Nope. Not this time.
Despite the predictions of Harold Camping, the California preacher and religious radio broadcaster, the world did not end last month. And, as a result, two to three percent of the Earth’s population has to wait a few more months to be taken to heaven.
In some strange way, waiting five more months doesn’t seem so bad. A baseball seasons is almost twice as long, and a school year is close to the same. I’m a patient guy and I’ll gladly wait four months for my trip to a better place. However, I’m also confident that we’ll be waiting for doomsday’s arrival long after October 21, the recently adjusted expiration date.
Calling the end of the world is an extraordinarily bold prediction. Among the gutsiest, really. This is much different than picking a horse to show in Saratoga, or predicting the weight of new born baby in an office pool. This is big time. Literally, it’s life-changing stuff.
It made me think about how important words and messages are. The PR business revolves around carefully chosen words and messages that affect key audiences. Counseling clients about what to say and how to say it is what we do and credibility is the currency we use. When credibility is destroyed, it’s not easy to get it back and it would seem Reverend Camping has a serious credibility problem. His fallback position (it’s still coming…just wait for it) has to have lost some of its PR oomph; though I’m sure there are still those who put their faith in him. Talk about your loyal customers.
I read that some unfortunate believers spent their personal fortunes in the days leading up to the predicted doomsday and I can only hope they are able to make ends meet between now and the apocalypse in October. (Maybe Camping can predict how these folks will provide for themselves in the short-term?)
Much of this topic is uncomfortable, particularly when you have devoted following and you publicly put the world on notice. That’s certainly uncomfortable. Perhaps, however, we should take solace in the fact that we have time (at least four months – but I’m betting even longer) to mend our ways and get our messages straight despite any predictions to the contrary.