Shrugging his shoulders coolly, Bible teacher Harold Camping told reporters gathered in the Family Radio studio in California days after his end-of-the-world claims failed to physically materialize that he would apologize if people wanted him to and that he is "not a genius," despite having claimed that the Bible "guaranteed" his May 21, 2011 doomsday scenario.
When asked by a reporter if he did owe the untold numbers of "Open Forum" listeners who took his emphatic teachings to heart and quit their jobs, abandoned their families and turned over their life's savings to Camping's Family Radio, this is what Camping said in a video published by the UK Telegraph on YouTube May 24, 2011:
"If people want me to apologize, I will apologize, yes, I did not have all of that worked out exactly as I should have or I wish I could have had it. That doesn’t bother me at all. I’m not a genius. I pray all the time for wisdom and when I make an error, then I admit it. I say, yes I was wrong. … It was to be understood spiritually, not physically. And yet the sense of it is still the same. That judgment has come, the world is now under judgment where it was not prior to May 21. Spiritually, there is a big difference in the world that we can’t detect at all with our eyes. But we can know from the Bible."
Before May 21, Camping's message received unprecedented public attention, largely thanks to the massive advertising campaign launched by Camping and his Family Radio followers. CNN reported at the time that Family Radio had received some $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009.
In a promotional video published on YouTube and produced 10 days before the May 21 rapture in which Camping expounds on the complicated mathematical equations he used to arrive at the May 21, 2011, date, the 90-year-old Family Radio broadcaster says, "This is an exceedingly serious matter. It is a matter of eternal life or being dead for ever more. And it's coming upon us. ... You better ask yourself really, 'what am I trusting' that it can't happen? That Christ is coming as a thief in the night. What is your authority? Are you listening of the whole Bible?"
In subsequent messages, the latest of which emerged in September in an audio broadcast on Family Radio's website, Camping does not offer any further explanations for miscalculating the rapture.
Sounding somewhat less certain about his "Bible-guaranteed" predictions, the Alameda, Calif., evangelist says the end of the world will "probably" happen on Oct. 21, just two days from now.
Video: Harold Camping 'Apologizes' for Getting May 21 Doomsday Wrong