When The Rapture Doesn't Happen As Expected

Tom Bartlett conducted interviews with Christians who believed they were going to be raptured last May. He interviewed them before and after the big day, and then again at different points in the last year. He talks about how otherwise smart people were seduced by their abilities to find intricate patterns amidst so much Scriptural noise. The whole article is interesting but this portion gets to the heart of the limitations and the dangers of memory:

I was struck by how some believers edited the past in order to avoid acknowledging that they had been mistaken. The engineer in his mid-twenties, the one who told me this was a prophecy rather than a prediction, maintained that he had never claimed to be certain about May 21. When I read him the transcript of our previous interview, he seemed genuinely surprised that those words had come out of his mouth. It was as if we were discussing a dream he couldn’t quite remember.

My favorite part of this is that I posted this story on Facebook and a Christian friend went on and on mocking the deluded Camping cult for being stupid enough to make a falsifiable prediction. Where’d they go to cult school? It’s cult 101 that you don’t get pinned down to specific dates!  Stuff to that effect. This came from a conservative, Bible-believing Christian. One who apparently momentarily forgot Matthew 16:28 where Jesus got cocky and broke the first rule of cult club:

I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (NIV)

Hahaha! Jesus failed cult school too!

Oh, you silly deluded believer, following a hack cult-school drop out, totally amateur cult leader who made easily falsifiable (and already falsified!) claims. Would you like to hear the transcript again?

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Dana Hunter

    I love it when religious folks laugh at the silliness of other religious folks. Rather like UFOlogists mocking Sasquatch hunters.

    I’ve been reading 19th century works on atheism and Biblical criticism. One takeaway headscratch is how such patently ridiculous nonsense as Christianity has had such a long shelf life. Thomas Paine destroyed the Bible using only the Bible, for crying out loud. Anyone with two functioning neurons should be able to catch the contradictions and understand this can’t possibly be the infallible word of God. If they needed someone to point it out, many have. Yet there are still fundies. And they debunk other religions all the time – religions making the same inane claims as Christians, only slightly different in the details. This makes my head ache.

    Humans. We’re such a silly lot.


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