At 6:01 on Saturday, May 21, my husband turned to me and said, "Well, we'll be seeing a lot of new atheists soon."
He's wrong. He's not totally wrong. I think the children of those who believed Camping and watched their parents lose everything to a rapture that never happened may end up questioning their faith, but the adults? No. For one thing, they're too invested in their belief. Once you've sold your home, quit your job and put down your dog for your beliefs, you're not backing down. For another, the Bible provides the perfect out for these people: Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
“But if any prophet presumes to speak anything in my name that I have not authorized him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. 18:21 Now if you say to yourselves, ‘How can we tell that a message is not from the Lord?’ – 18:22 whenever a prophet speaks in my name and the prediction is not fulfilled, then I have not spoken it; the prophet has presumed to speak it, so you need not fear him.”
So, let me get this straight, predictions that do come true are from Yhwh, predictions that do not come true are not from Yhwh. Heads, I win, tails, you lose.
It's almost like the writer of Deuteronomy knew these sorts of things would happen- over and over again. Funny, that.
So don't expect that Camping's devotees will lose their faith along with their homes and jobs. They might, might mind you, stop listening to Camping, but their belief in god will remain unaffected.