First, we wrote about the pet owners who believed Harold Camping’s doomsday prediction of May 21, 2011. They were hiring atheist Bart Centre to care for their pets post-Rapture, since he, as a non-believer, would surely be left behind. Then, we posted a video of Camping speaking on May 23, decidedly un-Raptured, about his possible mistake. After that, we mentioned his correction, to October 21, 2011. And, unless God has installed a copy of the Matrix on his own dedicated server, it looks like Camping was wrong there, too.
I promised a follow-up after the October 21st date, but never delivered. Well, Mr. Camping has brought the issue back to the top of my to-do list. This week, the Christian Post ran an article by report Lillian Kwon all about Mr. Camping’s admission that he sinned by predicting the End, and he promises he won’t do it again. The real kicker is in his official statement, available on Camping’s Family Radio website as well as at the Christian Post, is classic Camping nonsense. Let’s start with the bright side, according to Camping:
The May 21 campaign was an astounding event if you think about its impact upon this world. There is no question that millions, if not billions of people heard for the first time the Bible’s warning that Jesus Christ will return.
You don’t need to be a psychologist to posit that this guy has a very inflated sense of ego. In the same vein, he at least admits that those who pointed him to Matthew 24:36, ”No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,” were exactly right. He even says he (well, not he exactly, but I’ll get to that) was wrong. Let me revisit the ego thing: the bible says that not even Jesus will know when the Rapture is going to happen, but somehow Camping knew? This looks a lot like blasphemy to me, and I’m not even religious.
And he doesn’t stop there. Throughout the letter, Camping talks about how Family Radio was wrong to make predictions. There is no acceptance of the man’s personal responsibility anywhere in this letter. Amazing. Even more infuriating (again, I’m not even religious, but sheesh), while he admits that predicting the End was sinful, he blames it all on God:
Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish His purposes, so He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible.
Translation? “Yeah, I messed up and offended God, but it’s okay because that’s what God wanted.” Tell that to Robert Fitzpatrick, the unfortunately-fervent Camping believer who spent his life savings advertising these predictions.
The takeaway? I respect that some people have faith in a higher power, but people like Camping feed into the rhetoric of atheism’s less to-each-his-own personalities.
Christians and other religious people, I beg of you: read your holy texts yourself and draw your own conclusions. Family Radio’s slogan is “Feeding God’s Sheep,” but the word “sheep” has some negative connotations about blindly following something. Making your own decisions about your faith will prevent you from doing just that.
Image from ChristReturns2011′s Flickr