Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Next up at bat...

Now that Harold Camping has officially retired as Chief Prognosticator of the Apocalypse, we have a new ultrareligious wingnut stepping in to fill his shoes.

Ronald Weinland, minister in the Church of God - PKG (Preparing for the Kingdom of God), has said that Jesus is coming back to Earth on May 27, 2012, thus beating the Mayans by almost seven months.

According to Weinland,
January 7, 2012, is another important occurrence for the timing of God’s work and end-time events. This date is an important crossroad in time as it ends a prophetically historic portion of time in Daniel that consists of a prophetic measure of “time” and “times” that began after Trumpets of 2009. January 8 of this year begins the final “half-a-time” of this full prophetic period known as “time, times, and half-a-time.” That day is the start of the final period of 140 days (half-a-time) that leads up to the very coming of the Messiah spoken of in those same prophecies of Daniel.
The "Trumpets of 2009?"  I remember 2009 very clearly, and I don't recall any trumpets.  But maybe they were playing somewhere else, I dunno.

It's interesting, if you go to his website (here), that his listing of holy days to be observed by his followers continues all the way up into 2014.  You'd think that if Jesus was returning to Earth in May to kick some ass, it would render the whole thing moot, as aren't the true believers supposed to be assumed bodily into heaven after that?  Even if I'm wrong on that point, you'd think that worship service schedules would be suspended given the fact that the United States is supposed to "fall" after experiencing a nuclear war this spring.  Kind of pointless to hold a church service if all the believers are in heaven, and all of the potential converts are dead, don't you think?  His website is unclear on that point, but one thing that is mighty clear is that if you want to follow him and as a result "be impregnated by the spirit of God," you need to give him 10% of your after-tax income.


Of course, he's fully expecting that people like me will ignore his words.  "The truth is ridiculed, ignored, slandered, and mocked," he said, conveniently ignoring the fact that many of us also ridicule, ignore, slander, and mock people who obviously have a screw loose.  But then, he pulls out his trump card; anyone who mocks him, he says, "will be smitten by God with cancer."

Wow.  I... I don't know what to say.  Should I start setting aside money for my chemotherapy now?  It probably wouldn't do any good, I guess, given my suspicion that what gets smitten by god stays smitten.

In all seriousness, people like him anger me -- not because I don't think that everyone has a right to believe whatever they want to, but because his loony apocalyptic worldview is bound to be appealing to the weak, the easily deluded, those looking for something solid to grab on to.  And these folks will likely bankrupt themselves to pay the tithes that Weinland demands; this happened to many of the followers of Weinland's previous church, the Worldwide Church of God, when it was led by the charismatic Herbert W. Armstrong -- leading many to characterize it as a cult.

I know that there's no way to stop people like Weinland; the American laws governing freedom of religion are there for a reason.  But when does religion cross the line into victimization?  At what point does a church become a cult?  These aren't easy questions.  But I do know one thing:

I'm not cancelling my summer plans, because I'll bet you a thousand dollars we're all still here come May 28.


  1. As someone who is spiritual but really does not like "religion," I find that men like this fellow, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, et al., give me a giant pain in all body parts where one experiences pain. Seriously, how is God's love supposed to spread through their continuing nonsense?

    I wish these kinds of people would just shut up.

  2. Only a thousand? Heck, I'd bet you my life savings!! And last I checked, cancer wasn't mentioned in the Bible...

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    1. Decided to delete and condense my rants, as the topic pegs my skepto-meter off the charts, and digression ensued, not befitting the scope of this blog.

      ...always with the Apocalypse! Fire, brimstone, and torment, oh my!

      Damnation is the single greatest detractor for my lack of interest in organized Religion.

      If Hell does exist, I belong there, because if I knew Hell actually existed, I wouldn't forgive God for manifesting a reality that included it. Fear of eternal violence is an archaic way to motivate people.

      Even if you're not religious, I highly recommend the movie "What Dreams May Come." (Great performance by Robin Williams) (it's also family appropriate)