The Last Post Ever at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion?!?!?

What you are now reading is the last post ever at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion.

That is, if Harold Camping is right.

Who is Harold Camping?  Glad you asked.

Harold Camping is this crazy old coot with WAY too much time on his hands.  He is out in California, where there is no shortage of loonies and crazies and wackos and other such things.  Face it:  There is nothing so completely and totally absurd, backward, bizarre, outlandish, or just plain whacked that someone out in California has not done it at some point.  I do not understand California, nor do I want to understand it, nor do I even want to try.  If I ever get to where I understand California, then I’ll have become one of them and I’ll be doing the same things they do.  I don’t want that.  And you don’t either.  Trust me.

Somehow or other (more on this later), Harold Camping got it into his head that the Rapture will take place today, May 21, 2011, at 6 PM local time, with the end of the world to follow on October 21.

Now you may have never heard of Harold Camping before in your life–unless you were paying attention back in the early 1990s.  Camping made a lot of hey back then when he predicted that the end of the world would be on September 6, 1994. Of course, September 6, 1994, came and went and we are all still here.  One would THINK that once you pick a date for the Rapture and it comes and goes and everybody is still here, that would kinda shut you up…just a little bit.  Right?

But for the people who make their living by doing this sort of thing, it’s not a problem when the proposed date of the Rapture comes and goes and we are all still here.  Just ask the the Seventh-Day Adventists.  They could tell you an awful lot about this.

And it was not a problem for Harold Camping.  He just claimed that he had made a slight miscalculation because he hadn’t fully studied all the relevant passages of Scripture (WHOOPS!!!!!), covered his little faux pas by adding a 6100-day “period of ingathering”, and voila, he was back in business.  And it all worked out to…May 21, 2011.

In Camping’s own words:  “At the time there was a lot of the Bible I had not really researched very carefully.  But now we’ve had the chance to do just an enormous amount of additional study, and God has given us outstanding proofs that it really is going to happen.”

In Camping’s little alternate universe, numbers mean all sorts of crazy things and everything in Scripture stands for something else that only he knows or understands.  According to MSNBC.com, here is how he came up with May 21 as the big day:

He believes Christ was crucified on April 1, 33 A.D., exactly 722,500 days before May 21, 2011. That number, 722,500, is the square of 5 x 10 x 17. In Camping’s numerological system, 5 represents atonement, 10 means completeness, and seventeen means heaven. “Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story,” Camping said on his Oakland-based talk show, Family Radio, last year. “It’s the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you’re completely saved. I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that.”

Here is another way that Camping and his peeps reckon it:  May 21 (today) marks 7,000 years exactly since God closed Noah into the ark prior to the Flood.  At the time, God issued a warning:  Seven days until the final destruction.  In other places in the Bible it says that with God, “a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”  (2 Peter 3:8)  Ergo:  Seven days—seven thousand years.  Exactly.  Literally.  Right on the button.  Never mind that numbers in Scripture rarely mean exactly what they say they mean.  Never mind that the point of this verse is that God’s way of reckoning time is completely and totally different from our way of reckoning time and we can’t even begin to understand it and shouldn’t even try.

Of course there are a hella lot more numbers that go into this thing.  You think Camping would be running around out there spouting off May 21 if all he had to base it on was this day-thousand years thing?  Especially after he’s already gotten it wrong once?

But get this:  May 21 (that would be today) isn’t REALLY the end of the world.  It is only the Rapture, which is just the warmup act.

Now what is the Rapture?  Glad you asked.

The Rapture is a doctrine that is espoused in many corners of fundamentalist Christianity and many parts of evangelicalism as well.  It started out among the Puritans with Increase and Cotton Mather, and grew as it was preached and taught by Baptists and Plymouth Brethren, particularly John Nelson Darby, during the 19th century.  There are many permutations and variations of the Rapture in evangelical eschatology, but the dominant one nowadays basically says that Christ will come in secret and all Christians will disappear, rising up into the air to meet Him.  After this, a lengthy period of turbulence, distress, and suffering–both man-made and from natural sources–will afflict the wicked who remain on earth.  Finally, Christ will return loudly and publicly and bring an end to the whole shebang.  If you’ve read or heard of the Left Behind books, you are familiar with this.

Back to Camping.

After the Rapture (today), there will be an intense period of distress and suffering–fire, earthquakes, volcanoes, Antichrist, etc.–which will last for exactly 153 days, until October 21.  Then God will step in and bring an end to the whole shebang.

Why 153 days?

In John 21, Peter and the disciples are out fishing after Jesus has been crucified.  They are having a rough go of it, when all of a sudden the resurrected Jesus comes up to them and directs them to a good spot, and they catch a whole mess of fish (153 to be exact–John 21:11).

153 fish—153 days.

Wow, it all just lines right up!!!!!

I’m not making this shit up.  I’m not that creative, and I couldn’t be–even if I wanted to.

As I said earlier, there is nothing so absurd, backward, bizarre, ignorant, outlandish, or just plain whacked that it has not been done by someone in California at some point.  I do not understand California, I do not want to understand it, and I do not even want to try.

And I don’t want to try to understand Harold Camping either.  If I ever get to where I understand him, then I’ll be just as crazy as he is.  And you don’t want that.  Trust me.

Well, I’m off to the pool to catch some rays and wait for the Rapture.  Nothing like laying out by the pool on a beautiful summer day waiting for the end of the world.

Read William Cwirla’s take on Harold Camping here and here.  And while you’re at it, watch this video from Jonathan Fisk in which he gives his take on the whole thing.

Wondering what Camping will say or do if May 21 passes without event?  Yeah…I am too.  Here is a post which gives some ideas as to possible Camping contingency plans.

