Did you hear that the world is going to end on May 21, 2011? Harold Camping and his Family Radio Worldwide believe it will and they regard the upcoming apocalypse as – get this - “awesome news!” Camping has stated that, “Judgment Day is feared by the world and is the day that God will destroy the world because of the sins of mankind. The world is correct in believing that Judgment Day will come. The Bible gives us the correct and accurate information about that Day.” And the day he has pinpointed? May 21st.
But when I think of Harold Camping and his message of the earth’s end, I think of his platform ‘Family Radio Worldwide.’ And when I think of the word ‘family,’ I think kids. Then I think about the parents out there that actually believe that the world will indeed end on May 21st and what they are telling their children. Do these kids not have to do their homework or study for their finals coming at the end of the month? Do these believers not sign their kids up for summer camps, since they believe summer won’t be coming? Do they not plan their kid’s next birthday party since this will be their last year on earth? It’s a pretty morbid way to live, but if a mom or dad really believes the May 21st end of the world myth, why bother to do any of that? But odds are, May 22nd will come. Will the kids fail their finals? Will they be bummed they aren’t signed up for summer activities? And will they be made at mom and dad since they didn’t secure fill-in-blank for their birthday party?And it’s just not the day-to-day, it will probably take a psychological toll on these children as well. They are being told that they will die soon and the end of the world is near – a pretty heavy message at any age.
And even if the parent packages the message as “awesome news,” it’s still pretty jarring. When the day comes and goes – as days do- will these kids feel distrust towards their parents. They were told the world was going to end, but it didn’t. It’s not like the myth of Santa or the Easter Bunny, this one deals with the fate of friends and family. Will they think back to this year and remember it as the year they thought the world was going to end and didn’t. And even worse, what kind of message are parents sending when they are actually disappointed that there is not widespread devastation and death, what kind of message is THAT sending.
Do you think it’s harmful to drag children into end of the world messaging like this?
Image: Flickr: Brian Cameron