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Doomsdays throughout time
May 22nd, 2011
03:07 PM ET

Life goes on: Doomsday believers on the morning after

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) – Theirs had been an unwavering belief, the sort that inspired some to quit jobs, leave their homes and walk away from family and friends to issue a doomsday warning.

Without question, they believed May 21 would be the day that Jesus Christ would return and rapture them - and a select 2 to 3 percent of the world’s population - up to heaven.  Everyone left behind would be on a crash course to final destruction, scheduled for October 21.

But now it’s May 22.

The sun rose, birds are singing and life as we know it continues. Those anticipated earthquakes that the May 21 doomsdayers said would ravage the earth on Saturday at 6 p.m. in each of the world's time zones never came.

And the faithful believers - who said the Bible guaranteed this day - are still here, trying to make sense of it all.

“Of course there’s disappointment. There’s no getting around that,” said Tom Evans, who’d left his northern California home to spend the weekend with family and friends. “When you as a person believe that God is coming back, and you believe the evidence is very clear that he’s coming back, that is something every child of God longs for. In a moment, we’d be changed and spend eternity with God. I’m not ashamed of that at all. I’m not ashamed of wanting and hoping for it.”

But Evans did reveal some regret.

“For us to say it was absolute, I think that’s where we went wrong. That’s where we strayed, and that I would gladly apologize for,” he said. “Whether I personally have done something dishonorable, I’m still mulling it over. I was trying to be faithful.”

Evans spoke to CNN as an individual, not as a spokesperson for Family Radio, the Oakland, California, Christian broadcasting network behind the May 21 movement. 

But Evans has been a paid spokesman for the network, a job he said he expects to resume - at least in the short term - after he and Family Radio's board of directors meet with Harold Camping, the network's 89-year-old founder.

“I have not spoken to Mr. Camping about the issue of what to do next,” Evans said. “But he and his wife are fine, and our response will come in the early part of next week.”

Camping, a degreed engineer (not a pastor) who claims to have made the Bible his “university” for more than 50 years, has experience with failed prophecies. He once claimed the world would end in September 1994, later chalking that snafu up to biblical miscalculations and the need for further study. This time around, he said earlier this year, he had no doubts.

Calls to Camping's Alameda, California, home, went unanswered.

CNN reached out Sunday morning to about a dozen doomsday believers, to see how they felt after waking up. Only Evans and one other responded.

"I'm fine Jessica, really!" Darryl Keitt, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, who spent about seven months touring the country in a caravan of RVs, sharing the doomsday warning, wrote in a text message. "Just need 2 process this."

Those who’ve studied end-of-the-world movements are analyzing what happened, or didn’t happen, and forecasting what will come next.

“In the end, it was a whimper, not a bang,” said Lorenzo DiTommaso, author of the forthcoming book “The Architecture of Apocalypticism” and an associate professor of religion at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. “The 21st of May came and went, and with it Harold Camping’s prediction of the coming of the Rapture and the day of doom.”

Based on past doomed doomsdays, much can be learned, said DiTommaso, who has studied apocalyptic worldviews for 12 years.

He shared what he meant in a written statement to CNN:

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

Not that any of this will preclude the appearance of future doomsday predictions. “Apocalypse,” Frank Kermode once observed, “can be disconfirmed without being discredited.” The massive 2012 phenomenon [based on the Mayan “Long Count” calendar] lurks just over the horizon. Even if the media and the public are over-saturated right now, the 2012 event promises to be as big as Y2K. After that, when the predicted events of the 21st of December 2012 fail to occur, a new generation of end-time prophecies will spring up. And that’s about the only sure prediction that one can make.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Culture wars • End times

soundoff (2,964 Responses)
  1. terrell burton

    In the great book did it say. He will come like a theft in the night and no one will no the time or the day. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN NO ONE WILL NO THE TIME OR DAY WHEN HE COME. So that mean no man or woman will no. Just be ready when it do happen..

    May 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Over It

      Your god is a sneak-thief?.... how SPECIAL.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      If he'll be arriving as a thief in the night, he'd better not do it in Texas (or Florida, or Wyoming, Arizona, etc.), or else he may get himself shot... And then people would have to walk around with little gun replicas on their neck chains...

      May 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  2. ambulance chaser

    I'm quite surprised that someone doesn't sue this guy. Didn't he guarantee this date? Couldn't people show damages? I think you could at least get a hearing and it might serve as a deterrent for future scam artists.

    May 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Bruce

      That would be a fun trial to watch. Seems like a straight-up case of fraud. Camping wasn't smart this time and didn't hedge his words with anything resembling doubt.

      Of course, he's almost 90 years old. My guess is that any meaningful case would outlast him on this earth, and holding a dead man accountable for fraud would be a hollow victory...

      May 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  3. Brian

    Steven Hawking would be ROFL if he could.

