Saturday, January 2, 2010

Camping at the End of the World

Remember Hal Lindsey? He was wrong!

What about Grant R. Jeffrey? He was wrong, too!

Then there's the Left Behind nutbags, LaHaye and Jenkins. Wrong. In general.

Well, another prophet has arisen from amongst the rank-and-file of the Van Impe wannabes: Harold Camping. He predicted the world would end in 1994. But he was wrong. Now he's throwing in against the Mayans for the preview spot; he wants to open up for the 2012 crowd a year early. Yep. The world is going to end on May 21, 2011.

This is fair warning.
I guess 2010 should be a year of Corinthian proportions, hey? Awesome.

Wait! Maybe Mayan means 'may'. Crap! We're doomed. Hey, that was some apocalyptic alliteration, if ever I've heard any.

18 comments:

Dr. V said...

"Maybe Mayan means 'may'." Well said! In fact, this is not mere apocalyptic alliteration, it's awesome apocalyptic alliteration!

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Skeptigirl said...

I bought into the Left Behind/Omega Code non-sense once up on a time, when I was like 12 (Casper Van Dean, showing your ass in all movies EXCEPT the Omega Code does not make you a better actor!)

The silly thing about all this that the people into this think that it is more likely that they will get raptured than to die like people have for as long as there have been people.

Christopher said...

Dr. V.,

Happy new year to you, too! LOL @ your extention on my alliteration.

Christopher said...

Skeptigirl,

Did Casper Van Dean show-off his ass in Starship Troopers? I don't remember. Fun movie. Though the sequels, I have to say, were nothing short of atrocious.

So what do Casper Van Dean and Kevin Costner have in common? Their asses.

Okay. Enough about that.

I saw the Left Behind series from miles off. I refused to have anything to do with it. I just can't be bothered with hopped-up evangelistic nonsense about the end of the world. It sickens me that there are people out there who look forward to the immanent hell-on-earth preludes to the Christ's return; a certain sociopathic glow lights their face when they think of all the blood-ridden events that supposedly lead up to the second-coming.

I take Revelation with a grain of salt. No-one really understands it, and it is super-charged with arcane symbolism fit for an ancient culture whose customs are not ovelry familiar to us anymore.

Sure makes a buck though, if you can weave it into some kind of horrific vision of orgiastic blood-letting, sundered love, and uncommon martyrdom.

Why look forward to the destruction of the earth? Doesn't make sense to me. I part ways there with evangelical Christians.

Nick said...

Chris,

"I saw the Left Behind series from miles off. I refused to have anything to do with it. I just can't be bothered with hopped-up evangelistic nonsense about the end of the world. It sickens me that there are people out there who look forward to the immanent hell-on-earth preludes to the Christ's return; a certain sociopathic glow lights their face when they think of all the blood-ridden events that supposedly lead up to the second-coming."

I saw Left Behind quite a while ago. It was as useful to me as any "Christian" fiction; not much; at least not the "Christian" labeling of it. However, I would not be so hard on the evangelicals with regards to them looking forward to "end times". I think the evangelicals are a mixed bunch. I can share your distaste for those who look forward to the hell-on-earth as a payback to all the "sinners". What is often overlooked is that both the "sinners" and the "just" will suffer according to prophecy though the just prevail. However, I think as many if not more evangelicals look forward to it only because they think it brings them closer to Christ's return. In essence, these look forward to the return, not the hell-on-earth. It's like me with hard/difficult physical work; I do not look forward to the pain of it but do look forward to the progress the work will result as well as the physical strength and health it tends to brings me.
To generalize the evangelical view about this and naming it sickening, even if that is how you feel about it, is not very useful in the search for knowledge, nor is it spiritually useful where compassion or the search for the truth is the goal.
Now if the goal is persuasion, or to use as a device to attract controversy, I think it works. However, then it jeopardizes integrity of purpose. I am concerned about this. I know that your blog is a medium to sharpen your writing skills and talents, but here it seems to me different than your overall goal for the blog which presently I think is to gain knowledge and understanding of truth through connecting with others in discussion. If not, then please forgive me.

imogenskye said...

Nick,

While I think the blog author has many purposes and intents expressed throughout his articles, I feel confident to say that molly-coddling has never been one of them.

