May 20, 2011

The World Ends on May 21, 2011.... It's no Laughing Matter, Too Many Americans Believe this One Way or Another

Got to finish this post before midnight, because I'm going to stake everything on the prediction that the world as we know it will not end tomorrow. Obviously, it will end someday, because of climate change and as our star reaches old age.
There have been several news stories about the group that believes this is it! It all ends just about now!  Unfortunately, mainstream media aren't willing to ask the underlying question when it comes to religious claims: How do religious leaders (past and present) know something, anything, the rest of us can't? Knowledge can't be apocryphal; it has to be accessible, inquired, thought out, and arrived at--not divinely revealed.
We have a problem with religiosity--the kind that makes people give up reason and scientific knowledge. Why do you think we still debating how old the earth is (I'm talking about those who believe our planet is only thousands of years old instead of billions) and whether one of  the strongest scientific theories we've got (evolution) should be taught to students.

From XKCD (
I understand the difference between the fundies and the moderate religious folk, because they operate differently politically and when it comes to forcing their beliefs on my life. However, both have a fundamentally wrong understanding of a big part of reality.

I've seen some polls that show even a majority of Americans believing that Jesus will return to earth in their lifetime--which is sometime in the next 50 years. This would definitely mean that the world will end.

You'd think that people who are slapped by reality changed their views and reassessed their beliefs. [*see footnote] Not necessarily. I bet you that those crazies who are utterly convinced about tomorrow will simply say it was a calculation error. Do you know that the Mormons--the Church of the Latter Day Saints--believed in eschatology? That the world was about to end? It didn't happen, but it didn't matter either. The Mormon Church is rapidly growing actually.

So, the next time someone claims something of significance, let's put our thinking caps on. And, we should stop conferring automatic legitimacy, immunity, or even attention to anyone who puts the word "reverend" before their name.

I'm going out to celebrate life, look at that stars (it's a beautiful evening tonight) and think of the great days/nights of the summer ahead.  

UPDATE (5/25/11): Well, I predicted correctly, people should follow me instead. Ha! I also said that most believers aren't convinced by reality and keep their delusions. Did you hear that Jesus (God?) decided to spare us the 150 days of tribulation but the world will end this October. Whatever...

* Jesus's followers believed the world would end in their lifetime and Jesus said, "Repend, the Kingdom of God is at hand." Here's a book to read about eschatology, Expecting Armageddon: Essential Readings in Failed Prophecy.