October 21st, 2011
06:00 AM ET
The End, again? If it is, we thank you for your time
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
(CNN) - In case you are reading this, might we suggest you read really fast?
The world may end any minute now, if the latest doomsday prediction is on target.
We realize October 21 didn’t get the shout-out that May 21 did, so our apologies if this comes as a surprise. But if you had heard the complete message the first time, you would have known.
“The warning is out,” Dennis Morrell, 44, of Jacksonville, Florida, reminded us a couple of days ago. “There’s nothing else you can do.”
Earlier this year, and with the backing of the Christian broadcasting network Family Radio, billboards touting May 21 as Judgment Day dotted the landscape. RVs plastered with the fateful date crisscrossed the country as believers wearing T-shirt announcements and waving fliers sounded the alarm.
That was to be the day when a select 2% to 3% of the world’s population, predetermined by God, would be raptured up to heaven. Everyone else, the story went, would endure months-long judgment amid chaos, destruction and unspeakable suffering. A massive earthquake would ravage the land, bodies would be tossed about and terror would reign for the duration.
Five months or exactly 153 days later, it was said, the world would disappear – which brings us to today.
This was the schedule laid out by God’s word in the Bible, the faithful said. It was the plan deciphered and shared by Harold Camping, now 90, the founder of Family Radio, based in Oakland, California.
Camping, who has an engineering degree, had spent more than 50 years combing through his Bible and crunching numbers embedded in scripture. Sure, he’d made a similar end-of-the-world prediction for September 6, 1994, but who hasn’t been tripped up by biblical verses? With additional studying, calculations and new signs that would be revealed later, he said earlier this year that he had no doubts this time around.
“I know it’s absolutely true, because the Bible is always absolutely true,” he told CNN before May 21. “If I were not faithful that would mean that I’m a hypocrite.”
Problem is, May 21 came and went, and the world remained the same. Soon the billboards disappeared. The T-shirts and hats worn by believers got tossed. The RVs were quietly parked, tucked away in storage yards, possibly sold.
Camping came forth, two days later, with an explanation - and his last news conference. October 21 would still be the end, he said, but a “loving and merciful” God had opted to spare humanity the five months of turmoil.
A couple of weeks later, Camping had a stroke. He is said to be recuperating at home after a hospital and rehab stay and has only made a handful of radio addresses in the months since. Family Radio declined our requests to interview him.
Fred Store, a 66-year-old retired electrician and longtime Family Radio listener, dedicated seven months of his life to sharing the “awesome news” that was the May 21 message. He led a caravan of believers, five RVs strong, on a tour of the United States for Family Radio. He was in Boston in May when he expected to be raptured up to heaven.
When nothing happened, “We were caught by surprise. ... But we realize now that it’s very possible that we misunderstood some of the things we thought were true,” Store said this week from his home in Sacramento, California, where he has put up a number of caravan friends.
“I believe that October 21 is the end, and I trust in God. Whatever way he chooses to end things will be perfect.”
On the Family Radio website, the May 21 events, or nonevents, have been clarified.
“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. ... For the next five months, except for the elect (the true believers), the whole world is under God’s final judgment,” the statement reads.
As for that massive, body-flinging earthquake anticipated by believers, well, it turned out to be less literal.
“We always look at the word ‘earthquake’ to mean the earth, or ground, is quaking or shaking violently. However, in the Bible the word ‘earth’ can include people as well as ground. ... Therefore we have learned from our experience of last May 21 what actually happened. All of mankind was shaken with fear. Indeed the Earth (or mankind) did quake in a way it had never before been shaken.”
No one was raptured on May 21, but that’s just because “universal judgment” will come on the last day. “The elect” or “true believers” are still guaranteed their day of rapture, and everyone else will be “annihilated together with the whole physical world.”
For Paul Anatiychuk, 36, of Charlotte, North Carolina, the way this played out has been a relief, a blessing. A husband and father of two children, ages 8 and 9, he wasn’t sure if his own family members would be saved. The thought of leaving them behind on May 21, to suffer what would come over the next five months, troubled him.