    May 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  4. harold_camping_non_follower

    Dis so called prophecy maker just need to quit making prophecies, he has failed before and he is trying to just be one of the great prophets who's predictions where on the right path, this guy is just a money hungry bullpooper...lol harold camping live ur life and quit wasting ur time on Trynna predict the end of the world, this world is gonna out live all human kind every day so enjoy it

    May 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Bruce

      Camping seems to be making a ton of tax-free money with his spiel. That makes him a Republican hero!

      Why would he stop? So far this pony has taken him a long way. He's almost 90 years old. He might as well ride this pony the rest of the way...

      May 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  5. Philo Cafe

    Many believe "God" is actually what ancient humans called alien visitors. If that is correct, than according to UFO researchers, God has already come to visit us many times, and continues to do so!! Alien abductees then were "raptured!" Ok, so it sounds crazy. But study this and you have to admit, there are some stunning similarities.

    Have a happy after-Doomsday!!

    May 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  6. DougieT

    "Without question, they believed May 21 would be the day that Jesus Christ would return and rapture them – and a select 2 to 3 percent of the world’s population – up to heaven. Everyone left behind would be on a crash course to final destruction, scheduled for October 21."

    Obviously, these are the beliefs of this one particular, somewhat radical Christian sect. However, it does make me wonder what most other Christians who also believe in the rapture think about the numbers of people who will actually be raptured? I mean, there's no doubt that there is much evil in our world but, even so, the 2 to 3 percent figure strikes me as just a tad on the exclusive side. Anyone, please feel free to comment, if you like.

    May 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  7. Futon Torpedo

    Just waiting for the next near E.L.E. to happen whether it be pandemic sickness, large meteor, large gamma ray burst, WMD or Massive tectonic activity......... aliens, killer mutant ducks, illuminati....the Decepeticons...lol. Okay okay... got carried away there. :o)

    May 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  8. Clinton

    The sad thing is, Those very people that continue to Bash my religion do so while believing in something that is completely reliant upon faith as well. You tell me how Magical Particles ALWAYS existed and at some point magically caused and explosion that created all the Matter in the universe (Despite Physics stating that Matter cannot be created nor destroyed, can only change form) and a seemingly endless reality. Now why in your mind is it okay for you to bash me for believing in an omnipotent God that created the Universe, and sent his son to basically teach us how to live, his life is recorded in history and his followers recorded his existence and his acts and indeed the miracles he performed. The largest Nation in existence at its time Rome, the very same that put him to the cross later Bowed to him... Thousands witnessed his Miracles and converted on the spot... and this is all recorded historically... unlike many religions around the globe, this was witnessed and recorded... yet you refuse to believe it... But you are so quick to jump on the bandwagon and believe what a scientist postulated... a theory that requires as much if not more faith to believe in than Any religion... A theory that if you believe... you must throw out the natural laws of Physics... ... But you call me stupid for believing in God... Wow... My bad i guess i should believe in Magical particles that always existed that randomly exploded and caused everything to exist.... why you think that is a more plausible belief i will never know... but again, i'm not on here to bash your beliefs, only show you that if you bash others beliefs, you should look in the mirror and realize that what you believe can also be put to the test and scrutinized and I can show you where it fails..

    May 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Joe

      well said.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Laughing

      Oh Clint! You're great. Love every word, it's like music to my ears. In a different thread on this same board you say basically the same thing, along the lines of "the big bang theory is even more outrageous than chrsitianity thus you are the crazy people with faith and I am sane because what I believe is fact that a guy just used words to bring stuff into existance". In the other thread I also pointed out that the big bang THEORY is just that, a theory. You seem to be the only one who knows that it has got to be a lie, so please call the press! let them know the big bang theory is utterly inconceivable. What would probably happen is people would ask you to prove it and if you could, with empiracle proof then it would be accepted and people would congratulate you. However, try showing a christian mounds of evidence why their belief is wrong and at the very least they'll just condemn you to an imaginary place like hell. Sadly, more often then not they'll actually try and kill you (the most ardent of believers, not all christians I know). Do you see the difference though? You try and show that faith in the big bang is equal to or greater than faith in god......not true, not even remotely.

      Please let us all know when you either 1) have completely disproven the big bang theory so completely and come up with an alternative (saying god did it doesn't count) or 2) come up with some other sort of proof in why you believing in a 2000 year old book about zombies and magic tricks must be real.

      Love your enthusiasm though!

      May 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Joe

      what is the 2000 year old book about zombies and magic tricks? I'd like to read it.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Laughing

      From your previous post where you agree with Clint I bet you already have. It's called the bible. It's about a guy who's god's son (but also god) and he does some magic tricks like handing out some fish and bread and making water into wine and some other neat parlor tricks. Then he dies but then rises from the dead (read living dead or zombie). It's a pretty good read I must admit, it's right next to my copy of harry potter.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Realist

      It's not faith in magical particles, it's empirical evidence. The hypothesis, subsequent proofs, and complied evidence discovered over time. These proofs and evidence – geological history of the Earth, evolution, existence of dinosaurs, Big Bang Theory, etc, etc – prove that the God described in the Bible is a myth and completely incorrect. It's not to say no such powerful being could not have or can not exist; it's that the God portrayed in the Bible to totally false based on the facts of our Universe.

