Saturday, May 21, 2011
I finally came across my watch under the bed while looking for a left sock, and saw the neon hands pointing towards 11 o'clock (which gave me a goddamned heart attack) and the small lettering 'SAT' (calming it back down). I sighed and got to my feet, turning around to draw the curtains back. Sun shining, birds chirping and all that, I reckoned it was a fine day for a walk. So, quickly grabbing my phone, wallet and a few mandarin oranges, I strolled out the door. Peeling back the first mandarin, I noticed I wasn't alone, and by the heavy panting and steady trot, I realized my big Alsatian had followed me out. I shrugged, 'the more the merrier', and we kept walking down into the ravine.
A few sniffs here and there, territorial-marking included, the dog was a having a damn good time. And aside from the vulturous mosquitos insisting that I leave without three or four pints of my blood, I was rather enjoying it too. We followed the ravine a while, until I decided we could both use a drink. I figured we were around 23rd and Rabbit Hill, so we headed up and onto the main roads. Before I could even decide whether I wanted Booster Juice, DQ or Orange Julius, I had a picket sign almost catapulted up my nose by some older citizen that looked like something out of a bad retirement ad.
"The end is nigh!" she spits in my face. I was taken aback, I hadn't realized I'd slept so long!
"Wait, what?" I said, before I realized I should have kept my bloody mouth shut.
"The Rapture is upon us!" she raves, waving her arms madly. "Hail the coming of the lord, to judge those unworthy of paradise!"
Then it hits me like a brick wall. It's the 21st. For those of you who aren't aware, Harold Camping, the Christian radio broadcaster and president of Family Radio, has used Bible-based numerology to predict exact dates for the end of the world. This 'modern genius' had seemingly deciphered the ancient language of the Bible to predict the Rapture to occur on May 21, 2011 at precisely 6 pm. He followed up his first 'scientifically proven' statement, with the vengeful and divine destruction of the Earth and universe five months later, on October 21.
Now, despite having previously predicted that the Rapture would occur in September 1994, almost seven years ago, Mr. Camping has been quite the sport in opening both himself and his radio station up for public and private interviews. He does not claim Family Radio to be a church, nor an ordained or hierarchical authority within a church or institution. But he still maintains his own set of distinct and controversial christian beliefs. For starters, although he believes that humans are not totally depraved and enjoy a relatively free will, he subscribes to the idea that salvation is not in our hands in any way. We cannot win it either through good works, deeds or prayer, for it is solely an act of God's grace. He also does not believe in the warm-climate of Hell, but teaches annihilationism; that unpure, unsaved souls will cease to exist. But perhaps his most controversial teaching is that all churches have become apostate and must thus be abandoned. Instead, he encourages personal bible study and (naturally) listening to Family Radio.
Camping's bases his Biblical study and predictions on Jewish feast days in the Hebrew calendar, the lunar month calendar and a the Gregorian calendar tropical year, combined with other 'trivial' information in the Bible. He gained notoriety, skyrocketing to the headlines, after proclaiming that 200 million people (~3% of the human population) would be 'raptured', while the other 97% would simply cease to be. How lovely.
When asked what it would mean if he turned out to be wrong (again), he replied: "I can't, I can't answer that question, because it is going to happen, absolutely."
Well, Mr. Camping, a big fan of Voltaire myself - though I may not agree with what you have to say, I would fight to the death for your right to say it. This is of course, given my right to do the same and say what I want.
Goddamnit, I was having a bloody wonderful day before you and your half-crazed cronies had to waltz into my Saturday morning and mess it up. The sun was shining, birds chirping, a lovely breeze was blowing, and now I find myself trying to dislodge a picket sign from my left nostril.
Well. 18:00 has come and gone in many parts of the world (including the promised land), and we've seen no locusts, no fire raining from the heavens, the ravine was still good ol' H2O when I sloshed through it, no zombies, no toads and my friend Hugh (a devout atheist) has neither boils nor sores. Mr. Camping, I think it's about time for another of your decadely, Biblical revision.
Besides, we all know THIS is the way the world's going to end: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/end
You can check out Mr. Camping's website here: http://www.familyradio.com/graphical/literature/judgment/judgment.html
Friday, May 13, 2011
Fact is, these role models are generally subliminal. Their characters, personalities and personas are something we've tried to parallel, but try as we may, they're simply not who we are, trait-for-trait. Admiration is rarely overrated, emulation is often excessive, and worship is always unnecessary. But, from time to time, we do find ourselves at the end of a decisive moment, wondering how we came to that verdict or choice. Was it according to our beliefs? Our opinions? Our values? Was it honourable? Just? Fair? Honest? And then things get complicated - we start wondering "Where did I set out from in the first place?" We try to remember what it was we had tried to model ourselves on, and then groan in agony as we see our mistakes, or beam with satisfaction as we realize our success.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
"Tell me, have you seen the light?"
Said the Vicar to the boy.
"Nay Father, I have not yet.
But I've heard its tainted joy."
To hear the word, this word of God.
'Tis something we must trust.
'Else wait the fiery pits of Hell,
Forsake our faith we must.
Why must we wait, toil and suffer?
For a power we cannot see?
The truth these men so eagerly hide.
The power is you and me.
They don their robes, their cloaks of gold.
And speak in tongues long dead.
And preach the word of a Greater Good.
That only to them was said.
We are the good, although they preach,
Unworthy of peace untold.
But watch us purge this leperous arm,
And behold the change unfold.
It's us, it's we
It's you and me.
Left to us, it's true.
To right these wrongs,
And sing these songs,
And do just as we do.
No higher place, no stronger race,
No almighty being who can.
Save our souls from sinners' blows
And love our fellow man.
Against plague and troubled hardship,
Together we must band.
It takes good deeds and human needs,
To save this wondrous land.
We are the Good, we are the Light,
The Beauty and the Love.
And in the end, we all take flight
To soar as peaceful doves.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
She rolls her eyes: it’s the fight for our beliefs against the accepted dogma that allow us to preserve ourselves. I nod: but does that fight not define you? Make you stronger? Make you more confident?
She raises an eyebrow and begins to actively listen, as I grin and continue.
Blinking repeatedly, she ponders what I’ve said and the recognition shows in her sea green eyes.