The website I have chosen is that of the controversial Harold Camping, the man who famously predicted that the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus would occur on May 21st 2011. Obviously, as I am writing this blog, that did not happen. As with many end of the world predictions, this gained worldwide notoriety, and probably caused a few to quietly worry about their possible demise.
The reason I have chosen this site is not because of its content, but its message. It shows that the influence and power of religion in America shows no sign of slowing down, and that even hard lined, old fashioned Evangelists, southern Baptists and Presbyterians like Harold Camping can not only have their voice heard, but also appear in national and international news. At a time like this, when America seems to, in some respects, be catching up to the more liberal social norms of Europe, it seems fascinating that someone like Harold Camping can be so famous and well known. Obviously, everyone loves the idea that there may be faint chance of the apocalypse every now and then, but that isn’t what is shocking to me. Some people who followed Camping’s radio show and teachings actually took out hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to pay for billboards around America to advertise the oncoming rapture, and many packed up their things in order to move nearer to Camping in preparation for the end of the world. To a European, and someone who lives in a country where religion isn’t at the forefront of their daily life, this seems quite preposterous. The idea of some radio host predicting the end of the world seems more like a ratings gimmick than a serious warning, but because he had the backing of the bible and his followers, he persisted. I feel that this is a real indication that although America is moving forward in terms of social politics, the church, with its old fashioned but resolute ideals, continues to dominate many people’s lives, and be a consistent influence on their beliefs.