Seldom at a loss for words.


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*A WHOLE NOTHER THING:
A selection of words from my vast vocabulary, including the ubiquitous "the," the always versatile "and," and the more obscure "incontrovertible," arranged in frequently meaningful, sometimes profound, yet often pedestrian sentences and statements, designed with one goal in mind-- that being, to communicate; keeping in mind the oft-used bromide, "Never use two words when one will do the same job as two or more words would have done, unless you just want to take up space and sound important," which is, I must concede, too often a secret objective of mine indeed. And yet, now, the secret is out.




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Saturday, May 21, 2011

I have one question...

We all know now that Harold Camping was epically wrong in his “Biblical” prediction that the rapture would happen on May 21, 2011.

I stumbled upon Mr. Camping almost two years ago, as I was flipping through radio stations during my commute home from work one day. I was immediately fascinated by not only his droning, sonorous voice, but his absolute assurance about his position-- that the rapture would occur on May 21st, and that the world would totally end on October 21st. He claimed his findings were based on Biblical passages that had been heretofore un-decipherable by church-goers. But God had opened our eyes (seemed like just “his” eyes) in recent years, in order that we could know the events that would lead to the end of the world.

Mr. Camping always, continually, incessantly insisted that the May 21st date wasn’t from him at all. It wasn’t something he, personally, was “prophesying.” He always said that this chain of events was “guaranteed” by the BIBLE. It was the Bible speaking, not Harold Camping.

People would call and refute him, and in his inimitable way, he’d insist that his caller needed to read the “Whole Bible,” and not simply take individual verses out of context. He absolutelyinsisted that his findings were biblically-based and founded in the whole of Scripture.

He was, as I said before, insistent in his position-- that it wasn’t something HE conjured up, but that it was clearly, solely and definitely-- from the Bible.

Yes, it was very entertaining to listen to his broadcasts-- especially when he’d make a statement with amazing authority, and then he’d pause, and the caller would seemingly be silent (as if they had no words to refute him any longer). Then he’d say in his singular style, “But thank you for calling and sharing… and shall we take our next call please… Welcome to Open Forum.”

Then the next caller would begin.

It became apparent though, after only a few calls, that the pause when the caller was silent after his “answer” to their question-- was more likely caused by a producer cutting off the caller. But it came across as the caller being silent after such an authoritative answer to their question.

No matter what the caller brought up, Mr. Camping was unflustered, in control, and totally authoritative. He never flinched. Anyone who disagreed with him was obviously not willing to listen to the counsel of the “Whole Bible.” The caller was obviously (to Camping) caught up in the Church’s (now defunct) theology-- the Church’s very own “Salvation Program” that wasn’t biblical at all (according to Camping). After all, Camping insisted that Satan was now ruling in the Churches. 

Caller after caller to his “Open Forum” program would try to refute him. Yes, many would ask questions about passages in the bible, and would ostensibly be satisfied by Camping’s answers-- but of course, many would adamantly disagree. Regardless of the outcome of the call, though, Camping would always insist that what he was teaching WASN’T from him (man) at all-- it was totally, unequivocally, singularly, without doubt, solely the BIBLE (God) that was speaking over Camping’s airwaves.

And so it went, for well over a year.

Each night, as I drove home from work, I’d pop in on Camping’s “Open Forum” show, between switches to NPR and other stations. And all the while, Camping’s prediction of May 21st as the beginning of “Judgement Day” continued to fascinate me.

Why did it fascinate me?

Well, as a man who has recently come out of the conservative, evangelical, American, Republican church, it fascinated me because Camping’s insistence that his foundational source was solely the BIBLE sounded only too familiar.

Without exception, ALL of the conservatives that I’ve heard ALWAYS claim that their positions are rooted, grounded and founded solely on the BIBLE. How many times have I heard preachers say, “Don’t take my word for it-- check it out in the BIBLE!” ?

Harold Camping was just as adamant (if not MORE) as anyone I’ve ever heard preach.

And he was wrong.

So, here’s my question: “If Camping was wrong, why shouldn’t I believe that the others are wrong?”

Misinterpretation?

Sure-- all of the other evangelical conservatives are certainly going to say that Camping woefully misinterpreted Scripture. Camping simply got it wrong.

Camping-- from my observations during those many commutes home every night for nearly two years-- CERTAINLY KNEW SCRIPTURE. He had passage after passage memorized to back up his position.  He ALWAYS insisted that callers who clung to a specific verse (e.g., “No one can know the hour of His return…”) weren’t taking into account ALL of Scripture. The sceptic needed to take in the WHOLE bible-- listen to ALL of the bible.

So, how is it that Camping got it wrong? He never, ever said that we should listen to HIM-- he always said we should listen ONLY to the bible!

(Are you getting my drift here?)

So let me ask you this:  “Why would God give us his “Word” (the Bible) and then let so many people misinterpret it-- especially when the correct interpretation of this book was essential to their ETERNAL EXISTENCE?

If you were in that position (God's), would YOU allow YOUR “children” whom you ostensibly love-- so much that you’d DIE on a cross for them-- to be swayed into eternal HELL by mere misinformation or misinterpretation?




link | posted by Matt Norquist at 5/21/2011 09:14:00 PM |


1 Comments:

Anonymous Dave Kendell commented at 12:11 AM, May 22, 2011~  

Years ago I read and studied the bible (in an organized religion). I was told at the time that I should pray and let the holy spirit manifest the truth of what I read to me. I did and developed a personal relationship with my god.
As time went on I realized a conflict with the message I got from my own study and prayer and the teachings of "the church". I looked at other churches and religions with the same results; always someone trying to push their interpretation of god(and the bible) on me.
I drifted away on a path that some would say was a 180 degree turn. I finally came to realize that I needed to focus on MY interpretation of god.
God gave us the bible and a whole bunch of other stuff to help us through life. One of those things was free will. Use it. Decide for yourself, asking for god's help. People like to tell others what to do, that is a human trait. BTW, I'm not sure the correct interpretation of anything is essential.
The answer to your second question is "No". My god would not do that and neither would I. If it hinges on acsepting the bible or not, I'd toss it out.
A friend recently gave me a bible and urged me to read it, starting with and paying special attention to certain books of scripture. I thought I'd give it another look,I just started at the begining. I dought it will change the way I look at things.

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