Judgment Day: Not Crazy, Not Funny

May 18th, 2011
Image © Stargazer95050 | Flickr | Used under Creative Commons license.

By now, you’ve no doubt heard that the “Judgment Day” is coming on May 21. According to the calculations of the folks at Family Radio, this coming Saturday, Jesus will return and set into motion a six-month count down to the end of the world.

Usually a story like this one would lead me to write punch lines in hopes of scoring a few hardy laughs from readers at the expense of these “Christian crazies.”

But not this time.

While I do believe that those who predict that Judgment Day is coming this weekend are incorrect, I don’t believe they are crazy, at least, not crazy like Mel Gibson was crazy in the movie Conspiracy Theory and not crazy like Mel Gibson was crazy in 2007 and then again in 2010. For me to believe that those who suggest May 21 is the beginning of the end are crazy is to also believe that members of my childhood church (including me) were crazy in 1987 when we believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was coming back in 1988.

And we weren’t crazy. We were misguided, misinformed, naive, and certainly a bit sheltered. But we weren’t crazy. We had our reasons for believing that Jesus was coming back in 1988. Our reasons were biblical. We were convinced that the doctrine that supported such claims was sound and good and 100% true.

And while I don’t know any “Judgment Day” supporters personally, my guess is that they, too, believe that their reasons for believing the end is coming are biblical and sound and good and 100 percent true.

Chances are, May 21 will come and go like any other day. And when we wake up on May 22, the leaders of this Judgment Day movement will have a perfectly ‘biblical’ explanation why all of us aren’t standing before God preparing to be judged. In fact, I’ve already read a couple blog posts suggesting that May 21st isn’t actually Judgment Day, but the beginning of the end…

And I know that so many people are going to poke fun at those who believe in Judgment Day. And rightly so. But I won’t be one of them. I’m not saying that I won’t Tweet a punch line or two. But my jokes won’t be personal attacks on the May 21st believers.


Because there’s nothing funny about being misled, misguided, naive, and sheltered.

Because there’s nothing funny about kids believing and anticipating the end. And while I know that the kids who believe in May 21st have what they consider to be “great faith in Jesus,”–trust me, they are scared. They’re nervous. Some of them aren’t sleeping. They’re asking lots of questions. They’re hoping that it isn’t true. But they believe it is.

And on May 22, while those of us who think that the May 21 Christians are crazy will probably be laughing or poking fun or explaining what we believe to be biblical reasons why they shouldn’t have put a date on God’s Judgment, the May 21st kids will be facing their “day of reckoning,” waking up to realize that their parents, pastors, and theologies were wrong. Many of those kids will lose something that day. The questions that many of them will ask will get answered with lies and excuses and bad biblical reasoning. Some of them will be angry with God for not bringing about Judgment Day. Some of them will lose their faith and yet be unable to escape it. And some of them will go on like nothing happened and probably end up setting and believing in another “date.”

And there’s nothing funny about that.


Read more from Matthew Paul Turner at Jesus Needs New PR. His memoir Churched can be downloaded for free here.

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