Saturday, October 22, 2011

Judgment Day 2: Judge Harder

How could you not trust
a face like this?
Well folks, it looks like this is the end. In mere hours, our beloved Yahweh will send a global catastrophe the likes of which the world has never seen. Then Jesus will come down through the clouds to the sweet sound of trumpets, ushering his elect into hea—what's that? This was all supposed to happen yesterday? Never mind then, it looks like Harold Camping was wrong. Again.

Interestingly, though, things were a lot quieter and more timid this time around. This was probably in part because the group believes that no more souls could be saved after May 21st, so there was no need to continue the advertising blitz. But even among the faithful, the outlook was more cautious. Twitter's stream of incoherent rambling and irrelevant Bible verses, overwhelming three months ago, had slowed to a relative trickle. Prominent Camping follower Robert Fitzpatrick said he would spend his final day at home instead of preaching in Times Square. And most remarkably, Camping himself hedged his bets by using the word "probably" to describe his predicted apocalypse date, whereas before he had refused to even entertain the possibility of being wrong.

Naturally, though, the Campingites aren't ready to give up just because of a little thing like being proven wrong a fourth time (previously in 1988 and 1994 as well). They've already concocted an explanation that pushes the date back to this evening. And then there's this bit of ingenious cognitive dissonance resolution:
"And, even if the end of the world for some unknown or unsuspected reason does not come this year due to the frailties of our human understanding, that does not disprove everything we have taught; nor would it disprove the date of October 21, 2011, but it would simply mean that, in the Lord's providence, we were not granted a clear understanding of the nature of the happenings on October 21, but NOT THE DATE; the date has already been most assuredly proven[.]"
Even if they're wrong, they're right. It's fascinating stuff. If there's anything that following this story has taught me, is that there's no fact too obvious for the human mind to deny. I'll update this post if there are any further developments in the next few days.

Update: Camping released an audio message, maintaining that God is in control and will bring judgment day when he damn well pleases. He apologized for saying that no one could be saved after May 21, but not for wasting millions on advertising and gravely misleading thousands of people. According to The Christian Post, he doesn't think that the date can be known and has effectively retired as the head of Family Radio. The organization also issued repeated radio messages asking for more money to alleviate financial difficulties. They've driven their credibility into the ground, yet I'd still be surprised if their followers don't pay up.

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