Failure as a prophet; failure as a man
The preceding meditation on Bible prophecy as nonsense leads naturally into Harold Camping's failure.
I just want to consider how he reacted.
In his initial public reaction his comment was: "It has been a really tough weekend."
Tough weekend? He claimed billions would die in the earthquakes signifying Judgement Day. They didn't. How is that tough? Sure he had to be dealing with the personal fact that his prophecy was wrong, but still -- if he'd had an ounce of moral sense, he would have realized the welfare of billions of people far outweigh the fact he was convincingly proven absolutely wrong.
But no. Harold has decided he was not wrong. After deep thought and reflection he announced yesterday that he was right all along and unbeknownst to everybody else on the planet, God had conducted a Judgement Day exactly as Camping had predicted, except that his prophecy had overlooked the fact it would be an invisible Judgement Day. Now, instead of the earthquakes, God will kill us all quickly and mercifully on October 21 -- well, God's going to kill all of us except those foolish few who still believe in Camping's pronouncements; they will get to be raptured while we are being euthanized.
On the other hand, I expect that the invisible God who conducted an invisible Judgement Day can also be expected to conduct an invisible End of the World - so invisible that we won't even notice it and we'll just carry on as before.
But what about his followers? Those who had bought into his absolute certainty and claim that "The Bible Guarantees It." A number of them got rid of all their possessions and savings to help finance the publicity campaign. Retirement savings and children's college funds were emptied. Houses were sold. People quit their jobs to travel the country and promote Camping's vision. All in the expectation that they would ascend gloriously to Heaven on Saturday, there to spend eternity. And now - Camping's new vision is that they will have to survive for another five months without funds, without resources, without employment.
What's Camping's response to them?
That's their problem, not mine. I didn't sell my house and car. I'm not going to sell my house and car before October 21 either. And it's up to my followers to figure out how to survive. I'm not responsible.
That's right - Camping had a plan B, just in case. But he did not tell his followers that it might be wise to have a Plan B. He failed them - and it's a major moral failure. He offered his own certainty; he offered a Bible Guarantee; and he lived up to neither.
Not only is Harold Camping a failure as a prophet; he's a failure as a moral human being.