Another Doomsday prophet bites dust as Harold Camping's confident rhetoric that the Second Coming of Jesus coupled with a pulverizing earthquake and rapture would occur on May 21 comes to nothing.
Harold Camping had predicted that the 'rapture' would take place on May 21, 2011, at 6 P.M in all regions across the world. The day went past by without an earthquake. As of 10:30 p.m. PDT -- 7:30 p.m. May 21 on Christmas Island, also known as Kiritimati -- no earthquakes had been reported within the last hour and a half, according to the U.S. Geological Survey,
While atheists across US will break into partying at the report of the non-occurrence of the event, Camping has a lot of explaining to do. However, history of failed Doomsday predictions could provide Camping a plausible reason to explain away the event.
Camping can learn a few tips from the followers of William Miller, the founder of Seventh-day Adventist movement. Religionfacts states that in 19th century William Miller had prophesied that Jesus would return sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844, an event which failed to occur. However, Samuel Snow covered the failure by interpreting the delay as tarrying time based on the book of Habakkuk 2:3. He postponed the date by 7 months and 10 day to Oct. 22, 1844. This date also passed uneventfully which led to an exodus of followers and the day was termed as The Great Disappointment
But the remaining followers conjured a new explanation for the non-occurrence of the event. They propounded a new theory called investigative judgment of the world. According to this theory Jesus had entered into the Most Holy Place on the date given by Miller and had started a process through which there is an examination of the heavenly records to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement after which time Jesus will return to earth.
Similarly Jehovah's Witness founder Charles Taze Russell concluded that Jesus would return in 1914. The non-occurrence of the event was explained away as Jesus having returned invisibly on the predicted date.
However, Camping is a veteran when it comes to dealing with failed prophecies as his earlier prediction about the return of Jesus in 1994 bombed as well. But the failure of the doomsday prediction did not deter him a fact punctuated by his May 21 prediction.
If no plausible explanation comes through, Camping can certainly quote the magic numbers or conjure up a complex mathematical formula to predict another cataclysmic date.