Oh, So It’s Not That You’re Full Of Shit, It’s Just That Your Math Was Off …

Via Winnipeg Free Press

Harold Camping speaks Monday during a taping of his show. (MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

OAKLAND, Calif. – California preacher Harold Camping said Monday his prophecy that the world would end was off by five months because Judgment Day actually will come on Oct. 21.

Camping, who predicted that 200 million Christians would be taken to heaven Saturday before the Earth was destroyed, said he felt so terrible when his doomsday prediction did not come true that he left home and took refuge in a motel with his wife. His independent ministry, Family Radio International, spent millions — some of it from donations made by followers — on more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs plastered with the Judgment Day message.

But Camping said that he’s now realized the apocalypse will come five months after May 21, the original date he predicted. He had earlier said Oct. 21 was when the globe would be consumed by a fireball.

Saturday was “an invisible judgment day” in which a spiritual judgment took place, he said. But the timing and the structure is the same as it has always been, he said.

“We’ve always said May 21 was the day, but we didn’t understand altogether the spiritual meaning,” he said. “May 21 is the day that Christ came and put the world under judgment.”

It’s not the first time the independent Christian radio host has been forced to explain when his prediction didn’t come to pass. He also predicted the Apocalypse would come in 1994, but said it didn’t happen then because of a mathematical error.

Rather than give his normal daily broadcast on Monday, Camping made a special statement before the press at the Oakland headquarters of the media empire that has broadcast his message. His show, “Open Forum,” has for months headlined his doomsday message via the group’s radio stations, TV channels, satellite broadcasts and website.

When the Rapture didn’t arrive Saturday, crestfallen followers began turning their attention to more earthly concerns.

Jeff Hopkins had figured the gas money he spent driving back and forth from Long Island to New York City would be worth it, as long as people could see the ominous sign atop his car warning that the End of the World was nigh.

“I’ve been mocked and scoffed and cursed at and I’ve been through a lot with this lighted sign on top of my car,” said Hopkins, 52, a former television producer who lives in Great River, New York. “I was doing what I’ve been instructed to do through the Bible, but now I’ve been stymied. It’s like getting slapped in the face.”

Camping said Family Radio would never tell anyone what they should do with their possessions.

“That is between them and God,” he said.

But he said he wouldn’t give away all his possessions ahead of Oct 21.

“I still have to live in a house, I still have to drive a car,” he said. “What would be the value of that? If it is Judgment Day why would I give it away?”

Apocalyptic thinking has always been part of American religious life and popular culture. Teachings about the end of the world vary dramatically — even within faith traditions — about how they will occur.

Still, the overwhelming majority of Christians reject the idea that the exact date or time of Jesus’ return can be predicted.

Tim LaHaye, co-author of the bestselling “Left Behind” novels about the end times, recently called Camping’s prediction “not only bizarre but 100 per cent wrong!” He cited the Bible verse Matthew 24:36, “but about that day or hour no one knows” except God.

“While it may be in the near future, many signs of our times certainly indicate so, but anyone who thinks they ‘know’ the day and the hour is flat out wrong,” LaHaye wrote on his website, leftbehind.com.

In 2009, the non-profit Family Radio reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3 million in donations, and had assets of more than $104 million, including $34 million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.

___

Associated Press writer Tom Breen in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Videographer Ted Shaffrey and AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll in New York, contributed to this report.

Garance Burke can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/garanceburke.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – in HD

A wonder discussion between Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins.  Eloquent, astute, and poignant; this is a wonderful introduction to the four Philosophers’ ideas.

All four authors have recently received a large amount of media attention for their writings against religion – some positive, and some negative. In this conversation the group trades stories of the public’s reaction to their recent books, their unexpected successes, criticisms and common misrepresentations. They discuss the tough questions about religion that face the world today, and propose new strategies for going forward.

