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Harold Camping of the U.S.-based Christian group, Family Radio, predicted that Jesus Christ will return to earth on May 21, 2011, to take with him the good ones to heaven and leave the sinners to face the end of the world.
Sparking fury across the world, the Family Radio president said, “Earthquakes would sweep across the earth, first starting in New Zealand.”
The day, May 21, which Camping predicted to be doomsday through a series of mathematical calculations 7,000 years after Noah’s floods, has provoked many.
Of course not all Christians are this crazy, as amply demonstrated by these believers who rushed to condemn Camping’s prediction of our imminent demise:
“Do not believe the hype! No man knows the hour when all will be said and done,” he urges.
Another staunch follower of the Holy Bible, Donna L. Serino, who is a businesswoman in Philadelphia, opposes the hoax of Saturday’s end of the world, while she refers to the Act 1:7 and Matthew 24:36 in Bible.
“Jesus said, it is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority, but concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only,” she said.
In other words, and as vjack pointed out over at Atheist Revolution, the view held by sane Christians is that the world is probably not going to end today, but don’t let your guard down because Jesus will be coming eventually. The only catch is that our loving creator decreed that we couldn’t possibly know when he was going to return, as this would allow all of us horrible sinners to repent and therefore save ourselves from eternal damnation. What a compassionate God!
But there are more serious ramifications to the Christian belief in the eventual apocalypse. Apart from being a consistent source of entertainment, the fact that a significant portion of our fellow human beings believe in the inevitable end of the world poses a significant danger to the rest of us. After all, if we are only on this earth temporarily, why bother to act responsibly? Why worry about issues of sustainability and environmental preservation? Why concern ourselves about such trivial issues as the future effects of climate change, when Jesus is probably coming back any day now?
It has often been argued that we should respect religious beliefs and refrain from overtly criticizing the major religions of the world. Clearly, as concerned citizens of the earth we are obligated to do precisely the opposite: religious beliefs place us all in danger, and it is imperative that we do everything in our power to stamp out the parasite that is organized religion. After all, if there are 30 million fundamentalist Christians in the United States (a conservative estimate), they will support politicians and corporations that reflect their short-sighted, grossly misinformed world view – and we will all suffer as a direct consequence.
The world is not going to end for another few billion years, regardless of the actions of humans or our mythical creators. Human beings, however, are not quite so hearty. There is nothing guaranteeing our long term survival, and if we continue on our current course – as Stephen Hawking and others have pointed out – we will more likely than not wipe ourselves out of existence. It is absolutely essential that we work to eliminate any belief system which fails to realize this.