“Apply yourself both now and in the next life. Without effort, you cannot be prosperous. Though the land be good, you cannot have an abundant crop without cultivation.” ~ Plato
Plato’s words may be put to the test today. The AP wires and major news networks worldwide are running with the story . . . the end of the world is nigh; today, May 21, 2011, to be precise. At least today is the date that Harold Camping, a preacher from Oakland, California is predicting the end will come.
If Mr. Camping were speaking from any normal pulpit, it might be easy for us to dismiss him as just another religious eccentric. However, thanks to America’s airwaves, 2,000 billboards coast to coast and worldwide news reporting, we find his unlikely Doomsday message difficult to ignore.
Camping comes from a long line of seers, sages, preachers and prophets – all of whom time has proven wrong. What makes Camping different is the precision of his prognostications – an exact date and time, providing an uneasy sense of certainty in uncertain times. He is predicting that the end of the world will start today, Saturday, May 21. Camping believes the end will start in New Zealand at 6 PM (local New Zealand time) with the largest earthquake in human history. If we factor in the time difference, what does that mean for us on the east coast? Or . . . is it already Sunday, May 22 in New Zealand?
At 89 years old, Camping delivers his impending end of the world message out to his followers daily via the Family Radio Network, a religious radio organization funded entirely by his listeners, which he founded in the 1950s. Through the generosity of supporters, with assets over $120 million, the deep pockets of Family Radio now owns 66 stations in the US alone. Camping’s programming on Family Radio is delivered in 48 languages, and boasts tens of thousands of followers around the globe, with radio stations in South Africa, Russia and Turkey.
Camping’s prophecy comes from numerological calculations based on his reading of the Bible. When asked about his end of the world prediction, Camping is quoted in Britain’s newspaper, The Independent, “We’re not talking about a ball game, or a marriage, or graduating from college. We’re talking about the end of the world, a matter of being eternally dead, or being eternally alive, and it’s all coming to a head right now.”
Should we be planning how to spend our last hours on Earth?
Before you give away your car or make plans for your last shopping trip to the mall today, you should know that Camping has been wrong before. Yes, Camping’s last prediction for Judgment Day was September 6, 1994, and . . . 16-1/2 years later, the world remains. Such predictions are nothing new, but Camping’s latest has been publicized with exceptional vigor.
Preferring to take the positive, half-full approach to life, I choose to believe that we all will still be here tomorrow, May 22nd. But then again, maybe it already is tomorrow in New Zealand.