Camping fools his followers once again

As the evening of May 21, 2011, drew near, thousands of people around the world cringed and awaited the much-anticipated “beginning of the end.”

This was Judgment Day: The day that was believed to mark the start of the earth’s five-month spiral of self destruction, eventually leading to the end of all mankind. According to the Family Radio preacher, Harold Camping, who had predicted and spread the word of this infamous event, only those who are true believers in God will be spared and ascend to Heaven while the rest of humanity suffers in a series of natural disasters.

Although Saturday came and went and the rapture did not, for many faithful doomsday believers, it was the end of the world as they had once known it. Many people spent their life-long savings and left hefty donations to Camping’s radio program and website. Others sold their homes and belongings with the mindset that they would not need them once the rapture began. Some quit their jobs while their children stopped attending school and they departed on pricy vacations that they believed would very well be their last.

As the final days unfolded, some radical followers of the Doomsday Prophecy resorted to even more dramatic and desperate measures. Some braced themselves for a zombie apocalypse. Multiple believers even considered having their beloved pets put down so that they would not perish in the events that were soon to come.

When asked to comment on the failed outcome of his prophecy, Camping initially refused to make a statement — only stating that he was ‘flabbergasted’ when life continued the next day. Instead of releasing an apology to his followers and admitting that he had made a false prediction, he strongly insisted that Judgment Day had indeed occurred but on a “spiritual level instead of a literal level.” He went on to make yet another confident declaration that the final judgment and end of the world will now take place on Oct. 21, 2011. This is the third time that Camping has made this bold proclamation, and the second time that it has been proven unsuccessful.

Even after the incident and loss of his credibility, 89-year-old Camping said that Family Radio will not reimburse those who had left large contributions to the station or be held responsible for any of the brash actions that resulted from his predictions. Camping justified this by saying, "We at Family Radio never tell anyone what [to] do with their possessions. That's totally between them and God."

When asked if he personally would sell his assets or blow his funds when Oct. 21 approaches, he said,  "Whenever Christ comes, whatever I have left, I will just leave it behind. Until then, I still need to live."

Apparently he learned something from the misfortune of his faithful and misled supporters.

Surprisingly, many of Camping’s ill-fated followers are not upset with or laying blame on their much-respected preacher and broadcaster. Many accept that he merely miscalculated the date of the rapture, no big deal, and continue to take what he says very seriously. Perhaps the continual belief in Camping’s prophecies and naive nature of mankind should be another judgment on humanity, but instead of spiritually, literally.

Reach the columnist at chelsea.w.brown@asu.edu


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