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05.21.11 Judgment Day Pt. III (Why Harold Camping is Wrong Reasons 6-10)

In my previous two posts I spoke briefly about Harold Camping's questionable background. I also gave 5 reasons why I believed that he was dead on wrong in promoting this hysteria. In this post I will focus on my other 5 reasons.

So here are my final 5 reasons:

6) Harold Camping misinterprets Jesus' escatological discourse (end of the world teachings) as a definitive sign of the end. I know that it is tempting to think that the world is ending whenever there are natural disasters. This year for example has been particularly fraught with catastrophes such as the Japanese earthquake, the tumultuous Middle East revolutions, and the tornados devastating the south. As terrible as these events are they do not necessarily mean that the world is ending. By those standards the world would have ended during the great plaque, during both World Wars, the dark ages, Roman Persecution, etc. This also does not also mean that we should develop a laissez faire attitude when witnessing these calamities. Pope Benedict once again provides the proper perspective when seeking to interpret Jesus' eschatological discourse as he reflects,

"Jesus' apocalyptic words have nothing to do with clairvoyance. Indeed, they are intended to deter us from mere superficial curiosity about observable phenomena (cf. Lk 17:20) and to lead us toward the essential: toward life built upon the word of God that Jesus gives us; toward an encounter with him, the living word; toward responsibility before the Judge of the living and the dead." (From Jesus of Nazareth Book II pg. 52)
7) Camping by his prophecy is scaring the weak in faith. For the past two weeks almost everyone that I speak to is talking about this. Unfortunately what I am also seeing also is that some of my friends are terrified, scared that they will perish, if this judgment occurs. It is important to note that I am no way advocating a flimsy, Hallmark type of faith which overemphasizes Jesus love while deemphasizing God's judgment. The reality is that God is also a judge and that there will come a time where we all will be held accountable for our actions. Most importantly though God is merciful he wants to save every person on this earth not just the 200 million who Camping believes will be saved.

8) By fomenting this hysteria Camping is distracting Christians from focusing on Christ. Blogger Chris Gordon of the Gordian Knot does a great job explaining this dynamic as he writes,

"The Lord never approved of delayed repentance; calls to repentance and faith were always today since one’s soul could be required of them this night (Luke 12:20). Second, predictions advance fear in weak Christians, especially children, and fear takes our eyes off the sovereign, all powerful risen Christ who is the Lord of history and author of our future. Jesus doesn’t want his sheep to fear (Luke 12:32). "

The great sadness in all of this is that places the future on Camping rather than on Christ.

9) The urgency of Jesus' preaching about the end of the world is mostly a call for evangelization not necessarily an indicator of the end. Pope Benedict once again explains this dynamic clearly,"At many periods in history this sense of urgency has been attenuated, (weakened in force or effect) but it has always revived, generating new dynamism for evangelization." (pgs. 43, 44) The urgency in which Jesus speaks about is geared primarily towards evangelization. The disciples understood this fact and likewise we are called to preach with the same zeal as they did.

10) Harold Camping is acting alone without any authority. If one examines Camping's past one comes to the conclusion that he is not accountable to anyone but himself. The reality is that as fallible creatures we are susceptible to our own biases likes, and dislikes. St. Peter speaks about this as he writes, "And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words." (2 Peter 2)

So to counter this tendency Christ in his wisdom formed an official church equipped with an official teaching body to interpret teachings. so the members would not fall into error. The same logic even applies to the medical and scientific disciplines where hypothesizes are rigorously challenged until finally becoming accepted theories. So my question is once again under what authority is he making these claims? (Of course he will say the bible) And if that were the case then why is not the whole world on his side? If the Bible is the sole arbiter of truth then wouldn't that truth be universal? This question reveals the inherent fallacy of Camping's bombastic claims.

The question remains, What if he's right? My answer is so what. (Most likely not) Martin Luther once famously said, “If I believed the world were to end tomorrow, I would still plant a tree today.” We should be unafraid walking confidently; living for the present, while keeping an eye towards the future; striving in virtue, persevering through our weaknesses, and growing in our faith. If we do this every day then we will have no reason to fear the final judgment

In the case that I get sucked up hopefully into heaven on May 21st goodbye, I want to thank you all it has been a fun ride. See you tomorrow.

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