This week’s question: “How do you feel about the ‘Rapture’ this Saturday, May 21?”


There is a group of people who believe that this Saturday is the Rapture and that October will be the end of the world. You’ve probably been offered a pamphlet from one of these folks. If you care to stop and listen, they will begin telling you how numbers in the Bible are a secret Rapture code.

The number 17 represents heaven because Jeremiah was instructed to purchase a field for 17 shekels, which totally represented heaven. Also, the number five represents atonement, because of a story in Exodus that describes how one can atone for sin by paying a half shekel, and one half is sometimes represented as 0.5, which is kinda like five even though it’s not at all. And if you multiply redemption (5) by heaven (17) enough times in the right amounts, (5x5x5x5x17x17), you get 722,500, which is the number of days between Jesus’ death and May 21, 2011.

If you’re a normal person, you’ve begun to get angry with me for wasting your time. That feeling of outrage you’re feeling at this idiocy is exactly what I and many others feel when Catholics eat the body of Christ in communion, when Jews cut off parts of infants’ penises or even when Santeríans perform animal sacrifice. What’s needed to better our world is critical thinking, and living by two-thousand-year-old fairytales is the opposite of thinking.

I hope that you, reader, do not wait until after Saturday to call these Rapture morons out on their bullshit.


Connor Oakes is a third-year political science major.

Doomsday is appealing, for whatever reason, and in the last 40 years or so we’ve been seeing a lot of it. We see movies like “Terminator” and the popularity of zombie apocalypses permeating just about every form of media, even in things like the 2012 prediction; there is a certain excitement behind the idea of it. The psychology behind the sort of fanatical prophesying of Harold Camping is coming from two beliefs which serve to reconcile each other: First, that the world is a terrible place, and, second, that it’s coming to a glorious cosmic correction, stemming from a greater good with a purpose for existence.

The problems in the world are becoming bigger, to the point that they seem out of the reach of humans. It is comforting to think that a father figure can sweep it away for us and right the wrongs we have created over time. It is understandable to feel a sense of responsibility for a lot of the problems we see around the world and, because of this, it is natural to see a solution.

The doomsday/Rapture perspective, regardless of when people believe it will happen, is a form of problem solving through dissociation. So the adherents to these theories prepare themselves, such that they can be ready and structured when the tumultuous nature of the world is righted. Even through fire and brimstone, death and destruction, the god of the apocalypse is still a god of order, and in a world perceived as chaos, this view is reassuring.


Cameron Moody is a second-year computational biology major.

Some people are brilliantly stupid. That’s the conclusion I came to when I read about Harold Camping. He’s the leader of the independent Christian ministry Family Radio Worldwide. Now to merely believe that someday the world will come to an end — that’s a rather common and uninteresting stupidity; one we’ve grown accustomed to wince at. But to actually believe one has calculated the date of the impending Apocalypse — that is rather quite the exquisite showcase of idiocy; one that merits a moment’s focus of mockery.

Camping has declared this upcoming May 21 to be the Day of Judgment. He has “proof” to back it up, though I’m sure “spoof” more aptly characterizes the biblical and numerological toddler-talk he blathers. The date Camping assumes Jesus was crucified on is quite ironic: April 1, 33 A.D. How does he not get the hint? It’s as if his epically moronic theory secretly laughs at him behind his back.

Jesus’ crucifixion date, Camping believes, figures in arithmetically with certain holy numbers and their associated divinely symbolic concepts. When these holy numbers multiply together, 5 x 10 x 17 (likewise with their concepts atonement, completeness and heaven, respectively), then the Jesus magic happens. Camping sincerely believes the combination of these three concepts indicates a message that the Rapture looms imminently before us.

But let’s be done with that now. My head aches of the truly Olympic idiocy Camping happily voices. Many of the Christian hopefuls have been stirred to celebration due to this kook. I, on the other hand, can only look down, sigh and shake my head.


Brian Gallagher is a third-year philosophy major.