This video is provided free online by The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS) and http://RichardDawkins.net . If you would like to support our work and help us provide more videos like this, please purchase the DVD through our online storehttp://richarddawkins.net/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&… and/or consider donating to RDFRS:http://richarddawkinsfoundation.org/foundation,donations

Check out more videos at http://richarddawkins.net

Books by these authors:
“The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins
“The End of Faith” by Sam Harris
“Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris
“God is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens
“Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” by Daniel Dennett

Filmed and Edited by Josh Timonen

The New World (Excerpt) – Opening

So this is the prologue for my newest novel I’ve been working on tentatively named, The New World.  I’ve uploaded excerpts from it before but I figured I’d show you guys the first bit of the novel.  The novel opening starts mid-way through the first stages of the outbreak when society starts breaking down and the city becomes a war-zone.  Roving bands of people are robbing and killing members of other, smaller bands inside the city.  A search party made up of some of the main characters are attempting to reach a hospital for supplies to bring back to the larger group who include some people who are seriously injured.  This scene is repeated about 30 pages into the story but “he”, “the blonde man”, “she”, and the “redheaded woman” are all talked about using their real names.  I made it purposely ambiguous so that you won’t know which of the main characters correspond with whom until you read it again 30 pages in.  I hope you like the opening to “The New World”.  Please let me know what you think.

————

He could see the hospital in front of him from his place amid the charred casings of what had once been cars.   Rubble and other random debris lay strewn about, ejected from buildings that surrounded the city street.  Festering bodies layered the street so completely that in places it was hard to make out the black asphalt underneath.

He shuddered.

It was incredibly eerie to be surrounded by so much death.  Although, no,  it wasn’t so much the death – he was used to that by now – but the sheer concentration of it.

Something is very wrong here. He realized, huddled behind the nearest blackened shell of what may have at one point been a Honda Civic.

“What are we waiting for?” A blonde man behind him fidgeted impatiently, “The hospital is right there, why don’t we just-“

“Wait,” He brought a hand up to silence the man, “I don’t like this.”

“Who put you in charge anyway?” The blonde man stood up and walked further into the street.

He called after the man but he was already halfway to the lobby.

The blonde man stepped gingerly through the mass of dead bodies that blanketed the city street.  After he’d gone more than thirty steps, the man turned to wave the other members of the party to join him.

A woman with a pale sickly face leaned against the blackened car frame, looking as though she was constantly fighting sleep.  She was putting pressure on a wound somewhere on her stomach and her blood soaked clothes around her torso denoted the urgency with which she needed treatment.  He looked past the injured woman and into the eyes of the redhead beside him; the final member of their expedition party.

“Don’t,” He shook his head, sternly.

Her face was covered in dirt, and her once lustrous, fiery red hair was dull and matted.   Her piercing grey eyes, which had once shone with a brilliant exuberance, were now murky and listless.   Experiencing what they had, and seeing what they’d seen, He knew that his eyes had also lost whatever semblance of soul they may have once had.

“Are you coming or what?” The blonde man yelled to them.

He turned to glare at the man.

Didn’t he know that there were others out here? He gritted his teeth.  Others who won’t hesitate to murder us for whatever supplies they think we have on us? Had he so soon forgotten the man at the convenience store, naked and decapitated with his meager belongings strewn out beside him?

Is that what he wants to happen to us?

The redheaded woman stepped out from behind the Honda Civic and carefully navigated through the morbid obstacle course towards the blonde man who had almost reached the other side.

“Come back,” He whispered sternly.

She kept stepping closer to the blonde man, closer to the Hospital and, hopefully, the medicine her husband so desperately needed.  She felt a weird, uneven consistency underneath her feet and realized that she was standing on one of the bodies’ hands.  She could feel the clamminess of the upwards facing palm on her bare foot and it made her entire body erupt in a violent shudder.  As she anxiously tried to reposition herself, she caught her ankle in the crook of a heavily decomposed elbow and she fell face down into the heap of rotting flesh and exposed entrails.  She touched the gore with her slender fingers and a foul sensation tore through her.  She moved her arm, but wherever else she put it she still made contact with cold, dead skin and wet, gooey innards.

She screamed and flailed around, madly.

He called over at the blonde man as quietly, yet forceful, as he could, “Go help her.”

The blonde man scoffed and turned away, continuing towards the hospital.

“You fucking asshole,” He muttered under his breath.  Standing up, he readied himself to go out and assist her.

She tried to calm herself down.  She took in deep breaths and tried not to think of the dead bodies as having once been alive.

Mannequins. She tried to make herself believe. Yes, these were only mannequins.

Something in her brain clicked over and she was suddenly able to see everything at once.  All the bodies, all the wounds, and then it became instantly obvious to her; painfully, horridly obvious.

“Go back,” She shouted.

The bullet tore through her head snapping it forward with a force that threw her to the ground.  Bits of bone, brain and clumps of matted red hair spayed the bodies behind her as she landed; another body added to the collection amassed in front of the Hospital.