“God tortures them while we’re hanging in the clouds?” he said this week. “It didn’t completely fit.”
Now, Anatiychuk said, he can take solace knowing that when he’s saved, sinners will simply die.
“Of course (the world) has to be destroyed and burned up by fire,” he said. “But it’s going to be very quiet.”
Finding a way to save faith, and face, is part of the process when a prophecy fails, said Lorenzo DiTommaso, an associate professor of religion at Concordia University in Montreal, who has been studying apocalyptic worldviews for a dozen years.
He said those who become disillusioned aren’t quick to talk, and the rest find a new way to spin what has transpired.
When nothing happened on May 21, Camping was left with a choice, said DiTommaso, whose book, “The Architecture of Apocalypticism,” is scheduled for publication next spring.
Camping could have admitted he was wrong. He could have said the calculations were off and needed further analysis. Or he could have spiritualized the apocalypse, which is exactly what he did, DiTommaso said.
That tack, that way of looking at the apocalypse, has a long history, he said, and dates back to early Christian theologians. Tyconius, in the late fourth century, took this approach, as - more notably - did Augustine in the early fifth century.
Augustine “preferred to understand the millennium predicted in the Revelation of John in spiritual and metaphoric rather than literal terms,” DiTommaso said. He “sought to diminish the emphasis on hard calculations.”
The obvious advantage of this sort of interpretation for a man like Camping, who has prided himself on his numbers, is that he can “divorce himself a little bit from the fact that he was so darn wrong.”
What Camping will say - if anything - come Saturday, assuming there is a Saturday, is anyone’s guess.
But DiTommaso said a new explanation, perhaps a new doomsday date, may be on the horizon. It would be just another in a long line of end-time predictions across the ages.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another attempt” by Camping, he said. “If he were an artist, this is his masterpiece, his life work.”
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.
We still have one of the May 21st "we all gonna die!" billboards up on our freeway. I'm actually quite surprised it's still up but it gives me a giggle passing it everyday. What did PT Barnum say again about suckers? I'm sure someone somewhere will read this and start frothing bible verses at the mouth for my heresy but if I were stuck in a heaven full of these tools, that would be H,E,double-toothpicks for me.
Dear HeIsGod, while I am of the belief that Yeshua is God, I have to ask you to rethink your statments...This is why I cannot identify with "christians" Because you don't think before you open your big mouths, and you understand nothing.
If you try to logic the science of the big bang with them saying that something cannot come from nothing, they will mearly respond with "where did God come from?" "He always was" is not an answer they ever except because man thinks with linear cause/effect reasoning.
The truth is that there could be a macro being beyond the one we call "God", that is "His/Her" master. But that is a moot point to us.
The fact that we're not at a point of understanding the whole universe – and may never be, almost certainly not in our lifespans – doesn't make the case for mystical beings more compelling, quite the opposite. Whether we assume the universe is eternal or not is irrelevant – something from nothing is no more or less logical than something just existing forever. Existence is strange either way.
Adding layers of complexity over it with a deity (or infinite chain of deities?) is as nonsensical as the Ptolemaic system to explain the motions of the planets – spheres upon spheres without any actual reasoning. And that's without even getting into the even worse trap of taking random teachings of people from thousands of years ago as the incontrovertible truth of life. Would anyone here like to use leeches to pull the bad humors from them when they're sick? No, but for questions of how the universe formed, look to even more primitive beliefs? Hahaha. Right.
Trust me, by the end of the day, the rapture will be complete.
y2k, you should have already ruptured, as we are in heading towards Y3K
I believe God will judge all mankind. But I believe it is at a time of His choosing. My Bible tells me, and I believe that no one, not even The Son of God, knows the timetable. Christians should always be vigilant, ready. I know that I fall short. Only by the grace of God.
Lol, nice one. Oh wait, you're serious?
OHH NNOOO!!! Whay nobody told me before! Me and my stupid work, I don't have tome to pay attention to really significant things like this warning. First Steve Jobs is gone, then Ghadaffi now the end of the world!!!! Does this mean Bechman will win the presidency or Jesus Christ will return? or Mohamed? or Obama will be reelected? Is Budha reencarnating?
