For one May 21 Doomsday believer, the failed prediction by broadcaster Harold Camping has prompted an acknowledgment of error and a desire to avoid making specific date assertions about God's Judgment Day going forward.
Bob Hansen of Maryland, a listener of Family Radio, told IBTimes on Monday that when he first heard Camping's prediction he was initially skeptical and checked out every verse from the Bible cited to confirm for himself the truth of Camping's statements. He was convinced at the time.
Camping had predicted that a series of cataclysmic earthquakes was going to strike the earth on May 21, as the true believers, about 200 million of them, would be taken to heaven, while the remaining 7 billion people would suffer through great natural disasters until the destruction of the earth on October 21.
After the failed prediction, Hansen said he was staying away from talk about specific times.
I think I'm out of the business of setting dates, he added, noting that the Doomsday conclusion was obviously a mistake.
[I]f anyone were to come out with another date I'd be far more hesitant, he said.
He also said he wouldn't blame God for the mistake.
I do not believe God is wrong, Hansen said. I'm subject to error.
Some atheist doomsday critics had laughed off the prediction, mocking the very idea of a Judgment Day. Hansen said his faith was intact, however, calling himself a firm believer in the Gospel.
He said he believed a Judgment Day would come someday.
There is a day of judgment that is coming. We don't know when it is.
He urged people to get right with God before that day came.
Views on Camping
Hansen said he had not been trusting in Camping, but rather the Bible.
If you've listened to Mr. Camping ... he says that he is nothing, Hansen said. Camping has pointed to the Bible's authority, Evans said.
Hansen characterized Camping as being a humble person.
Over the years he's had opinions and conclusions he has reached and ... realized he's been wrong, Hansen said.
Hansen said Camping had done the initial research and called others' attention to it.
In 1994, Camping predicted a high likelihood that the biblical judgment day would arrive on September of that year, although he left himself an opening for error. He later recalculated and in his latest prediction, Camping left himself no room for error, saying he knew the Doomsday prediction was absolutely true.
Concern for Family's 'Spiritual Condition'
Approaching May 21, my mind was concerned about family members and being unsure of their spiritual condition, Hansen said, adding that God would be the only one that could intervene.
When the time came and passed, I was pleased that they have more time. That's where my primary focus was, he said.
He said that prior to May 21 he had been asked what would happen if he was wrong. He answered that he would be pleased if he was wrong.
I have no personal pride, he said.
Hansen said that he had experienced a range of emotions after May 21 came and went but said the experience had not been devastating.
He said the reaction to the failed prediction from those around him covers the gamut.
Some people were on board and some were absolutely opposed, he said.
Hansen said that in his case, other Christians around him who had not believed Camping's prediction were very supportive and encouraging.
Camping Breaks Silence, to Issue Statement Monday
Late Sunday Camping briefly spoke with IBTimes at his home in Alameda, CA and was asked about the failed prediction.
This is a big deal and I've got to live with it. I've got to think it out, he said.
Camping declined an interview but said he would give a public statement on Monday night and that Family Radio would continue to operate as normal.