Harold Camping's prediction of the end of world has come up short, as the Earth was not consumed by massive explosions and earthquakes. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

For months, Christian radio impresario Harold Camping and his followers spread the prediction that the Rapture would hit on May 21, 2011. At 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, earthquakes far more violent than any previously experienced were supposed to herald the beginning of the end of the world. No such event took place, and Camping and his followers are dealing with aftermath.

Camping now zero for two in Doomsday predictions

The past few weeks have seen a media frenzy erupt over the May 21 Rapture prediction. Harold Camping, an 89-year-old former engineer who started the Christian Family Radio network, predicted some time ago that events that signified the beginning of the end of Earth and the Universe would take place on May 21, 2011, followed by the ultimate end of all existence on Oct. 21, 2011, according to CNN. Camping’s organization, according to CBS, went on a nationwide media campaign, advertising Camping’s prediction on the sides of recreational vehicles and paying for up to 1,200 billboards in total. Camping previously predicted the same thing in 1994 and blamed the mistake on “miscalculation” and went back to studying the Bible to re-calculate the day of the Rapture.

Emotional and financial ruins

Camping, according to the San Francisco Gate, said he was “flabbergasted” and that he was trying to figure out what to do after “a tough weekend.” Protesters immediately began appearing outside the Christian Family Radio headquarters and outside Camping’s home in Alameda, Calif. A column in the New Zealand Herald observed that “6 p.m. came and went by as it usually did,” and that the faithful in Australia, another area that would be hit first by the cataclysmic earthquakes, were openly mocking Camping and his predictions. Various news agencies are carrying stories of people in financial ruins because they had become invested in the idea that “The Rapture,” in which God takes the chosen to heaven spontaneousl, was imminent. For instance, a New Yorker named Robert Fitzpatrick spent more than $140,000 advertising the end of the world, according to Reuters.

Latest end of the world gaffe

Predictions have been made for centuries concerning the exact date of the end of the world. Wikipedia, for instance, has a pretty full list. St. Martin of Tours, for instance, predicted the world would end before A.D 400. Pope Innocent III predicted 1284 would be the year of the end times. Televangelist Pat Robertson predicted the world would end in 1974 and then again between the year 2000 and 2010. A woman named Dorothy Martin said she had been told by aliens that a flood would wipe out mankind in 1954. Serial killer Charles Manson predicted mankind would wipe itself out with a race war that was supposed to begin in 1969. Sir Isaac Newton calculated the end of world would take place in 2060. Some astrophysicists, according to the Christian Science Monitor, are giving the Earth 1 billion years before it will be fried by the sun.


CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/20/eveningnews/main20064856.shtml

CNN: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/22/life-goes-on-doomsday-believers-on-the-morning-after/

San Francisco Gate: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/23/BAKO1JJIK7.DTL

Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/22/us-apocalypse-prediction-idUSTRE74I3KS20110522

New Zealand Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/religion-and-beliefs/news/article.cfm?c_id=301&objectid=10727375

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_predicted_dates_of_the_end_of_the_world

Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2011/0520/End-of-the-world-May-21st-About-a-billion-years-too-soon-astronomers-say

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