Plan A Was More Than Enough

Harold Camping then,

'There is no Plan B', he said.

Most people would have interpreted that to mean, that he was so sure of his convictions that he didn't even bother to think about what he would do if the Rapture didn't happen.

But I reckon Camping knew exactly what he was doing, and that his little quip was deliberately filled with a second meaning more close to his heart.

From a quote on The Register:

New Yorker Robert Fitzpatrick's faith in Camping saw him standing in Times Square at the appointed hour, but he was rewarded for investing his life savings of $140k in a poster campaign proclaiming the apocalypse with nothing more than drizzle and jeering tourists.

He said: "I can't tell you what I feel right now. Obviously, I haven't understood it correctly because we're still here."

No Robert, you understood the message perfectly well as Camping intended it to be interpreted. Even if he didn't profit directly from your posters, it will have brought some of the gullible round to his way of thinking, and thus a bit more cash. You were basically a free advert. It wasn't personal: anyone with your particular mental state of mind would have done just as well.

His Plan A was to drop off the radar on May 21, with a whole sackful of other peoples' money, just as they were perhaps realising they'd been duped. I doubt Camping had the same religious convictions he may have had when he was younger - any nobility from pious religious faith had been slowly removed as it dawned on him down the years that he could make an awful lot of money out of other people who thought the same thing. And when his initial 'unchristian' actions failed to elicit any punishments from above, that gave him the green light to do whatever he wanted.

Yes, maybe it is the case that Harold Camping is a closet Atheist, or at least an agnostic. Only he got his enlightenment not from realising that faith is a bunch of hooey that destroys peoples' lives and that for the sake of future humanity it should be jettisoned, but from seeing it's perverse and selfish value; seeing the potential for using it as a tool, screwing other people over by lying to them and misleading them. As has been the case with many people in positions of power, their faith in the system they got into has been eroded and replaced with a simple knowledge of the power it gives them and how to misuse it to their own ends.

Post-non-rapture, it would be too much to expect the majority of people to take an honest look at their gullibility, vulnerability and wasted hours, days and months on this nasty disease. Such a possibility has been proved false by Camping returning some days later, his website somewhat altered so as to remove his claims, and incredulously stating that it did actually happen, just in a nice caring way, sparing us five months of torture until the world REALLY REALLY WILL END on October 21. How anyone would swallow this can only be explained by dogmatic, brainwashing religious faith, and closed, underdeveloped minds.

Amongst its people, Campings' claims and subsequent backpeddling has triggered variety of defensive walls:

Some slightly less fundamental Christians have quoted Matthew 24:36 and said, 'how can anyone know - these people should have known Camping was a false prophet'. Recognising the poisonous effect the man has on anyone religiously close to him there has been no shortage of self-appointed spokesmen speaking out and distancing themselves - after he was proved wrong, you'll note. The Rapture is obviously a perfectly normal thing to believe in, they suggest, but you must be some sort of kerayzee to think you can predict when it is!!

Camping used the biblical teachings of the rapture that he knew was part of the central Christian canon, as a way to get what he wanted. You can blame the biblical scholars for coming up with the rapture concept just as much as this man, and blame the less-fundamental fundamentalists for reminding the blindly faithful to continue believing in - and thus fearing - the Rapture being just around the corner in the future.

Other (more sceptical) people have reacted with anger: calling for the man to be arrested for fraud - but if they did, then he would be no less guilty than any other bible thumper at the front of the flock. Feel free to send out the police for the TV evangelicals who get people to throw money at them, the local faith healers asking for pots of cash to have a chance at miraculously healing their sick child, and - well why not - even the vicar in your local village church - his collection box takings are all in the name of the lord after all.

And there will always be stupid people. That's why they will accept this rubbish unquestioningly without stopping for a moment and thinking '..hang on.. this will happen at 6pm local time.. all around the world? WTF!?'. These are the same sorts of people caricatured on the front of a Darwin Awards book, sawing off the branch of a tree while sitting on it. These are the vulnerable, uneducated, wilfully ignorant people Camping and his type target.

A fourth group (mostly apologists) has tried to just simply laugh it off: 'No harm done.' No harm done, you say? What about people bankrupted because they paid for billboards advertising this rubbish, or spent their life savings travelling across the country to be near the idiot on the day. What about the thousands of faithful experiencing degrees of psychological anxiety and fear about whether they would be raptured, and what they did wrong to anger their god when it turned out they were still on earth and nothing had changed - especially in the hours before they realised that no-one else had been raptured either.

In the post-rapture interview, Camping showed us a little of his attitude towards the people whose lives he has shattered, some hint of the way he views his followers as nothing more than a means to an end. When asked if he would apologise to the people he has misled, and more importantly, coerced them to ruin their futures, he said:
"If people want me to apologize, I can apologize, yes. I am not a genius. I was wrong. It [the Rapture] should be understood spiritually and not physically,"
In other words, he will only apologise if people ask him to; he has no conscience or shame to drive him to do it unprompted. As far as his twisted logic goes, he has done nothing wrong, and any apology will not be heartfelt - it will only serve to shut those disagreeable unbelievers up.

Worst of all, Camping has blood on his hands. A woman attempted to murder her children, followed by her own attempted suicide because she couldn't face the rapture and the possibility of not being a 'chosen one'. No doubt the massive let down felt by thousands of people in the coming days will cause still others to consider suicide, especially if they have given everything away. And it will happen again in October.

But let's not put all the blame on Camping; he has just used his brains to make capital out of the biblical concepts laid down hundreds of years ago to line his pockets - the ones the saner members of society have kicked off into the long grass and urged others to do the same. Thousands have done it in the past to keep people scared. People are doing it now around the world in all walks of life, and will do it in the future with religions yet to be invented. And when the followers are told stories of death and destruction, mercy for only the faithful and hellfire for anyone straying even a little bit from the righteous path, their fear they will keep them close to the bosom of religion as a source of comfort from the phantoms that aren't actually there.


Oh, and Osama Bin Laden was a mucky little perv.

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