Sunday, 22 May 2011

Ignoring Camping

Those who do not learn from history...
Several bloggers have sniffed disdainfully at the attention Harold Camping and his rapture prediction have received. Bad enough "the media" have been caught up (if you'll forgive a rather weak pun) in it all; we, the enlightened, are being sidelined by circuses!

Nope. The media attention and the howls of delight from the cheap seats are much needed.

It isn't as though this hasn't happened before and, here's the issue, will happen again.

And each time decent, sincere, largely naive people get sucked in. Lives are affected. Later I want to share some observations on the demographic Camping preyed on, but let's be clear: Most of those folk with their placards are victims. They don't need to have their noses rubbed in their mistakes.

Camping, on the other hand, should serve as an abiding lesson for any who might follow in his wake.

Deane Galbraith makes a very pertinent point: "But can we write off Harold Camping as occupying the fringe regions of Christianity when some 55% of Americans believe in The Rapture, a concept which was only popularized as late as the nineteenth century by dispensationalist, John Darby?"

No, Camping shares the same loon rating as Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye and the entire faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary.

These people may represent a majority (isn't 55% a majority) viewpoint!

A disdainful sniff is hardly the response that's needed.

PS. Just in case you were still wondering, the other side of zero is... nothing!


  1. Some guys are just bad at dating.

    The CoG7 minister said today that he hadn't known that a girl in his class was caught up with this movement. He happened to see her on Face Book. She has been heavily involved with a religious group.

    This is especially bad for the people of the younger age group. Besides people losing their homes, their cars, their jobs, their incomes, there are several other terrible repercussions, not the least of which is rejection of their social group. Teens are especially vulnerable.

    The worst case scenario is that the teens wrapped up with Camping may be exorcised from their peer social group. They may be embarassed to even attend school any more. They will be the object of cruelty of the sort that teens are so good at.

    While it is difficult to be pragmatic, it may well be that we may see a rash of suicides amongst the teens. If this were to happen, Harold Camping would be responsible for the destruction of a part of the next generation.

    Unlike the Armstrongists, which weren't that well known for their extreme views of the Great Tribulation and things to come outside the venue (I got some jabs about that from the CoG7 minister -- like, no one really noticed the WCG in spite of the hyperbole of Herbert Armstrong notwithstanding), the Family Radio Harold Camping End of The World Scenario had an impact outside just a small cult religion. This went viral. Everyone notices.

    The concern among Christians is that the whole experience has devastated the credibility of the entire venue. Anyone who believes in the return of Jesus Christ (rapture or not) is going to be painted with the same brush.

    Such impacts have been seen before. The reaction of some believers is to become atheists. One statistic from the Atheists themselves (which they later denied) is that Herbert Armstrong with his Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College was responsible for 40,000 atheists. I frankly don't know if it was close to that much, but there was impact, with some of the ministers ending up becoming atheists and agnostic.

    Faith will be shaken, not stirred.

    If there is any reality to Scripture at all (the jury is still out on that one), then this is a devastating blow, not just for society at large which will now have to deal with homeless defeated delusional people, but for the religious community as well.

    I'm with James.

    I think these sorts of thing are a mental illness -- which hasn't hit the DSM yet.

  2. Coming within a month or so at is The Plaint Truth Magazine satire series and also several booklets, including, but not restricted to The United States and British Commonwealth in False Prophecy.

    The Calendar Conundrum will also be coming along.

  3. Douglas makes some good points with his first post.

    While I've had some fun at my humor blog with "Judgment Day," I want to apply the principle of Ezekiel 33:11 - "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked."

    If that's true of the killing of Usama bin-Laden, I seriously doubt God was giggling at what Harold Camping produced in recent years.

    Now comes the end-game for Family Radio - which I think could parallel WCG in 1994-95. Donations drop dramatically. Some "believers" in the U.S. sue for damages. Ministry employees lose their jobs. Family Radio sells stations at desperation prices (and it holds some prime frequencies in big cities).

    But will Family Radio's leaders repent - not only of 5/21/11, but of declaring Satan has controlled all churches since 1988? (It's a key part of the Camping timeline, and led mainstream groups to abandon him years ago.)

    Either the ministry repents and changes, on the order of the Tkach Sr. era in WCG -- or its end truly is near.

