A couple of episodes ago, Dan and I stumbled onto something both silly and possibly quite profound. We were talking about prophets and how they get to make up anything they want with no repercussions if they’re wrong. When they get something wrong (which is most of the time), they just make shit up about how they were misunderstood, misquoted, taken out of context, or most insidious… they were talking about a spiritual event not a physical one.
In the middle of all of that, I blurted out that prophets are just wishful thinkers, and that phrasing has stuck with me. These people want something so badly—and with their prefrontal cortex playing along—they dream up a scenario in which their wants can become reality.
It worked for the Hebrew prophets of old when predicting a messiah would save them all from bondage (and later from Roman rule). The people needed physical salvation. When it didn’t come, the people just kept waiting, and when Jesus came along offering only spiritual salvation, well… fuck him! The ancient Jews needed someone to save them from the Romans, but according to the Christians, Jesus wasn’t about all of that. The old prophecies of someone to lead them all from bondage weren’t about physical bondage, Jesus just wanted to save their souls.
And when we see Jesus again, he won’t be going on about all that spiritual shit, he’ll be here to fuck some people up!
Take the case of Harold Camping. He first predicted the end of the world would happen on September 6, 1994. That date failed to bring about the end times, and so he pushed it back a few weeks to September 29. When it didn’t happen then, he admitted he must have gotten the math wrong and recalculated it to October 2. “Hey, biblical math is hard!”
Evidently so, because he’d be wrong again come May 21, 2011, and then again after his final October 21, 2011 prediction failed to come to pass.
Fun side note: TGIA pretty much owes its existence to Harold Camping. Listen to our April 14, 2018 episode for the full story.
Surely Harold wasn’t being a wishful thinker about the end of the world, right? I feel like I know the TGIA audience well enough that I don’t have to explain these things, but here it goes. Christianity is a blood cult that re-crucifies its savior every weekend. Some of them believe they are consuming the literal flesh and blood of Jesus Christ and that this is how they get into heaven. They long for their enemies to be vanquished by blood, and the best part will be seeing Jesus Christ himself returning to Earth to wipe out all of the nonbelievers, hopefully in the most bloody and vile way imaginable.
In some ways, all Harold Camping wanted was to see the fulfillment of times, and I find something about that mildly forgivable. His “good book” told him his entire life that God had a plan to destroy the planet and all life on it. You can’t blame him for wanting to see it, just like every other demented old Christian since Jesus gave them the best excuse ever.