      If the Biblical God is not true then nothing that comes before God – including the existence of him/her self – and nothing that comes after is not possible.

      Simple logic.

      Stop believing all the bull your pastor tells you and open your eyes. Once you read something other than the Bible and books written by Christians to describe the origins of the Universe, it's actually very simple to understand.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Clinton

      Laughing – First of all, i'm not the only one that Knows the Big Bang theory does not hold weight and has many holes in it, many leading physicists do not believe in it, it's a Theory like you said moron... I don't have to be the one to try and disprove it to you, Do your own research, the folks that work the most with the theory haven't staked their entire faith or belief in it, because they know it's not proven and it cannot be proven. Just because you have the perception that this Theory is fact because it came from a scientist doesn't mean that it's accurate, in fact many folk like you fail to realize that often times Scientists theorize multiple times about any particular topic and that theory changes repeatedly throughout time and you don't even care to follow it and see if anything can be proven you just accept it like fact and move on. Furthermore, you're a complete liar, you can't give me mounds of evidence that my religion is not true, you have no "Facts" to try and disprove my religion, And the part you're completely lying about, is Being put to death for not believing in Christianity, you are trying to label Christians as Murderers? The Bible says we shouldn't kill, it's one of those things we call a sin... I've never seen anyone in my entire life persecuted for not believing in the Bible, has it happened in History, yeh sure... People have also been killed for believing in Democracy and Communism and Hundreds of other Non-Faith related differences... Trying to pin an entire religion to things that happened in the 14-1600's is a pretty stupid thing to do, You act like people are being slaughtered for their beliefs in our society, you're pathetic, you have no arguments, everything you try to use to attack my beliefs is based on either your faulty understanding of theories you claim to believe or negative things that happened surrounding Catholicism in the Middle ages... wow.. nice argument especially since i'm not even Catholic, i'm a Protestant, want me to hold your Beloved Science to that same level? because it was scientists that created the Nuclear bomb, in fact it was science that created all weapons... so by your logic, Science is to blame for the Death of EVERY human being in Warfare throughout time except for those killed by rocks and sticks that are unsharpened and/or killed by use of barehands... Science has slaughtered BILLIONS....... ... of course that's nonsense right? Science didn't make the person kill the other person... and it didn't cause 2 societies to hate one another right? well NEITHER DID CHRISTIANITY YOU IDIOT! It's a religion based upon Peace, if you took the time to read the Bible you'd know that, in fact if everyone strictly followed the 10 commandments you couldn't steal, kill, cheat on your wife, lie... guess what, religion or not people find that to be a good way to live your life... so tell me mr. Genius, why do you feel you have the right to blame My Beliefs for all this crap?
      Second, the onus on proving or disproving the Big Bang theory is not on me, your argument is weak, you're trying to say that something happened with no proof that it did happen then asking me to disprove it. Investigate the evidence yourself, there is nothing at all that truly suggests that the Big Bang happened, the only thing they have used in order to come up with the theory is that in their observances, the Universe appears to be expanding from a central point, it doesn't prove that a Big bang occurred, we know so little about the universe, that we don't even know everything about our own world, and you really believe that our science has figured out the riddle to the beginning of the Universe? You sir are an idiot, i will continue to believe so, But at the same time, i will make note, that i did not come on here to point out how flawed your beliefs are, it only lead down that road because you took it there, i was pointing out, that it does none of us good to sit here and disagree and try to disprove one another's beliefs, you have your own i have mine, i know something to be true, and you somehow believe what you believe, i'm apparently not going to change your mind and you have no shot at disproving my beliefs so why attack eachothers beliefs? seems futile, as futile as believing in a magic particle that always existed... MORON

      May 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Madtown

      Clinton
      "...well NEITHER DID CHRISTIANITY YOU IDIOT! It's a religion based upon Peace..."
      --------–

      LOL!!!!!! Hilarious. Behold the blatant hypocrisy of the evangelical. If you can get past how pathetic it is, you'll actually find it quite entertaining!

      May 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "You tell me how Magical Particles ALWAYS existed and at some point magically caused and explosion that created all the Matter in the universe" Nobody believes that. You are making stuff up to make yourself feel better.

