Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The incredible shrinking god of Harold Camping

Flannery O'Connor -- Southerner, literary great and faithful Catholic -- once wrote to a friend that "these things are mysteries and that if they were such that we could understand them, they wouldn’t be worth understanding. A God you understood would be less than yourself."

That would reduce the deity of Family Radio's president, Harold Camping, to something on a subatomic level. You have to go pretty low to be understood by the 0-fer king of apocalyptic prognostication.

Monday was a day for irrationalizing in the Camping camp as the 89-year-old demonstrably false prophet explained that May 21 was a "spiritual" Judgment Day, and that we'll still all be Krispy Kritters come Oct. 21, just as he originally forecast.

Huh? As The Associated Press reporter no doubt discovered, a Camping you understand may well be a cause for alarm:

The globe will be completely destroyed in five months, he said, when the apocalypse comes. But because God's judgment and salvation were completed on Saturday, there's no point in continuing to warn people about it, so his network will now just play Christian music and programs until the final end on Oct. 21.

"We've always said May 21 was the day, but we didn't understand altogether the spiritual meaning," he said. "The fact is there is only one kind of people who will ascend into heaven ... if God has saved them they're going to be caught up."

It's not the first time the 89-year-old retired civil engineer has been dismissed by the Christian mainstream and has been forced to explain when his prediction didn't come to pass. Camping also prophesized the Apocalypse would come in 1994, but said later that didn't happen then because of a mathematical error.

Camping's hands shook slightly as he pinned his microphone to his lapel, and as he clutched a worn Bible he spoke in a quivery monotone about listeners' earthly concerns after giving away their possessions in expectation of the Rapture.

Family Radio would never tell anyone what they should do with their possessions, and those who did would cope, Camping said.

"We're not in the business of financial advice," he said. "We're in the business of telling people there's someone who you can maybe talk to, maybe pray to, and that's God."

But he said he wouldn't give away all his possessions ahead of Oct 21.

"I still have to live in a house, I still have to drive a car," he said. "What would be the value of that? If it is Judgment Day why would I give it away?"

WHILE THE GOD of Harold Camping might be infinitesimal, so as to be understood by your average loony, my God is as big as the universe. (And I don't claim to understand Him. At all.)

And this little piss-ant of a false prophet -- he who has wasted big money and caused such widespread grief for those foolish enough to heed his mad teachings -- is going to have a lot of explaining to do upon his End of Days.

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