How Believers Cope Post-Rapture

Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping estimated that 200 million people would be carried to paradise yesterday—they weren't, so how are his followers coping with the disappointment? 

What's the Latest Development?


For followers of Harold Camping's Christian talk radio show, May 21 was supposed to be the beginning of the end: The first day in a five month event that would see the universe completely destroyed on October 21, 2011. Now, as the sun has risen on the day after the prophesied rapture, Camping's disciples are likely to feel a keen sense of disappointment. "This could be a fairly sad day for these people," said Stephen Kent, a sociologist at the University of Alberta who studies new and alternative religions. "There will be some greatly disheartened people who may be terribly confused about what didn't happen."

What's the Big Idea?

Our minds are perhaps as resilient as they are malleable. Camping's doomsday prediction was not the first and probably will not be the last. In 1954, psychologist Leon Festinger infiltrated the doomsday cult called The Seekers. When the group leader's prophecy failed to come true, he observed some psychological calisthenics among the group's members in order to explain away all the evidence to the contrary. Steve Hassan, a counseling psychologist said: "A third of believers become disillusioned after a failed prediction, while another third find reason to believe more strongly. The remaining group members fall somewhere in between."

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

Videos
  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.