  4. The uneventful passing of May 21, 2011 was very predictable....which makes some people better prophets than Harold Camping.

    By the way, I am a different Richard than the Richard who has posted here on this topic.

    Lake of Fire Church of God

  5. And as I predicted, now reported in the San Francisco IB Times, Harold Camping has disappeared.

    The above link seems to be busy and isn't responding, so here is the text:

    False May 21, 2011 Doomsday prophet Harold Camping "deserts" devastated followers, church offers solace (PHOTOS)

    May 21, 2011 11:00 PM EDT

    Doomsday prophet Harold Camping, who predicted that the End of the World would come on May 21, 2011, has gone missing ever since it became increasingly clear that his prediction is going to fail, even as local churches willingly stepped in to provide counseling and help to Camping's devastated followers.

    Camping, the head of the Family Radio, had predicted that the selected number of people on earth, approximately 200 million, would Rapture to heaven on May 21, 2011 while those left behind would witness the destruction of the earth which would come about on October 21, 2011.

    He has based his predictions on Bible verses, namely Genesis 7:4 ("Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth") and 2 Peter 3:8 (“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”), and concluded that May 21, 2011 is 7000 years after the Great Flood (4990 B.C.), concluding that it indeed is the Doomsday.

    4990 + 2011 – 1 = 7000 (the subtraction of "1" is necessary because year 1 B.C. is followed by 1 A.D., skipping year 0).

    Because Camping was certain "without any shadow of a doubt it (Doomsday) is going to happen," many of his followers sold their possessions and quit their jobs.

    Adrienne Martinez, a follower of Camping, and her husband have reportedly quit their jobs and spent the last penny in their bank account towards a rented house in Orlando. "We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won’t have anything left," said Adrienne.

    Now that Camping's prediction is proven to be a complete failure, attention has been shifted to his devastated followers. Previously when Doomsday prophecies have failed, some misled followers have turned violent, even leading up to murders and committing suicides.

    In order to prevent this, church groups are actively providing counseling and advice for the damaged souls.

    On May 21, 2011, around 4 p.m. (local time), a group of rescuers, led by Pastor Jacob Denys of Calvary Bible Church in Milpitas, CA, came in front of Camping's Family Radio headquarter in Oakland, CA, with signs and banners, and offered to provide counseling and spiritual support to the dejected followers of Camping. Camping and his staff were nowhere to be seen. However, a few of Camping's followers who were there, avoided the crowd and refused to offer any comment. One of the followers even tried to assault the IBTimes reporter when approached, saying, "I want to be left alone."

    "We are here to reach out to those people who might have bought the lie (of Camping)," said Denys. He, adding that they are not to condemn anyone, said, "What we are hoping is that we would be able to invite people who might have been affected to our church in Milpitas and hold a special service that would embrace them and reach out to them."

    The service, Denys said, will be at 10 a.m. on May 22, 2011, the day after the failed Doomsday.

    "Churches like ours, he (Camping) says, are of the devil, that the Holy Spirit has left the church and all is left now is a shell. Even though this is what they've been believing and they've been teaching, we love them and we care about them. We don't want them to be hurt. Today is a hard day for them," James Bynum, a deacon of the church, said.

  6. So easy to be a religious conman. Just make up some crap and charge admission to go in and see it. Never have to worry about being sued for false advertising or cheating people out of their life savings or anything. After all, there is freedom of religion and no law against people being stupid.

    As long as the conman doesn't misappropriate tax exempt funds to cheat the government, he's good to go.

    It doesn't matter if he cheats the members of his congregations out of their hard earned cash, that's perfectly A-OK because the cash goes into a tax exempt organization and is used for preaching the gospel. And, of course, preaching the gospel may require a private jet and stuff, expensive billboards and things.

    Of course he lives in a mansion with furnishings fit for a king, but hey, the "church" owns it - right? Right! So, what do people have to complain about?

    Freedom of religion, gotta love it - all the good con-men of Christianity do.

  7. ABC News (USA) reports Mr. Camping was back at home Sunday - in seclusion and "mystified" at what might have gone wrong.

    Too bad I'll have to roll a tape on Monday night's "Open Forum" talk show. It could get very interesting -- especially since I don't think he uses a call screener.