Religion & Philosophy

When headline writers suck

There’s a story percolating through the internet that originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and has now made its way to places like The Huffington Post*. I don’t fault Justin Berton, the Chronicle writer, because i realize that he probably didn’t write the headline. None-the-less, “Biblical scholar’s date for rapture: May 21, 2011” is shite…though it was enough to pique the interest of the fluff chasers at the Huff Po.

Having never heard of Harold Camping before seeing this article, i had to do a little research. My suspicions were confirmed.

Mr. Camping isn’t a “Biblical scholar”. I’ve seen no indication that Mr. Camping reads and works with texts in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic** or even Latin. What i have seen is that Mr. Camping uses a concordance to check questions of language.

Mr. Camping is entitled to believe that the world will end whenever he believes it will end. Fools are welcome to believe that he’s right. But Mr. Camping is not a “Biblical scholar” in any sense of the word. He spends at least two hours every day reading a translation of a translation (and in many cases) of a translation. In all these years he’s never even bothered to learn Greek. On the other hand, i guess i can now call myself a “Biblical scholar” since i actually have more formal training than Mr. Camping.

“Crazy old man thinks the world will end: May 21, 2011”. There, i fixed it. Not only am i a Biblical scholar, i’m a headline writer too.

*The link does not go to the HuffPo. Click it, it goes to an article about that “Internet Newspaper”.

**I realize that Aramaic is not necessary to read the Bible as a scholar because none of the Bible was written in Aramaic. But if we’re discussing what Jesus said, then it’s an important language since Jesus was saying whatever he said in Aramaic. But i will cut Mr. Camping (the engineer) a break on this one because he’s more concerned with reading the Jewish parts of the Bible than the Jesus parts to get his end times scenario, so no harm no foul on the lack of Aramaic, Mr. Camping.

11 replies »

  1. Ok — This guy was wrong before (in 1994) so his followers think he’s right THIS time? What about “Third time’s the charm!”

  2. you spend most your time criticizing that Campings not a Biblical scholar… and he’d be the first to tell you he’s not. it was the reporters lablel. Camping doesn’t even want to be referred to as a theologian. In your minuscule research you didn’t happen to notice he’s been hosting a radio show for 40+ years which takes unscreened calls. bring your brilliant remarks to his show and ask a some Bible questions…

  3. More apocalyptical crapola. Geez. I guess it makes for good copy, or whatever. History channel is running with this “Armageddon week” thing, and the most trenchant piece of analysis they have featured so far on the subject is; “When discussing theories of the apocalypse, it is important to note the track record of those who have been saying the end is near throughout history”
    That is to say, a big, fat ” 0-fer'”. I never get too excited about this stuff. I remember Y2K, Hale-Bopp, The Harmonic convergence, the debut of “new coke”….. all these things were supposed to portend The End of All That Is. I think the turn of the 19th to the 20th century was supposed to be “The End” as well, no? When Courtney Love becomes a nun, maybe I’ll start to think about worrying. Not gonna happen. I bet when 12/21/2012 comes around, all that will happen is some video store computer somewhere will be charging an eons worth of late fees, when the disc was only rented as a “new release” 2 days before.

    • Howie: I hear you, although I did get worried when Lisa Marie married Michael Jackson. I came home that evening and found the velvet Elvis on my living room wall crying, and so naturally assumed it was the 7th Sign.

  4. Yes, I was in a daze for two days when Lisa Marie married Jackson.

    But back to the post: I think parts of Daniel were written in Aramaic, so yes, technically, you were right the first time. None of the bible was written in Latin, but it was translated into Latin pretty early, and that’s what was the “standard” for 1000 years or more.

  5. heybonehead, did you read the post’s title “When headline writers suck”? My beef is clearly with the Chronicle’s headline writer. I don’t give a shit about Camping or what he believes, ergo i have no need to call into his radio show.

    This is America: he has every right to be a crazy old man. You have every right to be an idiot and believe him. And i have every right to call him a crazy old man and you an idiot. God bless the USA.

  6. I would propose the idea that “the rapture” has already happened and all the true believers have been taken to meet Jesus in the clouds.

    Yes it happened in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and all the people who are reading this post missed it. Now your only hope to be with God for eternity is through the process of martyrdom. Apparently, you have to fight the Anti-Christ and if you are captured in the process of resisting, which is inevitable due to the power of the beast, you have to keep true to your faith under torture until you are at long last killed for your belief in the teachings of Jesus.

    I would submit as proof of my assertion that the latest batch of Christians seem more at odds with (or anti) the actual teachings of Jesus the Christ than at any time in history. Further these Anti – Christians have more power to spread their hate and venom via the power of technology than at any previous time in history.

    These days the people who actually live by the teachings of Jesus and aspire to hold America, a Christian nation according to the Anti’s, to the Christian standard are derided as Socialists.

    I myself believe in the teachings of Jesus but I do not call myself a Christian because I don’t want to suffer the torture of fools. You know the torture of people like Mr. H. Bone Head from an earlier post. This is the cross that I must bear.

    Maybe the fact that I hate belligerent Anti-Christians is the reason I was not caught up in the clouds in the year ____. Hmmmm…. what could I have done different?

  7. Dr. Slammy,

    I have given up watching football. I used to love the sport until my wife ruined it for me by pointing out… well on second thought I don’t ruin it for you.

    I used to live for the games but I just can’t watch it until they change a few rules. I propose that the game be more like its coliseum forerunner by releasing hungry lions onto the field during the games.

    Further we should start the first game with the rosters consisting of the most highly rated Anti-Christians versus the second string Anti-Christians. Just to even it up a little bit I propose that the uniforms of the most highly rated Anti-Christians be soaked in the blood of freshly killed lambs just prior to the kickoff. At worst we get rid of some of these post touchdown prayer meetings.

    I concede that as the season goes on we will lose some top talent but as the Anti-Christians fall we can replace them with Agnostic players carrying Uzi’s. To remove the incentive for the agnostics to kill the lions that may be going after an Anti-Christian team mate we would have penalty for using the Uzi for any purpose but self defense. I propose that the penalty be the offending agnostic play the rest of the game without benefit of the Uzi.

    That should be fun to watch, don’t you think?

    Not sure how we are going to keep the Anti-Christian quarterback you mentioned form going all Satan worshiper before the inaugural game.

    I am open to suggestions regarding the fine points of the rules and the marketing strategy.


  8. I used to love the sport until my wife ruined it for me by pointing out… well on second thought I don’t ruin it for you.

    What? That it’s a bunch of big beefy guys in tight pants running around and falling all over each other in a sweaty writhing heap to try to grab some ball? And slapping ass?

  9. Hahaha… Sorry Slammy but Ann is right.

    Warning: To those who still want to enjoy a football game, you may not want to read the next paragraph.

    The only other thing my wife pointed out was that there were play by play announcers, with deep voices, talking about stuffing it up the middle, tight ends, wide open receivers, etc… I mean, the amount of homo eroticism in the announcer’s booth is difficult to ignore once it’s been highlighted. Now I don’t mean to imply there is anything wrong with fans of homo eroticism, but I can’t even listen to a game on the radio. My wife would say that she has liberated me from it but I believe her motive was to get more attention on the weekends.

    In closing I propose that the NCAA, NFL, and affiliated media outlets, hire female announcers.