Thread: Eschatological Sanity
May 21st 2011, 05:21 PM #1
This is assuming I don't get raptured.
The link can be found [url=http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/eschatological-sanity/]here[url].
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Back on May 4th, I wrote on the supposed Judgment Day being today. Interestingly, I haven't been able to connect to the Family Radio web site of Harold Camping since last night and it's going to be interesting to see what happens when he's shown to be wrong yet again.
Now we have all laughed about matters some. There has been no major earthquake in New Zealand that has started moving across the planet. I have no doubt that I'll be sleeping next to my wife in my bed tonight. If you post on Facebook, you see a lot of people having a good laugh over that and I honestly understand that. We've told our own jokes on the matter in our household.
At the same time when we pray at night, we pray about the people who have been hurt by this. My wife will ask me "What's going to happen to the people who spent their life savings?" I don't know. I can't know. I do know that they will be hurt however. They would have placed all their trust in a man and found that that man was not reliable. The sad reality is many of them will transfer that over to the Bible. After all, if the Bible guaranteed it and that which it guaranteed was false, then the Bible must be false.
Many of us have seen people like this. They become very angry apostates a lot of times. The same mentality is there unfortunately. It is the cult thought entirely. These people have been hurt. What the solution is for now is us to develop some eschatological sanity. After all, most of us will be just fine when the sun rises on May 22nd, but some people won't be.
Starting off, know the Scriptures. If you have a view of eschatology, be able to defend it. If you're a dispensationalist, be ready to defend that. If you're a preterist, be ready to defend that. However, realize there are extremes. For the preterist, to be a hyper-preterist as they are called is to go into the heresy of denying the bodily resurrection. For the dispensationalist, teaching like that of Camping can be the problem.
That anyone took Camping seriously is a problem. These people are counting on someone else to be their interpreter of Scripture. I have no problem with going to other teachers and getting their opinion on matters. Many of you read this blog for that reason. When the day comes however that someone takes what is in this blog as infallible then I will have a problem. Please check out what I say elsewhere.
A good friend of mine wrote that Camping's problem with dating is extreme hubris on his part, and I agree. It can seem that with eschatology, so many of us are so busy trying to figure out when it is that we don't live like we ought to. Peter told us in 2 Peter 3 that since the end is coming, we ought to live holy and godly lives. Are we doing that?
In many ways, we ought to be living like the end could come today. We ought to be living as if our Lord could come back and surprise us at any moment. Do we want to be caught unaware? However, we are not told that we can KNOW when that time will be. The house owner does not know when a thief is coming, but if he KNOWS one is coming, he will be preparing himself.
Folks. There's been a 100% failure rate with prophecy predictions by doomsayers on when the end is coming. This is nothing new. Let me state what we are 100% certain of. Jesus will physically return one day. We will have our loved ones rise up and if we are dead, we ourselves will rise. Now we can talk about signs and such and think the end is near, and some do that, but Christ did not set dates and neither should we.
Pray for the people who have been hurt by this and pray for Camping as well. He too is in the image of God. Let us hope he repents also and that those who have been hurt can somehow be compensated.Check the blog of Apologiaphoenix!
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September 7th 2011, 11:41 PM #2
Re: Eschatological Sanity
Just found & joined TheoWeb so don't know a lot about it (other than the Introductory FAQs and other general threads.)
What you've said above certainly sounds reasonable, and I'd like to add a bit to your concern over the repercussions on Camping's followers. To you or me (or your wife, for that matter), the idea that they might be devastated at being proven wrong probably won't happen with very many of his disciples. To wake up on the morning after the Second Coming of the Lord, for most, will be no more than a bump in the road — theologically or emotionally.
A classic study of what, to me, is an unexpected response was published by Leon Festinger. (When Prophecy Fails, 1956) The book describes his psychological studies of believers who have participated in a dated, cataclysmic failed destruction of the earth. The majority ended up becoming actually more fervent believers after the catastrophe's failure to occur. He studied a cult contemporary to his own day in detail as well as drawing upon other sources concerning other "doomsday cults". Festinger explains this response as what seems to be a fairly normal coping mechanism he named "cognitive dissonance reduction" — a form of rationalization. He offered that term to describe a behavior that (in situations like this) people are motivated to reduce an inward, emotionally painful "dissonance" by adjusting their beliefs to be in line with their actions. In his study group, for example, members tended towards explanations such as their own (right) responses having prevented an otherwise certain disaster or that the leader misunderstood the date but would correct or even that the catastrophic actually occurred.
Of course we're frequently hearing of smaller but similar events that happen with contemporary congregations or church organizations in which some trusted church leader (for example) predicts a coming disaster. Back in 2005, someone sent me such a prophecy that a terrorist attack would come to New York, and 6 other City's in North America, namely: Cincinnati, San Francisco, Montreal, Atlanta, Dallas and Washington DC." And "the Lord" gave them a specific date: January 23 2006. Furthermore, the "prophet" designated (by "the Lord") exactly what each terrorist attack consisted of including a suspension bridge in Montreal being destroyed, San Francisco's Golden Gate being brought down, followed by shelling of the city from out at sea... As far as I can tell, this prophet (and so many others) are still being paid to make their circuits amongst conservative churches. I have yet to see one of the more well known "prophets", after being proved wrong, apologizing and stepping down from their pedestals (much less being stoned...)
More commonly (read: "every human being who's ever existed including you and me") a lesser form of this "cognitive dissonance" is "confirmation bias": a mental decision (conscious or unconscious) whereby people systematically seek only evidence that confirms a previously held hypotheses. An interesting (fairly) recent example of this could be when Richard Blumenthal ran for congress. Numerous times he spoke publicly about his being a Vietnam veteran when in fact, he was not. He excused his deception by saying that he “misspoke”. But one such previous instance, caught on video, shows him seeking the audience’s sympathy as he describes the terrible reception he and other veterans received upon coming home from war, including his being accosted verbally by antagonistic crowds even to the extant of being spat upon. Did he "believe" this had happened to him? Or was it merely the gradual accretion of hyperbole and wishful thinking? Either which way, he seemed able to "rationalize" that whatever he had done, he had NOT lied! Or in Hillary Clinton's campaign, she described landing several times in Eastern European airports "under fire" — when in fact, news videos at all the airports showed no threat, no bullets, no shots fired. And another: if you believe that women can not be treated equal to men in American corporate structure (or church institutions!), you'll continue to see evidences that support this belief in the Bible — in theology, in psychology and especially in anecdotal evidence received from others with the same belief. Simultaneously, any evidences that do not support this belief, you'll tend to ignore or "miss"!
Like Festinger's "cognitive dissonance reduction", "confirmation bias" is a mental process in which people subconsciously decide within themselves that for some reason it’s to their advantage to “see” events in the world around them (past, present or future) according to personal desires. This (of course) has tremendous implications for people's interpretation of the Bible. I've learned from experience through the years to take it very slowly when I know people in the audience/class have prior opinions about a Scripture text different from what I intend to show them. I make sure I go very, very slowly, that every person has their Bible open to the same passage, and that as I observe one detail after another in the text, I keep asking, "Does it say so in your Bible? Is that what it says?" And step by step, often you can lead people out of prior bias into seeing a text in a fresh and unexpected way. Moving people's bias or their preconceived belief system is harder, often, than moving a mountain — whether it's cast into the sea or not!
EmMany Christians today are trying to "re-invent the church"… They need to repent & quit. After all, Someone has already invented the Church... (get with the Plan)
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