Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Rapture Recalled

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Recently yet another ‘End of the World’ prediction has been taking over the media and internet, this time in the form of Harold Camping, an evangelical broadcaster who used a ‘mathematical equation’ to determine the end of the world. Apparently the equation goes a little like this:
“Camping dated the Great Flood to 4990 BC. Taking the prediction in Genesis 7:4 ("Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth") to be a prediction of the end of the world, and combining it with 2 Peter 3:8 ("With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day"), Camping concludes that the end of the world will occur in 2011, 7000 years from 4990 BC. Camping takes the 17th day of the second month mentioned in Genesis 7:11 to be the 21st of May, and hence predicts the rapture to occur on this date.
Another argument that Camping uses in favor of the May 21st date is as follows:
According to Camping, the number five equals "atonement", the number ten equals "completeness", and the number seventeen equals "heaven".
Christ is said to have hung on the cross on April 1, 33 AD. The time between April 1, 33 AD and April 1, 2011 is 1,978 years.
If 1,978 is multiplied by 365.2422 days (the number of days in a solar year, not to be confused with the lunar year), the result is 722,449.
The time between April 1 and May 21 is 51 days.
51 added to 722,449 is 722,500.
(5 × 10 × 17)2 or (atonement × completeness × heaven)2 also equals 722,500.
Thus, Camping concludes that 5 × 10 × 17 is telling us a "story from the time Christ made payment for our sins until we're completely saved."
In Camping's 1992 self-published book 1994? He predicted that the End Times would come in September 1994 (variously reported as September 4 or September 6). When the Rapture failed to occur on the appointed day, Camping said he had made a MATHEMATICAL ERROR.” 1.

What is surprising is that so many people believe Camper, and are willing to over look that fact that he already made predictions in the past which did not come to pass, so why should he be right now? Apparently 41% of American’s believe that rapture will occur before 2050 2. I find this hard to believe because only 76% of the population identifies themselves as Christian 3, and of those it would be fair to assume that most are quite rational and don’t hold extreme beliefs. Also, who is to say that the numbers he has chosen are the correct numbers? Clearly they are quite arbitrary and so anyone could look at the bible and get some numbers that seem to be suggesting something, carry out an equation and come up with a different day of judgment 4. So why is it that recently there has been a plethora of apocalypse predictions? Everything from the Mayan calendar to solar flares changing the magnetic poles of the earth, but in fact this is nothing new. During all of human history there have always been predictions of death and destruction 5, and sometimes these predictions coincided with natural disasters and achieved credibility. Unfortunately, predictions like this are not harmless, they often have unseen consequences, like many people euthanizing their pets before the event or committing suicide because it did not occur 6.  But surely in the 21 century, with all the science and technology available to us, we should no longer need these primitive prophecies in order to explain the world around us. Would it not be better to see the world as it truly is rather than hide behind some illogical explanation?

E Markham (2011). Rapture Recalled Blogspot

1 comment:

  1. Hi

    I'm a PhD student at Loughborough University in the UK. I found your name on the list of people who follow 23andme on Twitter, and followed a link in your profile to your blog. I was wondering if you'd be willing to fill in a survey for my PhD research, it's for people who have either bought a genetic test from a company like 23andme, or are thinking of doing so.

    There's more information and a link to it at http://www-staff.lboro.ac.uk/~lsctre3/survey.html , it should only take about 10 minutes and would be really great if you could! If you have any questions then please email me at c.t.r.egglestone3@lboro.ac.uk


    Corin Egglestone