A narrative essay by – Heather Spoonheim
It is now 6 P.M., May 21, 2011 in Kiribati (Time zone UTC +14:00) and the rapture has begun, according to imminently-debunked, eschatological-prophet Harold Camping. One must wonder when the failure of the faithful to evaporate will become conspicuous to those in the Camping camp. For those not sharing in the delusion propagated by this repeatedly prophetic pie-eyed piper, the real questions might be when the disciple himself will disappear and whether or not he is stuffing his bindle with bundles of donations at this very moment.
On the other hand, he may choose to stick around for one last hoot and holler as his devotees praise their messiah in a final grand hurrah before sending themselves into the great hereafter. Alternatively, he may not even be done with his milking and bilking for there may yet be money to be made before breaking out the Flavor Aid. Many a modern religion seems to be based on humiliating adherents and what could be more humiliating than failing to be faithful enough to be raked up by the rapture?
The failure of Camping devotees to sell their homes, liquidate their assets, and give themselves over completely to their master belies their doubt. Surely Camping could weave their mutual failures into some sort of second chance, a great revival, and a giant paycheque. By playing off the elusiveness of the rapture as a heavenly check-raise, Camping could cash-in like never before; but would his devotees push all their chips to the middle of the table? Only time will tell, and we have plenty of it - because the end of the world isn't arriving anytime soon.
Astoundingly, even though Camping has joined a long list of failed end-times prognosticators for a second time, he isn't the first to accomplish this feat - Benny Hinn is actually listed three times! Although Camping could easily match Benny by resetting his countdown timer, it is difficult to imagine the 89 year old will last long enough to have a fourth go at the apocalypse. Perhaps the old man can still secure himself a legacy in the extraordinarily audacious claims department by taking a stab at joining the long list of messiah claimants. It would be difficult for him to outperform David Icke, but then again, Mr. Icke has at least never humiliated anyone other than himself. The audacity displayed by Camping in turning his devotees out into the streets to spread his bullshit has surely got to be taken into account.
In closing, the final question that remains is: when will mankind evolve past the level of gullibility it takes to entertain the ravings of these self-deluded snake charmers?