Me and Camping’s World will End Predictions: A Personal Story.

Is the world going to end tomorrow, May 21, 2011?

No.

This is all déjà vu all over again for me.

Back in 1994 Harold Camping convinced thousands of people that the world would come to an end and I got a media coup of sorts. Camping agreed to come on my nationally syndicated, Chicago-based talk show to explain his views.

That wasn’t the coup part.

The coup was when Camping came on the show to explain his miscalculations within days after his date for the world’s end came and went. He was wrong then and he’s doing it again.

For those who have followed Camping, if I recall correctly,  his father was a brilliant analytical mind that played a major role in planning and engineering the first stages of the Los Angeles Freeway system.

The engineering gene was passed on to Harold and it became the basis for his way of interpreting scripture. Harold e earned a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He thinks of the Bible as one large puzzle in which all the pieces fit together if you just figure out how to organize them.

Add to that a fascination with numerology and you get an engineer and mystical mathematician imposing his talents on a text written in words not equations. The Bible is not a horoscope to be interpreted by the person with the magic decoder, and then applied to specific life decisions of others.

The Bible is a love story told in a variety of literary genres: poetry, history, narrative and at times apocalyptic. We read the Bible literarily not literally. There is a big difference.

Camping’s sincere love for the Bible and God is apparent and his teaching is calm, delivered in a folksy drone that many find mesmerizing. His charisma is not typical but it is real and a lot of people trust him explicitly.

He represents the law of unintended consequences as applied to the confluence of the Reformation and the Gutenberg press. Proclaiming the Bible as authoritative and then printing the Bible so each person can have their own copy was not a bad thing. But Biblical authority is misunderstood when applied to our individual interpretations. The Bible is authoritative; our interpretations are not.

Harold doesn’t agree with that.

He thinks he’s solved the riddle and he’s convinced thousands of people to organize their lives around the world ending May 21, 2011. Homes have been sold, jobs resigned, children’s college funds drained ~ lives will be devastated by Camping’s arrogant folly.

This has happened throughout history when trusting folks have fallen prey to convincing, but false prophets.

The Bible does teach that the world will come to an end. But Jesus also said no one knows the time and day, not even Harold Camping.

 

 

Posted in Staublog in May 20, 2011 by | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to Me and Camping’s World will End Predictions: A Personal Story.

  1. ST052011 | Dick Staub on May 20, 2011 at 8:40 am

    […] Harold Camping is wrong. The world will not come to an end tomorrow. The Bible is a love story told in a variety of literary genres: poetry, history, narrative and at times apocalyptic. We read the Bible literarily not literally. There is a big difference. Read More. […]

  2. Doug Koop on May 20, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Is May 21 the end of the world? Not likely. Rather, it’s no more or less likely on May 21 than any other day either before or after that particular date.

  3. Sean Shimmel on May 21, 2011 at 5:02 am

    Greetings from Chicagoland

    What an insightfully kind rebuttal. At once warning yet honoring. Keep up this rarity of communication when everyone else merely clucks or snickers.

    Sean

  4. Briana l. on February 11, 2015 at 4:47 am

    The world didn’t end.. By the way 🙂

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