Sasquatch, Alien Abductions, and Other Such Things

A couple of years back I wrote a response to the movie The Da Vinci Code.  After the movie actually came out and proved to be one of the sorriest movies ever made, I believed that I had been snookered and I might as well write about Sasquatch, alien abductions, and other such things, and I promised that eventually at some point you would see writings on that subject, since I had been so foolish as to consider that sorry excuse for a film worthy of an intelligent response.

And now, here it is.  If I let this opportunity go by, then I won’t know what to say.

It seems that Bigfoot (also known as Sasquatch), has been found in the mountains of North Georgia.  Or maybe it wasn’t Bigfoot.  Maybe it was a person.  Or maybe it was a possum.  They’ve got the body, but they’re only letting their own approved scientists examine it.  Hmmm…are they afraid that somebody else will examine it and it will turn into something that is not Bigfoot?

Anyway, read the story; it’s all there.

Some Thoughts on the Pullman Books

Just a few thoughts on the Phillip Pullman His Dark Materials trilogy, which I am currently in the process of working my way through.  It’s the holidays, and I did not feel like organizing these into a more coherent post or developing any of these into separate full-length posts right now, so just take what you get:

–Phillip Pullman has written a work of fantasy literature that is definitely worthy of serious and favorable comparison with the works of Lewis and Tolkien.  Phillip Pullman is an atheist.  Get over it.

–The “Authority” which the heroes of the Pullman books are attacking is definitely the Judeo-Christian God whom we all know and love.  Pullman makes no bones about this, especially during Part 3.

–Those of you who believe that the Bible is true have nothing to fear.  Just because Pullman says that his “Authority” is the same as our God, doesn’t make it so.  If you look at the way God is described in the Bible and the way the Authority/God is described in the Pullman books, you will see that they are two almost completely different beings.  The God of the Bible is a creator who wants His creations to worship Him freely, and who loves them to the point that He is even willing to sacrifice His Son’s life (in ways that we cannot fully comprehend, this is the same as Him giving up His own life) for their sake when their bad choices make it impossible for them to be in relationship with Him.  The Authority of the Pullman books is a power-hungry usurper who is bent on destroying men’s capacity for free choice and forcing them to follow him.  Basically, Pullman has set up a straw man and then proceeded to beat the living s–t out of him. Continue reading “Some Thoughts on the Pullman Books”

Atheist Alert…New Movie Coming!!!!!

I hear there’s a new movie about to come out that promotes atheism to young people.

The Golden Compass is the first book in a trilogy by author and noted atheist Phillip Pullman, a book all about what a blessed place the world would be if we all just got rid of religion and lived lives of unrestrained sexual pleasure.  The movie version of this book is coming out in December.

I still remember all the craziness of evangelicals jumping all over Da Vinci Code last year.  I am relishing the prospect of sitting back and watching the craziness that will ensue as the time gets closer for this movie to come out and the evangelical world starts to get all geeked up about it.  Anyone up for another round of “Angry Christians Hate Your Movie!!!!!”

I may be back with more of my thoughts on all of this in a few weeks when my classes wind down for the semester.  Until then, I will leave you with Michael Spencer’s take on it.

And here is Peter Leithart on the movie.  Judging by what he has to say, it seems as if there isn’t going to be much here for angry evangelicals to get all geeked up about.  Think this might be a repeat of DVC last year, when the whole evangelical world got geeked up over nothing?

Movie Review: The Da Vinci Code

Well, it took a few weeks but I finally got around to seeing this movie.

This review by Michael Spencer put me in the right frame of mind to see and appreciate this movie, and I was not disappointed.  “Dumb cops, weird intellectuals, and a 354th cousin of Jesus” certainly seemed to be an accurate description of all that this movie was about.

When I saw the movie there were about 30 other people in the theater with me.  In light of all the negative reviews that this movie got, it was actually somewhat surprising to me that there were that many people there.

I must say that the camera work was quite interesting, with the camera seeming to move in a circle around whatever it was looking at.  By the time I left the movie, I was feeling quite dizzy.

Lots of disconnected bits of movie all thrown together; one moment you’re seeing a wild car chase through downtown Paris and the next you’re seeing two people standing and talking calmly somewhere.  (Speaking of car chases, that bubble car that Sophie was driving was a hoot.)

Folks, if this sorry excuse for a movie is enough to make you abandon your faith in Christ in favor of the new age Jesus and the sacred feminine, then good riddance.  There may be plenty of people out there who believe this stuff, but then there are also plenty of people who believe in Sasquatch, alien abductions, and other such things.  And I would do better writing about those things than devoting any more attention to this movie.

Oh well.  At least it wasn’t as bad as this movie.

Was It All for Nothing?

Well, it looks as if all the trouble I went to to write a response to The Da Vinci Code may have been for naught.

Michael Spencer saw the movie and wasn’t too crazy about it.

Neither was Catholic blogger Amy Welborn.

If these reviews are any indication, the movie was not even remotely close to being worth all the trouble that the evangelical world, myself included, has taken to respond to it. Kind of funny, if you think about it, that all these evangelicals got so worked up over a movie that is proving to be a colossal flop, if these reviews are to be believed.

This is not surprising. After all, we as evangelicals are extremely well-known for our habit of working ourselves up into a tizzy over things that turn out to be nothing at all. Anybody remember Y2K? Or how about The Last Temptation of Christ, which would have been one of the biggest box office flops of all time if not for the attention drawn to it by evangelical outrage?

I’ve been snookered!!! I actually believed that The Da Vinci Code and the issues raised in it were legitimate concerns worthy of serious attention in this space. So stay tuned for future diatribes on the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch, UFOs, the JFK conspiracy theories, and NASA’s conspiracy to fake the moon landings.

Oh well. Back to The Brothers Karamazov.