Archive for August, 2011

29
Aug
11

Still kicking…

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted – the better part of a year, in fact. This is partly due to the fact that I haven’t received any new questions from readers, and partly due to coping with various life events.

For those who are interested, the family and I are doing well. I’ve had a few rare opportunities to use my artistic talents to help us out, and I’m hoping to find a few more in the coming months.

I have pointed out before that I live on the east coast of the United States, which means that we were recently affected by both a minor earthquake and a hurricane, the latter of which brought with it occasional tornado activity. We survived both with hardly a scratch, and I’m hoping that everyone who reads this can say the same thing.

We also managed to survive Harold Camping‘s May 21st prediction that the opening credits for the end of the world would start rolling – earthquakes, fires, dead rising from graves, millions dying daily, and so on. We didn’t get any of it here, and from all reports I’ve seen, no one else has, either. Which is good.

Of course, that prediction had to be revised (apparently, all of these things happened “spiritually,” so we didn’t get to actually SEE them), so we need to keep an eye out for the closing credits on life, the universe, and everything, which are expected to roll on October 21st. Here’s hoping that they are just as uneventful.

Which brings me to a little discussion about real disasters and pretend prophecies, and what they steal from us.

Whenever a disaster strikes, there will always be some who will find themselves in some sort of dangerous situation that they must be rescued from, by police, firefighters, the military, and/or medical workers. Some of those people will thank the deity of their choice for being rescued, when it was really the flesh-and-blood people around them who do the work. This is stealing credit, and it devalues the efforts of all of those people.

Then there are the people who avoid disaster, by any margin from wide to narrow, and thank their deity that they were spared. This steals value of life from those unfortunate victims who weren’t spared by the same deity – victims who may even believe in the same deity and were praying for mercy from it when disaster struck.

Please, think carefully about these things before you say them. Give credit where it is really due, and show respect for others who were less fortunate than you.

Now for pretend prophecies – When May 21st grew close, the coverage of Camping’s ministry increased to the point where you could hear about it on most every TV and radio station. (Some local churches even mocked the prediction on their signs – apparently, it’s perfectly sane to believe in Doomsday, but believing that you have figured out the day it happens is utterly cuckoo!)

What much of the coverage showed were the firm believers – the folks who totally bought into the May 21st date and spent their savings on signs and billboards, and quit their jobs to stand on the side of the road warning others of their impending doom.

This is one of the greatest thefts of all – the theft of time, energy, resources, and worst of all, future. To give everything up because you believe it will all be over very soon, to spend your days waiting for the end instead of living the only life you may ever have – to me, this is incredibly sad.

I can’t imagine how those followers felt when the day came and went without rapture… all I can do is hope that it brought them real wisdom, and that they have chosen to live the life that they have, instead of looking forward to seeing the end credits.

 

Well, there you go – first new post in ten months. It’s good to be back. Now ask me some more questions!




I am an atheist, a person who does not believe in the existence of any gods.

Many people don't know a lot about atheists, and have questions about them. In this blog, I do my best to answer them, to help build an understanding between atheists and theists.

Do you have a question? You can post it in the comments to any of my blog entries, and I will do my best to answer it in a new entry.