I’ve been listening to Harold Camping on Family Radio since the early ‘90s, tooling along Route 84 in the wee hours—half-soused, eyes weighting heavy and deep in contemplation about my mortal soul and some girl I was trying to bed. These were heady times, and Camping, with his comprehensive knowledge of scripture, chapter, verse and queer interpretation, was my beacon. There’s only so much highway wind and rock and roll a mind can handle without numbing.

And so Camping’s monosyllabic baritone delivery, weakened now by the advanced age of nearly 90, has been a lifeline to those of us whose sweet embrace of insomnia is ceaseless. His kind barely knows the lives he may have saved or the property his distant broadcasts kept intact; the disc jockey preacher man’s words resonating out over Marconi’s sacred device. Once in late ’93 I flipped a Toyota truck off an icy curve on the back roads of Hudson Valley, NY, and as I crawled from the wreckage and looked back from the darkness, it was Camping’s voice, booming as if God were calling Abraham to murder his son for a lark, that I could clearly hear emanating from the flickering dashboard.

As I say, my dear friends: heady stuff.

This is why when Camping says that Judgment Day is coming on May 21, 2011, I listen.

Hell, I know all about the Rapture, jack. I understand quite well how the shitstorm will go down. I know my Revelations inside out and upside down. I love, as my late friend and mentor, Doctor Thompson, used to say, “The wild power of the language and the purity of the madness that governs it and makes it music.” It may well be the finest piece of literature printed in English; completely insane and a dangerous thing to digest at all hours in lonely hotel rooms; Gideon style.

Do yourself a favor when you’re done reading this; go find a copy of any version of the Bible you have around and open Revelation to a random page and enjoy. All the best psychopaths from Hitler to Manson to Billy Graham were well acquainted with Revelation. It is the reason Western Civilization is obsessed with drugs and religion, guilt and agony, violence and masturbation; it expertly explains weird shit like politics, money and Colonel Kurtz’s horror.

But pick up the pace, because according to Camping you shall be judged on May 21. In fact, when most of you read this in print it will be too late. And for that, I am truly sorry. Even Noah had friends and readers; and none of them made it onto the ark; every last one of them drowned, a terribly agonizing way to go—God style.

Me? I’m ready to be judged. My moral house is in order. The cosmic shift in the spiritual muse is a personal liaison. It’s all part of the divine plan, and the main reason there are times when I find myself hoping to be judged, harshly. Bring it on. I just want to see my score. It will be high. Very high. This comes from an almost expressly comfortable intimacy I’ve forged with sin. “Love your enemy;” this is my motto. That, and “Do not drive Toyota trucks on icy roads whilst balancing a tumbler of Bombay Sapphire on your lap.”

Trust me when I say, God’s waiting on me.

Firstly, any true God will recognize my kind; demanding and irritable with completely unrealistic expectations. I have anger issues and am not particularly fond of explaining myself or what the hell I want from people. Let them figure it out. I also love claiming to have done stuff that I cannot particularly prove I’ve done. I basically take credit for anything that I can think of and then get pissed when challenged on it.

Secondly, I’ve spent the last 40 years sharpening my ego skills and have developed a megalomaniacal streak similar to that of any worthwhile omniscient being. I also have a concrete set of obligations to worshiping me: Have no other scribe before thee—Use my name in vain, and—Under no circumstances kill me.

Finally, I have not ignored the main aspect of humanity, and that is, as I have written in this space numerous times over the past 13 odd years, it is wholly overrated. My personal correspondence with the omnipotent one has broached the subject of the feline versus the human. I have clearly stated and I think fairly laid out a strong argument that it is far better to lick one’s balls and sleep 18 hours a day than to develop a computer chip. And reason? That’s for the birds. The birds or Plato, who thought it a good idea to make up the concept of an afterlife, effectively infecting every world religion for the next 2,500 or so years. I know for a plain fact that this “reason” thing is wasted on us. For a prime example, put on cable news; you pick one, any will do.

This brings me to my own judgment of how the current deity has run things; badly. I have plenty of critiques about famine, war, earthquakes, the Pope, whatever the hell the Mormons are, Stonehenge, what went down with Lenny Bruce—never mind Jesus—my distressing lack of height, the general disarray of all supposed holy lands, and lima beans.

Okay, there’s the good stuff too.

So on Saturday, I plan on cranking up AC/DC and dancing with my daughter, lather up a good sweat and shred our throats, before taking a minute to explain why at three years in she has to be judged and then plunged into some weird Rapture kick. Then I’m going to read the best paragraphs of The Great Gatsby to the wife, smoke an Ashton to the nub, pour some celebratory wine into a clay jug and go out in style.

