Gawker has the beginning of the expected backpedaling. And the backpedaling is… depressingly unsurprising.
As we, most religious people on Earth, and everyone outside of a little multi-million dollar media conglomerate/winnebago borne cult expected, the moment the world was advertised to end came and went with the usual mediocrity.
A couple hours later, we partied our asses off, as you may have heard about, but really, that story is well told.
The story about how much of a jerk Harold Camping is remains, especially given his first statements about his eschatological 0 for 2 record.
The first things we heard from the Family Radio camp were surprisingly humble for a Christian media organization:
But on Sunday, almost 18 hours after he thought he’d be in heaven, there was Camping, “flabbergasted” in Alameda, wearing tan slacks, a tucked-in polo shirt and a light jacket.
Birds chirped. A gentle breeze blew. Across the street, neighbors focused on their yard work and the latest neighborhood gossip.
“I’m looking for answers,” Camping said, adding that meant frequent prayer and consultations with friends.
“But now I have nothing else to say,” he said, closing the door to his home. “I’ll be back to work Monday and will say more then.”
Of course, after ruining families, retirement accounts, and being morally responsible for at least one attempted murder/suicide, he can’t leave well enough alone.
We were convinced that on May 21, God would return in a very physical way by bringing in an earthquake and ushering the final five months of judgement. When we look at it spiritually, we find that he did come.
Apparently someone, somewhere, clapped and wished hard enough, and Jesus came back. Well, clapped and wished, or spent millions of dollars to create Camping’s (and incidentally, our) time in the limelight. So, the end arrived, but neglected to kill us all or even manifest in any meaningfully testable way.
In another article, we hear from not Camping himself, but someone else attached to him:
Family Radio’s special projects coordinator, Michael Garcia has said he believed the delay was God’s way of separating true believers from those willing to doubt what he said were clear biblical warnings.
“Maybe this had to happen for there to be a separation between those who have faith and those who don’t,” he said. “It’s highly possible that our Lord is delaying his coming.”
Once again, we find that when the claims of religion fail to manifest, their lack is a “test of faith”, rather than evidence against these claims. It happens so often that talking about it has become droll. The people pointing these failures out are seen as the source, rather than the detector, of these insanities. But the truth remains: without special pleading, these claims are nothing but fancy mouth noises.
Sadly, these failures marketed as tests of faith suggest a new course of action for Camping’s followers:
We’re not going to pass out any more tracts. We’re not going to put up any more billboards — in fact they’re coming down right now… The world has been warned. The world is under judgment… We’re just learning we have to look at all of this more spiritual [sic]. But it won’t be spiritual on October 21.
They’re going to hole up. That’s good for the public, but potentially really, really bad for the followers of Harold Camping. I can say that this image brings up some very scary imagery from the past, but I hope they only stand as cautionary tales and not an indicator of things to come.
Meanwhile, the world remains under judgment, according to this religious iconoclast. How is this noteworthy? According to these supernatural booster clubs, the world has always been under some sort of judgement, seconds away from disaster. Always, every day, again and again, a dark pall is cast over humanity and all of the time we’ve taken to try and build an understanding of each other, the world around us, and a civilization fit for the name.
How this is morally or psychically superior to a world judged only by the people who live in it is completely beyond me.
As fans of fiction and modern mythologies, Mike and many of our cast members talk about how they’d prefer to live in a world where magic and super powers exist, while understanding that they do not. As for myself, and in this circumstance, I find the truth far, far better than the fiction.
To be honest, some of us are a little tired of Harold Camping, and we wish that he would look for his own, near enough, personal end of the world and imagined judgement in peace and silence. Even so, the flaws in this saga are important and serve as a marker for the harm that magical thinking creates. So we will be here, continuing to count down, continuing to celebrate the earth’s continued existence– and the third failed prophecy, when the Mighty Camping will finally strike out.