Sunday evening Harold Camping passed away at the age of 92. Harold was the owner of Family Radio network of stations, and became famous for his missed prophecy about the coming of the Rapture, and impending Wrath of God in May and October of 2011.
When the prophecies became common knowledge through the thousands of billboards and advertisements worldwide, I openly mocked the prophecies in a humorous manner. I wrote a song about it. I organized a party for those who would be left behind, and got a handful of other people around the US to throw Left Behind parties. I even wrote a satirical blog piece, which some people believed was real.
When it was all said and done, and the world did not end, a very small number of people had given up everything for this hope of the second coming, Harold Camping had sold radio stations to pay for most of the advertising, which had popped up all over the world. He was a man who put his money where his mouth was. When asked about the fact that Jesus did not rapture anybody away, and what had happened that the world did not end, Harold Camping did not redefine the terms and start a new movement. He stated that he was “flabbergasted” that it did not happen, and faded into the distance. This seemed somewhat noble to me. Rather than following the traditions of false prophecies, which redefine themselves, and begin proselytizing under a new prophetic banner. Harold simply faded away after a brief, but honest acknowledgement about being wrong.
Old False Prophets of the Rapture don’t die, they are all camping at the gates of heaven waiting for the trumpet and the white horses to make sure they have the right place.
Harold Camping passed away at 92 on Sunday, December 15th 2013. Bless his heart. May his legacy remind us that while we are camping on the promises of God, we all need to hold our peculiar beliefs a little more loosely, and that it is okay to be flabbergasted, because we are all going to get something wrong. It would be good, if like Harold, we could humbly admit it.
5 thoughts on “Harold, Camping on the Promises of God”
Great post, Phil. It was sad to see these prophecies emerge as they did and quite disturbing that people invested so much in them. But as you say there was a nobility and honesty in his response to disconfirmation.
I’ve been writing a bit on this issue of how people react when prophecies fail on my own blog by looking at Leon Festinger’s book When Prophecy Fails. Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance has so much to offer in this field I feel.
Diolch yn fawr Dyfed.
I’ve been following your posts on Festinger’s book. I’ve been doing some writing on cognitive dissonance myself.
He didn’t acknowledge he was wrong, except on the date-setting. He hated the bride of Christ (the church) and never repented of that. This is his most serious error.
The non-repentance for an immanent return is the weakness of all pre-tribulational rapture theorists (theologians is too grand a word for most of them). Hating the “bride of Christ”? and which church is that, or are you referring to his general disdain for organized religion? That is something, which has been a point of contention for many people down through the ages. Not sure I can fault anyone for that no matter how much I disagree with them. Christianity has not always had a great track record of nobility.