If there’s one thing Harold Campling’s stupidity did manage it was to generate more global buzz around the return of Jesus than any other preacher in the last 20 years. My Facebook and Twitter feeds were filled with rapture chatter – and not just from Christians. People knew about Campling’s predictions. And if you were anything like me – you looked at your watch when the world was meant to end and thought about Campling. I felt sorry for the people he fleeced, and sorry for his future.
But his message reached tipping point. It went viral in a way most brands can only dream of. People are still tweeting #rapturefail messages as we speak.
The secret to this success was the incredible amount of money he poured into getting his message across. That’s what showed he was serious. That and the contributions he secured from other people who also bought into his message.
So now I’m thinking much the same thing I think when I see how much money people pour into building dinosaur theme parks. Wouldn’t it be great if Campling’s message (even if his eschatology is completely screwy) just focused on promoting the gospel of Jesus. Proclaiming the future return of Jesus, who came to restore our relationship with God. If you have $72 million to sink into an advertising campaign and you think the world is going to end on a particular date – just book your campaign to finish on that date and make it all about Jesus. Not about your weird interpretation of dates. Especially if your words, like Campling’s, run completely contrary to everything the Bible says on the issue.
It makes me sad that Campling’s stupidity is now being hijacked as an opportunity to mock anybody who has Christian faith.
If that’s the style of argument the atheists want to bring to this debate then we’re going to have to start judging their claims on the basis of the behaviour of their fringe. But that’s revisiting old ground.
It makes me sick to see so many people talking about the return of Jesus (not the rapture) in the trivial and derogatory way they are thanks to Mr Campling. Which is why I think the Bible takes false teachers pretty seriously.