About this time last year, the big news in religious circles was that Family Radio's Harold Camping and his followers were telling anyone who would listen that Jesus Christ was returning on May 21, 2011 and that most of humanity would be killed in a massive earthquake and other destructive events because they had not accepted Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. He estimated that about 200 million people would be raptured. Of course, the event never happened, and neither did Camping's October 21, 2011, alternative rapture date.
A year later but without quite so much fanfare, another voice of doom and gloom, Ronald Weinland, is preaching that Jesus is returning on May 27, 2012, and that World War III is about to erupt. According to Weinland, anyone who mocks his prophetic words will suffer a horrible illness.
Failed end times prophecies are nothing new. Skeptic James Randi points out some of the more entertaining ones, noting that even the bible gives a false end times prophecy: "According to the New Testament, The End should have occurred before the death of the last Apostle. In Matthew 16:28, it says: 'Verily, I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.' One by one, all the apostles died. And the world rolled on for everyone else. . . ."
The obsession with end times is evident on the Internet, where stories about birds and fish dying in Beebe, Arkansas and other parts of the world unleashed a flurry of fear and speculation about the fulfillment of "the Hosea prophecy." It prompted Gary DeMar and his Christian reconstructionist group, American Vision, to hold a National Prophesy Conference last summer to address the issue of failed prophecies and what Christians should really be paying attention to when it comes to matters of eschatology. According to DeMar, "The credibility of the Bible and the gospel message are at stake."
What's your take? Do end times prophecies — and in particular, specific rapture date predictions — undermine Christianity?
The poll will be open until 7:00 a.m. (Pacific time) on Sunday, May 6. While our software tracks IPs to void double-voting, your personal identity remains anonymous. The poll is not scientific, and comments are welcome.
Do end times prophecies make a mockery of Christianity?
- Yes - ALL of them do, whether they give a specific date or not. (78%, 25 Votes)
- Yes and No - Only the ones that give a specific date for Jesus' return undermine Christianity. (19%, 6 Votes)
- No. (3%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 32