      May 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Clinton

      Realist – There is no emprical evidence, there's no evidence at all to suggest that the Big Bang occurred, that's what i'm saying, you continue to believe what you want and i will know what i Know, you can disagree with me all you want, it's not going to change my beliefs. You say that Science has disproved stories from the Bible, well Scientists once said that there was an edge of the world and you would fall off of it if you went to the edge... they said that the Earth was the center of the universe and that the sun revolved around us... You are all so quick to throw out Christianity because you think 1 story doesn't make sense to you and couldn't have happened how it says in the Bible, yet so willing to follow scientists that constantly revise their theories and change what you inevitably believe. Should i Throw science out the window because i know they were wrong on Thousands of occasions? No, science has a place in this world and it does not Disprove God, if you believe that, then that is your belief, this country was founded on the idea that we can believe what we want and i whole-heartedly believe that is the smartest idea we've ever come up with, freedom of religion is the only way. I am not lessened by those that do not believe what i believe, i served this country and spent a year in Iraq, many of my fellow soldiers were Christian but i served beside Atheists, mormons, Catholics, wiccans, Jews, even a satanist, yes a satanist, and guess what, we were friends, I cared deeply for them and they for me, These were the guys that protected me so i could sleep, my life was in their hands and theirs in mine... I think you all have a very bad idea of what a Christian is, i think you have no idea what you're talking about when you judge us all as a religion... you need to get out of your house and off of your computer chair and learn what people are really about... Maybe then you will understand Humanity rather than just secularizing everybody and hating them... you are sad people, yet my beliefs teach me to pray for you, and hope that you come to reason...

      May 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Clinton

      Madtown – do you even understand the word hypocritical? There was no hypocracy in my statement. I pointed out that you all were being hypocritical for blaming Christians for evil deeds that people did saying they did them for Christianity, when Science has caused many deaths and if i were to use the same logic i could blame Science for Many evils.

      BibleClown – This is where it gets really funny, if you actually understood the Big Bang theory, you'd know that is the truth, that is what they ARE saying... the fact that you don't understand that... is actually really hilarious, because you claim to believe something you aren't even close to understanding... The theory states that particles and sub particles always existed and at some point caused the big bang... i can go into further detail if you like, but that is the gist of it.

      May 23, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Laughing

      Now now Clint, no need to get huffy. I simply asked a couple of questions and you wrote back a very long-winded and completely backwards response. Keep in mind you pointed out my words exactly when I said the big bang was just a theory and nothing more so I'm confused how you jumped to the conclusion that I lived and died by the big bang. I most certainly do not and would not be surprised at all to find the idea be proven completely false. I will concede even as theories goes, it's pretty weak, then again it has merit or else it wouldn't be as well known as it is today.

      You also try and, so politely I might add, ask me to crack open a bible and read it. Guess who has on many occasions, you guessed it, This guy! I found it fascinating read really. It's not really well written, the plot is pretty laughable but the morals are there so I can respect that.

      You blame science for billions of deaths, but your bias is actually pretty astounding. Ever heard the phrase ,"guns don't kill people, people kill people" well it pretty much applies to everything you just said. Sure science invented the weapons we use today, but not with the express purpose to kill the unbelievers, that's what the christians used the weapons for. You ask me to not judge christianity based on what happend in the Middle Ages, unfortuantely we still have protestants like George Bush claiming to have spoken to god before invading Iraq and using those weapons that science created for christians means. I guess if you think 2001 was the Middle Ages then you're right, we've evolved a long way. Let's be clear, George Bush was smart enough not to call his invasion a crusade and tried to make it more about WMD's and oil and all that, but keep in mind George Bush was very much convinced this was the christian thing to do. Not to mention, ever heard of Jihad? Yeah, the reasoning behind muslims attacking unbelievers in the name of Allah. Pretty sure I, unlike you, are actually better versed in the Quran than you are as that was one of the many religious books I've read (some others include the Upanishads, the five books of moses, the Tao de Ching, the analects among others, highly reccomend them if you haven't read them yet). To say that religion has never incited violence, or even just caused societies to hate one another in this day in age is just plain ignorant. The middle east is in such disarray because of religion.

      Could you also explain to me on that subject this christian warriors business? You say christianity is founded on peace and love..... yet in your very own book there are passages on top of passages telling peaceful christians to stone atheists, adulters and the like, that doesn't sound so peaceful to me, then again you say you're peaceful so I guess I have to believe instead of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Now if you reread my original post I didn't call all christians murders, I made a point to say that not all were actually. However, like you, many christians get very touchy when someone questions their beliefs and when asked to back up their statements it usually ends in condemnation from the christians towards atheists. I'm happy that you haven't been persecuted for your beliefs, count yourself as lucky. I on the other hand have had to deal with a constant barrage of harshness both for my atheism as well as in my pre-atheism years as a jew. I'm here to tell you, it doesn't feel very good to have many many christians threaten me with eternal damnation because I won't believe what they want me to believe. This also applies to jewish people, muslims and buddhists and any other religion and their fundementalists elements. Again, I think I should probably repeat this because you seem to read about half my sentences and decide I must be talking about every single christian ever, which is not true. There are some perfectly lovely people who are christians, and jews and muslims and so on who live very good lives, help their fellow man and generally try to make this world a better place all in the name of religion. Is there anything wrong with that – short answer, no, If the ending is good then should I really worry about the journey? Well there's the crux of the matter you see. A lot of christians belive the ends justify the means and so hold up some good works that christians have done and say, "this wouldn't have happened without religion!" Personally I believe very differently.

