Apart from the failed Doomsday prediction, Harold Camping has a reputation of being a nice and sincere guy. He is just a bit mistaken, but the aftermath of the mistake needs to be sincerely dealt with.
Harold Camping, head of Family Radio, had predicted the end of the world on May 21, 2012. After the prediction had failed, the question of whether he will apologize to his devout followers remains unanswered.
On May 21, the supposed Doomsday, Camping's family home had its blinds drawn with two old cars parked in the driveway. The last Camping sighting by neighbors was 10 a.m., Saturday as he left in a white SUV. No phone calls to Family Radio were answered, and Camping's followers were found stunned and dejected around the nation.
The return on the giant investment may be too devastating for Doomsday believers to believe.
Family Radio was founded by Camping in 1959, as a 24-hour listener-supported radio network. Camping preached through 150 stations via Open Forum, a TV and radio show. As the end of the world approached, he announced the plan to finish the show. Family Radio grew to be a $120 million empire owning radio stations in 50 countries around the world. The nonprofit organization, worth $72 million in 2009, has now created a worldwide media and Internet sensation. The donation grew as May 21 drew closer, which fueled Family Radio to pour millions more on 5,000 more billboards and 20 caravans.
As for Camping himself, selling his TV and radio stations, he used the money to put out a $100-million worldwide advertising campaign. All the money and time were invested into the prediction of May 21 Doomsday.
The Radio station's lease expires in 2023. The landlord need not worry about next month's rent check, now that Camping and his followers remain on earth. But will they continue their zeal?
I'm concerned for the emotional makeup of these people, said a local pastor in Morgan Hill, CA. It is sad that on Sunday, when they find out nothing happened and they have nothing.
Despite the criticism from both Christian leaders and atheists on his reckless and un-Biblical proclamation, the 89-year-old radio preacher is said to be a sincere and nice fellow.
A current employee of Family Radio said it's a legitimate Christian radio station. She had never been pressured to believe in Camping's prediction. He's a nice man. A wonderful fellow. Simple, clean as can be and very trustworthy, she said.
Chris Andrus, a minister from the local Presbyterian Church, says, My heart goes out to him. He's not doing this for fame, or riches. Look at his house and you can see that. I just think he has lost his way.
Charlene Key from Texas, who has known Camping since the 1950s, speaks highly of him. Though she remained doubtful of his Doomsday prediction. He has never one time asked me for a personal donation, Key said. Over the years she has donated quite a bit to Family Radio. He gives every nickel he collects to charity.
Believers and nonbelievers alike speak fondly of Camping, that he is nice and sincere in his belief, and just misunderstood.
Misunderstanding comes with a huge cost when it is about Doomsday. A sincere mistake needs a sincere follow-up. Family Radio employers, Doomsday believers and non-believers are waiting for Camping to answer.