What happens when you make a bold public prediction—say, for the end of the world—and it doesn’t come true? Don’t analyze it or even acknowledge it; just pretend it didn’t happen and get on with life. Maybe no one will notice.
That’s what Harold Camping is hoping about his May 21 prediction of the Rapture and October 21 prediction of the end of the world.
For a stock broker or farmer or scientist—professions where evidence is important—repeatedly and reliably missing predictions would demand a change in profession. But within Christianity, this kind of inept song and dance seems to work. Indeed, Camping gets hubris points for claiming that the non-Rapture on May 21 only seemed to be a non-event and that God actually did judge the world.
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened (Winston Churchill)
Camping’s Family Radio web site now has deleted all references to its embarrassing and awkward predictions.
Maybe that was part of the plan. Maybe they served their purpose in getting recruits, donations, and PR, and the ministry can move on to whatever’s next. Maybe Camping’s been ahead of us all the time, knowing exactly how this would play out and that the rules of evidence don’t apply with Christianity.
[Update 11/1/11: In an October 30 article “Family Radio Founder Harold Camping Repents, Apologizes for False Teachings“, The Christian Post reports that Camping has retracted his claims about the end times. “Camping confessed, after decades of falsely misleading his followers, that he was wrong and regrets his misdeeds.”
Camping’s Family Radio site has a recording of him backpedaling from his predictions.
Now, if he would only give back the money he received due to those nonsensical teachings …]
Photo credit: Wikimedia
- For more background on the prediction: Only 21 More Shopping Days Till the End of the World!
- For background on other (failed) end times predictions: End of the World (Again)
Selective memory and wishful thinking are the only things that have kept religion in business all these thousands of years. Somebody needs to create a machine that simultaneously smacks all the world’s believers over the head with a rubber chicken and screams, “WAKE THE FUCK UP!” in their faces.
And yet you’ve got events like this (or the Pope’s condemnation of condoms in Africa or the priest pedophilia scandal or …) that doesn’t seem to wake people up.
I guess we just keep fighting the good fight. Thanks for the comment.
Unfortunately, there will always be people who make Christianity a joke, like Camping.
All the more ‘reason’ we have to think and act for ourselves in the midst of the crazies.
Glad he finally apologized. Lot’s of energy and money wasted, agreed.