Yesterday was a day of great amusement or great disappointment, depending on what side of the fence you’ve been on with this whole Doomsday/Judgment Day prediction by Evangelical Christian preacher and radio host Harold Camping. The 89 year old Camping has made these predictions in the past and each time he’s been wrong. But this time seemed to quite epic. It’s been reported that he spent over$1,000,000 on spreading the word by have billboards put up all over the world. Then you have individuals who believed very strongly in his prediction, so much so that some packed up their families, left their homes and jobs, and spent their life savings in preparation for Christ’s return. In the couple of weeks leading up to May 21st there have been news pieces from local news outlets all the way to CNN showing how believers were taking a grassroots approach to help spread Camping’s message by using their own money to fund the cost of materials such as flyers and religious tracts to try and warn people to be ready. But as it turned out we didn’t need to be ready for anything other than another Saturday afternoon.
The prediction that Camping made eventually came all the way down to a specific time when it would occur. Camping said that there would be a world wide earthquake that would happen at 6pm local time in each time zone and this would signal the beginning of the end. There would be thousands of people killed and the graves of the dead would be cast onto the earth and the faithful dead would rise from the grave and be taken to heaven while the rest of the bodies would be left to lay about the earth. But, at the same time that Camping expressed how the event would occur and how people needed to be warned and prepared, that they needed to beg for forgiveness from God, he made it clear that less than 14,000 people total would be taken up to heaven during the Rapture, living and dead. That’s a lot of people that might have spent time and money on Camping’s crazy notions that wouldn’t see the reward for it anyway.
Two stories that have come out in the news over and over about followers of Camping’s that always stand out in my head are the one about a 60 year old NYC Transit worker, Robert Fitzpatrick, and another about a Adrienne Martinez, a 27 year old prospective medical student. Fitzpatrick spent his live savings of $140,000 in order to create signs and literature to hand out in the city to warn people of the impending event. Martinez, a married mother with two year old child and one on the way, was planning to begin medical school but after hearing Camping’s radio show a year ago she and her husband decided to move from NYC to Orlando, FL. She gave up her dreams of medical school so they could study and read the Bible and spend time hanging out religious tracts to people. Martinez told NPR “We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won’t have anything left.”
During the day on Saturday the eyes of skeptics and non-believers turned to Camping and his radio station to get thoughts and reactions about what wasn’t happening. Camping’s offices were closed up tight and Camping wasn’t answering the door or phone as his home in Alameda, CA but neighbors told the press that they knew he was home. His daughter, Sue Espinoza, did talk to the press and told reporters that when she spoke to her father earlier in the day he told her he was “…a little bewildered that it didn’t happen” but that since it was still May 21st in California he was “hopeful”.
As a Pagan and a Witch I don’t believe in any of these End Times or Doomsday prophecies. I also don’t believe that the world is going to end on December 21, 2012 either. When that time comes we’re to see a changing of the Age (we’ll be coming out of the Age of Pisces and going into the Age of Aquarius). When 2012 comes things are going to change, for sure, but it’s not going to be the end of the world. The Age of Aquarius is a time that mystical thinkers believe will bring peace and enlightenment on a global scale and bring changes that will happen quickly. When it comes to transitioning ages some people transition easier than others; when we transition in 2012 those who are always in the mindset of peace, abundance, and joy will have less difficulty than those still stuck in the mentality of the previous age.
But, back to the failed Rapture of 2011. Camping used the Bible to predict this end of the world, but in the Bible we also see that no one can ever know when the return of Christ. Matthew 24:26 says “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” So that automatically has to have any Bible believing Christian question these Bible based predictions (or at least you’d think that). But when someone is charismatic, which many people seem to feel Camping is, they listen. Camping’s age and time studying and teaching the Bible also make people a little more willing to listen and believe him. And that’s a bit scary.
The question though is, what now? What now for the people that gave everything they had to this false prophet’s cause? What now for the families with children that turned their lives upside down because the “end was nigh”? And then there’s the test of faith that some of these people will go through in the process. I am so anxious to see how Camping is going to respond to those who have begun to express their anger about all of this.
And on a personal note, for all those who either emailed me or left comments so rude, disrespectful, and ignorant that I didn’t approve them to be up on the blog, I’d love to hear from you now about how you’re feeling.
Over the course of the evening I’ve been following the unfolding of the aftermath of this whole thing. Now things are going to get really interesting I think. Those who have invested their time and money into this cause only to see nothing come of it are still convinced that Judgment Day occurred on May 21st but that there was no need for the earthquakes or devastation because there wasn’t anyone worth saving. There are followers of the Doomsday prophecy who still believe that the world is going on end on October 21st. I’m going to bet that we haven’t seen the end of this and that as October starts to roll around we’ll be hearing more about the actual destruction of earth coming.
Camping talked to the press very briefly from his home saying he was “flabbergasted” that the Rapture didn’t take place and that on Monday he would have more to say (I guess he’ll be addressing this on the radio). There is a video attached to this article on Gawker that shows Robert Fitzpatrick, mentioned above, dealing with press and hecklers after the 6pm hour came and went without incident in Times Square.
In Salem during the month of October there are always Evangelicals and Born Again Christians handing out tracts, wearing signs, and trying to get people to convert. I can only IMAGINE what it’s going to be like this year if the world is supposedly still going to end in October.
And so the circus continues…