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May 23rd, 2011
05:04 PM ET

Preacher now says end of the world will happen in 5 months

By Kim Hutcherson and Dan Gilgoff, CNN

(CNN) – Harold Camping is sticking to his apocalyptic guns.

In his first radio broadcast since his doomsday prediction failed to pan out in a spectacularly public fashion, the California preacher insisted his was an error of interpretation, not fact.

What's more, he has another calculation for the day the world will end - October 21, 2011.

Camping had kept a low-profile since Saturday, the day he had forecast for the return of Jesus Christ to Earth. He and his devoted followers have been warning for months that on May 21, a select 2% to 3% of the world's population would be taken to heaven. Those left behind would face months of tribulation before perishing in the Earth's destruction, which Camping said would happen on October 21.

This is the basis for his new prediction, which Camping claims is not new at all. He told listeners on his Family Radio broadcast Monday that God is "loving and merciful," and had decided not to punish the humanity with five months of destruction.

But he maintains that the end of the world is still coming.

"We've always said October 21 was the day," Camping said during his show. "The only thing we didn't understand was the spirituality of May 21. We're seeing this as a spiritual thing happening rather than a physical thing happening. The timing, the structure, the proofs, none of that has changed at all."

However, Camping said his group would not be mounting another advertising push. In the months leading up to May 21, Family Radio billboards popped up across the country, warning that the end was near.

"We're not going to be passing out tracts," Camping said. "We're not going to put up any more billboards. We're not going to be advertising in any way. The world has been warned. We did our little share and the media picked it up. But now the world has been told, it's under judgment."

Fred Store, who led one of four RV caravans that toured the country in recent months to spread the word about judgment day, said he and other followers heard Camping's broadcast "and we were quite happy - it will be interesting to see what the next couple of months will bring."

"It appears as though this whole [rapture] thing happened in a spiritual, rather than a physical way," said Store, 66. The retired electrician said that he and the other nine members of his five-RV caravan were still at an RV park where they waited for the rapture to arrive on Saturday.

He said the park was within 100 miles of Boston, Massachusetts, but didn't want to disclose the specific location. He said the caravan was waiting for word from Camping's ministry, Family Radio, about arranging the return of the vehicles to the broadcaster's Oakland, California, headquarters.

Store said he and the others in his caravan were not disappointed that the dramatic events associated with the rapture had not come to pass.

"We think that judgment day did happen," he said. "It didn’t result in an earthquake, and there were a number of things that weren't exactly the way we said they would be, but we were only reading from the Bible.  We’ve been humbled by the whole experience."

Camping founded Family Radio, a nonprofit Christian radio network with about 65 stations across the country, in 1958. It received $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009.

He first inaccurately predicted the world would end in 1994. Despite his poor track record, he has gathered many followers. Some gave up their homes, entire life savings and jobs because they believed the world was ending.

Reporters who were allowed to ask questions during the broadcast Monday pressed Camping on this issue, but he would not admit that he bore any blame for his followers' predicaments.

"I don't have any responsibility," Camping said. "I'm only teaching the Bible. I'm telling ... this is what the Bible says. I don't have spiritual rule over anybody ... except my wife as the head of the household."

Experts in apocalyptic movements said that reinterpretations like Camping's are not uncommon in the wake of failed doomsday predictions.

“Historically, failed prophecies tend to result in disillusionment, with members deserting the group, or, more typically, a faith-saving (and face-saving) statement to the effect that while divine revelation remains infallible, human calculation is not,” said Lorenzo DiTommaso, author of the forthcoming book “The Architecture of Apocalypticism” and an associate professor of religion at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. 

“In short: The math was off, and it’s back to the drawing board,” he said. “If the logic seems a bit self-serving, recall that in the apocalyptic mindset, faith precedes theory, and theory informs the evidence."

–CNN's Jessica Ravitz contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • End times

soundoff (4,998 Responses)
  1. FreedomGuy

    The Rapture already occurred. If you're still here, it is because God does not love you.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Jake Blues

      Me and the lord have an understanding, you see where on a mission from GOD.

      May 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  2. Dr. Greg

    Please, please make this stop!

