The first thing to note about Harold Camping’s prediction that the world will end later today is that it is possible the world will indeed end today. When Scripture says no one knows the hour or the day, I take that to mean that no day is off limits. But it exceedingly unlikely that Camping’s half-baked calculations will accidentally correspond to the date the Lord has picked for his return.
It is hard to escape the suspicion that Camping’s conclusion that these are the end times—which he appears to fervently and honestly believe—is conveniently timed to correspond to his own advancing age. Few among us do not share the wish to be spared the mortal indignity of death.
My first reaction when I heard about Camping’s prediction several months ago was to worry about the potential damage to Christianity of such dubious prophesies being given its name. But those concerns seem unfounded. Even those who have little interest in Christianity or are hostile to the faith recognize that Camping’s views are heretical and far from the mainstream.
Perhaps today is more an opportunity than a danger for the rest of us. No doubt there are aspects of our own faith—both individually and as a body of believers—that reflect personal or cultural convenience, and are at odds with the actual teaching and example of Christ. While there’s never a bad day to reflect on these things, today seems an especially good one.