Friday, April 25, 2014

And I Feel Fine

It’s the end of the world. No really. The fundamentalists really, really mean it this time. The blood moons we’ll be seeing over the next 18 months are an indicator of Jesus’ imminent return. Seriously, everyone from John Hagee (who’s a special kind of Texas batshit) to Ray Comfort (the world-famous Banana Man) is claiming the blood moons herald the end of days.
Not excited about it?
That’s to be expected, especially after the debacle with Harold Camping a few years back. After the latest in a long train of Great Disappointments, its little wonder that most mainstream Christians and popular culture take these pronouncements as seriously as atheists do. I’ve decided to take a look over Ray Comforts recent video about the 10 Bible verses that indicate this really is the beginning of the end.
(As a side note, am I the only one who thinks Ray Comfort has started smoking those bananas he’s so fond of?)
2 Peter 2:1-3
Taken in the context of the entire chapter, this verse is not a prophecy but rather a warning for believers not to trust other believers. Aside from Comfort doing his usual cherry-picking/take-the-verse-out-of-context routine, from a skeptical point of view these verses show one of the inherent flaws of religion: interpretation.
One of the facets of written text that is inspiring and frustrating is how someone reads and interprets a passage. Get 100 people to read the same passage and you’ll get a variety of opinions (with some consensus between like minds). If Comfort’s god were infallible and wanted its message spread to all people, why did it choose the worst format to use for such an important task?
Matthew 24:7
At what point in the last several centuries have war, famine, and earthquakes not happened? Apparently for a perfect, all-seeing deity, specifics are a mystery. At least Karnac (as Johnny Carson performed the skit) gave specific answers.
Acts 2:20
The apostle Peter is quoting the Old Testament prophet Joel when he speaks of blood moons and eclipses. We know these are natural phenomena. Joel’s verse (when taken in context) indicates these events would happen at the end of days. The verse in Acts is during the first Pentecost. Peter thinks the end of days is happening right then! Another failure of understanding on Comfort’s part.
2 Timothy 3:1-2
So there hasn’t been a single time in the last 2000 years of human beings haven’t been vain, selfish, avaricious, etc.? I’m not even a thorough student of history and I’m sure that’s not right. Why do fundamentalists like Comfort insist on putting stock in such vague “prophecies”?
Luke 17:28-30
Anytime Lot and/or Sodom get mentioned, you know LGBTQ people are about to made targets. Never mind the fact that homosexuality has been a part of our species since before writing. The emergence of LGBTQ equality is a progression from the Dark Ages of fear, superstition, and heretic-burning Ray Comfort seems to think was a swell time in human history.
2 Timothy 3:5
This one isn’t so much a prophecy as it is an observation of supposed hypocrisy. Hypocrisy in religious people? And the next thing you’ll tell me is the results of pro-wrestling matches are pre-determined. Again we find a vague statement in a list of other vague statements that countless “prophets” like Comfort want to desperately to apply to their current time and place. Hypocrisy has existed for as long as humans have existed. Religion just gave hypocrites a larger stage and a bigger audience.
2 Peter 3:3, 5-6
Ah, the Flood story…nothing like a story about world-wide genocide to get you ready for the Apocalypse. Here’s the thing: if you read the Gospels, Christ promised he’d return before his disciples died. Two thousand some-odd years later, we have apologists like Comfort making excuses for stories we know aren’t true.
Luke 21:26
Six verses after this one (which is a long list of supposed prophecies) Christ says this generation will certainly not pass until all this has come to pass. When prophecy fails, it’s a metaphor. The prophecies of Luke 21 never came to pass and I doubt they were ever really spoken. The fact that Comfort holds onto them so tightly despite evidence to the contrary tells you all I need to know about his mindset.
2 Peter 3:3-4
Of course some people are going to call bullshit on these poorly-constructed Biblical prophecies. There have been too many people like Comfort uses verses like the above and being dead wrong. Reasonable people should scoff at this dog-and-pony show. It doesn’t matter what rationalizations Comfort and his ilk use. These passages weren’t true then and they’re not true now.
Matthew 24:37-39
    And Christians wonder why atheists like me call them out on being OBSESSED with death. End-times fundamentalists like Comfort don’t care about this life or this world. It’s not enough that they fantasize about living eternal life in a celestial North Korea. They want this world dead, all life wiped clean. I’m fine with Comfort rolling the dice with his life. That doesn’t mean I can find the game a disgusting waste of time.

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