Pharyngula

Rapture Insanity Watch

I keep waiting for the padded ambulance to roll up and men in white coats to leap out, shoot these bozos with a trank gun, wrap them up in a straight jacket, and go howling off to the nearest sanitarium, but no…instead, they get invitations to appear on cable news and babble about the apocalypse. And it’s not just the airhead news media…

…Rosenberg is just one of several conservative media figures who have identified and expounded upon the purported signs of the Apocalypse to be found in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict. During his appearance on Live From…, Rosenberg claimed that he had been invited to the White House, Capitol Hill, and the CIA to discuss the Rapture and the Middle East, and noted—several times—that the apocalyptic events described in his novels keep coming true.

What’s really frightening is that these people don’t exhibit an ounce of critical thinking, and these ridiculous attitudes are endemic in the people who run our country. I’m waiting for some smart, pragmatic, sensible guy in government or the press to stand up and truncate that famous quote: “You have done enough. Have you no sense?”

(via Atrios)

Comments

  1. #1 Steve_C
    July 27, 2006

    Uhg.

    I start screaming at my TV when I see shit like this. It’s insane.

    Please Lewis Black do a back in black on this.

    I was walking down the subway steps with my 2 year old son this morning and some
    Jews for Jesus loon was singing hallehlueah and hand out flyers. I couldn’t help myself
    but start making little kookooo kookooo sounds after we passed her. She had that vacant
    happy face on.

  2. #2 minimalist
    July 27, 2006

    Well, there’s always the possibility that he’s lying in the name of self-promotion. Of course, this is the same CIA that wasted so many years on “psychic” espionage techniques, staring at goats, and magic beard-fall-out powder.

  3. #3 King Aardvark
    July 27, 2006

    Steve_C:

    I see that look every Sunday on people at the church my wife takes me to. That fake-looking, happy at anything, I-haven’t-an-interesting-thought-in-my-head look. They’re all kinda like Jessica Simpson, only more self-righteous. Makes me want to punch things.

    The Rapture demented fuckwits, otoh, have a psychotic, angry kinda look to them. Different kind of fake smile, too. Their eyes don’t seem to be quite so vacuous, and that makes them much more dangerous.

  4. #4 umilik
    July 27, 2006

    Unbelievable. On CNN. Is there any refuge of sanity left ? I think not. We are facing nothing less than the end of the era of enlightenment and are heading straight back into the early middle ages. Can another inquisition be far behind ? How long bfore the first heretic will be at the stake ? Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  5. #5 GH
    July 27, 2006

    Jews for Jesus huh?

    Those are some confused folks there.

  6. #6 Steve_C
    July 27, 2006

    One rational is that Jesus was a jew therefor if you follow him… you’re a jew too.

    So do they celebrate Christmas or Passover?

  7. #7 jc
    July 27, 2006

    How did these nuts become mainstream? How do we get rid of them? They are dangerous, wanting to encourage global warming, encourage the war in the middle east,(all to bring on the “second coming!!”) yet save a
    blastocyt?? This endtimes crap is promoting the more fear and stronger dependence on their version of gods word. Legitemizing this crap is sooo scary!

  8. #8 Ed Darrell
    July 27, 2006

    Such claims are there to tell Bible-reading and -believing Christians that the person is espousing false prophecy. Anyone who reads Mark 13 clearly understands that no one knows the time of the “apocalypse”: “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (New American Bible version)

    Jesus’ advice: Live wisely, kindly and well, live in virtue; do not put off to tomorrow the good acts one needs to do. Excluded from what a Christian should be doing in such times: Going on TV happily proclaiming prophecies are being fulfilled and the end is near. (I loved that cartoon in New Yorker years ago with the typical robed, bearded guy carrying a sign that said “The End is Near!” and coming up behind him, out of the clouds, a huge hand poised to flick the guy off the face of the Earth.)

    Of course, I’m assuming that Christians read scriptures, and it’s clear that these lunatics and their followers missed this key scripture (it’s an entire chapter, after all — tough to skip over).

    PZ, it’s another of those ironies: The virtuous atheist by disbelieving the chicken-littles, calling them on their bizarre behavior, and working for real peace in the Middle East, does the work that Jesus advised much more than those who claim the mantle of “Christian prophet.”

    Don’t stop calling them idiots on that account, please.

  9. #9 Daniel Morgan
    July 27, 2006

    You’ll also notice that when CNN did this piece, they spent approx 3/4 of it interviewing the apocolyptic nuts and 1/4 interviewing a Catholic priest who rightly called this interpretation of the Revelation “rubbish”.