I also see more than one type of pursuit on here. One is sharing his pursuit of truth no doubt, but another is to point out the absurdity of untruths being spread and masquerading as truths. The article and the opinion he expressed in this post and article seem to be of the latter sort.

I appreciate an oecumenical approach to faiths and variety of beliefs, myself, and don't enjoy engaging in much discussion about it at all (even less so than in years gone by), but I do see it as a legitimate form and purpose of expression. It would be terrible if everyone could only say, 'there, there, everything is fine, even if it ends badly,' while averting our eyes to things like this particular issue.

It isn't just christian evangelicals that can take the 'end-times paradise'idea too far. Obviously fundamentalists of any faith can do that if their beliefs include such as thing as the end of the world. The problem comes when people begin to bring about the prophecies through heinous acts of violence and forced adherence to faith claims which have no bearing in reality.

But I have already said too much.

Now I have to kill you.

Lol.

I think it is both useful and also necessary to engage people where they are offended- not as a matter of course, and certainly not for fun- but because in doing so, where both 'sides' are willing, herein is a definition of useful; it allows for dialogue and understanding between differing perspectives. I don't think it needs to end in agreement, but to refuse to engage at all for the sake of keeping a facade of 'peace' is an act of cowardice, worse than accusation without merit (which I don't think has happened here because those who don't fit the accusation should feel free to exclude themselves from it).

Peace. :)
Imogen

Nick said...

Imogen,

I agree with pretty much everything you said. My concern is about the absurdity of untruths being spread and masquerading as truths and generalizing a group to be those who do this. When we generalize "who" it contributes to the very method used in masquerading the untruths as truths; the method being absurd generalizing of "who", giving authority to persons opinions instead of the ideas that seem to line up with truth or not. A better method to uncover masqueraded untruths I think would be to pointing out the bad/harmful ideas, "what", and "why" without the "who" unless you are making an applease for change directly to the "who" that it concerns, with "how" one thinks an improvement could be affected.
And for the most part I think Chris has been doing awsome with that, especially with the "what" and "why".

My previously posted comments are probably too many or not carefully enough chosen words which are only to say:
Hey Chris, look here what you are contributing to with what you are saying. I don't think that you would intentionally want to contribute to generalizing in that way. And neither do I. Moving forward, please be carefull.

imogenskye said...

Nick,

I think if the topic didn't include specific individuals who choose to make their claims publicly and under the assumption of absolute truth, then I might be concerned too. As opposed to if Christopher had written the article citing the ridiculous beliefs of his friend, 'Harold', for instance.

As regards your concern about the use of 'who' as a generalisation, this is impossible given that the pronoun is used to indicate a specificity, not a generalisation, ie: those who espouse such and such or anyone who does such and such. The 'who' is qualified, not left open to include anyone who does not fit the qualifier, or to exclude any who do fit it.

If you are concerned about his dislike for the actions and beliefs of certain groups of people simply because they are conatined or assembled in groups, then it isn't him who requires the grouping, but they who have chosen it, and acted according to whatever precepts have allowed or compelled them to group themselves together. It seems more logical to me in this case to keep your concern for those people who choose to group themselves for the purpose of adhering to preposterous claims.

In any case, while 'generalisation' is a dirty word in our culture, it is still useful and even apt in many instances. I think it is perfectly valid in this case, and does not belie any undue prejudices (pre-judgments)- only the ones required for understanding the ideologies of the groups themselves. What I mean is that where a person has labeled him/herself a jew-hater, I am free to be prejudicial in my assessments even where they are unfavourable, just as my prejudices come in handy when I don't give live wires to my infants or french kiss my friends' husbands upon greeting.

I feel free to generalise according to my warranted prejudices and also according to the choices laid out by others for me to see and assess in my interactions and evaluations of my relationships to them. Deny it all you like; it's impossible to live without these tools for socialisation.

I can say with a grand sweeping broad stroking brush that I do not care to keep company with people who delight in the eternal torment of unbelievers and unlike believers. This qualified, specified, generalisation (not semantic, but personal generalisation) is fair and allows both those who fit within it and also those who do not, to retain their desired place in my perspective and the perspectives of others.

Am I missing your intentions, Nick? Is it just that you are uncomfortable with groups of people being 'written off'? What if those groups want either adherence or ostracisation and nothing in between? There are many of those. Many times I am simply conceding their desires by not being open to them.

