Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Doomsday!

This morning, I posted this piece at -- thought I'd repost it here.

Well, here we are. May 21, 2011.

Turned on CNN. Nothing mentioned about a rapture in New Zealand or the Pacific Rim. Business as usual. Lots of greetings of Happy Doomsday between commentators, but not much else.

Congratulations on your fifteen minutes of fame, Harold Camping. This has been quite a media spectacle. Although $72 million dollars manipulated out of the hands of people looking for answers does buy a lot of media.

I’ve been pretty vocal about my distaste for narcissists like Harold Camping. There are undoubtedly little children who belong to Camping’s followers who are waiting for the sky to open up and for Jesus to take them away.

It isn’t going to happen.

And when it doesn’t, these little children aren’t going to be given the answer that it is because Harold Camping is a charlatan who fooled their parents.

The answer isn’t going to be that Camping is a false prophet who doesn’t represent God.

The answer isn’t going to be that the sacrifices that your family made to raise that $72 million were all in vain. Sorry.

No. If we are to look historically at other cult leaders using the principles of thought reform, it will be because these little children did something wrong.

That Jesus Christ didn’t come back today was because, well, these poor people didn’t work hard enough to get Camping’s message out to the whole world.

I hurt for Camping’s followers.

We’ve all had moments in our lives when we have been vulnerable.

When we wanted black and white answers and easy understanding to hard questions.

We may not be attracted to a message like Camping’s. But there might be another person with easy answers that would work better in terms of what we already believe. And we’ll listen. And believe. And get sucked in.

And then we start opening up our wallets.

I am reminded of a man who chased moneychangers out of the temple with a bullwhip. Who claimed that we cannot serve both God and money. I share his sentiments. Instead of a bullwhip, we grabbed the modern-day equivalent – a camera.

This man also used to tell stories. Again, following precedent, we told a story.
That guy was pretty smart.

The fact that Harold Camping is on the radar of every major media outlet in the world tells us that the cult problem is indeed big. We’re all a little nervous about doomsday preachers.
As we all should be.

Sure, it’s fun to laugh at folks like Camping. We’ve all done our share of giggling around here. It helps us cope with a larger fact. That there are a lot of people spouting off spiritually sounding stuff that lead people down very dangerous paths.

So if you are the praying type, say one for those kids that have been born and raised in Camping’s group or other groups like his. There are many of them. It isn’t their fault.

Camping and his ilk won’t suffer a bit, but these people will suffer for the rest of their lives.

If you need help, or you know someone that needs help, we’ve come up with a list of resources of people that are trustworthy. They aren’t going to try to convert you to their brand of faith. They are going to listen and care. Most of them have been there.

These organizations and good people operate on a shoestring budget with giant hearts. Their books are available at your public library or through interlibrary loan, or you can support their work and buy a couple.

Thanks for reading. Now go and have an amazing weekend!

If you enjoyed this blogpost, you might like "So What Happens On May 22nd?"  And you might like a film that I created with my friend Storme Wood called Paradise Recovered.  We're currently seeking distribution and have some good prospects.  Will keep you posted.

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