The New World (Excerpt) – (Saving Private Ryan)

So this is from a post-apocalyptic novel in the same vein as the Walking Dead and 28 Days Later.  Though instead of becoming undead zombies hungry for flesh, humanity is being infected by cordyceps fungus which attach themselves to your brain and take over your body and their goal is to keep propagating this fungus by infecting more and more people with spores that are ejected from infected people.  The infection takes a while to take hold but there’s no cure and civilization degenerates into roving bands of humans who try to escape into the wilderness and begin again away from the infection.

This excerpt takes place at the very beginning where all the main characters are being introduced.  Seifer Phyre is the lead singer in a band called the Self-Incompatible Hermaphrodites.  He’s gearing up to go to New York City planning to meet with industry heads to see if his band can get signed.  Until then, he’s working at a uppity, posh restaurant.  In this scene he’s watching television with his roommate Geoff who’s also in the band.  Please let me know what you think!

——–

The world exploded in gunfire and thunderous blasts from the mortars.  Seifer turned the television down a few notches.

“Hey,” Geoff called, seemingly offended, “Don’t turn it down.  It looses its . . .” He fumbled for the word.

“Immediacy?”  Seifer interjected.

“Well, I was going to say awesomeness, but immediacy is right too.”

Seifer turned the volume back up and then added, as an afterthought: “We do have neighbors you know.”

“Meh, fuck ‘em,” He laughed.

They were watching the opening sequence of Steven Spielburg’s Saving Private Ryan and both of them were as stoned as all fuck.  They stared at the horrific images on the screen and Seifer’s head lit up in a blindingly brilliant epiphany.  They were watching two groups of humans decimate each other.

Why?

The film was documenting the graphic, grittiness of war and the stupidity of humanity.  Seifer didn’t so much wonder why the movie was created, but rather, why it was that humans fought humans?  Was it springing from our animal nature to want to take over other people’s territory for our own?  It couldn’t be for humanitarian reasons, like the Bush Administration claimed, or else we wouldn’t be killing other humans.  The whole idea of war immediately filled Seifer with a sickening feeling of isolation.  Was he the only one who felt this way? Was he weird for believing that disputes could be solved outside of violence?

He’d once been quite scrappy in elementary school, but after getting his ass kicked repeatedly he reverted back to being a lover.  He couldn’t understand how generation upon generation could wage war against their neighbors; raping, pillaging, spreading chaos.  Were we simply territorial animals who coveted other animals’ areas and resources?  And especially now in the age of a global economy aren’t we all citizens of one massive country: Earth?  Seifer often wondered why there wasn’t a President of Earth, yet.  Are we not all human?  Why don’t we have a country called Humanity and treat everyone with all of the respect we would wish others to give us?

“Man, did you see that?” Geoff laughed, “That guy took off his helmet and got it right between his eyes.”

Seifer was horrified.  Why would Geoff be laughing? That’s disgusting.  How could anyone be amused at someone’s gruesome demise?

I wonder what veterans think about this movie? Seifer wondered.

Eerily, Geoff answered: “Apparently the soldiers who actually were there at D-Day say that this is the most accurate film for getting the feeling of what it was like to be on the beach that day.”

One of the soldiers on the screen was lying on the beach with his guts blown out, screaming for his mother.

“I’m sorry, I can’t watch this anymore.” Continue reading

The New World (Prologue)

This is the prologue for The New World, if (or hopefully when) it gets published, this would be the first thing you’d read; well, aside from the title page and the dedication page, or am I the only one who ever really reads those?

Prologue

He could see the hospital in front of him from his place amid the charred casings of what had once been cars.   Random debris, lay strewn about; ejected from buildings that had surrounded the city street during the fiery chaos of the apocalypse.  Decomposing bodies layered the street so completely that in places it was hard to make out the black asphalt underneath them.

Seifer shuddered.

It was incredibly eerie to be surrounded by so much death; although it wasn’t so much the death itself, he was used to that by now, but the overwhelming concentration of it.

Something is very wrong here, Seifer thought as he huddled behind the nearest blackened shell of what may have once been a Honda Civic.

“What are we waiting for?” A man behind Seifer fidgeted impatiently, “The hospital is right there, why don’t we just-“

Seifer brought a hand up to silence him, “I don’t like this.”

Continue reading