      You also tell me the onus is on me to prove the big bang is real. I admit I can not and am open to the possibility that another answer exisits, in fact I welcome an alternative. Do you believe that the bible might be a work of fiction then and that there could be no god? if not then comparing say, the big bang to the bible is like comparing apples and oranges. You gave me the burden of proving the big bang is true, now that I've given you my answer could you please show me that god exists, the bible is the true word of god, and all of the other claims that the bible makes? PLEASE?!

      May 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Clinton

      Laughing – yet again you fail, you sit here and you tell me in one breath that i'm wrong in dealing with absolutes, Yet My whole point in the previous post was to point out that I can't blame science for killing Billions of people because they created the bombs and guns to do so... Just like you can't blame Christianity for people using violence against others, it's the people not the ideology that caused the violence, and i believe that... for whatever reason you apparently missed that and tried to make me sound like i honestly blame science for killing billions... so... maybe you need some reading and comprehension classes... i dunno, just would appreciate if you're going to argue with me, that you actually read my responses.
      It's also ridiculous to Blame Christianity for the decisions of Someone like George Bush.. how's that work? See i was actually deployed to Iraq, and sorry to have to tell you, my orders said nothing about attacking another country for Christ. You're own personal experiences with Christians apparently comdemning you to hell are unfortunate, i don't think that's a very Christian thing to do, but if you're an atheist, why does this affect you... isn't it your belief that nothing happens when you die? so why would that affect you in Any way? Again, i don't condone anybody trying to tell another person that they are condemned to hell, nobody on this Earth can do that, in any sense. It's kind of appalling to me to see the viewpoints of folks like you and others on this message board, I sincerely believe you guys have no idea what a Christian is, you have no authority to talk on the matter, because the people you describe are nothing like me, and i honestly have never met anyone like the people you describe... many of you sit there and tell me how Christians have tried to shove their beliefs down your throat and create policy against non-christians, that's seriously ridiculous in my mind, i have never seen anyone FORCED to believe... there's no such thing as an inquisition in America, and though i have no doubt there are many lawmakers that are Christians, I don't think our laws directly hurt those that aren't Christians... Please provide a law that is on the books that hurts those of you that don't believe... and also, please tell me why a population that is Majority Christian in a Democratic society should be forced to change laws that the majority of the population agree with? Isn't that Democracy?

      May 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  9. Unborn Again

    When a group claims they have a monopoly on the truth (insert your faith here) there is no point in trying to have a meaningful dialogue. Assuming one of the 3 major faiths is correct then the other 4 plus billion people wasted their lives praying to a false deity and may have to burn in hell for eternity. Once you can convince someone that you are the sole holder of the God's truth then it is easy to get them to sell all their belongings, abandon their families, participate in a jihad, a crusade, an inquisition, wipe out all the Philistine men, women and children, commit polygamy, refuse life saving blood transfusions, fly into buildings, relegate women to broodmare status, etc.

    May 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  10. GoAskAlice

    You've got to believe in someone, why not believe in me?

    May 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  11. Elite

    We had a fun "rapture day" Unfortunately, we didn't get raptured
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L-KrOoz_mg&w=640&h=390]

    May 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  12. jake the snake

    It did end for me on the 22st of May11 long years ago when I got married in a Christian church.. then I woke up and it wasnt the 21 anymore and another anniversary . how sad...

    May 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  13. Punchmaster

    What happened this weekend is actually a very good thing and I hope it keeps happening, The younger generations NEED to see all of this and connect the dots.....This might all just work itself out wonderfully for the evolution of human psychology & philosophy. It shines a giant spotlight on just how absurd even the root belief that inspired it is.

    Christians, keep it up! More prophecy & predictions please! Tell us all how it's going to go down based on what your book says! Be vocal and insistent....You're actually doing the world a huge favor! =)

    May 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Josephine

      You're an idiot.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Joe

      Those people who believed in the 'end' did not believe the Bible as most christians do. The bible clearly says nobody knows the time. it's not fair to generalize that all christains believe this sort of thing.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • alexander

      Trust me, God is real and God is alive and loves us. Gods wrath is upon us as we speak. The thing is when this next one goes down in a few years a lot of people will suffer and a lot of people will die. The government knows what is about to happen, the elite know, scientists definitly know, and everyday millionaires know. When this goes down you will know that God is real and things don't just happen. I will pray for you because God's wrath is coming soon. Also the government will make everyone get and RFID chip just to buy and sell in a few years. If you believe in the son of God which is Christ and follow the commandments don't get the chip.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      alexander wrote: "Trust me"

      Isn't that what that con artist Camping was saying for the past little while?

      May 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "it's not fair to generalize that all christains believe this sort of thing" But it's fair to say "Atheists worship Darwin" or "Atheists are horrible people who beat their wives" and "Atheists believe in Magic Particles." You aren't "christains" – Christians DO believe that sort of thing, sorry.

