A lot of humans seem to be longing for the “end of the world”. Many religions have it built into them, that some god will come and take all of the believers away to a magical place after killing/damning everyone who dared not to believe in the god. The contents of said magical place vary, from an idyllic land where there is no suffering and where there is endless food and nice weather, to having all of one’s relatives around you always, to where believers endlessly praise the deity in question. There are cities of gold and jewels, tacky enough to make a “housewife of wherever” happy and don’t forget the lakes of fire.
The latest version of this desire to not die and get your figurative $200 after passing “God” is the December 21, 2012 nonsense (the 12/12/12 silliness yesterday was just a small glimmer for a few people). Earlier this year we had the usual requisite Christian insisting that the end of the world would be in May and then he changed it to, hmmm, September I think it was. We even had a billboard here in central PA that declared that this was going to happen. The list of failed prophecies of how the world will end “real soon now” is long.
Despite this perfect track record of failure, some Christians (and theists in general) get terribly upset when one points out that their religious beliefs are just as silly as the beliefs of those who insist that the Maya predicted the end of the world. They whine that how dare anyone disrespect them by comparing them with such people and call those who point out their silliness “bigots”. Poor things, then this means that every time that they claim another religion is wrong, they are bigots too. How nice! No, Christians, pointing out that your claims have failed and are wrong by every piece of evidence there is not bigotry. It’s dealing with facts. Show me evidence that your nonsense is real and then we’ll talk.
To those offended Christians, do you think the reason your religion is equated with the ridiculous woo-meister claims is that Christians have failed with every prophecy about the “end times” they’ve made since the purported existence of your supposed savior thousands of years ago? You are stuck with the Technicolor, Cinerama, ergot-induced hallucination of Revelation that is part and parcel of your religion. It’s a story, replete with monsters and plagues, where a god finally kills everyone who don’t worship it, rules over the believers for a while and then *intentionally* releases its archenemy to corrupt some of those ostensibly good people who are left, to have one last big battle to make sure it can sate its bloodlust. I know, I know, it seems so silly now that some of you try to ignore it, insisting that it’s just a metaphor. The problem is: is a magical man who is also a god sent back to forgive some “original sin” given to two people made out of mud just a metaphor too?
In the bible itself, it has claims of the end times and the return of the messiah and its god that obviously failed, long before modern Christians had to re-re-re-re-interpret the bible to excuse every failed prediction before. We have JC himself claiming that he’ll be back before people in the crowd were died. Either we have some very very old people wandering around or the story is just that, a story.
We have Paul certain that it’ll be “real soon now” some years after, but even he rewrote the story to encourage people to work and not depend on this god to supply everything they need. It’s rather inconvenient when a god is late, doesn’t take care of people like the lilies of the field and you’re left wondering where your next meal is coming from. To find both sets of failed prophecies, I suggest you read the excellent review of the prophecies that can be found on the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance website. It’s also a great source for much about religions of all types. Donate to them if you can.
The excuses used to explain away the failure fall into two main groups:
- claims of “metaphor” (as mentioned above) aka “god is mysterious and we can’t understand”.
- They were not TrueChristianstm
Unsurprisingly, these are the usual excuses for any failures of Christianity (and most other religions). The world will not end because of a myth. There is no evidence that any mystical eschatological events will happen; there is no evidence that any mystical events happen at all. The planet will very likely not cease to exist until the sun goes red giant per the laws of physics and gobbles it up. The universe will putter along until entropy takes over. There will be no coming of the Great White Handkerchief. But humanity could indeed end because of humanity’s flaws and that includes religion. At one point, religion may have had some use, getting humans to cooperate when we were few and tasty to large animals. But now, with the wars fought over whose god gave who a certain tatty piece of land, over what some god “really meant”, we have a good chance at being exterminated by our own kind with access to conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and the delusion that some god is okay with anything they do. The Maya appear to have lost the height of their civilization by failing to give up harmful practices. I hope we don’t do the same.