Nobility corrupted

Here’s an interesting story.  It follows some people around as they try to convince others that the rapture will occur in just under two weeks, on May 21.  It’s pretty sad, really.

“People need to know,” Brown says, “and God commands us to share the Gospel about the end of the world. He says if we do not share the Gospel then their blood will be on our hands, whether they believe or not. God’s been moving me to do this.”

If what this guy believes is true, then his actions make sense.  To him, everybody is hanging off the edge of a cliff and he’s desperately running to and fro trying to pull them up.  It would be noble if wasn’t so ridiculous.

This man undoubtedly has other hobbies/interests.  Instead of running around asserting certainty in things he has no good reason to believe he could be reading a book, hiking, getting laid – y’know, doing the things he’d elect to be doing without this fallacious belief.  He could be doing things that contribute fully to his happiness rather than trying to rescue people from phantoms.

So how do these guys know our circumstances are so dire?

Brown says this message is laced throughout the Bible, but only some can decode it.

Of course.  The rest of us just have to take their word for it.  I mean, eternity is on the line, so why would god want to make his message more verifiable than that of any other raving madman?

Haubert says the Bible contains coded “proofs” that reveal the timing. For example, he says, from the time of Noah’s flood to May 21, 2011, is exactly 7,000 years. Revelations like this have changed his life.

Coded proofs?  For such an important day, why not just a passage that reads ‘On May 21, 2011, I’m going to rapture all the believers and destroy the world’?  Wouldn’t that have been easier?  If you’re going to destroy the world and punish everybody who didn’t believe, why would you want to hide it in the first place (unless you enjoy the suffering of humans)?

“I no longer think about 401(k)s and retirement,” [Haubert] says. “I’m not stressed about losing my job, which a lot of other people are in this economy. I’m just a lot less stressed, and in a way I’m more carefree.”

He’s tried to warn his friends and family. They think he’s crazy. And that saddens him.

“Oh, it’s very hard,” he says. “I worry about friends and family and loved ones. But I guess more recently, I’m just really looking forward to it.

This guy’s gonna be a lot less carefree on May 22.  There is no other way to say it: believing shit for bad reasons destroys lives.  Period.  And religion tells us not only that we must believe things for bad reasons, but that this is a good thing.

And what’s this ‘I’m really looking forward to it’ bullshit?  Didn’t you just say that you’re trying to rescue all these people from judgment because you care about them?  But now you’re really looking forward to when you’re up in heaven and they’re all roasting on Satan’s pitchfork?  Doesn’t that bother you just a little bit?  I mean, sure god can dope you up on his love in heaven enough that you don’t care that your friends and family are suffering…but you’re not there yet, dude.

The other guy’s even worse.

Haubert is 33 and single. Brown is married with several young children, and none of them shares his beliefs. It’s caused a rift with his wife — but he says that, too, was predicted in the Bible.

“God says, ‘Do you love husband or wife over me? Do you love son or daughter over me?’ There is a test. There is a trial here that the believers are going through. It’s a fiery trial.”

Yeah, they’re all going to suffer more than the collective suffering of all humanity every second for all of eternity, but let’s take a moment to sympathize with you because you.  That is fucking psychotic.  God is about to stand by, able to intercede at any time, and watch your wife and children spend eternity subjected agony that would be impossible to augment – and you are behind this?  This guy also probably thinks ‘god is love’.

The honest truth here is that these people are, as PZ would say, demented fuckwits.  Sure, their intentions are pure, but that is not good enough.  Good intentions do not make you a good person.  Each of us, including these men, has an obligation to be reasonable to make sure our good intentions are not corrupted by lunacy.  These men have failed in that obligation.  So has every other religious person on this planet – and it’s not ok.

It will happen this way:

On May 21, “starting in the Pacific Rim at around the 6 p.m. local time hour, in each time zone, there will be a great earthquake, such as has never been in the history of the Earth,” he says. The true Christian believers — he hopes he’s one of them — will be “raptured“: They’ll fly upward to heaven. And for the rest?

“It’s just the horror of horror stories,” he says, “and on top of all that, there’s no more salvation at that point. And then the Bible says it will be 153 days later that the entire universe and planet Earth will be destroyed forever.”

The true believers will be saved.  That’s the message of Christianity of just about every stripe, isn’t it?  Those who believe get paradise, those who do not are tortured.  The rest is negligible.  That’s why there is celebration for deathbed conversions.  This is why pedophiles get to maintain positions of authority in the church.  This is why we proselytize to people on death row.  Belief is everything.

If you are someone who believes that; if you are someone who believes that somebody like my mother is deserving of torture in god’s eyes (and therefore your eyes, otherwise you’d disagree with god), but that somebody who murdered a child before (or after) accepting your story about virgin birth and rising from the dead is deserving of paradise, then fuck you.  You insult me and you insult humanity in general.  You are my enemy and I am yours.  And you can bet that every day I will be coming after your beliefs with sharpened claws and all of the facts at my disposal.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Courtney

    Excellent post. Saw this on Atheist Reddit this morning and it made my blood boil.I feel especially sorry for the kids of these loons.

  • Stephen Tapply

    Your last paragraph – outstanding. Thank you.

    And. out of curiosity, if this event does take place, and we all stand around clapping, would that be ‘rapturous applause’?

  • Ross Cunningham

    I read the article earlier, and I’m surprised that you didn’t comment on this particular section:

    “‘Knowing the date of the end of the world changes all your future plans,’ says 27-year-old Adrienne Martinez.

    She thought she’d go to medical school, until she began tuning in to Family Radio. She and her husband, Joel, lived and worked in New York City…

    ‘My mentality was, why are we going to work for more money? It just seemed kind of greedy to me. And unnecessary,’ she says.

    And so, her husband adds, ‘God just made it possible — he opened doors. He allowed us to quit our jobs, and we just moved, and here we are.’

    Now they are in Orlando, in a rented house, passing out tracts and reading the Bible. Their daughter is 2 years old, and their second child is due in June. Joel says they’re spending the last of their savings. They don’t see a need for one more dollar…

    ‘We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won’t have anything left,’ Adrienne adds.”

    The rapture message that these people are spreading is destroying people’s lives. Nothing left on May 21? Their lives will be ruined when (not if) the rapture doesn’t happen, and the lives of their 2-year-old and expected child are going to be ruined with them. They’ll have no money, no home, no job, no anything. How can people think it’s okay for this to happen?

  • Eliott Canter

    If in fact these folks all believe the “Rapture” is coming, is it possible for me to get my address or bank account number to them so they can leave me all their worldly possesssions. Materialistic I know but just in the off chance they are wrong and I’m still around, and so is the world, I could use the cash and distribute it almost evenly between the PZ and JT fundraising challenge for Camp Quest.

  • Katie

    Especially since the Rapture is so near, it would be cool if someone went through the effort of following these people until the day after. It’d make a smashing documentary.

  • Lauren Jones

    It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good. Thomas Jefferson

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