      May 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Ol' Yeller

      @Josephine Spoken like a true Christian- God bless.
      Punchmaster is right... Christian's are their own worse enemy and it isn't atheists/agnostics luring young people away from the Church, it is the Church pushing young people away with their intolerance and hypocrisy. I do follow the teachings of Jesus, but I don't call myself a Christian because the Christian Churches I'm aware of are so far from the teachings of Christ they have lost themselves. Jesus taught us the rich were not going to heaven, but we worship the rich and look down on the poor. Jesus would have not turned his back on a person because he was gay (or Mexican, or Black, or Muslim), he would have loved him anyway (especially since his Father -therefore he, made that person that way). Kids are too sharp today to be indoctrinated into a huge business venture which waves the Bible at people in judgement and screams hate. That may have worked for the last couple of centurians, but the truth is too easy accessible nowadays.

      May 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Punchmaster

      "You're an idiot."

      Why is that? Are you afraid that I'm right and even children are starting to realize that it's all nonsense and always has been? That even their own parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents bought into a self-perpetuating scam?

      May 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  14. Jeff Lebowski

    I hope the world goes up in flames and billions of people are wiped away....but alas the world was still here this morning and all the jerks are still alive. Oh well one can hope......

    May 23, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Philo Cafe

      Jerks like you?

      Hey, sorry if others have been cruel to you, but that doesn't make it right for you to wish out loud that the whole world should burn. It just makes you seem like an angry jerk.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  15. Bruce

    Maybe he'll come out and say something like, "oh, I just found this verse that I never saw before and that nobody pointed out to me before and it tells me that I can't know the day or the hour, and putting that into my calculations my new prediction is that it will happen some time between May 21st and July 30th, 2011. That way I'm not predicting the day or the hour and I'm in the clear! Also, my original prediction still stands in a way and I don't have to recant it."

    May 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  16. jim

    This event could be good for the country. First, people need to understand, and in the case of believers to admit, that the definition of faith is a suspension of reason. Belief without proof is not reasonable.

    Those who believe in the bible, particularly those who think the bible is inerrant and literal, must suspend reason. This leaves them open to manipulation and control. That is exactly what has happened here. Having hammered the point home that the bible is gods word, any idea can be couched in the terms of 'gods word' by a clever, charismatic, or insane leader. We have seen that time and time again.

    Now, mainstream faithful will protest, saying that the victims are a 'small group', but really, this Camping fellow has a world-wide audience, it is difficult to say how many were deeply hurt by this, but the number is not small.

    But we need to ask ourselves, given the current hyper-religious fervor in this country, if we can take the chance of having evangelicals in positions of power – particularly the presidency. It is not beyond question that radical evangelical like Hukabee or Bachmann could be influenced by outside agents through this path. They will not see the deception, because they have been trained not to question. In the least, they will more likely tend to focus on narrow issues critical to their view of the world as colored by their evangelical faith, rather than logically solving the problems that need to be solved. I think that George Bush's presidency was a mild case of this, the more radical evangelicals on the current right-wing faction of this country could be much worse.

    May 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Bruce

      "the definition of faith is a suspension of reason"

      No. That's not the definition of faith. Neither is faith defined as "belief without proof."

      What would be better is for people to actually understand that faith means trust, and moreover the faith called for in scripture is trust in Someone you already know, not trust in Someone whom you not only don't know but Someone you aren't even convinced exists.

      I have faith that my wife won't cheat on me. This is based on the fact that I know my wife and I know that she is trustworthy. There is no objective proof for the claim, "my wife will never cheat on me," because it refers to a future non-event that can only be "proven" in hindsight, after the event doesn't happen, after the event can no longer happen (e.g. we both die, making her infidelity impossible). My faith is not unfounded, but that the foundations of my faith exist does not make it not-faith.

      Likewise is faith in God. Scripture calls us to trust God and the promises that have come from God, not based on nothing whatsoever, and not without first knowing God exists. If you don't already know God exists and haven't even met God, you are in no position to judge the trustworthiness of God and therefore cannot have faith in God. Period.

      People need to stop making this about some forceful-willing of our personal opinions to somehow mutate from "incredulous" to "belief without any doubts whatsoever." This has nothing to do with faith and more to do with pride. Faith is good, pride is bad.

      Christians are the worst with this pride. They are always patting themselves on the back for their "belief" in something in spite of no evidence, of their capacity to believe without seeing. They make it seem like this act of will is what is being rewarded with heaven, and that they "deserve" salvation because of their act of will, because of the triumph of their will over their incredulity.

      Enough already. We need to understand what we are talking about...

      May 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • 4mercy

      “Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that He has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because He is truth itself.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1814)

      May 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • 4mercy

      "....given the hyper-religious fervor in this country...."

