The world didn't end in 1994 or on May 21, but Harold Camping says it'll definitely, definitely end on Oct. 21.
Or, you know, not.
The day is still young in the U.S., but the problem is, it's already Oct. 22 in New Zealand and Australia -- and the most exciting thing that's happened there is, well, nothing.
It looks like Camping is, for the third time, not correct. Some denominations would place the track record in the false prophet category.
The 90-year-old founder of the California-based Family Radio station has spent almost 20 years trying to predict the end of the world based on Biblical hints. This year, he said the world would end because it has been 7,000 years since the Great Flood.
According to Genesis, God warned Noah about the flood seven days in advance, and another passage, 2 Peter 3:8, says that a day is like 1,000 years to God. Camping took that to mean that Judgment Day would come 7,000 years after the flood.
He made a similar prediction in 1994 and blamed his failure on a miscalculation -- but he said his new calculations were absolutely unquestionable. Then, when the Rapture didn't happen on May 21 this year, he claimed God had passed judgment invisibly and would proceed to destroy the world five months later, on Oct. 21.
Camping's latest failed prediction leaves his followers in a pretty unenviable position, having sold all their possessions and emptied their bank accounts in advance of Doomsday. It's hard not to feel sorry for the children whose college funds are depleted and the parents who now have nothing for retirement.
But is anyone surprised?
It seems doubtful even Camping is surprised. He isn't talking about it -- his home phone has been disconnected, and his daughter, Susan Espinoza, declined a request for comment from The Associated Press, saying, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but we at Family Radio have been directed to not talk to the media or the press.
In sharp contrast to his brash assertions before May 21 -- when he lambasted an interviewer for even suggesting that the Rapture might not happen and informed her, It is absolutely going to happen. We do not have a Plan B at all. There is no possibility that it will not happen, because all of our information comes from the Bible -- he has spent the past two weeks tamping down expectations.
There's a lot of things that we didn't have quite right, and that's God's good provision, he wrote on the Family Radio Web site. I really am beginning to think as I restudy these matters that there's going to be no big display of any kind. The end is going to come very, very quietly, probably within the next month. It will happen, that is, by Oct. 21.
Maybe it'll happen so quietly, nobody will notice it happened at all.