- (Photo: AP Images)
As Oct. 22 dawned on the world, another Rapture date prophesied by California-based Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping turned out to be a dud, which did not surprise much of the public already familiar with the Bible teacher's false prophecies.
After his doomsday prediction of May 21 and a massive advertising campaign arranged by Camping and his Family Radio International, the broadcaster, who claimed he had discovered the key to a numerical dating code contained in the Bible, has become a target of mockery and general antipathy.
Most evangelical Christian leaders have renounced Camping and his false preachings. The Rev. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, even said in a Thursday interview with The Christian Post that the radio founder and host should be "muzzled" for his false prophecies.
Camping was also targeted by his former followers who spent all of their savings on the May 21 doomsday campaign; these people reportedly expected they would no longer need money. In his radio Q&A show, Open Forum, in which Camping used to reply to callers' questions, he was attacked by one such dismayed listener on May 23. Other callers were simply deeply disapointed.
"In my case, I don't know what it means to be faithful anymore because I am really disappointed," a listener said at the time. "I was one of those 200 million, Mr. Camping, that was praying for that day to come, not only to finally go be with the Father but also to finally see judgment like you said in the Good Book."
Many wonder what will now happen to Camping and if he will recalculate some more for a new doomsday prophecy. A religion scholar who studied doomsday prophets told CP on Oct. 7 that it is unlikely anyone will pay any more attention to Camping.
"It surprises me that he was able to continue this for this long," he said at the time.
The radio host himself has not made a statement as of yet and has been avoiding the media.
"I'm sorry to disappoint you, but we at Family Radio have been directed to not talk to the media or the press," Camping's daughter responded to an email inquiry sent by The Christian Science Monitor Friday.
But as the Harold Campig doomsday craze may finally be over, it is unlikely that people will stop wondering about the end times date.
Theories claiming that the world will end in Decemeber 2012, for example, abound.
In 2008, ABC reported on a story of a man who had quit his job already in 2006, because he believed the world would end come 2012. That was why he formed a "survival group" and began collecting various gear that was to help him survive the apocalypse. His survival gear included water purifiers, dust masks and vegetable seeds. The man quoted the ancient Maya cyclical calendar as proof of his doomsday belief. The Mayan calendar has reportedly last renewed itself approximately 5,125 years ago and is set to end again, supposedly with catastrophic consequences, in 2012, wrote ABC.
But this man’s case is not a lone one. Google "2012," and the first results to come up, after the movie with the same title (which, of course, also depicts the alleged apocalypse of the following year), are websites debating whether or not 2012 is the doomsday year, with long lists of apparent evidence. The website Rapture Ready, for example, has a whole arsenal of apocalypse-related data, including "rapture ready news."
Probably the most popular such website is December2012.com. The webside features a doomsday countdown – which is at 425 days, 21 hours, as of Saturday afternoon – and an online store which lets visitors purchase "survival supplies." Those apparently include t-shirts with signs reading "Doomsday December 2012" and the 2012 survival guide book.
NASA dedicates a whole chapter of its website to the 2012 apocalypse theory. The cosmic developer and research body compared the 2012 craze to the uneasiness preceding the first day of year 2000. The doomsday predictions have been, according to NASA, analyzed and the science of the end of the Earth thoroughly studied.
"Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012," an article on the space agency's website reads. "Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012."