    May 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • rofl

      i predict he is going to find more religious suckers to send him 'donations' for his cruise to mexico and the bahamas. Religion, legal scamming in the USA!

      May 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  3. Chuck

    Religion does nothing other than to keep people ignorant and discourage them from questioning the foundations of their beliefs. It brings the human race back to the middle ages and keeps us from advancing through science. Many wars in history have been and are being fought due to religious intolerance (including the current wars in Iraq / Afghanistan) . Although we are supposedly over there to fight terrorism (it's really for resources) , it's being fueled by religious hatred and intolerance.

    Christianity is based upon old Egyptian religion. Even many of the symbols are based upon Egyptian symbols. The Christ story is based upon astrological observations the Egyptians made about the sun's movements against the horizon in relation to the constellations. It's an old story that's been told numerous times in history. They noticed that the sun would stop going south along the horizon on Dec. 22nd, hold position for 3 days and then "rise again" toward the north by 1° on Dec 25th. Hence we have the "sun god" Jesus dieing , being dead for 3 days and being resurrected on the 3rd day. The sun going north by 1° signaled spring was coming and "life" would be resurrected again.

    Jesus' 12 disciples are based upon the sun's movement throughout the year among the 12 constellations. Each disciple represents a constellation.

    The "end of the world" as this misguided preacher is using to take advantage of his people, is really stated in the bible as the END OF THE AGE.. Each age represents the constellation that the sun rises on Dec 25th. Our current age is the age of Pisces (Hence the Jesus Fish you see, it is the symbol for Pisces). Eventually, the end of the AGE will occur when the sun moves into the constellation Aquarius. Then a new "sun god" would take his place.

    These are all Egyptian stories that were incorporated into our current religion Christianity.

    It's all a story people.. . wake up!

    May 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • airwx

      Are related to Reality?

      May 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • airwx

      Correction.. Are you related to Reality???

      May 24, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Chuck

      The "Three Kings" stated in the bible story "follow the star in the east" to find Jesus. The three kings refers to the three stars in the belt of Orion. These stars point to the north star (Sirus) on Dec 25th and line up exactly with the point where the sun rises on that day.

      So important were these three stars in Egyptian history that the pyrimids of giza are lined up in the exact same configuration as the three stars in Orions belt.

      See the connection yet? It's an old story copied from Egyptian mythology.

      May 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • David

      Chuck, the birth of Christ on Dec 25th was a good example where Pagan religions were merged with Christianity. Dec 25th was already the birth dates of two Pagan Gods within Roman theology which were celebrated way before Christianity had elvolved – "Sol Invictus" and "Mithras".

      May 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Chuck

      Thanks David. I didn't know that. I don't know if , according to Eyptian mythology, Horus was born on Dec 25th as well? It appears that there were a lot of civilizations in the nothern hemisphere who were also paying attention to the sun and the stars.

      May 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  4. bluemax77

    KEEP TAKING THE PILLS...!!

    May 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  5. gregg

    There is a sucker born every minute.
    Religion knows this and exploits this.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Jake Blues

      Hay thanks to religion and being fruitful there is a sucker born every 1.5 seconds now

      May 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • David

      ...and sometimes twins

      May 24, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  6. Peter Frechette

    So,..... the old fool has decided that October 21 is the right date for the rapture. Well, all you idiots who believe him, just keep sending your money to his radio station and you'll get what you pay for. Even if you take out a few things, I still wouldn't make it. I'm an Episcopalian, and apparently that means I'm not the right kind of christian.
    Oh well, still rather be one of God's frozen chosen.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  7. Aliat

    Can we please make a law that allows these kinds of people to say their "Doomsday" rhetoric and then if they are wrong, can we please either charge them for something that'll get them into jail or take out their tax-exemption immunity and then tax the culprit to Rapture? This monster is no better than those Radical Islamists that promises 17 virgins after a suicide bombing in their Jihad, the difference is that where they take away lives, these destroy lives, I feel sorry for this False Prophet's followers/victims. Why we put up with these kinds of heretics is beyond me. I hope some brave souls in government find a way to make these kinds of fear-mongering, lives-ruining people to Justice.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  8. earlyrizer

    Regis, I'd like to phone a friend. Yup, I'd like to call Herold. Herold Camping.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  9. Mike

    UNSUBSCRIBE

    May 24, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  10. howie

    What a dummy!

