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Harold Camping's failed prediction of the rapture

Part 7: Harold Camping's third set of
predictions also failed. Media reaction.


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2011-SEP: Camping's latest confirmation:

Harold Camping emerged from a nursing home in 2011-JUN after having experienced a stroke. About 2011-SEP-21, he posted an audio message on his web site referring to:

"... the tremendous event that occurred on May 21 of this year, which probably [will] be finished out on Oct. 21 ... that's coming very shortly. That looks like it will be ... the final end of everything. ...  Probably there will be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against God. This is very comforting to all of us because we all have children, we all have loved ones that are dear to us that we know are not saved and yet we know that they'll quietly die. ... the true believers ... will quietly receive the new heaven and the new earth. ... I really am beginning to think as I restudied these matters that there's going to be no big display of any kind. The end is going to come very, very quietly probably within the next month. It will happen that is by Oct. 21."

Note the use of the words "probably" and "looks like." These are not commonly used terms by Camping or other persons when predicting "the end." Usually, they are absolutely certain about the details.

Several almost identical news reports quoted an unidentified Facebook page about Camping. Some postings were highly critical of his predictions:

  • Alice Carey said: "The more this Camping charactor [sic] opens his mouth the more stupid he sounds. He needs to give up the prophecy business and find something else to worry about like feeding the hungry or working with abused animals."

  • Jayson Leary said: "Folks the choice is clear. Are you gonna follow fundamentalist media twits, or are you going to follow instead the carpenter rabbi from Galillee? [sic] I vote for following the carpenter rabbi from Galilee."

  • Justin Vaught wrote: "I love this shameless rhetoric from this guy. Always puts a smile on my face, very entertaining. Although I don't find him anywhere near as ignorant as the 'God hates fags' folks. Still the world would be a better place without both."

  • Kevin Lynch wrote: "Harold. I think God is saying stop."

  • "Hoskins" wrote: "A coworker hit it on the nose in May. This is coming from a man that is most likely a devout Christian that is scared of dying in a painful way & has convinced himself this is a more painless way to get to heaven. When I thought about it like that, I got a more sympathetic view of Camping." 6

As the OCT-21 date approached, he said that the earthquakes that he had predicted for MAY-21 actually happened. However, instead of shaking the Earth, God shook humans with fear. He wrote:

"All of mankind was shaken with fear. Indeed the Earth (or mankind) did quake in a way it had never before been shaken. God had come spiritually to bring judgment upon the whole world. ..."

"What really happened is that God accomplished exactly what He wanted to happen. That was to warn the whole world that on May 21 God's salvation program would be finished on that day. For the next five months, except for the elect (the true believers), the whole world is under God's final judgment. To accomplish this goal God withheld from the true believers the way in which two phrases were to be understood. Had He not done so, the world would never have been shaken in fear as it was."

"Thus we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those who are presently saved (the elect), are under the judgment of God, and will be annihilated together with the whole physical world on October 21, 2011, on the last day of the present five months period. On that day the true believers (the elect) will be raptured. We must remember that only God knows who His elect are that He saved prior to May 21. ..." 7

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News Flash: 2011-OCT-21 came and passed without either the rapture or TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it):

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Reaction in the media to Camping's latest failed prophecy:

  • ABC News reports:

    "Camping’s Family Radio did not respond to ABCNews.com’s earlier requests for comment, and seems to be keeping mum on yet another 'doomsday' that has come and gone.

    'I’m sorry to disappoint you, but we at Family Radio have been directed to not talk to the media or the press,' Camping’s daughter Susan Espinoza wrote to the Associated Press on Friday [2011-OCT-21].

    Although this is Camping’s second failed prediction this year, a source familiar with the preacher said he has predicted the end of the world 12 times. His first prediction of the end of times apparently dates back to 1978.

    But it was his May 21, 2011 prediction that drew the most fanfare. Camping went on a media blitz, inspiring followers to drain their personal savings to warn Christians that the end was near.

Family Radio spent millions on more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs plastered with the doomsday message marking May 21 as the apocalypse, according to the Associated Press.

There is no word yet on whether the 89-year-old Camping plans to offer another prediction, but if history is any indicator, this won’t be the last Camping’s listeners have heard from the doomsday prophet." 8

  • Christian Post quotes prison minister and author Marty Angelo:

    " 'I know prison convicts who are serving life sentences for much lesser crimes than what this Christian 'Bernie Madoff' Camping keeps committing,' Angelo observed poignantly to a Los Angeles reporter.

    'When someone doesn't provide a service or the product does not do what it is supposed to a customer is allowed to receive their money back or it could be considered a fraudulent transaction. But I do not see Harold Camping giving one red-nickel back to his donors or even apologizing for misleading them. It is amazing this man is allowed to walk the streets. Defrocked Jim Baker went to prison for far less offences,' Angelo said.

    Author Angelo has also questioned the methods of preachers who constantly discuss the end of times. His thoughts on futurism and the Rapture are reflected in his new book, Vision of New Jerusalem: Now. He argues that 'futurism is destroying Christianity'." 9

  • Christian Post (CP) also quoted Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of Dallas First Baptist Church. He is well known for recently referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a cult. Jeffress said:

    " 'The Bible says that if someone makes a prophecy that doesn't come true he is to be considered a false prophet and stoned to death,' he told CP. 'Harold Camping has made at least three false prophecies about the day of the Rapture. And so, if he's not going to be stoned to death, he at least needs to be muzzled.'

    'I think Christian leaders ought to continue to speak out against making predictions about the return of Christ. In Matthew 24:36, Jesus said that no one, including the Son of God, can know when the Rapture is going to occur'."

