Social Question

SavoirFaire's avatar

Do you feel bad for people who lost everything following Harold Camping?

Asked by SavoirFaire (27078points) May 22nd, 2011

Many people donated their life savings to Harold Camping’s cause and put their lives on hold while waiting for the Rapture. Some quit their jobs, some sold their houses, and some even ended marriages. They will have to pay the price for their gullibility regardless of how we feel. But should we feel sympathetic, or did they get what they deserved?

Please treat these as mutually exclusive alternatives for the sake of this question.

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62 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It is too bad they fell for that but as they say…caveat emptor….there’s a sucker born every minute….don’t believe everything you hear….etc,etc,etc….

incendiary_dan's avatar

I don’t feel bad for the idiots who screwed up their own lives (what would it matter if the rapture was coming?) but I was made aware that children without complete control of their circumstances may have been effected. That sort of shit pisses me off.

jrpowell's avatar

I think it is fucking hilarious.

edit :: some people had their pets euthanized because of this crap. That doesn’t make me happy. That really pisses me off.

everephebe's avatar

They probably would have done something like that for another reason. I know it’s a little bit of a broken window fallacy, but still…

People donate their life savings to churches all the time because they think they can buy their way into an imaginary place. They got what they deserved, for their faith.
Their money’s worth if you will.

marinelife's avatar

I think they totally got what they deserved.

BarnacleBill's avatar

At least the atheist founder of Earth-Bound Pets did well on it.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

I think they deserved what they got. It’s silly to give up everything in case the world ends. If the world is going to end it doesn’t matter if you are working or not. I say you can still believe in it happening, but at least remain working and keep your house just in case. I want to know the logic behind selling a house just because you are going to be sent to heaven. It’s not like you’ll still have to pay your bills. At that point bills wouldn’t matter anymore.

Kardamom's avatar

I always tend to feel sorry for people who get hurt, even if it’s by their own hand.

Some people are more vulnerable than others, some people are not as smart as others, and some people actually do have an extreme belief in a particular faith, and for those people, they kind of don’t have a choice (because that is what faith is all about, believing in something no matter what without having a shred of evidence that it is correct or good or helpful. That’s why I don’t like faith).

So yes, I do feel sorry for these people that lost everything, simply because they lost everything. I’m not saying that they weren’t responsible for their loss. I don’t think I feel any less sorry for them than people who have lost everything due to natural disasters. There’s probably plenty of stupid, awful, lying, cheating, philandering people who have lost everything in natural disasters, but we don’t go around asking those people how awful or deserving they are, we just try to help, however we can.

Unfortunately, if you lose everything due to your own hand, you don’t get to partake of FEMA or the Red Cross or any of those kinds of organizations, because they aren’t set up for that.

I try to look at these folks who lost everything due to this end of the world malarkey in the same way that I look at senior citizens who get scammed out of their money by huxters over the phone. Yes, it is by their own hand, but it is also because they were extremely vulnerable in the first place, for whatever reason. All of the losses are just sad.

Mikewlf337's avatar

I actually do. It is easy to mock them but why kick them when they are down? These people feel bad enough as it is. Some of them lost everything. They don’t need a bunch of people mocking them and insulting them. No need to make them suffer anymore than they already are.

chyna's avatar

I kinda felt bad for them until I read what @johnpowell wrote. Now I feel bad that those pets had to die for their owners stupidity.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@chyna I’m mad at them over the pets as well. I’m sure some of them are inconsolable over the loss of their pets by their own hands. Some of them will never live it down. The only one I do not feel bad for is Harold Camping who misled those people.

DominicX's avatar

I’m not going to mock them, but I’m not going to act like it wasn’t their fault. They chose to follow this man, they chose to put their faith in him, and everything that happened to them was a consequence of their actions. You reap what you sow. Tough luck. :\

BarnacleBill's avatar

I feel sorry for their children or anyone that relies on them for any kind of stability. I wonder if any of them will have a spiritual crisis and become an atheist because of their decision?

WaPo article

Add: If you study history, you’re probably less likely to fall for this sort of mularkey.

Rarebear's avatar

Of course I do. They were swindled like the investors of Bernie Madoff, or the followers of Jim Jones. It’s a horrible thing that this happened, and frankly I think that people who don’t have sympathy for the victims are assholes.

laureth's avatar

I do feel bad for them, but it’s not because of how they got schnookered by the false prophecy. I suspect that I would have felt bad for them anyway, just in general.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I feel sorry for the pets that had to be euthanized by their dumbass owners. Not for the dumbasses themselves.

syz's avatar

Not really.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

The problem I have with the pet issue is not just the owners but the vets who did it. I know a lot of vets in different states that won’t put down an animal without a physical and proof of it needing to be put down. So this becomes an ethics issue as well.

mazingerz88's avatar

It’s one thing to have people selling you bridges but it’s deathly tragic when you have actual people buying those bridges. Yes I feel bad for them.

ragingloli's avatar

Depends on the individual. I felt bad for the guy who wasted his entire savings of over 150000 on doomsday flyers.
But I laughed when i heard the story about the guy who got a heart attack when his colleages planted their clothes on their chairs, so that he thought they were raptured without him.

