Well I’m still here and if you’re reading this, you are too! The predicted global earthquake never came and all the resulting hoopla was for naught. I did hedge my bets, by having a great meal last night. Why not leave on a full stomach? But then, haven’t we all gotten used to these prophets of doom and gloom that spread their messages of fear and damnation?
Howard Camping, a minister and president of the US conservative group Family Radio, was the catalyst for the latest prediction. He boldly claimed that the Bible guaranteed the destruction of the earth and it seems that he was able to determine the apocalypse due to his ability to calculate various other horrors starting with the great flood that he believed happened in 4990 BC. Of course, there was going to be a certain subset of the population that would be saved, about 200 million according to Mr. Camping. The rest of us would go to hell in a hand basket. If during the conflagration, we had a change of heart and embraced Camping’s ideologies then, voila, we too would experience the “rapture” and be saved.
Family Radio received 80 million dollars in contributions between 2005 and 2009 and a big chunk of that was spent on billboards and media to alert the populace to the impending catastrophe. This type of insanity seems to be at the core of some religious groups. But it can be seen as a metaphor for a great deal of humanity. It seems we spend a lot of time alienating our species from one another by trying to elevate ourselves by putting others down. We do it with racial discrimination, religious arrogance ,railing against sexual preferences, gender bashing, and a host of other toxic beliefs.
Years ago I happened to be attending a lecture by the Dali Llama. When asked what was the essence of his faith, he replied” Loving Kindness”. I believe the message put forth by the creators of most of the world’s major religions is pretty much the same. Unfortunately, it often begins to unravel ,when over time the message becomes convoluted by individuals whose egos have no boundaries. I wonder what would happen if we all woke up with the intention to simply be kind to one another and to ourselves. It seems simple enough, but if it were that easy, Mr. Camping and those like him, would have spent their time spreading love instead of fear.