Expressing my distaste for their views/actions, even if to identify them I must use a public/celebrity name, is not concern-worthy, imo. Should these thoughts just be kept silent or do you suggest that I somehow prevent myself from using the tools of assessment and evaluation that set me apart from frogs and ants?

Peace. :)

Nick said...

Imogenskye,

I'm not sure where I miscommunicated or where I misunderstood. With your help, lets peal it apart then. Perhaps when we have done that I will reword my request/comment to Chris or I may even retract it.

"I saw the Left Behind series from miles off. I refused to have anything to do with it. I just can't be bothered with hopped-up evangelistic nonsense about the end of the world. It sickens me that there are people out there who look forward to the immanent hell-on-earth preludes to the Christ's return; a certain sociopathic glow lights their face when they think of all the blood-ridden events that supposedly lead up to the second-coming."

This paragraph states "I just can't be bothered with hopped-up evangelistic nonsense about the end of the world."

He is linking "evangelistic nonsense about the end of the world" with the movie. So far making this link describes a personal opinion or view. So be it.

I think it is most definitely what is between the lines that bothers me. When "It sickens me that there are people out there who look forward to the immanent hell-on-earth preludes to the Christ's return" followed, I linked this with the prior sentence; just as I think most would. This suggests that it is those who subscribe to the evangelistic nonsense of the movie that are the people out there who look forward to the immanent hell-on-earth preludes to the Christ's return.

This is where I think it has gone too far; not everyone who subscribes to any part or whole of the "evangelistic nonsense" of the movie, is destined to look forward to the immanent hell-on-earth preludes to Christ's return. Of course he does not directly say this. And the reader still has to make a best guess as to what "evangelistic nonsense" means. But the linking suggestions, I think, are clear enough to say that an attitude of generalizing people instead of differentiating them has been taken and promoted. I am concerned because it is promoted publically. If the attitude was taken silently, it would be none of my concern.

I don't like the perspective that Chris takes on the movie even though I don't much like the movie either; so what.
But you are right; that I am uncomfortable with groups of people being 'written off'. To me it is like throwing away a hamper of apples though we have not checked that all of them are in fact rotten.
Not everyone in a group, or even outside of a group, is likely to be totally contious of the group's intentions as a whole. And I might add that a group's intentions have nuances of change especially the longer it survives.

You ask:
"What if those groups want either adherence or ostracisation and nothing in between?"
I will not submit myself to the fears of adherence or ostracism. I've been there, done that; I am presently immune to those fears. For the groups that want either or and nothing in between, I will let them assume that I adhere for as long as circumstance allows or let them choose to ostracize me.

You ask:
"Should these thoughts just be kept silent or do you suggest that I somehow prevent myself from using the tools of assessment and evaluation that set me apart from frogs and ants?"
I suggest that using the tools of assessment and evaluation in the form of communication to others should be a non-rhetorical question. Where opinions/views/feelings are shared, no question is required to follow by the one sharing unless for the purpose of assessment and evaluation of what is shared. You dig? I would also suggest to include using the tools of assessment and evaluation that frogs and ants share in common to yourself. :)

Peace? I believe we'll get there yet.

Christopher said...

Nick,

Imogen can answer to her own concerns about your perspective, so I won't tread on the subject matter too much.

However, by way of correction, and in the interests of representing myself accurately, I'll offer a couple of comments.

First, you wrote that, "He [Chris] is linking 'evangelistic nonsense about the end of the world' with the movie." TO be clear, I indicated that I saw the Left Behind series a mile off. I had no idea there was a movie.

That wouldn't necessarily change my opinion, however, and the fact that you linked the two sentences together was the natural course of reading what I wrote.

Which brings me to my second point: if by linking "evangelistic nonsense about the end of the world" with the mania that accompanies those people who gleefully look forward to the immanent end of the world doesn't jive with your preferences for fair discourse, or fair representation, what would you have me say? Would you rather that I link such nonsense with people who dread the eschaton? Would you prefer the relationship between "evangelistic nonsense" and sociopathic end-times fervour if it were nonchalant, puzzled, or even anti-eschatological?

I should think the answer would quite obviously be 'no'. It wouldn't make sense for me to link eschatomania (to coin a word) with people who take an opposite view to the one I'm picking on, or to a view that disregards those events entirely. This by that, the association I made, general as it was, was exactly fitting: those evangelicals who happily crusade for the misery of the end of time, who disabuse themselves of hidden sociopathic tendencies by latching on to sensationalized visions of armageddon quite literally sicken me.

