Going Camping – apologies and religious demagogy

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Last week, our very own San Francisco Bay Area theocratic comedy club – better known as ‘Family Radio’ – with its front man Harold Camping, had produced more comedy gold with Camping’s latest recantation and apology for his previous doomsday predictions.

In a previous article, I have detailed just how laughable Camping’s predictions were in the first place, and how laughable it is that the only difference between Camping and any other honest Christian is that Camping simply put a date on the canonical and ludicrous Christian story of the End Times. In other words, if you are the type of person who can believe such a demented man made fantasy in the first place (as any honest Christian supposedly does), then putting a simple date on this fantastical legend really isn’t THAT big of a stretch. Conventional Christians really are just Harold Campings that have never put a date on their mad eschatological dreams.

There is, of course, nothing surprising about Camping’s bizarre predictions not coming to fruition; nor are the subsequent recantations and apologies of this bizarre man very surprising. No, what is surprising is the fact that people actually put their faith in this overrated mammal in the first place, and that some still do.

This is not a question of forgiving someone for making a mistake (or numerous mistakes in this case) but trusting his judgment and valuing his opinions from then on. Even if you were utterly convinced by this man before May 21 or October 21, what could possibly make you still trust him after his predictions were so utterly falsified? How could anyone ever value anything this sad person ever said after failing so miserably?

Asking forgiveness for past mistakes, while still claiming credibility and authority in the present, strikes me as a bit familiar. Where might we have seen a worldwide theocratic organization that claimed infallibility while spreading ludicrous stories and committing horrible atrocities – only to later apologize for them and claim that it is infallible all over again? Where can we still see old men who had to apologize for past genocides and persecutions, committed in the name of their religious sect, legislating modern injunctions regarding birth control and abortion rights?

Yes indeed, the reason why religious establishments, and religious individuals, criticize people like Harold Camping is because people like Camping make them look bad. Camping is a simple example of religion (Christianity, in this case) being taken at face value. Muslims face the same type of embarrassment when the issue of Jihadi suicide bombing comes up, and Jews have to contend with it in light of messianic settlers who try to claim that lands belonging to other people were actually promised to them by Yahweh.
People like Harold Camping are not some abomination of what religion is supposed to be because, for starters, who gets to determine what is “supposed to be” in the first place?
Harold Camping is no more than a slightly warped mirror of what Christianity is, and most Christians rightfully try to avoid looking straight at him because what they inevitably see is but a slightly warped variation of their very own reflections.

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