Help Wanted: If You Suvived May 21, Apply Within

This is an actual sign in the window of a local Mexican fast food place.  There is an idea floating around our Freethinker list serve that next time several of us will park our cars beside the Interstate, leave a door open and put a sign in the window, RAPTURED.

While there is much fun to be had over the phony prediction, there are sad things as well.  I read on the web that several of the guy’s followers sold all their stuff and were ready to “die”. 

It is always sobering to see the effect religious leaders can have over their followers.   In the last few decades, we have seen a few mass suicides lead by such people. 

There are dozens of stories of people taken into religious cults.  Parents, who take their children away from these cults find it requires extensive deprograming.  Such is the power of personalities and ideas.

It’s also encouraging to see religious leaders who are aware of the potential they have for power over people and make certain they do not exercise it.  I saw Jay Bakker interviewed a while back and he alluded to the care that needs to be taken in handling this problem.

Fortunately, the religious leaders who do harm is a tiny minority.  Pastors and priests are mostly wonderful people who work in a difficult profession.

Bad things seem to happen when a bad religious leader finds weak and vulnerable followers.

5 Responses

  1. People like Harold Camping, et. al. slur the name of Christ and all other TRUE believers when they set a date for Christ’s return.
    The Bible is clear on that subject: (Matthew 24:36) But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven,nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Jesus speaking to the Jewish people)
    Now you, Jon, are scornful of God’s word and regularly make fun of it but Christians trust Christ when He says “no man knows the time”.
    All the date setters are false prophets interested only in themselves. I cannot count the times in my life when the date for Christ’s return has been “set” only to come and go with nothing happening. I guess it will continue as long as there are Cranks around to set the date. It is pathetic.

  2. entech

    Perhaps it would help if everyone could agree on a calendar, even Easter depends on whether you are Eastern orthodox, Coptic or one of the European varieties. Not to mentions Jews and Muslims.

    Facetiousness aside, buffalogal I have every respect for your sincerity and integrity. But, I would suggest you take care when using expressions like “TRUE believers”, Wanna mentioned “Branch Davidian” we can be sure that they, at least the leader, believed they had the only true word.

    I am sure you would not be impressed if I said that a “TRUE atheist” was one who respectfully disagreed with your version of the creator and creation and was prepared to discuss the matter quietly and rationally. This could lead me to say that on this basis Christopher Hitchens was not a “TRUE atheist”. This can allow one to fall into the “no true Scotsman fallacy”. I must admit that I, along with most of us, can fall into that trap. We need to be aware of possible fallacies and false arguments, and most of all must not do it deliberately (As is started of, I have respect for you honesty and in no way suggest that you, or most of the people responding here, are guilty of that logical ‘sin’).

  3. I’m going to agree with Kay assuming her definition of ‘true’ believer is of an individual who believes faith is the utmost of personal relationships and that it was intended to be shared, but not forced upon others. The most recent brouhaha is a perfect example of conflicting Bible verses and what happens when people select a few to build their empire upon, while ignoring others that would contradict their point of view.

  4. Yet more evidence for the soundness of a seperation of church and state as well as a seperation of powers within a government.

    I recently heard this referred to as the “bad emperor” problem. While its true that a vast majority of them may be benevolent, the concentration of power in the hands of a single person or a small number of like minded individuals can cause an extreme amount of damage to a society in a very short amount of time and it can take a very long time to recover from.

    1. Sea 4:04 “…extreme amount of damage to a society in a very short amount of time..” Truer words were never spoken. In American society and politics there is this expectation that we should defer and defer again to the general topic of “religion”. It’s clear the Wed. night school callender for church things, even if there is no official policy, do a Christian prayer, even if you know other faiths and no faith are present and on and on.

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