I hope that is clearer to you, Nick.

Cheers!

imogenskye said...

Nick,

I'm going to briefly and as clearly as I am able, explain my point about generalisation and specification for a third time within the context of the author's post and using your latest responses to me.

You wrote:
[...] an attitude of generalizing people instead of differentiating them has been taken and promoted. I am concerned because it is promoted publically. If the attitude was taken silently, it would be none of my concern.

I'm going to go ahead and assume you mean to refer to what was actually expressed and not your interpretation of the author's attitude, since that would actually be an imprecise generalisation, and negate your concerns about generalisation and the apple hamper I'll later address, altogether. So here, I give you the proverbial benefit of the doubt.

The author clearly states, and you agreed and understood, that the group of evangelicals he is sickened by are *specifically* and NOT generally, those WHO (a specifying term because it now excludes all who do not adhere to the set of criteria that give context to the specificity)gleefully await the torment and pain of the end of the world.

Because there is a contextually apparent qualifier ('those who' which ipso facto excludes those who do not), no qualitative generalisation has been made.

There is a quaNtitative categorisation which has no moral or social implications as regards your concerns and which I will explain.

The self-selecting 'who' *incidentally* forms a group of individuals the way that all humans with penises incidentally form the group we call 'men', even if they do not congregate or express a solidarity of any sort; this is irrelevant to the sort of generalisation that you think has happened because the 'who' in this and the case in point is that they are grouped into a quantitatively expressed category by an attribute they have in common; this is not a generalisation; it is a categorisation, like using a shape sorter.

NO unqualified generalisation about anyone has been taken or promoted either publicly or privately (which I assume based on my personal interactions with the author and his dismissal of the accusation as absurd- my interpretation, not his words).

cont'd...

imogenskye said...

cont'd...
Please realise that these distinctions are expected in discussion with the author and several of the commentators here. Few here use words and contexts loosely when in philosophical discussion, unless for rhetorical effect, which was not the case in this instance, as the author has cleary stated in his response to you.

You wrote:
But you are right; that I am uncomfortable with groups of people being 'written off'. To me it is like throwing away a hamper of apples though we have not checked that all of them are in fact rotten.
Not everyone in a group, or even outside of a group, is likely to be totally contious of the group's intentions as a whole. And I might add that a group's intentions have nuances of change especially the longer it survives.


Keeping in mind that an unqualified, unspecified group is not being written off, but rather only those individuals who incidentally and quantitatively are sorted into their chosen and respective shape-holes; I will respond to your non-analogous example of the hamper of apples.

The hamper in the author's view, has already been self-selected (if apples could do that like humans can). It is a hamper of bruised and rotten apples, already sorted before it comes to be self-labeled as a hamper of rotten apples. An actual analogy to his statements would be that he is sicknened by being forced to see, smell, touch, and eat the apples in the Discard Immediately: Rotten Apples hamper which is known to be specifically purposed for such apples, both by him and as self-selected by those apples within it.

It would be a better analogy if the apples could just jump in themselves when they discovered their own rot, but here is where the analogy breaks down. Apples are not self-selecting the way that humans are, but I tried to use your example to it's fullest potential in the hope of making my point understood.

As regards those people who adhere to a labeled group and who are ignorant of their claims and ideologies and who would abhor those claims/doctrines/ideas which are violent and/or disordered should they become aware, I think that further discussion is irrelevant since they have been excluded by the qualifier 'who...'.

cont'd...

imogenskye said...

cont'd...
Given that there are self-selecting categories of people who may or may not group in any purposed way, who hold to dangerous beliefs that either condone or deliberately perpetrate violence or worse against others, and given that I do not identify with any of these beliefs, I am free and will take my rightly ordered place in discarding their beliefs and also avoiding any overt or purposed interaction with any individual who believes and acts according to those disorderly and violent ideologies, save to stop the spread of such ideologies or to stop the perpetration of the violence and discord they inevitably cause. That is to say that I 'write them off' and to say that they sicken me, would not be inaccurate.

I am not a passivist in word or deed, so you will not be surprised to find that I don't act like one.

