A lot of us had a good laugh at the expense of Harold Camping's idiotic prediction that the Rapture would occur yesterday. There was a suggestion in some quarters that people should get into the offices of Camping's Family Radio and leave empty suits of clothes around as a joke. And atheists around the world were planning post-Rapture parties for last night.
Which brings me to the serious point of all this. Who can blame atheists for having a good laugh at the expense of Christians? And before Christians get too smug with their “Not me, guv” assessments, don't forget that there are lots of Christians who twist scripture to believe things almost as idiotic as Camping. No wonder atheists are laughing. Camping is just an extreme version of a very common type of Christianity.
So Camping and his followers are not just naive idiots. By their actions they have brought the Gospel into disrepute. And Camping has (again) been proved to be false prophet. The Old Testament has the serious things to say about the treatment of false prophets. While the actual punishment of stoning no longer applies, the biblical lesson clearly does apply. We should strongly criticize Camping's brand of nonsensical eschatology wherever we find it. As I said, the Gospel's reputation is being maligned.