20 October 2011

2011 Rapture Redux and skepticism of religion

The now-infamous Harold Camping's latest predicted date for the End of All Things is tomorrow.  I'm personally looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

When the Rapture failed to occur five months ago, Camping backpedaled and said that it was obviously just a "spiritual" Rapture; the real fulfillment of the Book of Revelation wasn't due until October 21st.

It seems like the skeptic community and mainstream media alike made a bigger deal about his May 21st Armageddon prediction - granted, this is because Camping himself made a bigger deal about it.  I haven't seen much advertising from Family Radio regarding tomorrow's apocalypse, but the Freedom From Religion Foundation is wasting no time in capitalizing on it:

The aim of their new billboard campaign is rather straightforward: promote skepticism of religion by drawing attention to the sheer lunacy of doomsday predictions.  Is the truly absurd thing here that Camping picked a specific date?  Or is it that he uses a madman's ramblings as the basis for not only his life, but his eighty million dollar business?

To borrow an analogy from Greta Christina: suppose an old man tells you that his electric hairdryer confided in him that the world is going to end on October 21st.  Which is the more appropriate response?
  • That's silly.  Nobody knows when the world is going to end!
  • That's silly.  Hairdryers can't talk!
Perhaps as more doomsday prophecies propagate in the public consciousness and are summarily and mercilessly debunked for the world to see, more people will start to question the belief systems that generated these prophecies in the first place.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License