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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. Beb Gamino

    believe the bible not men..2nd peter 3:8 said do not be ignorant..yet 7 days or 7000 yrs will expire 2011? Noah Jonah Abraham knew..God said He reveal His secret to us His servant...amos3:7Eclesiastes 8:5–we know both time & judgment 2peter3:10 to 13..we are the children of the light..all signs of his coming before our eyes world has been warned by God through enternit radio tv+godly people..only escape is get the Holy Spirit be indwelled by Him..No worry God perfect in everything for you & me & of this world.....

    October 1, 2011 at 4:40 am |
  2. Emmanuel

    People should not believe in god, they should live their life according to what they believe is right.

    August 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  3. mohamed farah

    So what god gona do to you after lying twice to your blind followers mr cramping? Why don't you do a math there while we prepare more popcorn for the big laugh on 21 october! Ps your world I'd gona end anyway now that you in your ninties.

    August 11, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  4. Matthew

    And i Quote from mr Neil Peart

    There are those who think that life is nothing left to chance,
    A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance.

    A planet of playthings,
    We dance on the strings
    Of powers we cannot conceive.
    "The stars aren't aligned
    Or the gods are malign"-
    Blame is better to give than receive.

    You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
    If you choose not to decide, you still haven't made a choice.
    You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
    I will choose a path that's clear-
    I will choose Free Will.

    There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand,
    The cards were stacked against them- they weren't born in lotus-land.

    All preordained-
    A prisoner in chains-
    A victim of venomous fate.
    Kicked in the face,
    You can't pray for a place
    In heaven's unearthly estate.

    Each of us-
    A cell of awareness-
    Imperfect and incomplete.
    Genetic blends
    With uncertain ends
    On a fortune hunt that's far too fleet.

    August 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  5. cocomarie

    OK I don't know what Bible you are reading but the Bible clearly says we WILL NOT , WILL NOT , KNOW THE DAYOR THE TIME . We will know the seasons meaning by what is happening in the world , plz pay attention if you are going to quote the BIBLe, YOu put several people in a heard way because of your predictions, Also people the BIBle says to test the prophets , This is the sign of a false prophet

    July 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  6. I am who I am

    HI i a may just be 14 but i know god will not come when we say he will come when he wants because hes god he could even come right now tommorw the next day no one will no unit it actaly happeneds .

    June 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  7. chase

    Get that old ass off the news retarded bs grow up

    June 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  8. will Name*

    This so called evengalazeir do not even know what the bible conten. If you would read in acts 1:7 what it says then you get a clear understanding. He want a name for himself.

    June 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  9. schmiegle

    it was fun pretending that He was coming back that day, got me thinking that we should be more vigilant in expecting His imminent return. i mean eventually He will be coming back im sure .if you dont believe that its because youve been blinded from the truth for one reason or another.

    June 16, 2011 at 7:22 am |
  10. Marie Kidman

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=390]

    June 12, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • The Shadow

      Marie Kidman. Are you retarded? If I want some touchy feelly crap, I would turn to a religious site. Maybe that's where you thought you were. As we can see, most of the world's population are too stupid to be alive.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  11. scott

    //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.// So what unluckly soul in the ministry was going to be left behind to arrange for the caravan to be returned to Oakland

    June 8, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  12. Jen

    "'I don't have any responsibility,' Camping said. 'I'm only teaching the Bible. I'm telling ... this is what the Bible says.'"

    Funny because the Bible clearly states no one knows when then end is coming.

    Matthew 24:36
    "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father"

    June 6, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • pct of zero

      everyone should read the parent post... it's exactly what the Christians need to hear... this kind of thing happens all the time because THEY DON'T KNOW THEIR OWN BOOK

      June 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • The Conundrum

      Jen, that mirrors what I said some months ago and to your opinion I say a resounding 'Amen'!!! Camping puts himself under the threat of walking on the wrong side of Jesus if he thinks he is somehow above Jesus in knowing that which only the Father knows... Who does Camping think he is??? I suppose we'll just have to wait until lter in the year to ask camping the fundamental question "OK, now what, fool!"

      June 20, 2011 at 2:01 am |
  13. KS

    It's a shame Kevorkian passed away. I think this moron is in need of his services.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  14. karriers

    what a FRUITCAKE!!! lt'd be entertaining if he weren't a common thief swindling people out of their hard-earned money, but I guess they got what they deserved for being so blindly gullible.

    June 5, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  15. pahud

    this is nonsense....you guys should listen to pastor quiboloy's preaching.... i just wanted to laughed knowing that this aging mr. harold camping is 90 of age... at this age of course he would say that the end of the world is coming...yeah THE END is coming to him, NOT us.... STOP spreading the world gonna end this way, STOP scary-ing other people on earth this way, because this was USELESS.................

    June 5, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  16. Believer2

    When would someone correct the fact that this man is not a pastor!

    June 5, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  17. Derek

    Matthew 7:15 Jesus said to his disciples: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing,but underneath are ravenous wolves.

    I don't particularly care for the Bible, but man-these people have been warned thousands of years ago by the book they profess to love.

    Isaiah 3:11"Woe unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hand shall be given him."

    Apparently the reward for his hand is about 80 million...

    June 5, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  18. brad7watson4miami

    I have produced the "book/scroll" prophesied in The Revelation 5:1-10:10 with the "7 seals"/'beyond Einstein theories' on the cover. See http://7seals.yuku.com

    – Brad Watson, Miami

    June 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  19. Robert

    Jesus said in Mathew, Mark, and Luke, "Heaven and earth will pass away but MY words will NEVER pass away". In the same chapter Jesus says, "NO ONE knows the DAY or hour of my coming, only the Father in Heaven ( God) knows." Therefore, in order for Harold Camping to be correct about October 21, 2011 being the end, Jesus words must pass away AND someone other than God, Harold Camping, knows the hour or day of Christ's return. Jesus speaks of his coming as a "thief in the night" and therefore is at a day and hour when nobody will be expecting his return. Jesus warns believers to be watchful so they will be ready for His return which could occur at any time.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  20. Believer

    What a quack! Is God going to come for us? YES! Do we know when? NO! This preacher may have good intentions of bringing more people to God, but what happens to their faith when God doesn't show up on the day that the preacher told everyone He would? Ay ya ya! We all have to live in a manner that is pleasing to God, being a witness for Him not only by spreading His word verbally, but also by living in a Christ like manner.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:50 am |
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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.