No Apologies or even Admission of Failure from Camping

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

Related posts:

End of the World (Again)

Many years marked on a parchment, and then crossed offHey gang!  This has been great fun, but today is the last day for this blog.  Of course, that’s because this is the last day for everything.  God ends the world today.

I hope you took advantage of my “Only 21 More Shopping Days Till the End of the World” post and got those nagging last-minute items off your to-do list.  (If you need background on why today is the grand finale, check out that post.)

The parchment above is a relic showing some of many, many failed attempts at predicting the end of the world, going all the way back to the gospel story itself, in which Jesus says,

Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.

It’s been close to 2000 years since those “standing here” reportedly heard those words.  Oops!

So, there won’t be a tomorrow tomorrow … unless, of course, this is just the latest in a long list of pathetic, groundless predictions for the end of the world.

In which case, c’mon back for more polite but pointed critiques of Christianity!

Artwork credit: Kyle Hepworth

Related posts and links:

  • Check out Ask an Atheist” has a photo of Seattle Atheists’ end-of-the-world sandwich board.
  • The Skeptics Annotated Bible has long list of gospel predictions of the imminent end.
  • Lest we forget” is a video with clips of Camping’s claims.
  • Jessica Fostvedt, “Doomsday, Apocalypse, and Rapture, Oh my!” Scientific American, 10/7/11.
  • Stephanie Pappas, “Preacher still says Oct. 21 for end of world,” MSNBC, 10/14/11.
  • Benjamin Radford, “10 Failed Doomsday Predictions,” LiveScience, 11/04/09.

Only 21 More Shopping Days Till the End of the World!

That’s right, boys and girls—the world will end one month from today on October 21, 2011.  There’s not much time left to finish those nagging last-minute chores!

Of course I’m referring to Harold Camping’s predicted Rapture on May 21 and the end of the world 153 days* later.  Not a lot happened on the “Rapture” and, as Armageddons go, the one we’re in right now seems quite mild.  Camping’s predictable backpedaling reframed May 21 as “an invisible judgment day.”

Camping’s Family Radio organization came out of this fiasco financially strong, but many of his followers spent their retirement savings to spread the word during the run-up to May 21.  Camping has done nothing to correct the harm he’s caused, and some have called for a fraud investigation.

Camping hasn’t learned from his public humiliation and is holding fast to his date for the end of the world.  He said, “It won’t be spiritual on October 21st.  The world is going to be destroyed all together, but it will be very quick.”**

Many Christians, embarrassed that Camping spoke for their religion, quoted Matthew 24:36 to argue that Camping is unable to make a prediction about the end.  In this verse, Jesus says:

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Christians also quote another verse: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.…  Destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman” (1 Thessalonians 5:2–3).  But Camping can quote the very next verse:

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

Aha—the true Christian like Camping apparently can know the end!

Or maybe the Bible is simply a sock puppet that can be made to say anything.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Continue reading

Check Out “Ask an Atheist”!

What time is it?  Is it between noon on Friday 9/2 and noon Saturday 9/3?  Then check out the Ask an Atheist “BlogTV Marathon II: the Son of the Curse of the Penultimate Reckoning”!  Yes, that’s the Ask an Atheist radio show and podcast that highlighted nutty Harold Camping’s not-so-accurate prediction of the Rapture with its weekly “Countdown to Backpedaling” update.

Here’s what they’re up to:

We need to pay the bills to keep our godless heathen voices in the media, and to that end, we’re announcing our second BlogTV 24-hour marathon event. That’s right, we’re going to deprive ourselves of sleep from noon on Friday, September 2nd, until noon on Saturday, September 3rd in an attempt to entertain you, answer questions, interact with our listeners, debate, and discuss.

It’s like being invited to the cool kids’ party, except instead of cool kids, it’s the cast and crew and friends of Ask an Atheist! Come join us as we host our next BlogTV event! Even if you’re thousands of miles away, you can participate in this one!

For those of you who can’t make it in person, join us on BlogTV as we take questions from the audience, and slowly entertain you to our deaths over a non-stop period of 24 hours.

Contribute your time, enthusiasm and/or money to help Ask an Atheist continue on the air and on the Internet!

I’ll be hanging out for part of the time.  Hope you can check it out!  More.