Translation: if you're a member of his organization or live nearby, today would be a good day to not drink the Flavor Aid.
we are taking 50% less in your potential donations due to the current economic crisis, hope that is easy on you and your family and leaves enough for the gas in your van.
FIRST OF ALL, GOD SAYS NO ONE KNOWS THE TIME WHEN HE SHALL COME BACK, NOT EVEN THE ANGELS OF HEAVEN............ALL YOU FOOLISH PEOPLE KEEP MAKING FUN AND SILLY-STUPID COMMENTS ABOUT OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR .................YOU ARE GOING TO BE JUDGED FOR THAT
AND YES THERE IS GOING TO BE A RAPTURE , SOON NO ONE KNOWS WHEN............I GUESS CAMPING WAS JUST HELPING US REALISE, HE JUST DID IT THE WRONG WAY, WE NEED TO WAKE UP AND TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS AND TRUST JESUS CHRIST ( I BELIEVE THAT THE RAPTURE IS GOING TO HAPPEN AND I CANT WAIT TO KNOW WHAT THE PEOPLE LEFT BEHIND IS GOING TO SAY AND DO,,,,,,,,,,,,ESPECIALLY YOU ALL MAKING JOKES!!!!! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? WAKE UP BEFORE ITS TOO LATE
I guess that means we should try and look busy, eh, troll?
Turn off your capslock and unstick your "." key. Then I'll read your comment since I'll think it came from a polite human being.
YOU are a crazy wack! Delusional!
Would you do me a favor? Stretch out your left pinky finger juuuusst a bit past the 'a' key. Would you hit that button for me please? Thanks.
@JESUS IS COMING
You cannot do that unless the Holy Spirit has first regenerated you. And you cannot do that unless God has preordained you as elect since before the foundations of the world.
For those of you "christians" that deny this, explain the types of Issac & Rebecca, Jacob & Esau, or Romans Ch.9
God already made His plan and set it in motion. You will do what you are meant to do at ALL GIVEN TIMES.
But cheer up, now you don't have to ask yourself "Is this God's will?"
You can't wait to know what people that is left behind will say and do? why do you care man? You have your first class ticket to heaven, be happy with that, enjoys life before the rupture and later endless life after the rupture. Don't worry about idiots, ignorants, non belivers they will be waiving you bye when you start your trip. I'll tell you what they will do and say: One of them will say:
It's a bird, no it's aplane, no it's super believer!!!
What they will do:
Just stare at you, how you start your trip to the infinity and beyond.
No one knows when....but its soon...hahahaha
Wow, looks like your lowercase characters were the first thing to be taken from your computer today.
/hands Jesus Is Coming a tissue...
Find the real story here http://www.aftermay21.com/
FFS people, THERE IS NO GOD, ALLAH, or VISHNU.
religion has always been a great business.
Like any, it carries great risk.
Some make it big, while others get burned...literally LOL (^_^)
False prophets make a profit.
The biggest problem with this nonsense? The Bible is very clear: Mark 13:32 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
So if you are a non-believer, you don't care anyway; if you are a believer, who you gonna believe, the Word of God, or a false prophet?
Father [or Mother] please forgive Marina, for she know not what she sayeth...
The point is – no, I don't say 😉
AMEN AMEN MARINA , NO ONE KNOWS THE DAY TIME OR THEE HOUR THAT OUR LORD COMES
THERE ARE MANY MANY FALSE PROPHETS.................WATCH OUT FOR THEM
GOD BLESS YOU MY SISTER
I forgive the ignorant on this blog, cause they don't know what they do...father [or mother] please forgive them...
Where do I send my money? I want to send him my life's savings to help with the cause. I didn't go to the grocery store this week so no food would go bad. See you in Heaven, heathens.
Mary, I cannot accept your savings, sorry, cause you don't have any..hahahahhahaaaaa.
