Harold Camping has predicted the world will end Friday – his fourth rapture forecast. However, this time around the Christian Broadcaster seems less certain that the physical end is coming. The faltering of his doomsday stance begs the question: if Camping is unsure, why should others believe him?
Camping said in a radio address earlier this month, “The end is going to come very, very quietly probably within the next month…by Oct. 21.”
"Probably there will be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against God...We can become more and more sure that they'll quietly die and that will be the end of their story,” he added.
The Christian broadcaster had used one common word in his statements – “probably” – unlike his last May 21 prediction, where he told Huffington Post the rapture was definitely coming.
“It is not something where it's a tiny, tiny, tiny chance it may happen. It is going to happen,” Camping stated.
However, when May 21 passed with the world very much intact, Camping claimed that God’s spiritual judgment took place. And that Oct. 21 is when the physical end would come.
Catherine Wessinger, an expert on doomsday groups at Loyola University in New Orleans, told Huffington Post when a prophecy fails, “the person making the prediction can give themselves a way out, sort of a backdoor way of getting out of the prediction. Or on the other hand, when nothing happens, the event can be spiritualized.”
Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, has told The Christian Post in a previous interview that he believes Camping is possibly helping to desensitize the public to the gospel.
"I think he is doing Christianity and non-Christians both a great disservice," Jeffress said.
"This is like the boy who cried wolf so many times, that the villagers became [immune] and didn't actually prepare for when the wolf came. I think by Harold Camping continually making these ridiculous prophecies, he is making unbelievers immune to the truth of the true message of Christ and helping make them unprepared for when Christ truly does return," Jeffress added.
The question remains whether people should pay any attention to Camping’s latest prediction – when the man himself is saying the world will "probably" end.
Harold Camping has previously predicted the world's end on May 21, 1988, Sept. 6, 1994, and May 21 2011.