JLeslie's avatar

I guess I feel badly as long as they now realize to follow a religious leader in such a blind faithful way is ridiculous and can be detrimental to their own health and others. I would argue they were brainwashed. Not in their right minds.

FutureMemory's avatar

I think it’s hilarious. I do feel bad in a way, but that’s just my natural kindness showing. Hopefully they’ll learn from it and be smarter next time.

TexasDude's avatar

I don’t pity stupid. If you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.

casheroo's avatar

Actually, I do feel bad for them. It sucks.
I am a “non-believer” and I do sometimes wonder if lets say some form of God/Jesus etc actually came, no one would believe them…we’d lock them up in a looney bin. Pessimistic or realistic? Someone is obviously going to believe them, there are always people who will believe.
I didn’t know pets were killed though, how awful :(

chyna's avatar

I wonder at what point they started realizing it wasn’t going to happen. 6:02? And then at 6:10 they knew for sure? They must’ve been sick with the realization.

lawkes's avatar

They deserve what they get.

I would bet that they’re related to those now homeless and/or squatting idiots who purchased houses they couldn’t afford in 2006— without even reading what they were signing.

jrpowell's avatar

The dude who gave 140K to spread the word at 6:02 on 5/21/11

The video a few days before.

You can’t make this shit up.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know if it is ok to ask this question here: why did they sell and give away everything? Was it a quicker way into heaven? If the big asteroid was coming to kill the earth I would not give away all my money and sell my belongings. I don’t get it.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

No. Because I’m sorry, but I just can’t feel sorry for every Tom, Dick, and Harry that ever suffers any kind of hardship, especially when it’s not some non-consensual thing like rape or losing a child to cancer or finding your wife murdered.

However, I am with @johnpowell on this one. And why couldn’t they just let their pets live? What was the worse fate awaiting their pets if they didn’t have them euthanized?

ragingloli's avatar

Actually, they have to. Jesus allegedly said that you have to give away all your possessions to be able to enter heaven.
Just one tiny problem there. You have to give it away to the poor, not waste it on doomsday pamphlets. So, even if the rapture happened, that Camping guy and the 150k guy would not be among the “saved”.

chyna's avatar

@JLeslie I believe they thought it was the rapture, where christians are supposed to be taken immediately to heaven and non christians were still on earth, and not an astroid. Why they thought non christians couldn’t watch their dogs is beyond me.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@chyna I guess they thought that world was going to be a living hell and they thought they were doing it for the mercy of thier pets. I’m still pissed off at them for it. I guess the pain they feel is punishment enough. The sorrow some feel must be unbearable.

chyna's avatar

Very true. ^

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna I realize they did not think it was an asteroid, I just used it as an example I personally might believe. I think @ragingloli might have hit on it, they probably had to give away all their possessions to get into heaven. It’s stupid on so many levels.

TexasDude's avatar

@JLeslie, if they really thought they were going to get vacuumed up into heaven, they wouldn’t have a need for their possessions, so they might as well just give them away. Even if their stuff will eventually just get vaporized when the earth is engulfed in fire and giant locust monsters.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mikewlf337 Have you seen any interviews with his followers? The ones who went along with it all.

JLeslie's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard It seems Jesus would advise people to have a back up plan, being so wise and all. Just in case the man representing him was incorrect or a false prophet of some sort.

TexasDude's avatar

@JLeslie, lol, one would think. But then again, the Rapture isn’t even really mentioned in the bible anyway.

wundayatta's avatar

They aren’t the only one who have made mistakes that caused them to lose everything. We live in a free country. People are allowed to make their own decisions, no matter how foolish they might be. We also suffer the consequences—sort of. There is a safety net. We all pay into that. Presumably they paid taxes, too, but it doesn’t matter. Everyone who is eligible gets the benefits.

I feel the same sympathy for them as I feel for any person who loses everything.

JLeslie's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard That’s the thing about Jesus and God, I like to think they are logical loving beings and would never lead people to pain and hardship. But, the Christians like to believe suffering is a good honorable thing. I guess the very religious will look for a way to explain it as part of Gods master plan for them.

TexasDude's avatar

@JLeslie, I guess the very religious will look for a way to explain it as part of Gods master plan for them.

