Wednesday 25 May 2011

It's 1844 all over again

Harold Camping is the William Miller of the early twenty first century.

Miller had a couple of flubs before hitting on October 22 1844. The faithful were "ready to rise" on April 18, and there had been a previous expectation a year before that.

Recalculations were made, and the date was adjusted. It didn't make any difference of course.

Miller seems to have been a sincere man. Can we say the same of Camping? Is it even faintly defensible for anyone today to build a doomsday doctrine based on the symbolic numbers in ancient texts, Hebrew, Greek or Mayan for that matter? Miller thought so, but he had few of the advantages available to those of us living today. Even a moron in a hurry now knows the Bible can't be read aside from some basic critical qualifications, just ask Al Mohler.

And Camping had the clear example of Miller's failure, along with a host of similar predictions since.

Now he's adopted the Miller strategy: He made a bit of a mistake by failing to factor in x. But no worries, it's still all good. And land-sakes, he's even come up with an October date! The 21st!

Unlike 1844, when it took time to spread "the good word" of the End, today news is communicated as it happens. Miller's final prediction is the one we all remember. But Camping has fired his cannon early, and the whole world heard it. His supporters have already spent their savings on billboards for the wrong date.

Miller was merely self-deluded; Camping is a fool.


  1. I fully agree, and I noticed he has redesigned his site as I wrote only minutes ago on my blog -

  2. If Harold Camping is a fool, he seems to be a rich one.

    He lied and then he took the money.

    Today, I finally got the book I ordered, The Psychopath Test: A Journey through the Madness Industry by Jon Roson.

    I don't actually know enough about Harold Camping, but I do about that othergroup of frauds who exhibit all the behaviors associated with sociopaths and psychopaths.

    So I know that they are one or the other, but I know that they qualify as one of them.

    In the end, they are criminals who keep getting away with what they do because people are paralyzed by doubt.

    It's too bad that the penalty for false prophets from the Old Testament isn't legal today.

    It's too bad we don't have men of the quality of Benjamin Netanyahu, who gave the address to the United States Congress today, while the President was off to Ireland.

    If British Israelism were true, then Prime Minister Netanyahu is native born and could run to replace the current President of the United States.

    I wonder what the Armstrongists would do with that suggestion? The United States Israel Commonwealth in Prophecy.

    Wait awhile.

    Someone in the CoGs will come up with it.

    But that's not a prophecy.

  3. "Even a moron in a hurry now knows the Bible can't be read aside from some basic critical qualifications, just ask Al Mohler"

    Gavin, I think you underestimate what happens in the fundamentalist groups that want the Bible to be the literal, inerrant word of God.

    The text cannot be criticized. There's an overriding fear that Christ's return is eminent and anyone not witnessed to will be forever burning in hell. They are haunted by the end of the world and being told that they may face seeing those they failed to witness to be sent to hell.

    Because they cannot look at alternative views for fear of "falling away" they mine the texts for information that feeds their fears to spur them on in their endeavors to save "the lost".

    Most of them would not pick up any book that promote a possible alternative because they've received second hand knowledge about such things with a heavy warning label attached. They will remain safe within the confines of the their own apologists who will continue to affirm their current beliefs and warn them away from apostates like Bell.

    I'm not saying that Camping hasn't been entirely reprehensible. But I do believe his behavior understandable in the culture that produced him.

  4. Mickey,

    I think Gavin is only too aware of what happens when groups want the bible to be literal. :-)

    In fact, if you did a search for "proof texting" on this site, your browser would probably explode.

  5. @ Baywolfe - LOL! I agree that Gavin has a passionate stance against proof texting.

    But I think the issue I'm trying to get to (not very clearly, I admit) is that to truly believe as a fundamentalist requires a locked-in mindset.

    Proof-texting is the symptom not the cause of this type of worldview. The worldview is given first and then sacred texts (whichever you choose) are used to support them.

    Most of these folks learned about the emminent end of the world, heaven and hell before they could read the Bible for themselves. Often from parents who were very anxious to ensure their child's salvation at the earliest opportunity. Their outlook was formed first and then the Bible used to provide support to what they had been taught. Implanted fears prevent them from looking at alternative interpretations or viewpoints. (Sounds familiar, eh?)

  6. The man who does "Behind the Scenes" daily reports on Family Radio actually expressed a more balanced view than Harold Camping.

    Last Monday he admitted some people were discouraged by what happened 21 May -- but added God's timing "is not always our timing."

    He noted some believers were disappointed when Jesus hadn't come back by the 60's A.D. But God "in His gracious forbearance" is allowing more time for people to turn to Him.

    Then that night, Harold Camping moved the goal post back instead.