The billboards boldly proclaimed the end of the world. According to the Guardian.co.uk, Harold Camping, the self-proclaimed Christian prophet, who predicted the beginning of the end of the world at exactly 6 pm, May 21, 2011, was very mistaken. He predicted that a series of rolling earthquakes would begin at 6 pm in each of the world’s time zones. They would be accompanied by the second coming of Christ, who would return and take all believers back to heaven with him.
Camping’s prediction record is zero after two tries. He was also wrong with his 1994 prediction of the same event. He later said he made a mathematical error. It is amazing that so many people had faith in his second prediction.
Camping is the head of Family Radio, a network of stations that broadcasts the gospel worldwide. According to CNN Money, Camping convinced his millions of listeners to send in “$80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009.”
Camping’s sincerity is unquestioned, because, according to the Guardian, he used over $100 million of the money to conduct a worldwide advertising campaign, advertising the date of the event. One billboard stated that it “was guaranteed by the Bible.”
Here is a copy of Camping’s “farewell letter to the world,” from CNN Money.
Here is a photo of one of the billboards from The Question Group.
I also was not able to access the Family Radio website, which brings two possibilities to mind. Since the public has not noticed any other people having been raptured, perhaps the staff and employees of the station were the only ones participating. The other possibility is that they declared a recess until they can formulate an excuse as to why they were so mistaken, after spending $100 million advertising the event. Think how many hungry children $100 million dollars could have fed.
The entrepreneurial system has no bounds when it comes to exploiting a situation. Quoting the Guardian, “There has been a mini-boom in firms and individuals offering to look after the pets of those who believed they were about to be raptured. Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, set up by New Hampshire atheist Bart Centre, has about 250 clients who paid $135 (£83) for insurance policies that guarantee Centre and others will care for their animals when they ascend. Others paid out to sign up with websites that would send out farewell letters to friends and relations left behind.” I fail to see the logic of their decision. If the world is destroyed, how will the insurance company be able to care for the pets under those circumstances?
An unknown number of his flock quit their jobs, bought RV’s and formed caravans to travel the country warning the public. At Camping’s behest, they stood on street corners carrying signs proclaiming the May 21 Judgment Day date. My question is, will Mr. Camping reimburse the faithful for their likely monetary losses on the sale of their homes and unemployment compensation for lost income until they find new employment?
I am also curious as to how many of his listeners will be mailing in donations in the near future. Undoubtedly, he must have amazing charisma to be able to pull this off a second time. Maybe the third time will be the charm.
Annalyn Censky/”Doomsday Church: Still Open for Business”/CNN Money
Harold Camping/”Harold Camping Farewell Letter’/CNN Money
End of World Billboard/The Question Group
Paul Harris/”World Doesn’t End: California Prophet had No Plan B”/The Guardian