Saturday, May 28, 2011
No Heaven for Old Zealots: What Can We Learn?*
[For numbered parts, see Notes at the bottom of the post.]
So. Here we are. Post-Rapture.
I don’t know you if you caught a piece of the eschatological fervor, but recently headlines were made by Harold Camping, former engineer, present 89-year-old mathema-Christian1 and show host at California-based non-profit broadcasting station Family Radio. He predicted, through some “Biblical Numerology” that just appeared to be a handful of high school algebra problems mixed with plot points from “The Da Vinci Code”, that on May 21st, 2011 all humans who were pre-handpicked for Salvation by Christ like contestants on “American Idol” would ascend into Heaven and vanish. The Left Behind would slowly die off until October 21st came, when there would be an official death for Earth itself.
According to an essay he wrote on this whole thing: due to God being sick and tired of Satan-owned churches (regular churches that are now owned by Satan because God is not with them anymore) and the Gay Pride Movement, earthquakes were to start on the Western Hemisphere of the world at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and then roll across to rest of the world. I’m not sure why Camping foreseen the specific time of 6:00 p.m., although I’m sure it’s because he knew Christ was to use that morning for laundry and that afternoon to meet someone in SoHo for lunch, and He wanted to get this project done before that day’s new episode of “N.C.I.S.” premiered.
A glance at the date on your cell phone can tell you that May 21st has long passed. As far as I can see, which is only a few feet since I haven’t been able to afford a renewed prescription on my glasses, no one has Left. But I’m sure there are reports of people mysteriously missing and piles of clothes lying around floating about somewhere or other. Or there would be if Camping’s P.R. people were smart about this.
Family Radio used millions of donated dollars to put up posters saying that the non-picked unfortunates only had until October 21st to talk to that person on whom they’ve crushed for so long, or to go skydiving, or to complete “Grand Theft Auto 4” before you sold it back to GameStop, because Camping knew for sure that that’s the date Jesus put on His Google Calendar to return to Earth, despite the fact that a large amount of Family Radio’s employees were planning to return to work on the following Monday. Believers in his prediction setup websites to give their pets to others because they had a heart and didn’t want to leave their chihuahuas and goldfish alone in their respective apartments after ascension (although I wonder if some of them have since embarrassingly tried to get their pets back).
Yet, here we are. As it stands, people have gone to Camping’s home to question why nothing has happened, but he has not been available for comment.
I suppose it would stand to use up internet space to criticize Mr. Camping for ignoring the Holy Word itself and instead using a solar-power calculator and scrap paper for his eschatology, but no! The question here is: what can we learn from Mr. Camping?
Is it the reexamination of our lives under the fear of its impending end?
I tried this theory by helping to enliven his teachings. On that fateful day, with my mother in her bedroom sleeping, I starting thumping fists against the walls in my apartment to simulate an upcoming earthquake. The bass-sonorous booms sounded distant at first, but I gradually increased the strength in each slam to signal a closing proximity. My mother, frightened at the anxious prospect of becoming a piece of spiritual-nothingness, cried aloud in fright: “Boy, turn dat damn Lil’ Wayne shit down, I’m tryna sleep! You ain’t too ole’ fo’ me to bus yo ass!”2. Hmm…..not the results I sought.
Are we to then learn that theories can become realities when the belief in them becomes strong enough? Well, as I’ve said, I haven’t gotten news of anyone being Returned To Sender on 5/21/2011, but what about the fact that so many believed that Christ was to return that day and take His handpicked back with Him? Was it Mr. Camping’s conviction in voicing his Family Radio broadcasts that told these guys he was the Truth and the Light? Do his teachings “all make sense” in some form or fashion?
I tested this theory myself after having my own revelation.
After multiplying the digits of J.K. Rowling’s birthday with the number of text messages sent globally in February of 2006, and then dividing that by the number of planets in our universe, and then mixing Kool-Aid powder and a Starbucks Frappuchino in a glass and throwing it at a pigeon, then coloring outside the borders on a black-and-white “Dora the Explorer” picture with crayons, the Answer came to me.
On December 25th, The G.A.S.3 Force Trinity: Walt Disney, Hitler and Mel Gibson, will rise from the dead and reclaim the war against the Jews of this world, committing a “Holy Genocide” and leaving us in a new, reborn Earth where people are liberated from overpriced Lox bagels and Natalie Portman4. The Palestinians will be free to take the Gaza Strip for themselves and interest rates in everything from bank loans to credit card payments will mysteriously go down.
Hitting the streets with a painted van and a cheap bullhorn a few weeks before Camping’s predicted date, I promoted this vision with an obnoxious voice and a lot of finger pointing. I went to parks, restaurants, community centers. Synagogues5. I did an interview or 2 at radio stations and for journalists. I screamed and ranted that people wake up and receive this most pious warning.
After fighting with a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses for territory at a train station, one passerby had the nerve to question the Truth that I labored to enlighten mankind with. Behind a table with pamphlets and Kinko’s printouts, I shouted through the bullhorn “Forsooth! Cut your earthly connection to the Jews, for the G.A.S. Force will return and their judgment will be swift! The roads will be coated with blood, and the new Earth shall become!” A curly-haired youngster of no more than 15 years of age accompanied by his clearly-skeptical father took a printout and read it, showing some semblance of curiosity.
I said “Prepare yourself, youth! Read “Shylock the Jew” multiple times and make sure you and all of your friends never tune into “The Jon Stewart Show” again!”
He responded, “Dude, this doesn’t make any sense. These gas force people are going to rise from the dead……but Mel Gibson is still alive.”
I felt sadness and pity at the prospect of this child’s spiritual darkness and failure to understand……but I didn’t have the patience to explain anything to him. So I smacked him in the head with my bullhorn and then ran to keep his father from wrapping his hands around my throat.
Generally, except for a ragtag group of White Supremacists (oddly enough) who loved what I was saying, but wanted to promote my teachings on their own time with a great distance away from me, no one came on board.
So then, what are the lessons about fear and belief to be learned by Harold Camping? I have no idea. When you figure it out, please notify me. I have to see about moving Halloween to September since no one will make it to its traditional date.
*The title of this post is a reference to this book/film.
1) “Mathematician” – “tician” + “Christian” =
2) Translation: Young man, I am trying to attain rest! Turn the volume on that most disturbing rap raucous down this instant! You have not surpassed an age where a bout of physical discipline is no longer eligible!
3) G.lobal A.nti S.emite.
4) I kid, I joke. I love Natalie Portman and her shaved head to death. God is in the rain!
5) Didn’t get too warm of a reception in those. No idea why.