    It just doesn’t entertain and enthrall so much to show a voice of reason, and an educated theology, versus ignorant hysteria.

  10. #10 Dawn Marie
    July 27, 2006

    When the President can sit at his desk surrounded by the praised products of stem cell research (snowflake babies)while signing a veto on progressing stem cell research, or tout the preciousness of life while engaging in war and killing- we know this country has lost any sense of logic it may have once had.

  11. #11 G Barnett
    July 27, 2006

    Ugh. Nutcases. My biggest worry right now, is whether or not this Joel C. Rosenberg is the same person as the Joel Rosenberg who wrote the Guardians of the Flame fantasy novels. That would be a helluva downer, I think.

    Far as I’m concerned (and back more or less on topic), these freaks can Rapture themselves all they want — as long as they leave the rest of us alone.

  12. #12 Daniel Morgan
    July 27, 2006

    Sorry I should clarify — this wasn’t the same piece as was on Media Matters — this was Paula Zahn clip, and you notice the interview with Rev. Kevin Bean (starting around 4:00) is not given so much time, and is sandwiched between the rapture nuts.

    *typo: apocalyptic nuts

  13. #13 umilik
    July 27, 2006

    jc: how to get rid of them ? It may take nothing short of a civil/religious war since these crazies are not convinced by sane arguments and logic. The sad and scary thing is that this doesn’t just happen in this country but is a world wide phenomenon.. Look at Iran where Ahmadinejad believes the return of some holy dude who disappeared nearly a thousand years ago is imminent and that his return will signal the end of the world. Now there’s a guy whom we’d like to see getting his fingers on a nuclear device.

    http://www.danielpipes.org/article/3258

  14. #14 bPer
    July 27, 2006

    Daniel Morgan said:

    It just doesn’t entertain and enthrall so much to show a voice of reason

    I think The Daily Show and The Colbert Report demonstrate that voices of reason can be both entertaining and enthralling.

  15. #15 Scott H
    July 27, 2006

    OTOH, perhaps publicizing this crap is our last hope at separating moderate Christians from the nut cases. When you face a danger as crazy as the Rapturistas, everyone needs to know about them.

  16. #16 Kristine
    July 27, 2006

    Hey, I saw a photo of Richard Dawkins wearing an “Atheists for Jesus” shirt and thought, What’s up with that? He must be lampooning the “J for J” people. Yes, they appear on the Nicollet Mall every once in a while. No, I didn’t ask. (Don’t ever ask! It’s not that interesting!)

    Maybe we should make our own t-shirts: “Atheists for the Rapture.” Maybe that will get some attention, and even some interviews on CNN.

  17. #17 Max Udargo
    July 27, 2006

    You people can stick your heads in the sand if you like, but the signs of the Apocalypse are everywhere. Open your eyes! Israel is fighting with its neighbors! Invading Lebanon even! That’s never happened before. And all the Arab states are angry about it! And the Iranians too! I’ve never seen anything like it. The long, tranquil era of peace between Israel and its neighbors is over, and the end is near.

    I’m in a panic. What if I’m raptured while I’m on the can? Or in the middle of sex? People don’t think about these things. One moment you’re in the missionary position making your O-face, the next you’re face to face with Jesus, 6,000 feet above Jerusalem naked with a hard-on.

  18. #18 PZ Myers
    July 27, 2006

    Dawkins has written that he likes at least some bits of the philosophy of Jesus — it’s too bad his message was appropriated by a band of superstitious thugs.

  19. #19 Steve_C
    July 27, 2006

    The only ones that get it right.

    http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/1gmarchive/2006/07/the_promised_la.html

    And Dawkins has said that people should emulate jesus. But not pray to him.

  20. #20 George
    July 27, 2006

    These kookballs make the alien abduction folks sound like rocket scientists.

    Hmmm… I wonder whether the aliens plan on invading after the Rapture empties the planet of Christians. The planet’s defenses would be weakened after all the Xian kooks in the military are raptured. Plus, it might work out for the atheists if the aliens agree to kick Christ’s butt when he returns to judge everyone.

  21. #21 commissarjs
    July 27, 2006

    So are we really sure this is the Apocolypse now? Millions were diappointed when it didn’t happen in 2000, or when the USSR didn’t invade Israel in the 70’s, or in 1948 when Israel was formed, or during WW II, or 1000 AD, or hell every year for the past 2000 years give or take.

    I grew up listening to this crap. There is a demographic that always thinks that the biblical apocalypse is nigh. Of course with this group there is also a snake oil salesman ready to cash in on their stupidity.

