The Plastic Hippo

May 22, 2011


Filed under: World — theplastichippo @ 10:45 am

In the early hours of a fog covered February morning, a man was crossing a deserted Waterloo Bridge. As he trudged through the gloom, a dark figure became visible standing motionless on the parapet. A lost soul was about to plunge into the icy Thames.

“Wait” said the passer-by. “Things cannot be that bad. Let’s talk. Are you a person of faith?”

“My faith has gone” said the distressed stranger, “it’s broken.”

The would-be Samaritan persevered.

“Tell me, are you a Christian?”

“Yes” came the reluctant reply.

“Why that’s amazing, so am I. We have so much in common. Please come down and we can talk. Are you Church of England or Catholic?”

“Neither, I am Seventh-day Adventist.”

“Lord be praised, that’s astonishing. I am Seventh-day Adventist too. This is the work of God. And do you follow the edicts of the 1843 General Conference?

“No, I follow the edicts of the 1845 General Conference.”

“What? said the passer-by.

“1845” replied the happier and less suicidal stranger.

The passer-by pushed the man off the bridge into the river far below shouting: “Burn in Hell, heretic scum.”


Having attracted global attention with prophesies of the dead rising from out of the earth, the righteous ascending into the sky to join the returning Jesus Christ and Satan devouring the flesh of the Godless, preacher and president of “Family Radio” Harold Camping must be delighted by the response of some very gullible people. The self proclaimed “quality” press and even serious news broadcasters covered the end of days story as if the 89 year old fruitcake had any credibility. More astonishingly, some of the easily led actually believed that they were about to join the host of angels hovering above California and donated money to this crackpot. Evidence, if evidence were needed, that the planet is actually doomed.

It was left to the new force in media and, indeed, judicial, journalistic and moral accountability to debunk and ridicule this utter tripe. Twitter was at its best, generating hash tags for rapture play lists and rapture confessions even as it was under attack from philandering footballers.

But for all the nonsense, one has to admire the guile of old man Harold. He is saying no more than is stated in the scriptures and if you ask any passing Pope or Archbishop what Armageddon looks like, they will describe the same scenario. It says so in the Holy Bible so it must be true. Our spiritual leaders tell us that everything in religious texts, of whatever flavour and of whatever vintage, is irrefutably correct. When some of the unbelievable assertions are challenged, irrefutably truths become allegory, parable, metaphor and are in need of interpretation. Our spiritual leaders do the interpreting.

What Harold did was to programme a reminder on the digital TV somewhere between the end of the Scottish Cup Final and the beginning of Dr Who. Sadly, the nation was watching Britain’s Got Talent and so understandably missed the elevation to heaven.

It is a shame, in so many ways, that the rapture that clears the earth of the righteous to make way for the destruction of non-believers failed to materialise. Who would not want to see the removal of child abusing priests, clerics who encourage the feeble-minded to dress in suicide bombs, religious leaders who offer prayers of thanks for the successful annihilation of children in refugee camps and elders who deem fellow human beings as untouchable? We would be, as the Buddha might observe as he tucks into his KFC family bucket, better off without them.

Harold Camping is back at his abacus, trying to work out where his calculations went wrong and wondering why he has made less money than the more established religions. Rather than excommunicate this nutter, we should call for his beatification on the grounds that he offers us a more realistic revelation of the end of days.

Jesus, as they say, wept.

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