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End Times Theology


Neon Genesis
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I'm sure we've all heard in the news about how Harold Camping and his religious cult had predicted the Rapture would happen on May 21st and the beginning of the end of the world would happen. If there's one thing everyone agrees on whether they're liberal Christians, mainstream fundamentalists, or atheists is that Harold Camping is either insane or a charlatan or perhaps both. But one thing that seems rather hypocritical to me is how "mainstream" fundamentalist Christians have no problem applying critical thinking to Camping's conspiracy theories and mocking his beliefs but if you were to compare their beliefs to Camping's, they would consider it to be offensive and would probably damn you to hell for suggesting they could be wrong. When you think about it there's little difference between "mainstream" end times theology and Camping's theology. Both groups believe that Jesus is going to come back and destroy the world and torture all the non-Christians in hell for all eternity while they get to fly up to heaven to be with Jesus for all eternity. The only real difference is that Camping put an actual date on it. For some reason, it's normal and acceptable to believe Jesus is going to come back to destroy the world sometime but putting a date on the end of the world makes you crazy. Why is it that "mainstream" fundamentalists seem to have no problem mocking Camping's extreme beliefs as crazy but refuse to put their own beliefs under the same microscope?

Edited by Neon Genesis
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Why is it that "mainstream" fundamentalists seem to have no problem mocking Camping's extreme beliefs as crazy but refuse to put their own beliefs under the same microscope?

Probably need to ask them.

 

As Abba, from the Shack would say, "I'm especially found of them."

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In social psychology, the fundamental attribution error (also known as correspondence bias or attribution effect) describes the tendency to over-value dispositional or personality-based explanations for the observed behaviors of others while under-valuing situational explanations for those behaviors. The fundamental attribution error is most visible when people explain the behavior of others. It does not explain interpretations of one's own behavior—where situational factors are often taken into consideration. This discrepancy is called the actor–observer bias.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error

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This members post was deleted as he was banned from this forum as member stv2k, re-registered under a different member name , PM'd me to try and work things out and then posted before receiving my approval. While i was reconsidering reinstatement, i am no longer since his action here shows a complete lack of respect for any rules and etiquette and his desire for reconciliation. Member will not be given another opportunity to return here.

JosephM (Admin)

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Why is it that "mainstream" fundamentalists seem to have no problem mocking Camping's extreme beliefs as crazy but refuse to put their own beliefs under the same microscope?

 

They do critical thinking by using the Bible to discern whether any theological belief is true. They believe that the Bible does not say when Jesus will come back to this earth. Hence, they think that Camping is crazy for saying that Jesus will come back on May 21.

 

They think it is normal and acceptable to believe that Jesus is coming back to this earth because they believe that the Bible teaches that.

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Quoting the bible to prove an argument is true is not critical thinking. It's circular logic. Camping is also basing his claims on his views of the bible and both sides are just cherry picking the bible to justify their worldview. But if we're using the bible to prove an argument, then according to the bible, Jesus thought the end of the world was going to happen within the lifetimes of the apostles. Obviously all the apostles have died now and the world hasn't ended yet.

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I'm sure we've all heard in the news about how Harold Camping and his religious cult had predicted the Rapture would happen on May 21st and the beginning of the end of the world would happen. If there's one thing everyone agrees on whether they're liberal Christians, mainstream fundamentalists, or atheists is that Harold Camping is either insane or a charlatan or perhaps both. But one thing that seems rather hypocritical to me is how "mainstream" fundamentalist Christians have no problem applying critical thinking to Camping's conspiracy theories and mocking his beliefs but if you were to compare their beliefs to Camping's, they would consider it to be offensive and would probably damn you to hell for suggesting they could be wrong. When you think about it there's little difference between "mainstream" end times theology and Camping's theology. Both groups believe that Jesus is going to come back and destroy the world and torture all the non-Christians in hell for all eternity while they get to fly up to heaven to be with Jesus for all eternity. The only real difference is that Camping put an actual date on it. For some reason, it's normal and acceptable to believe Jesus is going to come back to destroy the world sometime but putting a date on the end of the world makes you crazy. Why is it that "mainstream" fundamentalists seem to have no problem mocking Camping's extreme beliefs as crazy but refuse to put their own beliefs under the same microscope?

 

I believe that the problem "mainstream" Christians (for lack of a better term) have with Camping is that he is arrogant enough to posit a specific date and time for the so-called rapture. What's not up for discussion, apparently, is the logic behind the whole rapture idea itself.

