Saturday, May 21, 2011

Countdown to Backtracking

It's well after 6 PM in New Zealand at the time I am typing this, so it appears that once again, Harold Camping has inaccurately predicted the Rapture. "End Times" predictions are not uncommon. In 1999, there were 45 such predictions followed by 42 more in 2000. The ones made by the groups with the largest following (and the most money) make it into the mainstream media. Camping has not only raised 100 million dollars over the last several years, but he also runs a Christian radio station, Family Radio, that makes it easier for him to spread his message. It may seem pointless to even think about "doomsday" predictions (especially by a guy like Camping who was also wrong the first time in 1994), but there is one aspect of this that doesn't get covered in the media. The Family Radio following is a VERY small group of people who subscribe to the Christian faith. The majority of Christians strongly disagreed with them that Jesus would be returning today. But only that he was returning TODAY. Almost half of Americans believe that he will be returning and that the "good" followers will be vaporized and ascend to heaven. They ONLY disagree about the date (or more accurately, whether the date is knowable). So while we discount Harold Camping, and people like him who make predictions about the "end times", as crazy (and we should), consider for a moment that he is not that different from many mainstream Christians in our country. He just picked a date (okay..he picked it twice..but you get the idea). Take a minute to think about the families that have been tortured and the people who will be devastated financially by the insanity of this prediction. Sad.

And after you are done feeling bad, cheer yourself up with this:


  1. Camping's backpedalling was one of the quietly funny moments of the year so far. "Erm, it's erm, there was an invisible rapture, it has actually happened, and we've all been judged, but we won't know the result until October"

    Do you get the feeling Camping has been diagnosed with something terminal and is just throwing out dates he thinks he's not going to be around for? :)

  2. That is a possibility. Reminds me of what Hitchens said about death. It's not somebody tapping you on the shoulder and saying that the "party's over". It's someone saying that "the party's over...but only for you. Everyone else you know and care about will still be enjoying themselves." What better way to rail against that than by declaring the party will be over for everyone.

  3. Either that or he's just a money-grubbing attention-whore ... it's a possibility, I'm just throwing it out there, no more than that :)