Christians take quite a bit of umbrage at this word delusion, especially when we atheists use it to describe their beliefs. Richard Dawkins wrote a best seller about the god delusion, with just that title, and Christians everywhere called him a strident, militant fundamentalist as a result, when all he did was point out the silliness of religious beliefs.
I haven’t posted anything about the rapture that was called for by Harold Camping for this past Saturday, which subsequently didn’t occur (unless you read Andy Borowitz). I could have jumped on the bandwagon, and declared well in advance that he was delusional, and been on prior record as accurately predicting that we’d all be here the next day, as more sane people believed, including most Christians. But I didn’t. That would be akin to jumping on the blue sky bandwagon, or the wet water bandwagon, or the burning fire bandwagon. (What? You weren’t aware that the sky was blue, that water was wet, or that fire burned? Shame on you. You should get out more.)
I was not really aware that many people took him seriously, but apparently some did. I know his family didn’t, other than his wife of 68 years. But some fool in New York spent $140,00 of his life’s saving advertising the coming rapture, and was “dumbfounded” (emphasis on “dumb”) when it didn’t occur. Camping himself was flabbergasted.
But the delusion still continues to hold sway.
“You can imagine we’re pretty disappointed, but the word of God is still true,” [Camping’s PR aide, Tom] Evans said. “We obviously went too far, and that’s something we need to learn from.”
No, you need to learn that the Word of God is not true. Compare this to statements before May 21:
But “it’s no laughing matter,” Camping told The Huffington Post. “It is not something where it’s a tiny, tiny, tiny chance it may happen. It is going to happen.”
C’mon, the guy was batshit crazy then, and is still batshit crazy. Crazy like a fox. Here’s his pre-rapture rationale:
He says certain numbers repeat in the Bible along with particular themes. The number five means “atonement;” ten equals “completeness;” 17 is “heaven.” Multiply those numbers by each other and multiply the result by itself. It equals 722,500.
“Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.,” he says. “Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that’s 1,978 years.”
If you multiply that number by 365.2422 — the number of days in the solar calendar — it equals 722,449. And if you add 51 (the number of days between April 1 and May 21) to that number, it equals 722,500.
Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? What’s really the icing on the delusion cake (besides his use of science to get there) is this attitude:
[He’s] “disappointed” that 200 million true believers weren’t lifted up to heaven on Saturday while everyone else suffered and eventually died as a series of earthquakes and famine destroyed the Earth.
Let’s see. The population of the Earth right now is about 6 billion, 900 million. That’s 6,900,000,000. Now subtract his favored 200 million and that leaves 6,700,000,000 people to die horrible deaths by earthquake, famine and the consequences of the earth’s destruction -all in one day! And he’s disappointed?
What a sick, pathetic loser his religious beliefs have made him. Oh, wait. I take that back.
In 2009, the nonprofit [Campings Family Radio company] reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3 million in donations, and had assets of more than $104 million, including $34 million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.
He’s a big winner, all the way to the bank. But back to the word, delusion.
The lesson for most people in this will not be that religion, specifically here Christianity, but really all theist beliefs, are delusional. No, the lesson most will take from this is that some people go just a little to far, and that failing to live by the old adage “everything in moderation” can make you, well, a little nutsy. And there will be some little nutsy people we have to deal with in life, and Harold Camping, as wealthy as he is, is just another example.
But the Christian belief system is full of little nutsy people, from pedophile priests, all the way up to the Pope, from fire and brimstone, snake-handling ministers with bad hair, to the Pat Roberstons and Jerry Fallwells of the world, from the belief that god loves you to the belief that you will have sex with 72 virgins if you take out enough innocent bystanders when you kill yourself, all of which add up to one grand delusion – the belief in the supernatural and the divine.
Harold Camping is just one of the most extreme and noticeable tips of the theistic iceberg. Every single Christian who dutifully goes to church every Sunday, who puts their money in the collection baskets, and says “God Bless You” when you sneeze, and prays that it doesn’t rain today, and thinks the Pope is a great guy because, well simply because he’s the Pope and for no other reason, and who thinks atheists are the scourge of the earth because they don’t share their beliefs, and believes god created marriage for man and woman, and that without religion we will rape, plunder and murder; they all give cover to the underlying grand delusion of Christianity, and they allow people like Harold Camping to be tolerated, they allow him to bilk the delusional out of their hard earned savings, they allow him to enrich himself on their working backs, rather than be locked away in a padded room, where to all appearances he belongs.
I really don’t want to hear any of you Christians say “well, he’s nuts, I don’t believe what he believes”, because at the root of your beliefs, you do. You believe exactly what he believes. You’re just not smart enough to make a buck off of it.
So who’s the real delusional one?