 

It is true that if you interpret select Biblical passages in a certain way, one can come to the conclusion that (although not specifically mentioned in so many words in the text) there will be a "taking away," a "snatching" of the "saved." Don't ask me what specific scripture passages are referenced. I've since forgotten and no longer care. Suffice it to say, there are a significant number of Christian believers who maintain such a belief. The generally accepted view is that the timing of this event is not to be revealed to anyone - not even Christ himself! I guess the idea of surprise is part and parcel of the whole rapture narrative.

 

Hence, the incredulity expressed by mainstream Christians over Camping's Prediction. The secular equivalent would be a general belief that at some point in time, mankind will self-destruct and the likes of Nostradamus or some such predicting an exact date for same.

 

I don't see it necessarily as an example of Christian hypocrisy. There are plenty more poignant examples of that. Ignoring the message of the Sermon on the Mount / Plain for one.

 

NORM

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It is true that if you interpret select Biblical passages in a certain way, one can come to the conclusion that (although not specifically mentioned in so many words in the text) there will be a "taking away," a "snatching" of the "saved." Don't ask me what specific scripture passages are referenced. I've since forgotten and no longer care. Suffice it to say, there are a significant number of Christian believers who maintain such a belief. The generally accepted view is that the timing of this event is not to be revealed to anyone - not even Christ himself! I guess the idea of surprise is part and parcel of the whole rapture narrative.

 

 

This is the problem I have with mainstream end times beliefs though. "Mainstream" fundamentalists aren't critical of Camping's end times theology because the end times isn't real or because they reached their conclusion through proof and evidence but because he has the wrong theology. Presumably, if only Camping's theology was more popular, he wouldn't be crazy. They're not judging what beliefs they think are "delusional" based on whether they have evidence for the conspiracy theory or not but on how popular the belief is. I think this pic does a good job of explaining their double standards.

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Sorry Neon but i had to delete your pictures as they take up too much disk space (over 600KB) and we are running short at this time. I'm trying to get more. If you can use a link to an enternal site that would always be better. Also everyone else, continue to try not to quote every post you respond to unless it is really necesssary to show what you are responding to.... JM (Admin)

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It seems to me that the point is not to be found in the detail, or in coming to conclusions after any amount of critical thinking, but as Neon implies, it is in such literalist thinking itself that the problem lies (lays?) It would be nice to be able to open the Bible and start afresh, without any prior knowledge of it, just to see what we would make of it. Obviously impossible, and also a lot of genuine spiritual thinking has already been done by countless others, who have had insight and understanding that we would do well to reflect upon. Nevertheless, it does seem that we can go far too far the other way, and approach the words with a pre-conceived theology, a frameword of "salvation" deemed "correct" and substantiated by the particular peer group to which we belong, or pre-supposed by the evangelist who has inspired us.

 

"The letter kills but the spirit gives life" and "the spirit blows where it will". It seems to me that often the acceptance of a particular framework/theology convinces us exactly where the spirit blows, that it is "we" alone who have been granted the "spirit", and that we have automatically become the "spiritual man" who understands, and that those who deviate from our understanding are deemed the "natural men" who do not understand the things of God. For me, all this leaves out grace, leaves out mercy, leaves out the true "presence of Christ"....no amount of "critical thinking" reveals such, for "the lord knows what we want before we ask Him" and I have found that my own thinking often gets in the way. Which is why I love the parables, where truth often creeps up on us unawares, and it is only when the "YOU are that man!" rings out that we stand convicted and in a position of no escape!

 

And I often reflect upon the story of Christ in the cornfield, as his disciples pick at the ears of corn, therefore breaking the Sabbath commandments. The OT has God demanding that a man who just gathered a bit of firewood should be taken outside of the camp and stoned to death. Such was the Law. I suppose those who had applied their own "critical thinking" to the OT would have sided with the Pharisees. Why not? Yet here was One greater than the temple, who at another time asked for mercy, not sacrifice, and for us to learn what such means. Without the blessed gift of hindsight, whose side would we have been on?

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I think you are correct Derek,

 

It seems to me if one tosses aside his/her programmed teaching, reads the NT as if for the first time and looks up the Greek words or whatever language was used, a little critical thinking might find (and can be verified by experience) that there is indeed "a catching away" but it is not anything like is taught by Mainstream Christianity. Things like remembering when they are talking about the temple in those letters that 'you are that temple' and it is not made by man's hands which changes the meaning of 2 Thes and also studying the word "caught up" in the Greek helps.

Just my 2 cents,

Joseph

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This is the problem I have with mainstream end times beliefs though. "Mainstream" fundamentalists aren't critical of Camping's end times theology because the end times isn't real or because they reached their conclusion through proof and evidence but because he has the wrong theology. Presumably, if only Camping's theology was more popular, he wouldn't be crazy. They're not judging what beliefs they think are "delusional" based on whether they have evidence for the conspiracy theory or not but on how popular the belief is. I think this pic does a good job of explaining their double standards.

