Saturday, May 21, 2011

Harold Camping, Family Radio, and Common Sense

I take Matthew 7:1 quite seriously. My job is not to judge others - thank God for that.

I think it's okay to note some of Mr. Harold Camping's track record and recent activities, though. Harold Camping and his Family Radio enterprise hit the 'silly side' news this week, with his latest prediction for End Times. Which were supposed to kick off today.

He's still got a few hours left, over by the International Dateline, so Mr. Camping may be right. I don't think so, though: and I've been over that before.

I ran into an interesting - and perhaps a trifle cynical - article in that I think sheds light on Family Radio, Mr. Camping, and part of American culture.1

Turns out, Mr. Camping said that End Times was coming, back in 1994. When the deadline passed with no fireworks, he kept plugging along with his non-profit outfit.

Non-profit, but apparently fairly lucrative.

I have no problem with an individual or organization being wealthy, by the way. What matters, I think, is what we do with what we've got. (September 27, 2010)

Back to Mr. Camping and Family Radio.

Some of his employees don't take his predictions seriously. Some do.

And, as has happened with other 'End Times' predictions, some folks took Mr. Camping seriously: and acted as if they didn't have to plan past today.

I think that "memento mori" - Latin for 'remember your death,' more or less - makes sense. If done with common sense. I've been over that before, too. (May 2, 2011) Basically, I think it's a good idea to remember that I don't have endless time to work with: but that I can't know how long I have left.

Sadly, some folks who think Mr. Camping is right have bought luxury cars, gone on fancy vacations, most likely because they figured they wouldn't have to pay for anything after today.

I think that was a mistake. A big one. But I also think that Mr. Camping is wrong about today being Judgment Day.

The odds are, I think, that folks who spent money like there's no tomorrow will have opportunities to contemplate the nature of wealth and wisdom. So in a way, Mr. Camping has done them a favor.

I think there are better ways of teaching, though.

As for what's going on inside Mr. Camping's head? I have no idea. I hope he sincerely believes what he's been saying, and I'll leave it at that. Matthew 7:1 and all that.

Related posts:
In the news:

A tip of the hat to Steveology, for a reminder of Mr. Camping's 1994 prediction.

1Excerpt from this week's financial news:
"...Harold Camping and his devoted followers claim a massive earthquake will mark the second coming of Jesus, or so-called Judgment Day on Saturday, May 21, ushering in a five month period of catastrophes before the world comes to a complete end in October.

"At the center of it all, Camping's organization, Family Radio, is perfectly happy to take your money -- and in fact, received $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009. Camping founded Family Radio, a nonprofit Christian radio network based in Oakland, Calif. with about 65 stations across the country, in 1958.

"But not even all of his own employees are convinced that the world is ending on Saturday.

"In fact, many still plan on showing up at work on Monday.

"...'I don't believe in any of this stuff that's going on, and I plan on being here next week,' a receptionist at their Oakland headquarters told CNNMoney.

"A program producer in Illinois told us, 'We're going to continue doing what we're doing.'

"According to their most recent IRS filings, Family Radio is almost entirely funded by donations, and brought in $18 million in contributions in 2009 alone....

"...Camping first inaccurately predicted the world would end in 1994. Even so, he has gathered even more followers -- some who have given up their homes, entire life savings and their jobs because they believe the world is ending.

"Esther, the receptionist in the Oakland office, said some of her most extreme coworkers have recently driven up in fancy cars or taken their families on nice vacations as a last hurrah.

"But overall, she estimates about 80% of her coworkers don't even agree with Camping's May 21 forecast. She has stuck to her work as usual, booking appointments and filling up calendars for her coworkers well beyond the May 21 date.

"Meanwhile, some employees are questioning the meaning of Harold Camping's goodbye letter sent to the Family Radio mailing list last week...."


Anonymous said...

take harold camping off the radio!! People souls are nothing to be played with! No wonder people can not beleive in JESUS CHRIST when you have false prophets around like camping!!.He is leading people right into HELL with his teachings!!!

Brian Gill said...


I think that Mr. Camping is doing harm with his goofy predictions. On the other hand, censorship also has negative consequences.

As for restricting the right of a person to practice religious beliefs. Even if I wasn't a member of a religious minority in the country I call home, I couldn't support that. (April 27, 2011)

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