“Whereas this five-month period will be an enormous horror story for those who have not been raptured, it will be a time of great joy and wonder for those who are raptured,” according to the Family Radio website. [Infographic: A Brief History of Doomsday]
Camping uses a mathematical formula linked to prophecies in the Bible. He once predicted Sept. 6, 1994 as Judgment Day, but that math didn’t quite work out. This time around, Camping’s organization took out an ad in Reader’s Digest, stating: “The Bible guarantees the end of the world will begin with Judgment Day May 21, 2011.”
A Web group called TalkAndAct.com is sponsoring a Rapture party because “skeptics, activists, comedians and others don’t believe his apocalyptic warning for one second,” organizers said in a statement Wednesday. The live streaming “Judgment Day Party” will start at 00:00:01 on May 21 and run until midnight, other events permitting, of course.
In Tacoma, Wash., producers of a local talk show “Ask the Atheist” will sponsor a Rapture party themed “Countdown to Backpedaling: The End is Nah!” A group called American Atheists has a short list of Rapture parties occurring in a handful of other cities. Might the world really begin to end this weekend? Even many Christians aren’t buying it.
“There are a long line of brilliant people who, through intricate calculations, have made predictions about the end of the world,” Pastor Joseph Fuiten with Cedar Park Assembly of God Church in Bothell, Wash., told the Seattle Times. “Unfortunately they have overlooked the obvious words of Jesus: ‘You do not know the day or the hour’ of such events.”
May 21, 2011—NOT Judgment Day!
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: This is yet another ploy to further demonize the real Christians… – SJH
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” – Matthew 24:36 KJV
Link to original article below…
April 15, 2011: Ethan A. Huff / NaturalNews – April 15, 2011
Huxley’s “soma” from his book, Brave New World. And let’s not be naive, if they’re warning about this, it’s already reality… – SJH
It may sound like something out of a science fiction plot, but Oxford researchers say that modern conventional medicine is gradually developing ways to change the moral states of humans through pharmaceutical drugs, and thus control the way people think and act in various life situations.
These new drugs will literally have the ability to disrupt an individual’s personal morality, and instead reprogram that person to believe and do whatever the drug designer has created that drug to do.
“Science has ignored the question of moral improvement so far, but it is now becoming a big debate,” said Dr. Guy Kahane from the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics in the UK. “There is already a growing body of research you can describe in these terms. Studies show that certain drugs affect the ways people respond to moral dilemmas by increasing their sense of empathy, group affiliation and by reducing aggression.”
While this may sound good in theory, mind control is already a very dangerous side effect of existing drugs. Take the antidepressant drug Prozac, for instance, which has been known to cause those taking it to lash out in violent rages. One young boy murdered his father by beating him and stabbing him in the head, and hit his mother with a crowbar and stabbed her in the face, shortly after starting to take Prozac (http://www.naturalnews.com/News_000…).
But the kinds of drugs Kahane and his colleagues are referring to imply designer drugs specifically designed to not only alter one’s mental state, but also to change the way that person thinks about situations from a moral perspective. The end result is literally a type of drug-induced mind control where human subjects will be controlled by someone else, and unable to make conscious decisions for themselves.
Research on the subject, of course, tries to paint the idea of mind-control drugs in a positive light, suggesting that they could be used to help make the world a better place. Just imagine less violence, more trust, and more love, they say. This rhetoric, though, is really just a ploy to further numb the already mind-numbed masses into accepting the idea as a good thing.
Aldous Huxley – The Ultimate Revolution (Part 1)
Aldous Huxley -The Ultimate Revolution (Part 2)
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: If you have never heard this interview with Huxley, now’s the time! – SJH
Link to original article below…