Just a few months after his original May 21, 2011 doomsday prediction, Harold Camping’s next foray into end-of-days prediction did not come to pass. Today is October 21, and when I look out my window I see that the sun is still shining and the birds are singing. Millions globally still struggle in the current economy, with concerns about food, gas, and housing.
In short, life goes on.
Camping and his Family Radio International first burst onto the scene earlier this year with a May 21, 2011 prediction that the rapture would take millions from the earth. When that failed to happen, a new date was set — October 21, 2011.
And here we are.
Many followed Camping. Many heeded his warnings. I saw some heart-wrenching stories of families torn apart by schisms over religious dogma. Camping’s belief was real. The belief of millions was real. The repercussions will be real, too.
Harold Camping’s forays into end-time prediction should naturally lead one to ponder the likeliness of setting an actual date for something of this magnitude. Heck, I don’t even like to make plans with friends more than a few days out, much less come up with a theory of the end of everything. If there is a holy being somewhere deciding such things, maybe it’s best left in his or her hands.
The real question from all of this is: now that we have this second chance (or, given the May 21 prediction, a third chance), what will we do with it? Many on the Internet are certainly having a good time with this failed rapture, but maybe we need to take the dialogue to the next level and consider it a wake-up call. I’ve written about these ideas before, but they bear repeating. Whether or not you are a Christian, and whether or not you were on board with Camping is really irrelevant. Take some time to consider the direction of your life. If today was your last day, in what would you place your happiness? What would you regret? What would you finish? Dare I ask — what would you begin?
This path of questioning is well-trod. I know that. I wasn’t born yesterday (or the day before!). I’m no prophet like Camping, with millions of loyal fans. Nope. I’m just a nobody in the world with a point of view. But I have been considering these things lately. I have been looking at old business and new starts, and creating a plan for the future. I’ve been finding ways to innovate in my daily routine and attempting to make new contacts in my community and beyond. Not all who meet me love me, and not all who know me like me. I exist. I do my best. I take life in stride as best I can. When I woke up today to see the world was still very much present, I considered exactly how present I have been with it!
I don’t follow Camping. I don’t know much about doomsday predictions. I’m not well-versed in all the theories of the end of times. I’m no talking head on the History Channel, and I don’t give religious seminars in stadiums filled with throngs of believers in whatever path. Nope. I’m just trying to make each day the best I can. And, if it occasionally takes a rapture prediction to snap me back to what matters, then so be it. I’ll take pleasure in the simple things. I’ll take solace in my own version of spirit.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll move away from the computer and spend some time in the warm sun, listening to the birds sing…while life goes on.