may 21, 2011…seriously

post-May 21 billboard

Joanne wrote the following comment on yesterday’s blog,

For all the joking we enjoyed over the hype for the big non-event, I feel badly for those who in their own miss guided beliefs, quit jobs, sold earthly possessions and in theory at least ended their lives. Scripture also says not long after Jesus said that we will not know the day or the hour, that we must beware of false prophets. How sad when these false prophets lead generally good people away.

A good point, indeed.  It’s easy to poke fun when your own “wacko-meter” is proved correct. But what of the poor souls who did not recognize the falseness of the prophet? Who is going to cover their physical losses? To whom will they turn to make sense of the spiritual losses?

Harold Camping has no help to offer. He offers no repentance. Confusion over how events unfolded? Yes. But confusion and the mind of Harold Camping seem natural partners. He maintains that,

We’ve always said October 21 was the day. The only thing we didn’t understand was the spirituality of May 21. We’re seeing this as a spiritual thing happening rather than a physical thing happening. The timing, the structure, the proofs, none of that has changed at all.

Check out the CNN blog post, for video footage. This man deserves our pity.

And, yes, he deserves our outrage. He claims that he never asked anyone to sell their possessions to help with the billboard and media campaign. He not only refuses to admit that he screwed up, but he refuses to take the blame for lives ruined by his predictions.

Fear-mongering is an abuse of the freedom of speech. Profiting from lies, as with all scams, goes beyond freedom of speech and into the realm of illegal activity. Yet, freedom of religion is a large and encompassing umbrella that protects both the good and the wackos.  And, to a certain degree, it must. Aggressive non-believers point an accusing finger at all religions, claiming they are based on lies and profit financially from irrational and illogical beliefs. Protecting the freedoms and rights of all within a tolerant society is an increasingly difficult balancing act.

Religion is meant to bring meaning to our lives, not to destroy them. By their fruits you shall know them. Harold Camping has produced an awful lot of rotten fruit from his doomsday campaign. The victims should receive some compensation for the losses incurred. Justice would be served if the money came from the pockets of the prophet himself.