Friday, May 20, 2011

Countdown to nothing

Lessons unlearned

In light of the imminent “end of the world,” as predicted by the venerable Harold Camping of Family Radio, lots of people are aware that Mr. Camping is trying to redeem himself (there may be a joke in there) in the aftermath of his failed end-of-the-world prediction in 1994. What you may not know is that Camping got it wrong twice with that earlier prediction. He confidently proclaimed that his mathematical computations proved Jesus would return on September 6, 1994. On September 7, an entirely intact but chagrined Camping reported he had made a mistake (duh!) and was checking his math. (The “mathematical” computations always crack me up. It's just random-ass arithmetic with strained interpretations of numbers and phrases from the Bible.) The penitent prophet banged some more keys on his calculator and revised his prediction: Now the world would end between September 15 and 17!

On September 18, the world had another good chuckle and Harold Camping passed into a period of relatively benign neglect. Until he came out with his prediction about May 21, 2011, the world was content to ignore him. He and his minions have insisted on our renewed attention, however, plastering the countryside with expensive billboards and distributing literature about Christ's soon return. But what more is there to say about this delusional prophet and those foolish enough to follow him?

Nothing.

13 comments:

Devin Baillie said...

I'm reasonably certain that the predicted date is May 21 (tomorrow), rather than May 22 (Sunday).

Zeno said...

Quite right, Devin. A typo. Now corrected.

João Paulo said...

I'll let you know if something weird happens at 6pm here.

Zeno said...

Weird things happen here all the time, João Paulo, but they usually involve the college girls living next door. (I will be so glad when they move out. Their parties sound like the end of the world -- and not in a good way.)

Gene O'Pedia said...

Hey, it's May 21 and I'm still here! This could mean that the rapture didn't happen. But a better interpretation is that the ratpure did, indeed, occur right on schedule. The fact that everyone's still here explains the human condition perfectly.

Ray said...

Well just hold on there a moment... I think we may be on to something, since the server at familyradio.com is no longer responding. It must have been raptured - there's no other possible explanation. Praise the lord!

Zeno said...

Thanks for that insight, Ray. Perhaps Camping and his followers are now all playing "I've been raptured" and are refusing to maintain their website, answer phones, or give interviews. (How long will they hold out?)

Karen said...

It's a sad aspect of the human condition that there were people who gave up their jobs, gave their life's saving to pay for the billboards, and will now be left unemployed and destitute because of this con man. Sure, those were stupid things to do, but some people just aren't smart enough to realize this. I feel sorry for those people, and I really can't laugh at them.

Ray said...

Karen - I've been listening to this clown on and off for several years (I don't know why, really - it's a bit like not being able to pull your eyes away from an impending accident, I suppose), and it simply astonishes me that so many people who call him are thoroughly taken in by what he claims. Even so, I was really surprised to see the extent to which this had taken hold - it's just mind-boggling.

If nothing else, it at least is a great example of how easy it is to get the gullible to act against their own self-interest - a dubious talent the Republicans have honed in recent years.

Jim said...

Too funny! The people that were dumb enough to believe an 89 yr old geezer and give away everything they own should not be given sympathy bc they deserve their drastic actions and the consequences. why would someone believe a man that already ruined lives in '94? It just amazes me how many dummies are out there. A good bowl of common sense always starts off the day right. Old man river needs to realize that the end of the world can't be mathmatically set to an exact hour on a day.

Disturbingly Openminded said...

I wonder if the newly destitute will now have a claim on that famous Christian charity I've heard so much about. Or will the taxpayers pick up the bill for the voluntarily poor?

Benji said...

I checked the Family Radio website today. It's got the normal front page up, with nothing by way of explanation for the non-Rapture.

Tualha said...

Oh, there's worse than that, Karen. I suppose most of us have read about Lyn Benedetto by now.

I wonder if parents who gave all their money away will lose their children? They should. Not that most "child welfare" systems are much better, from what I've seen. (Any input on that, Zeno? Did you get much of a sense of how the California system works when you were in government?)