      Hyper- religious fervor in THIS country? Seriously? You're joking, right? With the decreasing numbers going to church and increasing numbers of a bortions, people living together without marrying, having children out of wedlock, "alternative" lifestyles, drug ad dictions, p o r n ography, etc....I'd hardly call our country full of religious fervor. We need to turn a lot more people to the L ord and get them on their knees with a r o sary in hand for me to feel like this country is anything close to religious.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • JohnR

      Sorry, Bruce. jim had it right. Too bad for you.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Jim

      Jim,

      I could not agree with you more. I am a Christian (mainline protestant), and can't stand what the Fundamentalists are doing to Christianity. If they continue on this path, it will only do more to hurt the Church than to help it.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Joe

      Jim, you sound logical but many of your claims are biased and can be disputed. such as 'they are not trained to question'. Look up apologetics. There are many books questioning the bible and providing answers. I'm a Christian and I'd like to know who God is (a personal God to me) and to do that I need to question the things in the Bible and keep searching for answers both in spritual and scientific/historical ways.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Bruce

      JohnR: Nope, jim was wrong and I am correct. No need to apologize.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bruce

      Believers like to pretend faith is equal to evidence. They are not. Faith without evidence is worthless. I have faith I have fairies living in my left show. Doesn't make it so.

      Cheers!

      May 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Bruce

      @David Johnson: Those "believers" are as wrong about faith as jim is wrong about faith. Cheers!

      May 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • JohnR

      No apology coming, Bruce! When faith is used colloquially, it may mean something like trust. But when people cite faith in the bible, it's the suspension of reason. No doubt about it.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Bruce

      @JohnR: Only if they want to be wrong about what faith, as described in the bible, is. It has nothing to do with suspension of reason. It has nothing to do with belief without proof.

      Seriously, you should actually look into some real theology, or maybe you just open your bible and look at James describe the faith of Abraham as the quintessential example of faith (of course, simply opening your bible and reading is not theology, just so you know–it's a lot more involved than that). Abraham's faith in God was not based in pure force of will in spite of the fact that he wasn't sure God existed–Abraham knew full-well that God existed because he spoke with God (at least so the story goes, it need not be true if we are only looking at Abraham as a character that exhibited faith, in such a case Abraham can be purely fictional and still show us what "faith" means).

      It is the "belief without proof" notion that is colloquial. The theological definition of faith is quite different. It has nothing to do with suspending reason, or with filling in the gaps left by a lack of evidence with some force of will that somehow ignores your personal incredulity.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • JohnR

      Ethnographically, one has to distinguish between behaviors and official rationalizations of behavior. Behaviorally, faith is the suspension of reason.

      May 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Bruce

      That's fine, JohnR, but theologically, faith is trust.

      May 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  17. MSH

    Religion is the ultimate scam, and there's no reason to be surprised that this worthless "man" took people to the cleaners. All I can do is quote the late Frank Zappa: "We can't really be dumb if we're just following God's orders – it says in the book here that he made us all to be just like HIM. So if we're dumb, then God is dumb – and maybe even a little ugly on the side."

    May 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      If we are made in God's image, then God has a great big Wang©.

      May 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  18. youtoobrutis

    not a bible thumper usually, but jeez people.

    i in no way thought i'd be taken up to heaven on may 21st, and i think I'll still be here in 2013. but people have a right to believe what they want to believe. notice that most Christians (emphasizing most) are good hearted people, while most of the people online who patronize God are smug. what went wrong? it's about being the best you can be, not being right.

    you can't prove God doesn't exist, I can't prove he does. You have no more basis to deal in the "absolutes" than I do. It's a shame the science that God has created has been turned against him.

    May 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Artist

      youtoobrutis

      not a bible thumper usually, but jeez people.

      i in no way thought i'd be taken up to heaven on may 21st, and i think I'll still be here in 2013. but people have a right to believe what they want to believe. notice that most Christians (emphasizing most) are good hearted people, while most of the people online who patronize God are smug. what went wrong? it's about being the best you can be, not being right.

      you can't prove God doesn't exist, I can't prove he does. You have no more basis to deal in the "absolutes" than I do. It's a shame the science that God has created has been turned against him.
      .
      You can't prove that god was not an alien lifeform. You can't prove that faries do not exist. Do you listen to your own logic? Or perhaps you are listening to a "voice" from the sky. I challenge you to visit a mental ward and prove what some there see and hear does not exist.
      .
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      May 23, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • char646

      No one should ever have to prove a negative. You also cannot prove that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny do not exist. The onus is on believers to prove that they DO exist. That is the fallacy of anything that is faith-based: It is based on the suspension of reasoning, not evidence.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Joe

      char646, can you prove the big bang theory with reasoning and evidence? even with a certain amount of evidence, you need a certain amount of faith to believe that right? of course there are obvious things that are without question proven but even in the scientific community, you can find things that require faith to accept it as a fact. Also, on a side note, I think i can prove those three characters do not exist. Just find the sources of how their concepts came about historically. But, I agree that proving God's nonexistence is difficult, but I also agree that that's why you can't ignore the possiblility that He does exist. Even though it's also diff to prove His existence scientifically, if you assume that God is above science, you can' prove that way anyway right?