    But more than anything I’m amazed that there are people who actually want the world to end. Good christians are already supposed to go to heaven. So what’s the big deal about waiting 80 years to go? Get a job, raise a family, and have a little good clean christian fun before you die (Flanders style yo). Why are they so interested in seeing the rest of us consumed in hellfire a little early? If they think they are going to heaven anyway and I’m going to hell anyway what is the point of moving up the timetable on it?

    Is this just to validate their point of view, “Haha@ I was right the world is ending. In your face chump!” Did they just grow up empathisizing with Dr. Doom? I just don’t get it.

  22. #22 Lya Kahlo
    July 27, 2006

    There is no small horror in the fact that the people talking about “prophecies” coming true, and the end of the world are not only ADULTS, but ADULTS in CHARGE.

    If the world is coming to end, it comes not by “biblical prophecy” but by morons like this.

  23. #23 Blake Stacey
    July 27, 2006

    commissarjs wrote as follows:

    Millions were diappointed when it didn’t happen in 2000, or when the USSR didn’t invade Israel in the 70’s, or in 1948 when Israel was formed, or during WW II, or 1000 AD, or hell every year for the past 2000 years give or take.

    I post this link every now and then when a blogospheric discussion turns to eschatology. . . found it years ago, and it’s stayed funny since. Visit “It’s the End Of The World As We Know It. . . Again!” and enjoy a good belly laugh.

  24. #24 DragonScholar
    July 27, 2006

    This isn’t just horrible – it’s Lovecraftian.

    Think of it this way – the idea expressed here is that variou conflicts and building of temples are some kind of ritual that will call back a god who’ll slaughter a bunch of people and let his elect into paradise.

    There’s NO difference between these nuts and Cthulu-type cultists in crap pop fiction (or good fiction) trying to summon their dark god.

    Ia Ia Jesus Na’ Ryleh . . .

  25. #25 Steve_C
    July 27, 2006

    I wonder if anyone would ask the President about the Rapture.

    He has said god speaks to him too.

  26. #26 Dan
    July 27, 2006

    commisarjs:

    Is this just to validate their point of view, “Haha@ I was right the world is ending. In your face chump!” Did they just grow up empathisizing with Dr. Doom? I just don’t get it.

    Actually, I think that’s exactly what the motivation is.

    I actively root for the Rapture to take these asshats off the planet, because I’m afraid that one of these days, they’ll piss me off enough that I’ll snap and start taking them out myself.

  27. #27 umilik
    July 27, 2006

    >One moment you’re in the missionary position making
    >your O-face, the next you’re face to face with
    >Jesus, 6,000 feet above Jerusalem naked with a
    >hard-on.

    well, if you were putting it to a good christian woman (in which case you’d have to be married, of course) you’d both be showing up above Jerusalem. So you’d just carry on. UNLESS, of course, you’re a muslim in which case you could invite one of those 13 virgins to a heavenly menage-a-trois. But you might have to get a bit more inventive than the “missionary position”.

  28. #28 No One of Consequence
    July 27, 2006

    It reminds me of this sequence from Ghostbusters II:

    VENKMAN – Hi, welcome back to the ‘World of the Psychic,’
    I’m Peter Venkman and I’m chatting with my guest,
    author, lecturer and of course, psychic, Milton
    Anglund.

    (to his guest)
    Milt, your new book is called The End of the
    World. Isn’t that kind of like writing about
    gum disease. Yes, it could happen, but do you
    think anybody wants to read a book about it?

    MILTON
    Well, I think it’s important for people to know
    that the world is in danger.

    VENKMAN
    Okay, so can you tell us when it’s going to
    happen or do we have to buy the book?

    MILTON
    I predict that the world will end at the
    stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

    VENKMAN
    This year? That’s cutting it a little close,
    isn’t it? I mean, just from a sales point of
    view, the book just came out, right? So you’re
    not even looking at the paperback release for
    maybe a year. And it’s going to be at least
    another year after that if the thing has
    movie-of-the-week or mini-series potential.
    You would have been better off predicting 1992
    or even ’94 just to be safe.

  29. #29 Max Udargo
    July 27, 2006

    I grew up listening to this crap.

    Yeah, me too. I will never, ever forget this television commercial from the late 70s for Hal Lindsey’s book The Late, Great Planet Earth. In it, Hal stands in a study full of books and informs us (I’ll bet I can remember it verbatim, I saw it so many times): Two thousand years ago, the Bible predicted the fall of Rome and the rise, in its place, of a ten-nation confederacy. This year, the tenth and final nation joined the European Economic Community, thus fulfilling this ancient prophesy.”

    The tenth AND FINAL nation. I remember his saying that. How many nations make up the European Union today? Twenty-five or so?

