COMMENTARY | So it looks like Saturday, May 21, is the end of the world. Harold Camping, the 89-year-old leader of the ministry Family Radio Worldwide, says that’s the end, reports LiveScience.com. Camping also predicted the end of the world in September 1994, so while he has experience at this, his track record is not good. These messages always managed to circulate in the past, but I didn’t even know about the 1994 prediction until yesterday. Thank goodness for the Internet and social networking. I can now find out about these things much more quickly. Seriously, though, this leads me to a few observations and questions about these predictions.
Like the Washington Post’s Jason Boyett, I worry about impressionable children who are exposed to this message and don’t know to question what they hear from adults. It’s tough enough being a kid without having to worry about the end of the world too. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in God, I believe that Christ is our savior, I believe God does indeed work in mysterious ways, and I believe God has a master plan. What I don’t believe is that The Bible is like a puzzle book that gives you all the clues to the end of time. Being trained as a civil engineer, I’m sure Camping is a very smart man. I don’t believe he is smart enough to see into the mind of God.
Which leads me to the point that Camping or anyone else predicting the end of the world will immediately lead me to question their credibility and character. The cynical side of me comes out and thinks this is all about fleecing the vulnerable and gullible out of their money. Whether it’s a donation for a quicker trip to heaven or funding the advertising for the end of the world “message,” such as the unemployed woman from Colorado who used her part of her savings to advertise the end on a bus stop bench, it all sounds like a scam to take advantage of someone who trusts your judgment.
Lastly, I wonder how much of it is ego-driven. How can I get people to pay attention to me and be noticed? Camping’s group owns 48 radio stations in the United States and is broadcast to every continent. You need something to keep those listeners tuning in. There is nothing like the end of the world and the battle for your immortal soul to get your attention.
Like I said earlier, God has his plan, and he isn’t going to reveal it to man, regardless of how smart the man thinks he is. I’ll do my best to be a good Christian and person every day, and the end will get here when it gets here, likely well after my end has arrived. Oh, and just in case I’m wrong — family and friends, I love you guys.