Tuesday, April 23, 2013

When Nothing Happens

I s'pose it's the least I can do. But I warn you, the folks are a bit strange just now. They all lost kin in the war -- MIA.
Now this TV preacher says he's gonna pray to bring them back.
Got them all psyched up like a football coach.
It's gonna break Ma's heart when nothing happens.
- Hellblazer #5
by Jamie Delano and John Ridgway

A small Midwestern town lost most of its young men in Vietnam. Now a televangelist is telling the community that God is going to bring these missing soldiers back. Nearly all the town is on board in a frenzy of hope. But some, like Nancy in the above panel, isn't that hopeful. She's more worried about the damage that's going to be done when nothing happens.

Have you ever wondered what sort of hurt and damage occurs when God doesn't do something he said he would? No, wait, scratch that. This isn't about God not doing what he said he would do, but God not doing what some delusional zealot (or outright scam artist) says God will do.

Throughout the history of Christianity people have made many unfulfilled "prophecies," especially about the end times. And guess what? So far every single one of those end time prophecies has been wrong.

Two years ago a man named Harold Camping, who ran a prosperous radio ministry, insisted that the end of the world would come on May 21, 2011. He was absolutely assured of this and warned that any that doubted him risked eternal damnation. Camping and his followers launched a massive advertising campaign to spread the word about his prediction. Sadly, I remember hearing stories about people who sold everything they had so they could help pay for billboards and traveling caravans of trucks and cars that drove across the country with the supposed end date prominently displayed. One of these convoys even drove right past my seminary one day. It was an odd sight.

So what happened on May 21, 2011?


For my own amusement, I took this screen shot on the very next day:

Yes, we CAN know.

Except we can't. And we don't. And we won't.

Check out this Wikipedia page that has a small sampling of predicted dates for the apocalypse. Since the beginning of the religion, Christians have been trying to guess (or outright claiming they know) when the world will end and when Christ will come again.

Maybe it's about time we stop doing this crap.

Don't we have better things to do than trying to count secret dates or make up conspiracy theories?

Seriously, some of these people make exploring theology in graphic literature look like a legitimate and worthwhile endeavor.

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