Harold Camping of the Family Radio Worldwide has declared it can be proven Biblically that the world will end May 21st, 2011. We have reported for many months as to why they believe that. The question on the minds of many is encapsulated below:
What about the kids?
In the quest to answer this question, we decided to take a walk around the web to see what others thought. Harold Camping thinks it's a great thing, of course, because it means he and his followers get to be raptured into heaven. Of course, everybody dies, but that seems to be an afterthought. Strollerderby asked a very pointed and poignant question–what about the children of Camping's followers?
Do these kids not have to do their homework or study for their finals coming at the end of the month? Do these believers not sign their kids up for summer camps, since they believe summer won’t be coming? Do they not plan their kid’s next birthday party since this will be their last year on earth? It’s a pretty morbid way to live, but if a mom or dad really believes the May 21st end of the world myth, why bother to do any of that? But odds are, May 22nd will come. Will the kids fail their finals? Will they be bummed they aren’t signed up for summer activities? And will they be mad at mom and dad since they didn’t secure fill-in-blank for their birthday party?And it’s just not the day-to-day, it will probably take a psychological toll on these children as well. They are being told that they will die soon and the end of the world is near – a pretty heavy message at any age.And even if the parent packages the message as “awesome news,” it’s still pretty jarring. When the day comes and goes – as days do- will these kids feel distrust towards their parents? They were told the world was going to end, but it didn’t. It’s not like the myth of Santa or the Easter Bunny, this one deals with the fate of friends and family. Will they think back to this year and remember it as the year they thought the world was going to end and didn’t? And even worse, what kind of message are parents sending when they are actually disappointed that there is not widespread devastation and death, what kind of message is THAT sending?
Do you think it’s harmful to drag children into end of the world messaging like this?
Indeed. This question is a central question, and one not answered easily. In a country in which we are free to follow the dictates of our own hearts, and our own faith, how it affects the children of all of the faiths practiced in this country is always a question to be pondered deeply. Religion affects children in a variety of ways, depending on how it is practiced. One can scar a child for life and forever turn them from God if it is used as a tool of abuse (no matter how well meaning), or one can build a lifelong faith in a child. When Christ said "Suffer the children to come to Me," he didn't explain how it should be done, particularly after he was dead. So it has been up to the parents for centuries after the death of Christ to figure it out. And it can be a particularly difficult, nasty business to figure out how to bring children to Christ for those who are Christian of every stripe.
And then, humor
Another site, The Stir, took a more humorous look at May 21st–21 signs the world is ending:
Here, 21 signs the Apocalypse is upon us …
1. The conservatives haven't defended their big mouth hero Glenn Beck after he lashed out about Meghan McCain's skin cancer ad.
2. After a kajillion years, Oprah is actually going off the air!
3. Remember the bazillion dead birds just falling right out of the sky? Of course you do!
4. There are parents who are so insane that they inject botulinum toxin into their 8 year olds!
5. Multiple horrific earthquakes.
6. Multiple destructive storms and tornadoes.
7. Multiple horrific flash floods.
8. Horrific tsunamis.
9. Newt Gingrich thinks he can win the presidency.
10. DONALD TRUMP thinks he can win the presidency!
11. Animals are escaping zoos, proving in a way that they're actually smarter than we are?
12. Pole dancing could become an Olympic sport. (Gasp! What has this world come to, people?!)
13. Bedbugs could be spreading antibiotic-resistant MRSA.
14. A woman woke up from surgery with a British accent. Huh???
15. There is such a thing as glow-in-the-dark PORK. What the hell? Oh, plus, 47 percent of all beef, pork, and poultry in the United States is likely tainted with MRSA. So between bedbugs and meat, we're all gonna die.
16. May has been declared Zombie Awareness Month. Yes, really.
17. People actually spend money on things like Prince William and Kate Middleton BISCUIT TINS.
18. There is such a thing as a $2,000+ bottle of water.
19. Rebecca Black. "Friday." 'Nuff said.
20. A megalomaniac named Charlie Sheen dominated the news cycle for how many weeks???
21. There are no longer seasons known as spring or fall. Just really really cold, snowy weather and the really really hot, muggy kind — kinda like in HELL.
Will there be suicide pacts?
Gather News asked another question about Judgment Day–will there be suicide pacts? According to Gather, people have begun to quit their jobs and have completely spent their savings to spend time with their family before the end occurs to do what they most want to do before May 21st.
What happens to these people when May 22nd comes and everything is still normal? What about the people who are really looking forward to this meeting with Jesus and their God? Will they all commit suicide because they are so desperate to go to heaven, or from sheer disappointment?Then there are the people who are Christians, but who think they might not make it into heaven or have no chance of getting into heaven. Will they be so concerned about the suffering that Reverend Camping predicts will bestow upon everyone that's left here that they might commit suicide on May 20th just to avoid having to go through that hell on Earth?
Camping's group doesn't think so. The Toronto Sun reports:
The California-based sectarian Christian organization that's put up billboards across Canada — pointing to May 21 as the beginning of the end — is dismissing fears their predictions could lead to suicide pacts.
Tom Evans, spokesman for Family Radio, tells QMI Agency they're aware of worries their campaign could prompt followers to take extreme measures.
"Some say it sounds cult-like — Jim Jones and Heaven's Gate," says Evans, whose group runs Christian radio stations across the U.S.
Jim Jones was the leader of the Peoples Temple cult in Jonestown, Guyana. In November 1978, more than 900 members, including Jones, died in a murder and mass-suicide plot.
