False Alarm

No Jesus. Know peace.

This guy stood outside the hall all day Saturday and tried to convert us.
(From San Jose Calif. Mercury News)

Don’t panic about that last post. That went up by mistake. I was having too much fun at the Regional Atheist Meeting to run home and stop the post. I figured if Harold Camping was wrong about his rapture, I could be wrong about mine.

When I first arrived (a bit late), I was surprised to see the place crawling with reporters. There were multiple news outlets there, both print/internet and television. I watched one of the 11:00 PM news broadcasts that night, but we weren’t on it. I also barely found any references to us in the papers/online. It seems odd that they’d go through the effort of sending reporters and then not use any of it. Maybe we just aren’t interesting or colorful enough for them.

The San Jose Calif. Mercury News gave us two short paragraphs in their larger rapture-is-a-bust article, although they did give us a few photographs. But of the five photographs, two were of the looney-tune who stood out front all day trying to convert us. So 40% of the news photographs devoted to our event actually covered the religious opposition to our event.

(To be fair, the San Francisco Chronicle gave us more coverage, but they only covered Sunday, which wasn’t the day of the rapture (of course, neither was Saturday!). I didn’t go on Sunday. I had run off to the Maker Faire to see, among other things, Adam Savage stand in a Faraday cage between two arcing Tesla coils.)

Speaking of the fundie out front, I passed him several times, going to & fro lunch and dinner. He was always engaged in a civil, non-emotional debate with one or several atheists. Mostly, he was giving the standard arguments you’ve heard from them before. The one exception was how he justified genocide.

I know that fundies have no problem with murder as long as God does it, but I guess I’ve never heard them articulate it in the flesh before. It’s one thing to read it waved off abstractly on an apologetics website. It’s another thing to have one tell it to your face.

An atheist was telling the fundie that God is an immoral brute, because he killed millions of men, women, and children in the Flood. The fundie said “That’s not murder. That’s not immoral, because God did it. God is the source of morality. If he did it, it can’t be immoral.” (I’m paraphrasing here.)

That is why these people are so dangerous. You would think we would have not just a consensus but a unanimity of opinion in this country that murder, especially genocide, is immoral.

Nope!

The apocalypse was scheduled for 6:00 PM. As you’ve no doubt figured out by now, it didn’t happen. But here’s the funny thing. At 7:04 PM, the Earth shook. It didn’t exactly open up and swallow us all, but it was an actual, honest-to-dog earthquake with a magnitude of 3.6! It not only shook our building, but also the Family Radio building, which was just a couple of miles away. And if you take away Daylight Saving Time, the quake actually struck at 6:04 PM, just four minutes behind Harold Camping’s prediction!

Of course, he predicted a quake of much larger size, actual destruction, and actual death, so we have to count this prediction as a bust. There were bigger quakes that day, including a 6.1 in New Zealand. In fact, there were at least nine earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or greater on Saturday. But, as the USGS points out, that’s about how many you get every day.

I’ve been looking at some of the coverage that failed-prophet Harold Camping’s rapture failure has received since it failed. A “news blog” (whatever the hell that is) on Yahoo reports:

Camping’s PR aide, Tom Evans, told the L.A. Times that the group is “disappointed” that 200 million true believers weren’t lifted up to heaven on Saturday while everyone else suffered and eventually died as a series of earthquakes and famine destroyed the Earth.

I can see how that would be disappointing (emphasis added). Maybe we can get some of them jobs torturing prisoners at Guantanamo. I think they might have an aptitude.

Finally, have you seen that Camping is sticking by his end-is-nigh story, but he’s changed the date? This is just too funny. His original prediction was that the so-called “good guys” (you know, the ones who think genociding an entire planet or watching billions writhe in agony is moral and proper) would rapture on May 21st, the rest of us would be tortured for five months, and then the Earth would kaboom on October 21st. Well now he’s saying that the beginning of the end did start on May 21st after all, but none of us can see it. Instead, the rapture and the torture and the destruction of the Earth are all going to happen on October 21st.

And when October 21st comes and goes, then what’s your new date going to be, Harold?

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And for those who bothered to read (or scroll down) this far, here’s what you could have been doing on Sunday. Here’s Adam Savage at the Maker Faire:

13 Responses to “False Alarm”

  1. Cyc Says:

    If I were a god I would have thrown in that 3.6 just to get the guy’s hopes up and laugh at his disappointment when it stops and everything else remained the same. I probably shouldn’t be proud of that, but it would be worth it.

