May 21, 2011

Abandoning Faith, Grace, and Joseph

Abby Haddad Carson (left) and Robert Carson say Saturday is Judgment Day; the children, Joseph, Faith and Grace, right, do not.

It's been bugging me since I read it yesterday:

The Haddad children of Middletown, Md., have a lot on their minds: school projects, SATs, weekend parties. And parents who believe the earth will begin to self-destruct on Saturday.

The three teenagers have been struggling to make sense of their shifting world, which started changing nearly two years ago when their mother, Abby Haddad Carson, left her job as a nurse to "sound the trumpet" on mission trips with her husband, Robert, handing out tracts. They stopped working on their house and saving for college.

Last weekend, the family traveled to New York, the parents dragging their reluctant children through a Manhattan street fair in a final effort to spread the word.

"My mom has told me directly that Iím not going to get into heaven," Grace Haddad, 16, said. "At first it was really upsetting, but it's what she honestly believes."

Abby Haddad Carson and Robert Carson are followers of Harold Camping, a self-styled end times prophet, who claims that his interpretations of the Bible say that the Rapture begins today.

As a result of following Camping's teachings, the Carsons have all but abandoned their teen-aged children, Faith, Grace, and Joseph. The children are of course embarrassed by their parents, but that embarrassment goes beyond the normal awkward teen phases to point to a much deeper problem, where their parents have abandoned the children spiritually, and have consigned them to what they expect to be Hell on Earth.


What kind of parent does that? They have told their kids point-blank that "we are going to heaven, and you are not." They have not prepared for their children's future, because they feel they have none. And now the future is here, and they are all awkwardly trapped in a Maryland McMansion, all quite alive, and all quite uncomfortable, one would assume.

The Carson parents have no moral authority over their children anymore. They abandoned them spiritually long ago, and preemptively abdicated all responsibility for their future lives from this moment onward. How can they any longer be effective parents when they have lost their credibility?

This awkward realization is going to impact a very small community of end times believers when the sun comes up today and tomorrow and the day after that as it always has. They're going to realize they were fools.

But are they going to understand why?

Are they going to understand that they fell for Camping's false prophesy because they do not want responsibility over their own lives? Once they make that revelation, will they end their lives in despair, or will they try to get the therapy they need to discover why they are so willing to abandon the lives and children the real God gave to them as the most precious of gifts?

While I fear the former and hope for the later, odds are that many of these weak-willed followers will listen when Camping finds the "error" in his end times math and resets the end of the world several more years or decades into the future (he had already done so once before). They will still follow the false prophesy of a near-time Revelation, and continue to create the Hell on Earth for their families, a fate that they so ironically sought to avoid.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 21, 2011 07:53 AM

It appears that "No one knows the day or the hour..." part of the Bible just slipped by Mr. Camping.

Posted by: Just Sayin' at May 21, 2011 08:19 AM

Unsurprisingly, Camping was wrong about the Rapture in '94, too. As a commenter suggests, some familiarity with Matthew 24:36 might have suggested this was not likely.

You hit the nail on the head here. The parents appear to have checked out on them. I suspect it'd be hard to get Family Services involved here.

Proverbs 22:6 ("Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." - NIV translation) seems to suggest a requirement for parental responsibility.

Posted by: mj at May 21, 2011 08:23 AM

I wish I had paid more attention to this. I would have ordered t-shirts saying; "May 22nd, 2011. Thank God that's over!!"

I would have made a killing. Maybe not as much as Harold Camping but decent enough.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano at May 21, 2011 04:55 PM

"What kind of parent does that?" The same type of parent that believes that some numerical expression is a pathway to God. (5 * 10 * 17)^2...seriously, that's it. Oh and those numbers 'mean' something

Here's the gist of Camping's calculation: He believes Christ was crucified on April 1, 33 A.D., exactly 722,500 days before May 21, 2011. That number, 722,500, is the square of 5 x 10 x 17. In Camping's numerological system, 5 represents atonement, 10 means completeness, and seventeen means heaven. "Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story," Camping said on his Oakland-based talk show, Family Radio, last year. "It's the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you're completely saved. I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that."

Yeah...XKCD may like the idea of the Gospel reduced to a math equation, but I imagine he would be pissed there wasn't at least a 2nd level integration or a summation series in there somewhere. I mean, ARITHMETIC, anyone can do that!

The only good I can see coming out of this is the fact I can now retort to the 12/21/2012 idiots about how stupid they are too.

Posted by: MunDane at May 21, 2011 07:47 PM

This is a cult; they follow the confusion of satan, who's really active throughout the world right now.
I feel bad for these children; but God will halp them in their journey. They are not responsible for the foolishness of their parents.

Posted by: cali at May 22, 2011 12:37 AM

MJ beat me to it... I hate it for those kids, cause NOW the parents have to go on living...

Posted by: Old NFO at May 22, 2011 05:40 AM

They live about an hour from me. I wish I could find a way to get those kids into my house. And I go to a sane evangelical church so they'd have a chance to see that not all people who take the Bible seriously are off their rockers.

Posted by: MikeM_inMD at May 22, 2011 02:31 PM

Just read and Study the Bible. It is that simple. Truth will be revealed. People like Camp just won't matter. I remember the 1st thing I looked up about Obama was the church he attended and his public stand on abortion and I knew he was Not right.

Posted by: hiscross at May 22, 2011 03:08 PM

"This awkward realization is going to impact a very small community of end times believers when the sun comes up today and tomorrow and the day after that as it always has. They're going to realize they were fools."

No. They're just going to claim their calculations were off and proclaim a new date based on whatever.
This has been going on for thousands of years, no reason to stop now...

Posted by: JTW at May 23, 2011 07:54 AM