Pod people: The world is not doomed

The other day I mentioned that reader Jerry submitted a story about Harold Camping repenting of his false predictions of the rapture and end of the world. We wondered how much coverage of the repentance we’d see relative to last year’s significant coverage. While the repentance won’t make it onto a list of top ten news stories for 2012, it actually has received some coverage.

There was this ABC News story. And here’s a link to the Los Angeles Times treatment.

I find it interesting that the stories I’ve been reading don’t use the word “repent” when talking about Camping. They say he apologized, admitted his error and said he won’t make any more predictions. Repent indicates a turning away from actions, so it’s really a great word choice to describe what happened.

A reader sent in a link to this CNN article, which includes this nugget:

The world, it seems, is not doomed.

“We humbly acknowledge we were wrong,” Camping and his staff members wrote in a letter to supporters posted on the website of Family Radio, Camping’s California-based broadcast ministry.

He goes further, saying he and his network are no longer interested in predicting when the world will end.

The world is not doomed according to CNN? Or are they saying that Camping’s group no longer believes the words of Jesus? As the reader wrote:

I realize the writer is probably attempting to be humorous, but the joke seems to fly in the face of the substance of the actual apology, which stated “But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that ‘of that day and hour
knoweth no man’ (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God’s divine plan.”

Camping said they were wrong to predict a particular time, not to believe that Judgement Day will occur.

I’m not saying it’s inappropriate to make jokes about the group, although maybe it is, but at least the jokes should work on some level! On this week’s Crossroads, host Todd Wilken and I discuss the media’s continued trouble reporting the details on this Camping story, as well as a brief discussion on the continued mess that is coverage of the HHS mandate forcing religious groups to fund things they doctrinally oppose.

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  • Jerry

    I’m not saying it’s inappropriate to make jokes about the group, although maybe it is, but at least the jokes should work on some level!

    I agree with one caveat. To me there’s two kinds of humor. One level is “laugh at” humor and the other level is “laugh with”. I would rather see jokes that work at a more positive level.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Any mention of the “true believers” divesting themselves of all their earthly possesions prior to the supposed last day?

    Anyone know if people abandoned Camping in droves?

    Just curious.

  • Mike O.

    Regarding the CNN article, I took the “The world, it seems, is not doomed,” in the same way as when you ask your doctor, “I’m not going to die?” or an article says, “Bus fares not to be raised.” Eventually it’s going to happen, but it’s not something to start marking on the calander. To be fair if enough people interpet that line as saying that Harold Camping has given up on the second coming entirely, then it should have been clearer. I just don’t think that’s what they were trying to imply.

    Regarding the note in the podcast about how the press is still citing the May prophecy as the end of the world, you are again correct. I will play devil’s advocate on why there might be some confusion. When Harold Camping spoke about what was going to happen on May 21st, he predicted that there would be an earthquake that would hit the entire world at 6pm locally. (I was never sure if the earthquake would honor man made time zones.) While not the end of the world, a 24 hour earthquake rolling across the entire globe causing heretofore unseen havoc is pretty close to it.

    Finally regarding the note in the podcast regarding the coverage of Camping’s repentance versus his prophecy, I don’t see it as the press not getting religion. Let’s take a non-religious series of prognostications. As a long-suffering Knicks fan (from the mid-eighties when they actually played defense), I had to go through several guarantees from Patrick Ewing that they would win a championship. Each time he made such a claim it was back page news. Each time they’d be eliminated it was back page news. Each time they’d interview him as he’s cleaning out the locker for the year, not back page news. Why? Because the moment of truth has passed. The big question has been asked and answered. Nothing in the aftermath will reach that same level of intrigue.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    So our sun isn’t going to burn out someday? Good news there.