Stories of the Rapture: Media Bias, or Manipulation of the Media
Rapture is a Christian concept that says that, during the End Times, Christian believers will be taken up to heaven while the godless will be left on earth to face a cataclysm.
The concept has a sound basis in the scripture, specifically in Matthew 24, in which Jesus tells his followers about the coming catastrophe:
Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.Exactly when this will happen is another matter. And of course, no Christian leader other than Camping has given the slightest bit of credence to his calculations.
So why pay any attention to Camping?
Our first inclination is to blame the secular bias of the media. Liberal and secular reporters like stories that make Christians look like idiots. A bunch of Christians going to volunteer in a homeless shelter doesn’t fit the template, but a rather cultish crowd with a crackpot eschatology is highly congenial.
Which has a corollary. Any publicity-seeking Christian evangelist can garner a huge amount of unmerited attention by doing something outrageous.
And indeed Camping has gotten a huge amount of attention. Here is a screen capture we did from Google News a few minutes ago. As you can see, there are 1,519 sources on this story.
Interestingly, Christian fundamentalists are often accused of the sin of taking the Bible literally. But Camping isn’t doing that.
Jesus was quite explicit about end times predictions:
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”And of course, Paul told the Thessalonians:
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.Both Jesus and Paul have essentially the same message: live as though the end could come at any time, since you are not going to be able to predict it.
Camping should take the Bible literally on this point.
And the media should ignore people like him.