(Photo: The Christian Post / Hudson Tsuei)
Christians are bound to ignore Harold Camping, the grim author of the end of times prophecy for Oct. 21, Glenn W. Shuck, assistant professor of religion at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., told The Christian Post.
Camping, the founder of Family Radio, has infamously predicted that Judgment Day and the Rapture would be May 21 this year. When the Rapture did not occur, he announced that the May event had only been a "spiritual Rapture," and that the "physical" one would actually occur on Oct. 21.
After a few months of silence, caused by Camping's stroke, the California Bible teacher repeated the prediction recently in an audio message on Family Radio's website. Although Camping sounded less certain, he still said that the Rapture would "probably" occur Oct. 21.
But Shuck cannot believe that people believed the radio host at all, especially since the May flop was not the first one. Camping had already predicted the Second Coming of Christ in 1994.
"It seems to me that people have forgotten about his previous prophecies," Shuck told CP.
Shuck's studies focused on new religious movements in the United States, among other topics. He is the author of the book Marks of the Beast: The Left Behind Novels and the Struggle for Evangelical Identity.
"It surprises me that he was able to continue this for this long," Shuck added.
Shuck doubts that the Christian community will pay much attention to Camping after the May fiasco, excluding Camping’s immediate circle of devout followers. Shuck told CP that "most Christians, most evangelical Christians, [will] ignore him."
The religion professor also emphasized the fact that the failed May rapture cost Camping and his followers a lot of money.
"He's not exactly doing a lot of people a favor," Shuck added.
But how patient will even the people in Camping's circle be if the Rapture does not occur Oct. 21? Shuck suggested that Camping-like end-of-times scholars usually only get "two strikes," and then they are out. For Camping, Shuck said, this will be strike three.
"Given his age and the amount of press that gave him a bad name [after the previous event] I seriously doubt that he may try that again," he said. "I seriously doubt that he's going to get real attention, outside of his circle of followers."
That will not stop him from his actions, though, Shuck added, as it is obvious that Camping really believes he knows God's calendar.
CP reported back in June that, to this day, it is not certain how many people sold their homes, quit their jobs or gave away their life's savings in anticipation a cataclysmic end of days, as Camping predicted.
But from the few that did share their stories publicly, one thing was for certain – they believed his predictions were the real deal. Undoubtedly there may still be a few, like Camping himself, who believe Christ will return and the world as we know it will come to an end in only a matter of weeks.