      May 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @youtoobrutis

      You said: "i in no way thought i'd be taken up to heaven on may 21st, and i think I'll still be here in 2013. but people have a right to believe what they want to believe. notice that most Christians (emphasizing most) are good hearted people, while most of the people online who patronize God are smug. what went wrong? it's about being the best you can be, not being right."

      I think if you are telling people they will (97%) be dead in the next 5 months, you should be right. LOL Dumb statement.

      You said: "you can't prove God doesn't exist, I can't prove he does. You have no more basis to deal in the "absolutes" than I do. "

      I can't prove Santa, the Easter Bunny or fairies don't exist. But, I bet you wouldn't argue with me when I say they are fiction. Bet you don't believe in Allah either. Using the same criteria, god doesn't exist.

      You said: " It's a shame the science that God has created has been turned against him."

      God didn't create science. Science is not against god. Science is evidence based. Science can find no evidence, can find no need for a god. Science does not find any evidence for Santa either. And science is not against Santa.

      Cheers!

      May 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Troy

      @ Joe – yes, the big bang can be supported by reason, logic, and evidence. Little things like the expanding universe (and associated red shifts) and the cosmic background radiation provide serious evidence of a past in which the matter of the universe existed in a single point. The problem is, much of the evidence is highly technical and well beyond the education of the average American. So...why do you believe every word that comes out of a bronze-age book and not the opinions of highly educated physicists?

      May 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Bruce

      @Troy: Did you do the math yourself, did you review all of the data yourself, or did you trust those physicists to perform the due diligence?

      Of course, when we are talking about our own personal opinion of whether the big-bang is true or, as an alternative, whether it is true that the universe is less than 10,000 years old, the stakes are pretty low. At the end of the day, belief in either theory does not cause you to quit your job and sell your stuff and live as a wanderer for the remainder of your days. It takes another kind of trust in a completely different kind of theory to prompt someone to raise the ante on a theory of whatever...

      May 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  19. Lola

    This planet will take back all we took from it. Contamination and disease will take us all.

    May 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Lola

      You said: "This planet will take back all we took from it. Contamination and disease will take us all."

      It is more likely, that a pandemic will eradicate humans, than that god will come back to smite us. Pandemics keep me up at night. Returning dead people do not.

      Cheers!

      May 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  20. ART

    My cat died, I think he went to heven, oh sorry we cremated him now he's just ash

    May 23, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Lucky cat..it died instead of living with you.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • JohnR

      Another loving remark from our loving christian friend Lycidas!

      May 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @JohnR- I guess sarcasm is beyond the typical atheist?

      May 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • DUH!

      "Lucky cat..it died instead of living with you."

      An insult masked in humor is still an insult.

      May 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      You said the cat was lucky to be dead instead of living with him. Sarcasm, or flesh-ripping, is not the same as "humor." You can have sarcastic humor, if you have the wits for it, but in your case you obviously meant it. Way to stand up for Jesus! I know He's counting on you to defend him from people who used to have cats.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • JohnR

      @Lycidas – Couldn't tell you. Ask a typical atheist. I'm not an atheist of any sort. But I think you might want to look up 'sarcasm' before you bother asking a question whose meaning you apparently don't understand.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Nicole

      @JohnR- My apologises for thinking you were an atheist. You are just a jerk I guess. And just because you don't get why it is sarcasm in this case, don't project your ignorance out to the rest of us.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Lycidas

      OOOps, forgot to change my username before.

      @Bible Clown- The cat is still alive you know because we haven't seen it dead. Go ask Schrödinger.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Way to stand up for Jesus!"

      I am guessing that you are one of those ppl BC that actually doesn't know much about the Bible and how Jesus acted are you? I suggest a little bit more research before commenting on the Bible or Jesus.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • JohnR

      You really, really don't understand the term 'sarcasm', do you? Some sarcasm can be nasty, but not all nastiness is sarcasm.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @John- If you think there was ever a cat and that the orginial poster was serious...you are beyond hope on this.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • JohnR

      @Lycidas This has nothing to do with the original post, which I didn't take seriously and would have at least mildly objected to if I had. It has to do with your relentless direct on personal nastiness. There are lots of Christians around here who aren't exactly advertisements for their faith, but you are a whole 'nother creature.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @John- I have no problem in refle*cting the att*itudes of those on here. If they are trying to be rude, I'll treat them as they treat others. Perhaps they will see what it is like and quit.

      It seems like the thin skinned on here can dish it out but cry fo*ul a lot when it happens to them.

      As to my faith, it stands firm and I see no co*ntradi*ction in how I am on here with my faith. Unless you think Jesus was being nas*ty when he called ppl vi*pers or to say that a si*nful city like Sod*om is better than them.

      May 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • MoonDust

      We're talkin about a dumb dead animal. Does it really matter?

      May 24, 2011 at 1:47 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.