    May 24, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  11. steve N JXN

    Don't give up your day jobs, folks.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  12. Bagel

    This guy is so irritating. Nobody man knows when the world will end, this is a commonality in every single Abrahamic religion for those who believe in one.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  13. Visitor

    At least someone is preaching the gospel and speaking about the signs happening before our own eyes. May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, reward this man's courage and faith, and may God show HIs Glory and Majesty soon appearing before the righteous and non righteous, righteous made holy by His Son who is coming back. The Lord is exalted in Zion, and His Saints shall manifest His Awesome Glory, His resting place shall become the inheretence of the righteous for It pleased the Fathe that the Fullness of Himself rest upon the Son, Jesus Christ, the First and Lost of all the Children of God, first in Spirit and First in Flesh, May God grant us the privilige to sit at His table and be dressed in white rainment and behold the glory of His Face before the Arcangels, Cherubs, and ever host and before the elders which sit even now before the Father on Heaven. Rule and Reigh belongs to the coming King.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Tyler

      he is speaking on something which no man knows by the word of the bible.

      May 24, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • howie

      Uh huh

      May 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Freddie

      Perhaps you should read Deut 18:22. A false prophet is a false prophet... he will receive no blessing from God.

      May 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Howdy

      It's just a book. What is preventing me from writing a book saying the world will end tomorrow? And when it doesn't I'll just pick some other arbitrary date. This guy is acting like he forgot to move the decimal point during his other predictions.

      May 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • tommy

      hes creating panic for no reason. hes a multi millionaire too....dude just wants attention. jesus is coming. but could be tomorrow. could be 3 million years from now. no one knows and anyone that proclaims they do is full of blasphemy.

      May 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Soporifix

      I think you need to grow up

      May 24, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • seriously226

      He also changes the Bible: "that God is "loving and merciful," and had decided not to punish the humanity with five months of destruction." Since when doesn't the rapture occur and tribulations happen? He may be preaching his beliefs but you can't predict when the second coming will occur – it'll happen on God's time, not even Jesus knows.

      May 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Super2

      Gimme a break. I bet that old jerk needs help finding his way home from the bar at night.

      May 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • jesse

      and they all lived happily ever after.

      May 24, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • jesse

      and they lived happily ever after.

      May 24, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  14. Freddie

    This is the same sort of thing that the founder of the Jehovah's witnesses did. He predicted the end would come in 1878, then in 1914. The second president of the Jehovah's Witnesses declared that the rapture would happen in 1925... then in 1928. Yet, all these false prophets ever do is "recalculate" and mislead more people with their inspired utterances from demons. Right now the Jehovah's Witness movement is over 7.5 million strong. I wonder how many people Harold Camping is going to mislead?

    Scary stuff.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  15. Tyler

    he must not read the bible to much read matthew 24:36 it says no man will know not the angels his nor his son his self know when judgement day is.....

    May 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Tyler

      (No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. matthew 24:36)

      May 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Roger

      Harold knows, you forget Harold!

      May 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  16. Denver Morgan

    Im sure if he keeps guessing long enough he is bound to get it right after a while.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • William Johnson

      True, but this quack is looking like he has one foot in the grave and the other is on a banana peel.....lol

      May 24, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  17. joe

    i actually hope this dude dies on october 21st so we can end his reign of mental terrorism on this world! bwahaha!!!!

    May 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  18. Steve

    Poor thing.. anything for attention.. pitiful.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  19. DarthOkier

    this plp are crazy.....omg you still believe this old fart. what is this world coming to!

    May 24, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  20. G D

    Wait wait, the Nostradamus effect was not factored into the Christ-happening with the angry God epiphany!! Belief when it lleads to good will & good neighbors is one thing, belief when it leads to lunacy is another.

    May 24, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • airwx

      You are right about one thing...his theology is just about as clear as Nostrdamus' quatrains...hey maybe thats the plan...he wants a gig on the history Channel! His theology is on a par with what they put on....

      May 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.