Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Other Other White Meat

So evangelist Jim Bakker really, really wants people to buy his potato soup. Bakker explained on a recent episode of his television program that unless you buy his soup, in the End Times your neighbors will eat your babies. Because it says so in the Bible! He also advises anyone who does buy his soup to keep it a secret, so that "the gangs" won't steal it when everyone in the world is starving. And eating babies.

“The Bible says they’re going to eat their arms, the Bible says they’re going to eat their babies, then it says they’re going to eat their children,” he warned. “That’s what people do when they get hungry.” In order to prepare for this, Bakker encourages viewers to buy buckets of food that he advertises on his show but not inform their neighbors that they have done so.

Having food during the End Times, Bakker claimed, is not the only benefit of buying his food buckets; in the event that the government collapses for any reason, he said, basic necessities are all that is going to matter. “If the social security checks don’t come, what are you going to do?” asked Bakker. “The government is already broke! … How can we trust a country that’s broke?”

Bakker explained that although some pastors are urging their congregations not to listen to him, he feels a moral obligation to sell his food buckets: “When you’re huddled in a corner with your grandbaby and they’re screaming and crying and there’s no food – I don’t want that blood on my hands.”

As longtime readers of this blog know, I'm extremely skeptical of "End Times" apocalypse claims. Everyone who's ever predicted the end of the world has been wrong, and the idea that the End Times are imminent is actually a relatively new idea in Christianity, dating back to the Millerites of the mid-1800's. And William Miller was simply wrong. He tried to apply his formula for dating the End Times twice and was wrong both times. The Jehovah's Witnesses tried several more times, and were also wrong. Regardless of how elegant the method seems, it just doesn't work.

Even though the risk of a large-scale disaster is low, it's not necessarily completely nuts to store food in case something does go horribly wrong with the system. However, what makes Bakker's schtick look more like a scam is that little of the food he's selling is of the sort that actual survival experts recommend stockpiling, or packaged in a way that makes sense. The potato soup, for example, comes in a single gigantic bucket - once you open it, the whole thing is at risk of going bad.

This also means that once you receive the bucket, you can't open it until the apocalypse. That means practically anything could be in it. I mean, it probably has to be safe for human consumption, but my guess is that to maximize profits it's made with the cheapest possible ingredients and probably tastes terrible. Since you can't open it until the end of the world, you'll just never know.

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