It's almost the end of the world…maybe

The hype surrounding the May 21, 2011 end of the world message is gaining media attention.  I suppose that is part of the goal.  If the world is about to end, you’d want as many people to hear about it as possible.  But I think there may be a good way to determine whether even the proponents of this message are convinced by it.

There was one fellow who spent his life savings in preparation of this apocalyptic event.  I think that is a mistake, and come May 22 he will too.  But this type of behavior is a legitimate litmus test for what people truly believe.  If Harold Camping and his league of followers were fully convinced, they too should have prepared for this event by perhaps selling their homes and using the money for charity.  Surely people left behind will be hungry after the rapture, or need a place to live.  I suspect Camping’s bank accounts are as full as they can be, and his bills are current.  So what does it say about the followers of this movement who have not emptied their accounts for the cause? 

Harken back to the Jehovah’s Witnesses list of failed prophesies.  They predicted the end of the world to come in 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975.  Eventually they abandoned setting specific dates for obvious reasons.  Many JWs left after 1975 because they had invested so much into this date, and unfortunately, many stayed with the Watchtower.  I suspect many of the 5/21’ers will be just as charitable as the faithful JWs who had not let failed prophesies get in the way of their religious leaders, despite Deuteronomy 18:22 (NASB) –

When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

If I remember correctly the organization used to offer free bumper stickers and pamphlets with their message.  And watching CNN in a waiting room this morning, I saw one of Camping’s adherents attempting to hand out literature in the street.  Of course most people walked by without taking it.  I would have gladly taken as many as they would give me, and I was thinking to myself when I first saw the offers for free merchandise that I had better grab it while I can, because Sunday morning it all heads to the shredder.  I’ll be kicking myself for passing up the future collector’s items.

Movements like this do a great disservice to Christianity.  Many skeptics lump all who claim the Christian banner in the same lot.  Camping, Fred Phelps, Terry Jones, and every other “Christian” noise maker serves as a beacon for critics of Christianity to point in order to caricature Christian beliefs.  This is just one more movement I will have to distance from Christianity to skeptics who are hesitant to distinguish between classical Christianity and fringe movements which claim the name.

Comments

  1. Terrance H. says:

    “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36

    That guy milked quite a bit of money from gullible people. I think I read his little church is worth over a million now.

    Racket.

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