I also cannot and do not personally find integrity in appearing to condone or adhere to an ideology that I would not espouse unless and until I am asked directly-- unless I am simply being quiet while others have their place and the time I will be with them is very short with a definite end to the meeting.

But even then, I am just quiet, not even assuming to be assumed an adherent, except maybe by those who cannot fathom an opposing or different perspective (and there seem to be many of those).

Changing the subject just a little... How do you reconcile this (I'm assuming the best here) benign trickery with personal integrity- which I'm assuming you think is important because you are riding the author on that subject?

I cannot imagine pretending that, for instance, I am not married simply because in doing so, I gain a social acceptance from a group, or because it benefits me in some temporal way. This seems a contradiction in morals or at least in logic with regard to the discussion at hand.

Are you open to explaining since you opened this can of worms and it may shed some light on your perspective regarding your issue of (imo, misplaced) concern?

Imogen

imogenskye said...

Okay, so I am pregnant and sleep deprived. The word is

*PACIFIST*

Lol. I woke up at 2am to tend to littles and just before my eyes opened, I saw the word as I typed it. Ugh. Embarrassing.

Nick said...

Chris,

My appologies. I did assume some things incorrectly. Yes all that about "those" that qualify themselves as Imogen explained makes sense to me. And I assumed you "saw" the movie "Left Behind", and thought maybe it has grown into a series. My bad. However, I will be honest with you, something about the paragraph in which you say that you "saw" the series, still bothers me. But before I go making more statements about integrity and attitude, I will take my own advice and ask you some more questions.

Is it true that you didn't even read the series?

Kane Augustus said...

Nick,

No, I did not read the series. I read some essays that make a précis and evaluations of the series.

I picked up the first book and was turned-off by the one-dimensional quality of writing. Given that, even if I did enjoy the idea, I could never read the series because they are incredibly poorly written.

Nick said...

Imogen,

So yes, I need to re-evaluate what it is in the paragraph that Kane wrote which I quoted previously, that bothers me. It may be something I don't understand that is bothering me. I understand what you are saying about the group of people qualifying themselves, which is unlike a hamper of apples.
So I will continue with Kane to explore what exactly that is (I want to peal it and my take on it apart). There is either something there I am not seeing which I think I would like to understand, or perhaps Kane, or perhaps both. More questions/answers are needed.

"Changing the subject just a little... How do you reconcile this (I'm assuming the best here) benign trickery with personal integrity- which I'm assuming you think is important because you are riding the author on that subject?"

Actually, I'm having a hard time understanding what it is you are assuming. If this has to do with my statements about integrity of the paragraph I have put in question or the attitude it promotes, I withdraw my statement and apologies. But I cannot just leave it go. There is something related that I need to understand. Integrity will not let me drop it because I feel embarrassed that I misidentified what it is that bothers me about it or the way that I took it. So how do I reconcile this "can of worms"? I go fish.

"Are you open to explaining since you opened this can of worms and it may shed some light on your perspective regarding your issue of (imo, misplaced) concern?"

At this point I would be a greater fool to explain a perspective relating to the paragraph I have put in question. I need to ask more questions.

Nick said...

Kane,

"I saw the Left Behind series from miles off. I refused to have anything to do with it. I just can't be bothered with hopped-up evangelistic nonsense about the end of the world."

Did the essays in which you read about the "Left Behind" series summarize that the series was "hopped-up evangelistic nonsense about the end of the world? Or was that your own take based on the essay information?

"It sickens me that there are people out there who look forward to the immanent hell-on-earth preludes to the Christ's return;"

Did any of the essays indicate that the makers of the series or the characters there in "look forward to the immanent hell-on-earth preludes to the Christ's return"? Or, How is this connection made with the previous sentences in the same paragraph?

"a certain sociopathic glow lights their face when they think of all the blood-ridden events that supposedly lead up to the second-coming."

You speak about the "sociopathic glow" that lights "their face" as though you have witnessed this first hand. And I am going to assume that you cannot read peoples thoughts so I will here forward replace "think" in the above quote with "talk". So then, how do the people that have the "sociopathic glow" that talked about "the blood-ridden events", relate to the makers of or the characters in the "Left Behind" series?
Also, how can you be sure that when they talked about "all the blood-ridden events" that "lead up to the second-coming", that the "glow" was related to "the blood-ridden events" and not to "the second-coming"?