If the world does not end on Oct. 21, what will Harold Camping's new excuse be?
Camping has been wrong about his end of the world dates twice before. The first time came in 1992, when the lanky preacher predicted that the world would end sometime between Sept. 15 and 27 of 1994. Camping even wrote a book about it, 1994, which sold over a million copies.
However, after the earth did not quake and God did not make his final judgment, Camping blamed his mistake on tricky math.
"Apparently, I was incorrect," Camping told Christianity Today (CT) on Sept. 28, 1994. The doomsday broadcaster and former civil engineer told the magazine that he misunderstood the importance of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, which led to his miscalculations.
Approximately 15 years later, Camping announced a new, mathematically-improved end of the world date: May 21, 2011.
As Camping became a topic of discussion and punchline of late-night jokes, his Family Radio broadcasting network raised millions of dollars in donations, and Camping was able to bankroll a $100 million advertising push that included billboards, pamphlets, and even painted cars to warn people that the end is coming and that they better repent – or go to hell.
When May 21, 2011, came and went, Camping's excuse was that there had been a "spiritual rapture" which had to happen before the "physical rapture" on Oct. 21. Therefore, he was still right, according to is calculations.
His first excuse was mathematical, his second excuse was metapysical, what will the third be? And although Camping's new end of the world date does not have the same fanfare as his May date, people are still looking forward to hearing his new excuse – as long as they are all still here to hear it.