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Sorry Neon but i had to delete your pictures as they take up too much disk space (over 600KB) and we are running short at this time. I'm trying to get more. If you can use a link to an enternal site that would always be better. Also everyone else, continue to try not to quote every post you respond to unless it is really necesssary to show what you are responding to.... JM (Admin)

 

When they say that Camping is wrong, they not making an unjustified assumption. They are not blindly parroting what someone else said. They have evidence to back up their own beliefs.

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The "evidence" typically consists of Christians cherry picking the single bible verse where Jesus says no one but the Father knows the hour while ignoring the dozens of other passages where Jesus predicted the end would come before any of his disciples died.

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Neon,

 

To be fair, i think it is us the Progressive Christians who more accurately can be accused of "cherry picking" I for one am not shy to admit, "guilty as charged".

 

i don't think it is so much cherry picking on the part of those believers as it is a different explanation of the other passages that they were either taught to believe by the church system and apologetics so they are in agreement with that passage you quoted. OR, they developed their own explanation so the writings would agree because once you lock in the belief that the Bible is without error or conflict, you have no choice but to believe there is an explanation and you will be compelled to make or find one that is plausible to you. To me that is not "cherry picking" . Rather it is to me, more of a circular logic.

 

But that is just my view and i certainly have never been accused of being too logical when it comes to Christianity. :lol:

 

Joseph

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I would certainly agree that progressive Christians are "cherry picking" as I think everyone "cherry picks" the bible to some degree or another but at least progressive Christians are being honest about it. In the case of "mainstream" fundamentalists, again, my problem with them and their attitudes towards end times theology is that they don't ridicule Camping's end times theology because the Rapture isn't true or because it's a dangerous belief system which has been used to justify intolerance and bigotry, but they ridicule Camping because he doesn't have the "correct" end times theology. But if Camping had the "correct" end times theology, then he wouldn't be crazy and they would accept him as one of their own even though there's zero evidence that any Rapture is going to happen at all whether a thousand years from now or tomorrow and "mainstream" Rapture beliefs have been used to justify nefarious actions as well. It'd be like someone who believes in UFO abductions mocking someone who believes in big foot because their conspiracy theory is more right than the other even though both are actually equally implausible.

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Joseph,

 

I think you are right on. It is not 'cherry picking' as such but harmonizing what are (or appear to be) conflicting passages, or interpreting literally or symbolically to conform with the reader's worldview.

 

Also, I think the farther one is along the progressive scale, the more weight is given to the NT and the OT is contextualized more.

 

George

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I think you are right on. It is not 'cherry picking' as such but harmonizing what are (or appear to be) conflicting passages, or interpreting literally or symbolically to conform with the reader's worldview.

 

I am glad you said it this way George. May I remember next time I am about to say I cherry pick. It is the reader's worldview and if everyone were like me :D they would use these two views from which to interpret


  •  
  • The Christological principle. Scripture is to be interpreted in light of the central revelation of God in Jesus Christ,
  • The law of love. No interpretation of scripture that shows hostility, contempt or indifference toward any person or group can be a right interpretation of the Word of God.

 

Dutch

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Dutch,

 

I take a more mundane approach to interpretation of scripture. First, I ask what did the author intend to say to his audience at the time based on the circumstances in which he wrote. Then, I determine (based on my inescapable worldview) if it is something that is worth considering as guide in my life. Rather than "right interpretation," I am more inclined to evaluate it on a 'valuable' or 'worthwhile' scale. (Maybe that is what you meant by "right")

 

In any event, we probably end up at about the same place.

 

George

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They do critical thinking by using the Bible to discern whether any theological belief is true. They believe that the Bible does not say when Jesus will come back to this earth. Hence, they think that Camping is crazy for saying that Jesus will come back on May 21.

 

They think it is normal and acceptable to believe that Jesus is coming back to this earth because they believe that the Bible teaches that.

 

So where's the problem?

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Doug,

 

Hornet has no problem . He agrees with you. He believes the Bible is the word of God and is just answering and explaining his view of why for the question posed by Neon's OP quoted by Hornet in his post .

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Guest billmc

To be fair, i think it is us the Progressive Christians who more accurately can be accused of "cherry picking" I for one am not shy to admit, "guilty as charged".

 

Me, too!

 

Although I don't mind calling it "cherry picking," I'd prefer to call it separating the chaff from the wheat. ;)

 

Much in the Bible, as 2 Tim 3:16 suggests, can lead us to good works. But not everything. So, for me, whatever leads to good fruit is wheat, and whatever leads to bad fruit is chaff.

 

My usual 2c.

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