Followers of Harold Camping, who predicted May 21, 2011 as the Doomsday, quit their jobs, sold their houses and donated all their money for spreading Doomsday news around the world. But why didn't Camping do the same?
Family Radio President Harold camping had predicted that on May 21, 2011, 200 million will Rapture and series of natural disasters, including earthquakes will kill those left behind. Violent earthquakes that would make Japan's recent earthquake look like a Sunday school picnic in comparison will rock the world, which will be completely destroyed on October 21, 2011.
Camping had relied on Biblical verses viz. Genesis 7:4 (“Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth”) and 2 Peter 3:8 (“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”) to come to the conclusion that May 21, 2011 is supposed to be exactly 7,000 years after the Great Flood (4990 B.C.).
Despite a failed September 1994 Doomsday prediction, Camping said he was confident about the May 21, 2011 prediction. We know without any shadow of a doubt it is going to happen, he said.
The followers of camping put their faith in his words and many of them sold their possessions, quit their jobs and spent their entire life savings on promoting the Doomsday prediction around the world.
For instance, Adrienne Martinez and her husband quit their jobs and spent their last penny in renting a house in Orlando. We had budgeted everything so that, on may 21, we won't have anything left.
Similarly Robert Fitzpatrick of Staten Island, NY, was so sure of the May 21st Doomsday prediction that he spent his entire life savings of $140,000 on New York City subway ads about the Doomsday.
Not surprisingly, when the appointed time came and passed and nothing happened, Camping's followers were crestfallen.
Fitzpatrick was one of them.
I don't understand why nothing has happened. I did what I had to do. I did what the Bible said, Daily mail quoted him as saying.
For those who were invested in this prediction, their world did end Saturday, said Rev. Jeremy Nickel, minister at Fremont's Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation. They thought they were going to heaven and they didn't. They may have donated all their money. They're going to be in a world of hurt.
Agrees Christian author Jason Boyett. Camping's faith will survive the impending disappointment, as will his ministry and radio empire. He'll make excuses and set another date. I don't worry about him; I worry about his followers and their families, Boyett wrote on The Washington Post On Faith page. Boyette has written several books, including Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse and O Me of Little Faith.
It is easy for us to sit here and to poke fun at Harold Camping...he'll get past it, he said. But what we got to remember is that he has a whole lot of people whose lives and faith will be devastated.
As a result, many of them will have lost money; many of them who quit their jobs will be in a tough spot, he added.
On Sunday, Camping told International Business Times (IBTimes) that he would be making a public statement on or before Monday night. Camping, who looked tired and dazed, said he needed a day to think it out.
Give me a day...You know this is a big deal, big deal, and I've got to live with it, he said.
The 89-year-old radio evangelist did not say what he would say at the public forum. It is expected that he might either say again that he had made a calculation error. Or he may acknowledge his mistake, ask for forgiveness from man and repent before God.
Many Christian leaders feel Camping needs to repent and come back to Christ. The great tragedy today is that when he believes the world is coming to an end, what he's preaching and teaching is 'you need to repent and call on God and God might save you.' And in that message, there's no reference to Christ and no reference to the Cross, W. Robert Godfrey, president of Westminster Seminary California, said.
Camping also has a lot of answering to do.
For instance, he must tell the world why he did not quit his job or sell his possessions as his followers did. Wasn't he as invested in his prediction as his followers were?
Moreover, if Family Radio believed in Camping's prediction, why did it request a filing extension of submission of their financial statements in Minnesota - one of the states where they solicit donation - from July 15 deadline to November 15. This is strange because what difference does it make if the world is going to end anyways on May 21? Or did Family Radio, which runs 66 stations across the world, including in the U.S., and is estimated to be worth at least $70 million, did not share the same belief as Camping?
Did Camping take everyone along for a ride? Or was he himself fooled into believing that the world is going to end on May 21, 2011?
The world will be watching, especially his followers, many of whose lives have been financially or otherwise destroyed by his prediction. Camping better has a good answer ready.
Watch Camping speak to IBTimes below: