Non-christians should not expect
much sympathy at the Pearly Gates.
They were warned.
If you have never seen the movie, Shawshank Redemption, you probably should. There are prison movies and then there is Shawshank Redemption. When this movie came out not many people went to see it, probably because it sounded depressing and had a stupid title. I was one of those people, but I eventually rented it. Shawshank has everything I look for in a movie. It is beautifully photographed, has a great soundtrack, a brilliant screenplay (by a surprising author), good guys and bad guys, and an emotional roller coaster with a powerful, positive ending. Not many women in it, but it is a movie that ought to be mandatory viewing for anyone who likes movies.
But this isn’t really about that movie. This is about something in the movie that made me think of about how fucking crazy religion is.
The warden in the movie – a good solid christian and a sleazy, crooked bastard, had a cross-stitched religious saying hanging on his office wall. I thought it was a bible verse, but it doesn’t come up in searches on two different bible sites. It says, “His Judgment Cometh… And That Right Soon”. When you think about it, it sounds more like it’s a dire warning from the Dark Ages than the bible, but, to me, it seemed to refer to this verse in Matthew, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled”. Matt 24 is Jesus talking about the eminent end of the world. He says it will happen during that generation alive at the time.
To me this sounds like about as direct and specific a prophecy as actually exists in the bible. And straight from the mouth of the self-alleged son of godhisownself, lord and creator of this 13 Billion year old Universe, and micromanager of every detail of every instance of sub-atomic randomness.
Nevertheless, Jesus got it dead wrong. The world, if you will observe your surroundings, did not end 2000 years ago. Not saying that this won’t or can’t ever happen to Earth. Ever is a long time and there are lots of rocks flying around out there, and we have been hit hard in the past. We were hit once, early on, hard enough and by something big enough, to spin off our moon. We have been hit 2 or 3 times hard enough to wipe out the vast majority of life forms on the planet. We have been hit by rocks and by snowballs and by vast outbursts directly from the Sun and no telling what else. Volcanoes are also a problem, but I am getting off on a tangent.
What I am getting at is this: religion has been using this same fear tactic, this big lie, to herd the frightened and the uninformed towards religion for thousands of years. It is hard to imagine a more irresponsible sales tactic. We heard it when I was in church in my early teens. The rapture could happen any time now. Aaaany second now. Please tithe in cash.
What else was in this busted “prophecy”? Well the classic “wars and rumors of wars”. This is not exactly going out on a limb. There have been, in the recorded history of Humanity, exactly zero minutes when there were not wars and rumors of wars.
Jesus warned that many would come in his name and many would be deceived by them. Liars and thieves and false prophets in the robes of religion. Reminds me of several very high profile people running around free right now. Apparently that has always been a problem.
Famines, pestilence, and earthquakes. Standard everyday stuff. As Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) said in Bull Durham, pretty “weak-assed shit, Meat.”
The sun will be darkened, the “moon will not give her light”, and the stars will fall from heaven. He may have been predicting eclipses and meteor showers, but he was casting these common and predictable astronomical phenomena as harbingers of the end of the world. The bible is full of bad astronomy, bad geology, bad science, bad prophecy, and bad advice.
Next would come his triumphant return from the sky, visible for “all the tribes of the earth”, accompanied by angels and trumpets, “from one end of heaven to the other”. He added, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” That didn’t happen either. If it did, no one on earth noticed, no one wrote it down, and I will point out again, we are still here listening to moist, quivering religious lunatics ranting, “Aaaany second now.”
Anyway, if you go by the bible, Jesus got some bad information and went big with it, and it kinda blew up in his face. The fact that he got it wrong is of some relevance, I think, and has strong negative implications for claims of biblical inerrancy, Jesus’ alleged infallibility, and even the existence of the alleged xian deity.
The failure of his prediction was typical of the success rate of today's psychics - charlatans and scamsters to a man - and is right in line with what happened with every one of the worlds professional psychics in December of 2004. Not one of them predicted the most disastrous, best documented tsunami disaster in recorded history. Not one. Jesus’ predictions are exactly the kinds of things a god would get right and exactly the kind of thing that Humans typically get wrong.
The reasons are not mysterious. Prophets and psychics are variations on a theme. And the practitioners of these “skills” are daily shown to be either deluded or dishonest. People who claim to be god, or the son of god, are recognized as paranoid and delusional and are frequently dangerous or self destructive, prone to having run-ins with the law, resulting in incarceration and “persecution”. Those are the deluded ones. The dishonest ones are in the game for the money. And about once a month some idiot still predicts the eminent end of the world. I predict that good people, concerned for truth, justice, and the American way, will smarten up and drag these liars and thieves, who steal in the name of Jesus, out into the street and make their world will come to an end.
Aaaany second now.