Harold Camping, breaking his silence on May 23, seems to expect Doomsday followers to cope on their own.
The real number of Camping's followers remains uncertain. While Family Radio spread its wings to 150 countries in 82 languages, hundreds of people were seen across the nation with billboards and caravans to promote the news of the world's end.
Just as everyone else, Camping's followers did not experience the world's end on May 21. But their hopes are shattered, time and money squandered.
On May 23's Family Radio, Camping explained about May 21, and came up with a new date with neither apology nor elaboration to his followers.
Camping's comfort for the followers is quite simple. You need to cope with it because you are not the worst. Bringing out America's experience of the recession, Camping said that though lots of people lost their homes and jobs, they survived. He added, People cope, people cope, while declining to offer them help.
According to Camping, what the average Family Radio listener has experienced is far better than the losses during the recent economic decline. The followers need to find new jobs, earn back the hearts of their family members, and cope with their empty bank accounts and hearts. But if the followers are as simple-minded and easy-going as Camping, they may find the new date as the next cliff to hang to. The donated money will not be given back to the donors, but is still going out now that they have to go another five months, till October 21, 2011 when the real Doomsday is to arrive. Maybe by October 21, we will only have $10 left, Camping said.
To Camping, people seem to be too concerned about greed, but greedy people have been rooted out of his company, he says. Not one of us has ever gained a chunk of money out of Family Radio. Every nickel has been spent as fairly as possible, as efficiently as possible. The listeners gave donation because of their desire to propagate the gospel through Family Radio, which can do this more efficiently. His definition of efficiency is unclear, now that all the efforts for May 21's rapture are proven to have been in vain.
So the followers should cope with the devastating return of investment (ROI)?
Tom Evans, a Family Radio spokesman, vaguely indicated on Saturday that the Radio might give aid to jobless and penniless donors.
Peter Lombardi, a New Jersey resident who had proclaimed the awesome news of Doomsday with his Dodge minivan through Manhattan's business districts, said he has no regrets. I don't think they were scamming me, but I am definitely waiting to see what they say Monday on the radio show. Camping's followers seem to be tougher than we imagined, and they are actually facing the new reality.
It's not so easy for everyone. On May 21, a 47-year-old mother of two who followed the Doomsday prediction attempted to kill her two daughters' lives along with her own life in California. She had cut the throat and wrists of her two daughters and her own, before they were rescued and taken to hospital.
Hearing the suicide was prevented, Camping reacted, saying that makes me feel better because death is terrible. It's contrary to all that the Bible teaches. To the reporter's question whether he would take responsibility for the incident, Camping said no. I don't have spiritual rule of anybody.
Camping had never told people to quit jobs or deplete life savings to donate. People have done all these because they love the Lord, he insisted.
On the radio show Monday evening, Camping repeated some of his beliefs, including there is no eternal hell, and that churches are corrupted. These beliefs led many of his followers to leave mainstream Christianity. Was it a wise choice for them? Let's wait until October 21 to see. Until then, Camping's believers will need to come to terms with their time on earth, hopefully in a more realistic way.