Then again, there’s always a pretty good chance Camping is a nut and I’m a wiseass prick who will both be waking Sunday feeling cheated.


James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of Deep Tank Jersey, Fear No Art, Trailing Jesus and Midnight For Cinderella.


6 Responses

  1. Elijahovah

    http://www.elijahs-armageddon.com The Lamb that returns or christ that returns is the church. It is not raptured to save it, but instead like Jesus it is slaughtered in order to earn its 40-day rapture as he did, and as he appeared 40 days to save his disciples, the slaughtered church allows all the risen human saints permission to appear in flesh 40 days to the church’s current disciples to save them thru Armageddon on earth, flee, run, despite martial law banning it. They will be able to say you could not kill our christ (these saints about to be slaughtered) so we fear not that you can kill us and we intend to evacuate and flee for Armageddon. So I decided i am opening aqn account to collect for this, and i do not intend to touch the money myself. If Dec 3 fails, they can have it back or give it to the deficet because i can prove every church wrong in their timelines as well as prove evolution wrong, enough that if someone said shut up or die i would chose to die (i hope). I was brave enough to be on the top of Mount Ararat without a permit, yet whimpered over a cold forzen finger and abandoned the plan, on the way down falling on my ass, and suffering from a sore tailbone and twisted ankle since.

  2. Theresa

    actually… Harold Camping should not be taking all the heat for this… as 5/21/2011 @6:PM is actually Biblical… as the day of “completion”… looks like God was a no-show…


  3. Pix

    I am not going to even recognize the new October 21st date Camping has now given everyone. Not that I believe his first claim, but this one will not be listed on my site as a Doomsday. This one is strike 3.

  4. Chris R

    Firstly, I want to thank you for giving me some decent insight into this mindset that the Family Radio followers all seem to share–this mindset that, prior to reading your story, I had ABSOLUTELY no empathy with or understanding of. It baffled me (and honestly still does) that people could have the audacity to believe that this world could end in a matter of ONE day, brought on by the hand of some jealous and insecure deity.

    Your article has helped me to understand a bit further this strange mindset. It seems many folks just need someone who appears wise and peaceful to ease their personal flaws and fears, and something to believe in that makes the chaotic and epic entropy that occurs in human culture seem like something predetermined. I do tend to empathize with these notions.

    Now I do not normally go about telling people outright that they are wrong, but since evangelicals have made it their life goal to inform people who think slightly different from them that they are, in fact, incorrect, I am going to tell you flat out: you are wrong.

    The world will not end on October 21st, 2011. The only prophecy that will be accurate about the world ending will be a self-fulfilling one. It will take many years for the world to end, as it took many years for the world to begin and become what it is now. No book or man can predict the exact date that will happen with the technology that exists right now.

    Harold Camping’s biblical “calendar” is wrong. The world did not begin in 11,000 B.C. as Camping and his followers seem to wholeheartedly believe. There is plenty of evidence that shows the contrary. Anyone who suggests this has no rational concept of geological history or has not been in the field themselves in attempt to obtain a rational concept of geological history.

    There is no Judgment or “Judgment Day.” To think that God is jealous and gets angry at humans for acting in a certain manner is ridiculous, selfish, and irrational. This is an idea completely fabricated from the confused temperament of Man. There is far too much universe out there for any higher power to be concerned with what happens on this small planet.

    Most importantly, the Bible is a book, and it is written by Man, not God. It is the word of Man, and not any higher power. To think that a higher power would communicate to us in our own Man-made languages is just idiotic, and once again selfish. If there is a higher power, Man was NOT created in its image, as Man tends to be irrational and impatient, and humans do not have the brain power to comprehend most of the amazing physics that all add up every second to create this somehow self-sustaining Universe.

    Your story is touching, and I am from around the same area as you, near Route 84 in the Hudson Valley (Newburgh, NY). Unfortunately, the only salvation any of us will find is our own that is achieved through living well and selflessly in this life alone. There is nothing after this life, and you should be good to people not out of fear of God (which is equal to the biblical equivalent of a “sin” in my own opinion), but because every person has a thoughtful mind of their own, that requires physical, emotional, and physiological needs to feel happy and comfortable. Thank you.

  5. Martins Enow Agbor

    Camping’s prophecy is correct, depending on how you look at it. Since as we all know words and expressions in the bible are mostly symbolic and metaphorical, there will soon come a time when the whole world will discover that rapture which is purely spiritual has began taking place.


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