  2. Jeff Says:

    That is why these people are so dangerous. You would think we would have not just a consensus but a unanimity of opinion in this country that murder, especially genocide, is immoral.

    This is one of the reasons I now think, as I said in the previous thread, that it’s a form of antisocial personality disorder. There’s a marked lack of empathy in evidence. This isn’t the result of early programming alone; there’s something neurologically wrong with them. Those people ain’t right.

    I’m sick and tired of hearing that education is the answer. Screw that. Eugenics is the answer. We’ve hung on all these millennia, only to be done in by people who are happy to see it all end because a talking snake told a rib woman to eat a piece of fruit? Fuck ‘em.

    Parrotlover, don’t even start. I am in no mood.

  3. Jeff Says:

    From one of the articles Ron linked to:

    “I would encourage them not to lose their faith because they listened to a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and Jesus said there would be wolves in sheep’s clothing,” said Jackie Alnor.

    Alnor, a resident of Hayward who blogs about the rapture, said Camping had twisted the word of God by trying to predict the end. Only God knows when the world will end, she said.

    “He’s in big trouble with God,” she said.

    If that isn’t bad enough, she said, Camping’s false prophecy could have bigger impacts on religion.

    “It’s given people who hate Christianity an excuse to hate it even more,” she said. “People can just paint with broad brush strokes.”

    Right – because it isn’t as though they were all crazy, or anything.

    Fucking retards.

    (My apologies to the developmentally disabled.)

  4. Parrotlover77 Says:

    …as I said in the previous thread, that it’s a form of antisocial personality disorder.

    And?

    Eugenics is the answer

    That is all.

  5. Lindsay Says:

    So if you applied Mr. Crazy’s argument to say, abortion…well then abortion must be ok with God. After all, he causes thousands of miscarriages and stillbirths daily.

  6. RivenDusk Says:

    Well now he’s saying that the beginning of the end did start on May 21st after all, but none of us can see it.

    -Hey, just like his deity! That’s so convenient… why, those sure are some fine garments you’re wearing Mr. Emperor!

  7. Parrotlover77 Says:

    It is absolutely no surprise. A lot of cult leaders go through this. I remember watching a documentary on some random cult of 15 or 20 and they had predicted the end of the world. The special date came and went and none of them were bothered. Suddenly, what previously had been the end of the world was transformed, past, present, and future, into an invisible transformative event that they all “felt” but could not define for the interviewer what it was that actually happened. Just smug smiles all around.

    I will agree with Jeff on one thing (and I think even moderate Christians would agree) these end of world cults exhibit extreme mental illness. But since society tip-toes so gently around individual rights to believe any insane crazy thing you want in the name of religion, it’s exceedingly difficult to get these people the help they truly need!

    It’s a tough balancing act, really. If you want to live in a nation of individual liberty (real liberty, not teatard “liberty” in scare quotes), tolerating wacky beliefs is simply a part of that structure. But where do you draw the line? Where does liberty to be crazy cross into unhealthy and, more importantly, incapability of making a rational reality-based judgement?

    I don’t have the answer to that. Sometimes it’s obvious, but a lot of times it isn’t. Remember: history proves that today’s good intentions can sometimes very quickly turn into tomorrow’s violations of civil liberty and human dignity.

  8. Troy Says:

    That dork’s face has been up so incredibly long…I’m beginning to think maybe you were raptured!

  9. Ron Britton Says:

    I haven’t been raptured. I also haven’t completely given up on the blog. I do have some ideas on how to proceed into the future with a scaled-back scope. I’ve just been busy trying to rebalance my life. As things change (mostly for the better), priorities shift.

  10. Troy Says:

    I completely understand. Possibly you could pick a better holding pattern like Carl Sagan or James Randi.

  11. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I second the holding pattern proposal. It’s pretty common on lower traffic blogs to do the funny or interesting picture or here’s-a-cool-link-I-found post. I don’t mind either. At least we know you’re still alive. ;-) Just throw up a Carl Sagan quote and I’ll be happy.

  12. Ron Britton Says:

    I never intended to let it go seven weeks. I had numerous articles I wanted to write and expected to do so “tomorrow”. Always tomorrow.

  13. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I can relate. I’m pretty much working two jobs right now (full time day job plus like 5-6 hours of consulting per day). Everything is always tomorrow.