    Actually, Pastor Jeffress is not exactly correct. The Bible passages quotes Jesus as saying that nobody knows the date and time of the Rapture. But the passage does not say that people may be able to compute the year and month. 10

According to the Huffington Post, the Daily Mail, Associated Press, and Reuters have also been stonewalled when trying to get answers out of Harold Camping or Family Radio. 11

The Family Radio web site appears to have remain unchanged up to the prophesied date of the end of the world and for a few days beyond. No explanation has been offered about the failure of Harold Camping's prophecy. He has not created a new prediction of the world's end.

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2011-OCT-24: Harold Camping may have retired:

The Christian Post reported that Harold Camping, 90, said on OCT-16 that he was no longer able to lead Family Radio Stations. Also on OCT-16, according to documentarian Brandon Tauszik, Camping now believes that nobody can know exactly when the apocalypse will occur. He believes that God withholds critical information from him so that he cannot be precise in his calculations.

Pastors Tom Evans, John Gomez, and others have been recently taking over many of Camping's on-air tasks. 12

However, Suzan Espinoza, Camping's daughter and manager of the International Department at Family Radio denied that her father has retired completely. She wrote in an email to Christian Post:

"He no longer hosts the Open Forum, but he remains the General Manager of Family Radio. Mr. Camping often jokes that he is 'retired' now because he works from home instead of going in to the office. It is not a word he would ever use with a reporter."

During late 2011-OCT, Camping had an audio recording posted on the Family Radio web site. He said:

"Why didn't Christ return on Oct. 21? It seems embarrassing for Family Radio. But God was in charge of everything. We came to that conclusion after quite careful study of the Bible. He allowed everything to happen the way it did without correction. He could have stopped everything if He had wanted to." 13

Christian Post reported that Camping apologized for having earlier said: "people who did not believe that May 21 should not be the Rapture date, probably had not been saved." This statement seems to have one too many "not"s in it. We have alerted Christian Post. 13

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Webmaster's editorial:

We normally do not express our opinions on this web site. Our mandate is to carefully explain the beliefs, practices, and deeds of others. However, because of the potential for loss of life arising from Camping's predictions, we are moved to make an exception in this case.

Almost complete freedom of speech is guaranteed throughout North America by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the text of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The importance of this freedom is reinforced daily as Americans read articles and observe videos in the the media about the misery, violence, and loss of life that the lack of freedom of speech and religion causes in other countries.

However, freedom of speech must be used responsibly. It only works well when the public is well educated in techniques of skeptical analysis of statements, including religious prophecies. I feel that schools and faith groups have an obligation to teach the 100% failure rate of prophecies that were to have happened in our past. People need to approach prophecies for our future with high levels of skepticism and doubt.

Unfortunately, there will always be frightened and depressed people in the world whose grasp on life is tenuous. We would like to see all pro-life religious leaders make a contribution to lowering the suicide rate by following a self-imposed moratorium on future prophecies on topics like the rapture, tribulation, war of Armageddon, destruction of the world, etc.

If they don't, then they will be exhibiting depraved indifference towards the most vulnerable among us, and will have a moral responsibility -- but probably not an legal one -- for the suicides that they trigger. They will have blood on their hands.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Elena Garcia, "Harold Camping Defends Predictions, Insists Upon Timeline for October 21 Rapture," Christian Post, 2011-MAY-26, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
  2. Elena Garcia, "Fearful Teen Commits Suicide Due to Harold Camping's Judgment Day Forecast," Christian Post, 2011-MAY-26, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
  3. Daniel Blake, "Investigators Suspect Harold Camping's End of the World Prediction to Blame for Fla. Man's Death," The Christian Post, 2011-MAY-26, at: http://www.christianpost.com
  4. Elena Garcia, "Harold Camping: Dead Bodies Will Surface from Graves on Oct. 21 Doomsday," The Christian Post, 2011-MAY-31, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
  5. H. Camping, "The End of the Church Age ... and After," Page 329 & 330. Online at: http://fsiforms.familyradio.org/
  6. "Harold Camping: get ready for real rapture October 21, probably,"  Christianity Today, Australia, 2011-OCT-05, at: http://au.christiantoday.com/
  7. "End of the World Two Days Away, Says Harold Camping," International Business times, 2011-OCT-19, at: http://www.ibtimes.com/
  8. "Harold Camping: Doomsday Prophet Wrong Again," ABC News, 2011-OCT-22, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  9. Erica Lamar, "Harold Camping Wrong Again: Head of Family Radio Fails to Respond to the Media," Christian Post, 2011-OCT-22, at: http://global.christianpost.com/
  10. Luiza Oleszczuk, "Harold Camping Oct. 21 Rapture: Christians Should Chastise Family Radio's 'False Prophet,' Says Pastor," Christian Post, 2011-OCT-20, at: http://global.christianpost.com/
  11. "Harold Camping Prediction: World Survives Doomsday (Again)," Huffington Post, 2011-OCT-22, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  12. Luiza Oleszczuk, "Harold Camping Exclusive: Family Radio Founder Retires," The Christian Post, 2011-OCT-24, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
  13. Luiza Oleszczuk, "Harold Camping's Daughter Responds to Claims Family Radio Founder Has 'Retired'," The Christian Post, 2011-NOV-03, at: http://www.christianpost.com/

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 Home page > Religious conflict  > World end > Camping > here
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Copyright 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-NOV-07 (End of the world plus 17 days, and all is well. Time to unpack. It appears that we are safe)
Author: B.A. Robinson

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