Folks went apeshit over Stephen Hawking speaking his belief that heaven is a fairy tale. Some crazy fool insisted the rapture was today. And the world turned on. And on it will turn.

Why did these two non-stories capture so much attention in a world where so many other things should have more weight? Why would anyone be surprised an atheist wouldn't believe in heaven and a true believer might go a bit overboard and think he could predict the second coming?

Even Christians giggled about the rapture bit. Probably not the same Christians who felt the need to go all apeshit over Hawking, though.

The reasonable response to Hawking's declaration would have been a shrug and a ho-hum. After all, we'll all find out the truth of that in time, won't we? Why do we care what another person believes concerning what happens after our mortal body fails? Why the need to demonize a person who makes a statement that heaven is a fairy tale? Would it have gotten less outrage if he'd couched it in gentler terms? If he'd qualified it?

And Camping, the man who decided today was THE day? New York felt the need to give him attention: Camping answers one question thusly:

"I know reporters don’t like to hear from the Bible, but the Bible has every word in the original language — it was written by God. Incidentally, no churches believe that at all, they don’t hold the Bible in the high respect that it ought to be. But every word was written right from the lips of God, and God declares: [Camping reads various passages from the Book of Revelation describing the Rapture.] In other words, when we get to May 21 on the calendar in any city or country in the world, and the clock says about — this is based on other verses in the Bible — when the clock says about 6 p.m., there’s going to be this tremendous earthquake that’s going to make the last earthquake in Japan seem like nothing in comparison. And the whole world will be alerted that Judgment Day has begun. And then it will follow the sun around for 24 hours. As each area of the world gets to that point of 6 p.m. on May 21, then it will happen there, and until it happens, the rest of the world will be standing far off and witnessing the horrible thing that is happening."

Well, we're at 10:00pm here in West Texas on May 21st. No rapture. No eathquake. Just the wonder of why so much of the media paid attention to the delusions of a lone man.

Ah well, I'm sure we'll be doing this dance again on October 21 when Camping predicts the world will end.


Naila Moon of the Grey Wolf said...

I wrote about it too. Come by my Just the Stuff page if you wish.
Peace...Naila Moon

melbo said...

Yes, it was a non-event here too (and by rights, we on this side of the dateline should have been the first to go).

I too find it strange how much attention it got.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we Christians who do not believe in the Rapture are mostly the same ones who are not freaked out by Hawking. But what irritates me about Hawking's statement is not that he doesn't think there's a heaven, but feels the need to insult BOTH religion and fairy tales in stating that belief.

Humans use storytelling and myth to grapple with the difficult things in our lives--that's not a bad thing. Belief in heaven is not just a security blankie for intellectually immature people who can't cope with the thought of death. Religious beliefs and fairy tales are both metaphors that inform the narrative of our lives, and what irritates me is not when someone doesn't share my religious beliefs, but when he feels the need to mock the importance of that spiritual narrative. He may be a great scientist, but he makes himself look shallow with that kind of taunting.

End mini-rant.

I also wondered why SO much attention was being lathered on the rapture guy--I think it's just been a while since we've had a good end of the world scare and the media was bored.