Friday, 20 May 2011

What do Atheist Have to Thank Harold Camping For?

This is rapture eve for me right now, in other parts of the world they are already at the great day May 21st. But not yet at 6pm. So the world waits.

Well actually the world isn't waiting. A few people are. On one side are the faithful followers of the Camping camp waiting to be taken into the heavens. On the other side are the cynics, detractors and atheists (these three are not mutually exclusive)waiting to laugh at the formers expense. But then perhaps there is something inherently honest about Camping... No wait, don't go, let me explain....

Hello, oh good your still there. There is a great deal written about frauds and con artists and religion has it's offenders. Most Christians will talk of the second coming and a fabulous after life. This they do with no evidence of such a claim. And when will it come? At some indeterminable point in the future. At least Camping is making a solid prediction. Okay so he's full of shit, yeah I know. But! And it's a big but in little over 24hrs he will be shown to be full of shit. Okay so the excuses and back tracking will take place. The prays of the faithful saved us all, or there has been a minor error in the translation of the scriptures. Camping has got it wrong before and as social psychologists will tell us past behaviour is a strong predictor of future behaviour.

The important thing about the error of this man is that it will show that you can read what you want into the ancient scriptures it doesn't make it true. Many of the religous main stream will mock Camping along with us atheists but they are missing the point. Scholars have been interpreting the chapters and verses of the bible since it was written. Preachers every week stand up and give their receptive congregations the word of "God" according to them. This word was written by man in the first place. So Camping will turn out to be wrong, thats no surprise. But if Campings wrong what's not to say the Pope or other religious leaders may also have got it wrong? maybe its ok to be gay after all or condoms can be during biblical acts used or women have the right to determined whether they have children or meat can be eaten on a Friday, all contraversial points I know. We laugh today at the gods of our ancestors; the Romans, Egyptians, the Greeks etc but how long will it be before our cultures are the joke.

In the mean time if one person comes through this weekend and changes their world view from that of the blind faithful to one of the questioning sceptic then Harold Camping has served a purpose. And of course their will be the calls of the faithful that Camping was a fraud or a false prophet but then he is one of only a few so called prophets to actually provide a prophecy which can be tested. And as a firm believer in science, for that I am thankful.

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