    Of course, Revelation never predicted the rise of a ten-nation confederacy, but described some scary ten-headed sea monster that was INTERPRETED as a ten-nation confederacy. And now, I have to assume, it’s being interpreted as something else.

  30. #30 False Prophet
    July 27, 2006

    I think The Daily Show and The Colbert Report demonstrate that voices of reason can be both entertaining and enthralling.

    Posted by: bPer | July 27, 2006 11:35 AM

    Agreed, but I find it distressing that the voices of reason are required to use the vehicles of humour and entertainment to attract a mainstream audience. It allows the opponents of reason to dismiss them too easily as insignificant.

  31. #31 Benjamin
    July 27, 2006

    G. Barett: Don’t worry, different Joel Rosenberg. He’s been creating confusion for that reason on booklists and such ever since he started publishing.

  32. #32 Barry Leiba
    July 27, 2006

    but no…instead, they get invitations to appear on cable news and babble about the apocalypse.

    They’re put on the “news” (and other pseudo-news shows) because the general public eats this stuff up — TV is just a mediun for feeding hoi polloi what they want their brains to eat.

    Remember that these are the same viewers who’re fascinated by watching people get bugs poured on their faces, who are amazed by shows about the predictions of Nostradamus, and who will watch anything about the Bermuda Triangle or the British royal family.

  33. #33 Steve_C
    July 27, 2006

    Holy War
    A Texas Preacher
    Leads Campaign
    To Let Israel Fight

    Mr. Hagee Draws Evangelicals
    By Arguing Jewish State
    Fulfills Biblical Prophecy

    ‘End of World as We Know It’

    http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB115396305776618640-lMyQjAxMDE2NTIzNzkyNjczWj.html

    THESE PEOPLE HAVE POWER IN D.C.

    We’re SO screwed.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_07/009242.php

  34. #34 Peter J. Nyikos
    July 27, 2006

    I’m back PZ Myers, your favorite egomaniac :).

    “Ugh. Nutcases. My biggest worry right now, is whether or not this Joel C. Rosenberg is the same person as the Joel Rosenberg who wrote the Guardians of the Flame fantasy novels. That would be a helluva downer, I think.”

    Nope, I suggest you do some research. Look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Rosenberg

    In addition, this is the rapture obsessed nutjob:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_C._Rosenberg

    – Peter Nyikos
    University of South Carolina

  35. #35 Owlmirror
    July 27, 2006

    I’ve been reading Jared Diamond’s Collapse, and the following depressing sentence caught my eye:

    The CEO and most officers of one of the major American mining companies are members of a church that teaches that God will soon arrive on Earth, hence if we can just postpone land reclamation for another 5 or 10 years it will then be irrelevant anyway.

    Sigh.

    Given that the context is about how mining screws up the environment quite possibly forever, well, this just makes it all more painful.

  36. #36 Peter J. Nyikos
    July 27, 2006

    Did you miss me PZ? My work at the talk.origins newsgroup was finished, as I hoped people would not use flawed arguments against Behe, and I decided to take a break the USENET, but it lasted for years. But, of course, I believed in common descent, and as a mathematician, I am quite depressed to see the work of William Dembski.

    “The CEO and most officers of one of the major American mining companies are members of a church that teaches that God will soon arrive on Earth, hence if we can just postpone land reclamation for another 5 or 10 years it will then be irrelevant anyway.”

    I demand that these people prove their dogmas about the return of their God. Of course, these people cannot do that, and, therefore, they are deluded.

    – Peter Nyikos
    University of South Carolina

  37. #37 scout
    July 28, 2006

    a few of them decided it was true, then announced it was true, so now they’re all doing everything they can to try make it come true. ay yi yi yi yi!

  38. #38 Keith Douglas
    July 28, 2006

    [sigh] How to bootstrap public education and social infrastructure …

  39. #39 386sx
    July 29, 2006

    Hillary Clinton and John McCain boozing it up together? Pete McCloskey calling for a Democratic Congress?

    The lion and the lamb, people. The lion and the lamb.

    I’m just sayin’ …

  40. #40 David Wilson
    July 30, 2006

    Jerry Jenkins said:

    So many people try to interpret Revelation symbolically or figuratively, and they can interpret it a couple of hundred different ways. Dr. LaHaye’s view has always been let’s take what we can — literally, what we can take literally, and tell it as if John the Revelator meant what he said. When he said, “I looked and I saw,” unless he’s making some comparison, let’s just tell it as a literal story. …

    Literally? In that case we don’t have much to worry about until we start to see four loons riding around the world on various coloured horses trying to spread war, pestilence, famine and death with a bow and a crown, a set of scales, and a sword.

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