Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Doubling down

The Pied Piper of Oakland goes all in:
OAKLAND, Calif. – A California preacher who foretold of the world's end only to see the appointed day pass with no extraordinarily cataclysmic event has revised his apocalyptic prophecy, saying he was off by five months and the Earth actually will be obliterated on Oct. 21...

Through chatting with a friend over what he acknowledged was a very difficult weekend, it dawned on him that instead of the biblical Rapture in which the faithful would be swept up to the heavens, May 21 had instead been a "spiritual" Judgment Day, which places the entire world under Christ's judgment, he said.
As I have mentioned before, the Jehovah's witnesses made exactly the same prophetic mistake back in 1914 and suffered the same disappointment. They even came back with the same response: I was right, it was just spiritual instead of physical*. It's the last refuge of those who would slander God before they would publicly admit error. But it is really a nice touch that Camping's new date is so close - after two strikes, a lot of people would have wised up and pushed the day back a little more. On the other hand, he's 89; odds are climbing that his judgment day is the one at hand, and this will give everyone one more chance to pile on before he goes away for good.

But I have noted one angle to the stories today: "Oh, his poor followers. They spent squillions and now they have nothing."  While I'm sure they are being written from the 'bad Harold' perspective rather than out of genuine concern for the followers' financial well-being, let me be the first to say that compassion, at least for the money, is wholly unnecessary. They gave their money away, freely, and if they want more, they need to get a job**. That they gave it to a false prophet means they need to get wise and get a job. It's like the man who bets his house on a first five at the roulette wheel.  Sorry you lost, next time don't be stupid. And get a job.

As Peter noted, "There shall be false teachers among you...And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." The atheist "rapture parties," the mocking of God, those are 'by reason' of the false prophets Peter mentions, men like Harold Camping.

But for those followers of Camping who gave your goods to spread his false message, now that you are undeceived***, you need to deal with your part in the evil that he did and, it appears, will continue to do. Once the false prophet is exposed, it is time to double down or repent. Harold Camping is doubling down. What are you going to do?

* I love the smell of bullshit in the morning. It smells like victory.
** When Jesus told the rich young ruler to give all he had to the poor, they both understood the latter would then be broke. It sort of goes with giving stuff away. Jesus did not consider that to be much of a problem.
*** Or at least have no excuse to remain deceived.


Professor Hale said...

Further, giving all your stuff away in the expectation you won't need it any more is no sacrifice at all and therefore no virtue. Giving your stuff away in the expectation you will suffer without it is virtuous. Camping's followers would have been just as well off if they piled all their stuff together and tossed a match onto it.

JediforGod said...

'...[I]nstead of the biblical Rapture in which the faithful would be swept up to the heavens, May 21 had instead been a "spiritual" Judgment Day, which places the entire world under Christ's judgment, he said.'

So...if I was judged on May 21st, am I allowed to do what I want until October 21st? Or is that just the day in which God started keeping tabs, so all of that church-going was a waste of time?

Seriously, what is a "spiritual" Judgment Day even supposed to be?

CJ said...

I'm about 1/3 of the way out of Seventh Day Adventism anyway, and realizing the denomination was founded on similar nonsense is pushing me out that much faster.

El Borak said...

I went through one of those free SDA bible studies a few years ago, and actually thought their take on Daniel was well done (it's pretty close to Isaac Newton's take, if I recall correctly, but it's been some years). OTOH, their emphasis on Ellen G. White was a little creepy and you are correct that Adventism arises out of Millerism and the Great Disappointment.

CJ said...

Yeah, the newer books explicitly reference Isaac Newton. They're pretty solid on Daniel 1-7. It gets bad in Daniel 8; that's where they get the Investigative Judgment fig leaf that's used to cover up the Great Disappointment.

Essentially, Jesus didn't come to earth, he moved to the Most Holy Place in the sanctuary in heaven and began investigating everyone who ever lived to see if they're gonna make it or not. Once he comes to your name, your fate is sealed based on His judgment at that time. You don't know when your number comes up, of course.

bob k. mando said...


El Borak said...

Man, I've been going to the wrong church. Mine doesn't even play Iron Maiden*.

* Though I know the lead guitarist can lay down some pretty good Metallica. I've heard it through my living room floor a few times.