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Preventing the End of the World

Some crazy people led by Harold Camping who call themselves Christian claimed that the world was going to end yesterday [1]. Harold had previously done this in 1994 so he’s got form for predictions that don’t come true.

The bible says that “the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” [2], so obviously Jesus can’t return on a day when billboards all around the world are predicting him! Maybe rather than being wrong, Harold has in fact prevented the end of the world by predicting it correctly!

Now if a church like Harold’s can make predictions separated by slightly less than 17 years (let’s round it off to 6000 days) then we only need 6000 such churches scheduled to predict different days to cause the rapture to be indefinitely deferred. If the churches were to predict which week the world would end then we would only need something less than 900 such churches – or maybe 1800 so we have redundancy.

It seems that Harold Camping makes his money by scaring gullible people into selling everything they own and giving the money to him [3]. If we are to achieve the goal of having someone forecast the end of the world every day then it would be good if such people were forced to raise money more often than every 17 years. A good solution to this might be a tax on “end of days” religious investments, money that was given to a religious corporation or sole trader following a scare about the end of the world could be subject to a 100% tax rate if not spent within 1 year. Then Harold would be forced to make a prediction for every year and thus give us greater protection from the end of the world.

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But seriously we need to tax religious organisations in the same way as other companies. A religious organisation that gives money to help the needy can use that as a tax deduction, and operating expenses such as paying salaries of staff are also tax deductable. So the serious religious groups would have a tax rate that is fairly close to zero anyway. When a religious leader wants to have 27 Rolls Royces they should be forced to pay tax on all that money, and additionally they should be compelled to publish a statement of company accounts for everyone who gave money – just as corporations are compelled to provide information to stock-holders.

Currently various religious organisations are denouncing Harold and his followers to try and save Christianity from ridicule (here’s one example [4]). It seems to me that if they want to avoid ridicule they should advocate that religious organisations be forced to open their books and pay tax on their profits so that people like Harold can’t use religion as a money-making scam.

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