Richard Ascough on the May 21st Judgement Day

Featured in an article May 11th from the CBC is Queen’s School of Religion’s own New Testament (including Apocalyptic) scholar Richard Ascough.  The article of course is about the upcoming May 21st Judgement Day as predicted by Harold Camping.  Richard points out that there is the potential for serious psychological damage.

He has seen other apocalyptic predictions come and go, but Family Radio’s differs in a notable way: it isn’t accompanied by a bold, up-front request for money. And that’s worrisome, in his mind. “I think they really believe it’s going to happen,” Ascough said in an interview Tuesday.

From what I understand, they really do believe it, unlike a lot of other Judgement Day proclamations. Which I still find hard to believe myself considering that Camping has proclaimed a few of them before, but that’s beside the point. Yet people have sold all their possessions in preparation, and there are lots of indications that many will commit suicide over this. Richard also points out the seriously problematic interpretive techniques put forward by Camping. I touched on some of those in my previous post The Tale of Harold Camping, Judgement Day Prophet.

Ascough said he thinks Camping’s way of reading scripture is “irresponsible.” “It’s not the way these Biblical texts were meant to be read, even by their original writers.” And even if they were, scholars can find mistakes in the mathematics and historical assumptions put forward in the Judgment Day predictions, he said. “It’s all very slippery.”

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.