The Common Good

Gaining Respect for End-Times Prophet Harold Camping

I’m a little bit worried that the solar flair storms either are affecting my personal judgment or the rest of the world. Given the logic of Occam’s Razor, I suppose I’m screwed.

Harold Camping, photo, youngmoigle, Flickr
Harold Camping, photo, youngmoigle, Flickr

First this week, I wrote a piece about how I agreed largely with the 700 Club’s Pat Robertson about decriminalizing marijuana. And as if that wasn’t enough to send me questioning the orientation of the universe, now I find myself with a growing modicum of respect for fear-monger pastor and end-times prophet, Harold Camping.

Famous for wrongly predicting the end of the world twice – and for bringing scads of followers and their life savings along with him – Camping has become both the butt of late night talk show monologues and the object lesson for the hubris of trying to ascertain the “mind of God.”

Those who choose to get in a knot about such things already have the Mayan calendar to blame for the current frenzy about end times, which is predicted to take place according to this ancient calendar later this year. In response to those who use such predictions to grab attention and scare believers, I wrote a piece recently that places the whole Armageddon thing in perspective for me.

Basically, my son’s school told him to sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite, but also not to be surprised if he awoke to a smoldering void instead of his home planet the next day, given that the French were about to ramp up their supercollider. So of course, he wanted to know if he still had to do his homework.

I love that kid.

So back to Harold Camping. This guy had a radio show counting down to his predicted final days, and he talked folks into paying for ads in newspapers, magazines and billboards to demonstrate their gullibility – er, I mean, to show their faith in his prophecy. Given that we’re all still here (I think we are anyway – is this hell?), we can safely assume he missed the mark.

Maybe three times will be the charm?

Actually, no. He’s come out with remarkable humility not only admitting he was wrong; he also has admonished his own attempts to guess the end of the world as “sinful.”

“”We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and he will end time in his time, not ours!” says camping on his website, as reported by Sojourners Magazine. “We humbly recognize that God may not tell his people the date when Christ will return, any more than he tells anyone the date they will die physically.”

Pretty sure the idea that God won’t reveal the end times to humanity is right there in scripture. Pretty sure a guy named Jesus said something about that.

Anyway, I applaud Camping both for fessing up to his mistakes (as I’ve done more than once on this very blog site), and also for admitting he was effectively playing God by trying to mark the day the earth would stand still. So it seems he and his team will have to find another line of work; Camping is fresh out of apocalyptic visions.

But you know, given the fact that in one week I’m writing affirming pieces (kinda anyway) abut both Pat Robertson and Harold Camping, you might want to keep an eye out for raining frogs and horses flying out of the sky. Could be a sign.

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