I was surfing the radio late last night driving back from an ill-advised feast at the Silver Diner. I landed on something that sounded like Church talk, so I settled in to listen. At first I thought I was listening to a disturbed caller , but it soon became clear the disjointed voice and confused ramblings were coming from the host of the program. I had inadvertently tuned in to Harold Camping as he was discussing the need to “Get right with God” and the impending end of the world.
As I heard him using his failed prediction that 1994 would be the end to justify his firm belief that 2011 would be, my thoughts wandered with a rare determination. What was I searching for?
It became increasingly clear his radio sermon was a form of abuse we’ve long accepted as a society. I remember clenching my jaw and glaring at the screen when I first saw Mr. Brocklehurst psychologically assault Jane Eyre in front of a school in the name of Christian ideals. I felt that same anger rising when I thought of how many people take talk like that from Mr Camping to heart.
This idea that people are inherently lacking and need to be “saved”. That we need to “get right with God”, when its the other way around entirely (Pandagon):
That said, the kinder, gentler Christian god is still well-likened to a man drunk on male privilege. He’s not the guy who hits you anymore, no. Now he’s the guy that doesn’t call you and toys with your emotions.
Believers see, on a regular basis, events they interpret as God punishing them. They see small “miracles” that they strain to see as coming from God. Believing in the end times is a daily ritual in believing in spite of broken promises.
The prediction that the world will end in 2011 will fail. And as Harold made painfully clear on the radio last night, “there are no more dates”. While I’m sure he’ll find some kind of coping strategy for post 2011 broadcasts, I wonder what this kind of let down will mean to listeners preparing faithfully for the impending rapture.
Even more curious, what will end-times believers be motivated to do over the next 3 years?