And you would guess correctly. I read a few interviews with these folks in the paper today. Most of them were shrugging the failure of the prophecy off and chalking it up to God testing them… Makes God sound like kind of a troll to me, but whatever floats your boat.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@JLeslie No I haven’t. I didn’t even know about the predicition until it was mentioned on fluther.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

These people have proven to be irresponsible parents and their children should be taken away from them… if there is anywhere decent to raise them.

JLeslie's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Wow. I had not heard that yet.

AstroChuck's avatar

Yes, I do. It’s sad to see so many people blindly follow such nonsense that they devote their lives to it. I think of how tragic it is for the families of these people who have a sense of logic and sanity and
have to endure their loved ones’ lunacy.
All that being said, it’s still fun to goof on them.

woodcutter's avatar

I still can’t understand why all of the preparations. Why sell anything? Gonna take that cash with you or something? If they really believed the world was ending then what the hell makes any difference with what happens to their possessions? Just go already. Its crazy, mature adults fall for this stuff over and over, they’re foolish and wouldn’t give myself 3 minutes with them before I would have to walk out of the room. The ringleader needs his ass kicked sideways hard.

augustlan's avatar

I do. I can’t help but feel bad for them. It’s a god-damned tragedy. For me, it’s not even so much about them losing their material possessions, but what they must be feeling now, after the non-event. I imagine it’s a crushing weight to bear.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I hope at least some of them used the event as an excuse to do a couple of things on their bucket list.
Don’t worry about them. Camiping’s organization will refund the money starting today. Not!

JLeslie's avatar

@augustlan Weight how? Do you think they are dissappointed it did not happen, Or maybe relieved? Aside from having given away everything. You don’t think most of them just explain ot away as mentioned above, a test from God?

BarnacleBill's avatar

I wonder how Camping profited from this?

Pele's avatar

I feel bad that they’re so many stupid people out there in the world. That makes me feel bad. It was their choice. I feel more pity for them for being so fucking dumb. I feel sad for mankind.

Plucky's avatar

I can’t help but feel sorry for them. It’s in my nature to do so. Do I think what they did was silly? Yes, certainly. But I sympathize for their loss – I sympathize for the people and animals that may have relied on them.
I made fun of the rapture thing and I will keep making fun of it ..because I think it’s incredibly moronic. I will also keep making fun of people that are so fanatical as to have lost touch with the real world around them. But….I also feel bad for people like that. They are, after all, living beings. Not sure how to explain it really. Maybe it’s like how people take pity on the village idiot ..I don’t know.

Blackberry's avatar

I’m really trying to give a damn, but the damn has just not been given.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I’m exactly the bibliest person, but isn’t there something in Matthew about not knowing when Jesus will return?

augustlan's avatar

@JLeslie Probably no matter what their response is, they feel bad. Either disappointed, stupid, cheated, ridiculous, remorseful… any way they feel has almost got to be terrible.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

crisw's avatar

And guess what Mr. Camping is now saying

“Asked if he had any advice to offer those who had given away their material wealth in the belief the world was about to end, Mr Camping said they would cope.

“We just had a great recession. There’s lots of people who lost their jobs, lots of people who lost their houses… and somehow they all survived,” he said.

“We’re not in the business of giving any financial advice,” he added.

“We’re in the business of telling people maybe there is someone you can talk to, and that’s God.”

JLeslie's avatar

@crisw That makes me queazy. Brings to mind all sorts of crazy religious crap I have heard that hurts people, and they actually hurt themselves.

mattbrowne's avatar

People who show obsessive behavior need our support. Even if they are ultra-conservative zealots.

chyna's avatar

If they believe his new hoax, that it will actually happen in October, then they need a mental health specialist to step in and take them away from society or their family so they will no longer be a danger to society and family members and pets.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna I would guess ther are very susceptible to what if thinking. What if it is true? Can we take the risk? That could be part of why those people are religious in the first place. What if there is a God and a hell, we better do what the preacherman says.

JenniferP's avatar

Yes, he was just out for money. He is a “blind guide” as mentioned in the Bible. If you follow a blind guide both “will fall into a pit.” Too lazy to locate where those scriptures are. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t in the “last days” as described in the Bible however. But “no one knows the day or the hour.”

In my own religion, there was speculation about the year 1975, although we never said the end would come. We acknowledged that it was the end of 6,000 years of human history and that it would be interesting to see what it would bring. Kind of like when Jesus’ apostles asked him “Are you restoring the kingdom at this time?” We were a little overeager but did not say the end would definitely come or anything. Some individuals (not most) got excited and sold their stuff and were disappointed when the end didn’t come. But they weren’t serving for the right reasons. They were serving with a date in mind, not for love of God and some of them left. Others corrected their thinking. But the people that were members of the JWs at that time told me it was no big deal at the time and most didn’t even concern themselves with it. It was later over exaggerated by opposers of our religion. Still, we are very cautious now, about refraining from speculation. And we certainly weren’t motivated by money like Harold Camping.

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