Thursday, May 26, 2011


Camping It Up Again


It's the "I was almost right" argument.

May 21st, 2011 -- Judgment Day. A good person would be raptured up to heaven, eternal salvation, but an unsaved one would simply perish, his consciousness wiped away forever.

Instead of the whole world falling apart at the same time, May 21st would be a methodical doomsday, step by step. Starting at the international dateline, each time zone would experience great earthquakes at 6 PM local time.

Or so claimed Family Radio President Harold Camping who sat at home on that fateful day, waiting for news from the other side of the world about God's judgment marching along the globe, each time zone a falling domino.

Then nothing happened.

So Camping went into seclusion while some of his followers were pissed off, including the ones that spent their own money to spread the world about doomsday through such outlets as billboards, books, and even a lit sign on top of a car.

But Camping is back. He says he was wrong -- sorta. You see he looked over his calculations and decided he was off by five months. Be assured that the world will end on October 21st.

And what about his May 21st prediction? Camping says he was almost right. That day was a spiritual Judgment Day that placed all of us under Christ's judgment. Hey, is that fair? Shouldn't there have been a mystical sign on that day? We can't just take Camping's word for it. In 1994 his first doomsday prediction didn't come to pass. Note to God: Get a better messenger.

So May 21st was Judgment Day in a sense. Doomsday is still a'coming.

This bit sounded familiar to me. So I checked and I was right.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let's travel back to 19th Century and meet the Millerites. They were the followers of William Miller who prophesied the world was going to end sometime between March 21st, 1843 and March 21st, 1844. (What is it about the 21st of the month that lends itself to an End Times date?) But nothing happened, especially on the latter date.

So a new date was determined: April 18th, 1844. More nothing. So the Millerites decided that they had entered a "tarrying time," that is, a time of waiting for Christ to come down from the clouds.

Then a Millerite preacher named Samuel J. Snow did his calculations and Shazam! -- doomsday was going to hit on October 22nd, 1844. Guess what happened? Clue: that date is known as the Great Disappointment.

Three strikes, you're out.

But ye of little faith -- please listen. According to one group of Millerites something did happen on October 21st, 1844. Miller's prophecy was based on a line from the bible, Daniel 8:14-8:14:

"And he answered him,* ‘For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.’ "

The sanctuary was assumed to be the Earth and the restoration was a cleansing. But that assumption was in error, said this group of Millerites. The cleansing was done in heaven. (Gee, I didn't know that heaven could get so untidy and dirty. Oxymoron: pigsty heaven.) From this group grew a new movement, the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

So history repeats itself. "Tarrying time," "heavenly cleansing," and now "spiritual Judgment Day." The common denominator: all three have to be taken on faith.

Or be taken with a strong dose of cognitive dissonance.

3 comments:

Marvin the Martian said...

Sometimes I think my whole life has been tarrying time.

Doug said...

Our American educational system lets us down again! If only these prophets could do math properly we might get a solid prediction right.

I bet some Chinese Buddhist could get it, but is not the applicable faith. Divine-rony.

X. Dell said...

I think we should throw a huge, debaucherous party on October 20.

Methinks he'll keep guessing until his own personal world ends.