And in 1997, 39 members of the Heaven's Gate sect, based in San Diego, California, took their own lives, believing they would reach an alien spacecraft.
But Evans — whose group preaches the Saturday of the long-weekend will see the start of a five-month-long death rattle for the planet and any soul not lifted up to heaven by God — says they've never called on anyone to take their own life.
"The difference between us and Jim Jones — they were very proactive," says Evans.
"God specifically says 'thou shall not kill'. That's a command to everyone … You don't murder yourself."
The answer? May 21st Parties!
Harold Camping's prediction has had a great unintended consequence. When it seems the world will end, the world has responded. Might as well have a party! That way, when the world ends, we'll either be drunk enough to deal with it, or we'll have had a smashing good time if it doesn't happen, and we can raise some money for some great causes. When "May 21st parties" is Googled, there are 19,600,000 results. Nineteen million! And we at GodDiscussion are no exception. We're planning a HUGE May 21st party, that will top off efforts to raise $5,000.00 for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's "Rock Beyond Belief" concert.
We went into the background of the issue below:
Back in September, separation of church and state watchdogs were alarmed by the Army's decision to sponsor the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's "Rock the Fort" concert at Ft. Bragg. The purpose of the event was to "bring soldiers into God's army" and to "convert them to Christ." Military personnel were encouraged to attend the event, which was co-sponsored by Fort Bragg's Religious Support Office and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The event was open to the public.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation learned via a Freedom of Information Act request to Fort Bragg that at least $52,475 was directly spent on the evangelical event including funds for various meals, transportation, performers and presenters, apparently by the Religious Support Office of Fort Bragg. Personnel costs, such as entertainment by the Golden Knights Parachute Team, security, and other costs, were not disclosed. FFRF has appealed its FOIA request because Fort Bragg was partially unresponsive and unclear in its FOIA response.
When Sgt. Justin Griffith tried to organize a similar event for those who were not evangelical, or Christian (i.e. atheists and the rest of us), the Army reneged on its support of the Rock Beyond Belief concert. This inequity is being challenged in court at the moment. If you'd like to donate to the MRFF and Rock Beyond Belief concert, you can do that here.
Other parties around the web also will help contribute to the cause, while others are more secular in nature. Here are a list of the more popular sites giving End of the World May 21st parties besides GodDiscussion:
This very dramatically designed site's party is happening in San Diego, with donations going to the Freedom is Not Free organization. This organization assists wounded service members and their families, as well as families of the fallen.
The Brewing Network is having their May 21st party too. Why? Beer!
Hello fellow brewers!
Me and a friend are planning a gathering of sorts on May 21st 2011! Why may 21st? Well because its only THE END OF THE WORLD DUH! I read it somewhere on the internet so it has to be true. So why not spend your last remaining hours before being reincarnated into a tapeworm with friends, food, fire and lots of beer! There will be lots of homebrewers and possibly some professional brewers as well. There will be plenty of space to pitch tents, so no one needs to drive home. More info to come.
Open invitation, anyone (who is not a douche) is welcome to come.
So far, 14 plan to attend according to their Facebook event page. You can leave a message asking what state it's going to be in, as that doesn't seem to be listed on the event page. If you're in their area, plan to attend!
Rational Skepticism.org in Australia is planning their May 21st party too:
Various Atheist Foundation Australia contingents are having massive Rapture Parties this coming May 21st, in response to This Bullshit. There'll be ones in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth (not sure about others? DanDare? Fenrir? Goldenmane? Little help?), and undoubtedly there's one in a city near YOU.
So let us know if you're having a Rapture get-together, and we can all watch them get taken away at the same time!
Brisbane AFA get-together:
JC Slaughter Falls picnic area, Mt Coot-tha
BYO BBQ stuff, drinks, chair/blanket, etc.
Can't be sure when The Rapture is happening exactly, so we'll have to pull an all-afternoon/night-er.
Ozzies know how to have a great time, so if you're in the area, plan to attend!
What is a Cuddle Party?
Cuddle Party is a fun, playful workshop on connection and communication that includes an abundance of nurturing and affectionate touch. It is safe and structured, non-sexual and drug and alcohol-free event. Called a "Party" because it is so much fun (a wonderful alternative to a standard singles scene and night life)!
People may attend a Cuddle Party for a variety of reasons. Some come just to have fun and enjoy a wonderful evening of connecting with like-minded people. Some see a Cuddle Party as a great networking opportunity to look for new friends or a significant other. Some (both men and women alike) come to safely fulfill their need for affection and nurturing touch that may be missing in their everyday life. Some appreciate the learning and personal growth aspect, having the opportunity to improve their social and communication skills (expressing needs, setting boundaries, etc.), and explore ways of creating connection and closeness. Some may appreciate risking connecting with someone of the same sex (or the opposite if that's your edge). Some may even find an element of spirituality here, and play with "touch meditation", Tantra, or explore different states of consciousness ("the cuddling hormone" oxytocin can produce quite an altered state). It's a GREAT way to create community!!!
May 21st has it's own song: "Left Behind"
Finally, there's a May 21st Rapture Song called "Left Behind" that should go viral on YouTube just because it's so darned funny:
Whatever your plans, we've given you the results of taking the Internet temperature in regards to May 21st Judgment Day, which gives us a picture that along with serious thought, people are asking questions, planning parties, planning to do good with those parties, finding their humorous side, and generally considering the day on its own terms.