Monday, May 23, 2011

We need to pray for Harold Camping and his followers.

As you may have noticed, the world did NOT end Saturday night.  And, for the most part, I think people are pretty okay with that.  I agree with the mentality of, "Even so, come now Lord Jesus," but that doesn't mean I'm in a hurry to leave this world.  There's still a good bit I would like to do, and I'm not disappointed that I'll have a little bit more time to do it in.

But there are a lot of people who are very, very disappointed.  Most notably, those poor misguided souls who truly believed the Rapture was going to roll around at 6:00 Saturday night.  Many of Harold Camping's (the May 21st Doomsday predictor) followers spend through their savings, racked up credit card debt, and moved their families across the country to spread the message of Jesus's immediate return.  Unfortunately, their faith was misplaced, and they were left broken and disillusioned.

See, I'm not going to say that forsaking all worldly possessions to spread the Gospel is in any way a bad thing.  But when you're doing it because of the prophesy of one flawed human man, you're going to be bitter and broken-hearted when his sayings prove false.

I also worry for the type of person who so quickly embraces a doctrine that promises quick relief from life on Earth.  While our time on this planet is a race, and a struggle, and something through which we strive, it's really not all bad.  There's family and love and friends and church.  I'm afraid that someone who only dedicates their life to Jesus when they want to get off the planet right away is probably already a good bit depressed with their life, and therefore even more susceptible to rash acts when their hopes are dashed.

As for Harold Camping himself, I don't think he's a cult leader or a charlatan.  I think he's an old, confused man.  He's 89, and has spent far too much of his life focusing on the end of times.  And he really seemed to genuinely believe this was going to be it.  He left himself no leeway in interviews, wouldn't even entertain the possibility of the world continuing to the 22nd.  In the days leading up to the 22nd, he offered all his published works to be ordered for free through his radio station's website.  That's not the actions of someone trying to rip people off.  Harold Camping deluded no one so severely as he deluded himself.  And I doubt anyone is suffering the shame and disappointment of the world's continued existence so strongly as him.

So, as Christians, we need to be in prayer for Harold Camping and his followers.  We need to show them that, no, the world didn't end, but that doesn't mean Jesus let them down, it just means that you can't put your trust into men, who are fallible.  We need to show them that you can still live a good, Christian life in your day to day, but keep one eye turned, watching the skies.

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