'See you in Heaven, heathens? Yeah that makes a lot of sense. All us heathens are going to be part of the 2 or 3 percent to go to Heaven. Read a science book you ignorant cow.
and this is how christians choose to love the world. This should never be the case.
False prophets...strike out again!
You would think that after religion has struck out so many times someone would shout "Your'e Out!!"but instead the crazies just keep pitching...
Religion is the hitter who keeps the crowds attention on the pitcher with questions like "What will the next pitch be? When will the end come? A Curveball? Rapture? A slider? Who knows!! Isn't this exciting!!" That way no one notices it's been out for the last 2000 years.
A part of me wants it to be true just to shut these wackos up!
I was just spell-checking the Bible and discovered that what God really meant was that it _could_ be the time of rapture for them if they will just take the needed step towards heaven, otherwise they're no better than the rest of the heathens. God wants them to take their own lives in order to free their souls – He wants a demonstration of their devotion. These people have NO faith!
Someone needs to get in touch with all the punkin chuckers and see if they could design a "Rapture Chucker" and then start selling instant raptures, they guarantee "You'll go up, whether God keep's you on not is up to you..."
well i'll be at the beach tomorrow tanning with some hot chicks in thongs
If I die, it's going to be because either physics says so, or nature says so. God isn't the one who is going to choose my fate. I mean, how could an imaginary being choose anything anyways?
Free will doesn't exist,
we don't have souls,
god is not real.
I use my free will to agree with you!
Free will doesn't exist – You chose your free will to make yourself look like a fool....pretty much.
we don't have souls – Prove it. A brain surgent who has operated on a brain has never seen a thought, so, that that mean thoughts doesn't exist?
god is not real – God and His Super Natural can not be proven under a microscope neither can it be seen by the spiritually blind eye, which that is the unbeliever. SOMETHING COULD HAVE NOT COME FROM NOTHING....NOT EVEN THE "BIG BANG".
@HelsGod – what the hell is a brain surgent? Is that like an insurgent with neurological training?
...and we're back to the random capslock again, I see. At least we can tell it's the real you that way.
There have been many studies done on free will, all of them have come to the same conclusion that the act of doing something comes before the thought. Meaning that the idea that you decided to do something comes after the action of doing that thing. Look it up, all experiments show that free will isn't real.
A brain surgen has never seen thoughts because thoughts are electrical impulses in the brain, they don't come out of your head like pictures if you open up the skull. Also, how do you explain people that have different personalities after brain surgery? If the soul is eternal, brain damage wouldn't effect a persons personality. So eaither we don't have souls at all, or they're so tethered to our body that they die when we do.
"SOMETHING COULD HAVE NOT COME FROM NOTHING....NOT EVEN THE "BIG BANG"."
So where did god come from then?
There are plenty of theories about how the big bang came about and most don't have anything to do with a god.
HelsGod - or maybe HELL GOD - you are way beyond delusional. Please do not try to argue against science because you are so far out of your league that you cannot understand simple processes, let alone complicated ones. Miniature "Big Bangs" have been created in laboratories using chemicals and electricity present in the universe. It can be proven to occur. An old man in long flowing white robes floating above the clouds snapping his fingers several times, on the other hand ...
Let me repost it for your little brian to understan, Frookin, since I at work and posted in a hurry:
Free will doesn't exist – You chose your free will to make yourself look like a fool....pretty much.
We don't have souls – Prove it. A brain surgeon who has operated on a brain has never seen a thought, so, does that means thoughts doesn't exist?
God is not real – God and His Super Natural can not be proven under a microscope neither can it be seen by the spiritually blind eye, which that is the unbeliever. SOMETHING COULD HAVE NOT COME FROM NOTHING....NOT EVEN THE "BIG BANG".
If nothing can come of nothing, then by your own definition, god doesn't exist.
I am totally falling off of my chair laughing - fantastic!
1) Actually you can measure brain waves (i.e. 'thoughts') pretty easily.
2) If something can't come from nothing, then clearly God doesn't exist either. Adding an arbitrary layer of 'well, we don't understand everything yet, so let's make up a mystical space unicorn that always existed to explain how we got here' is pretty idiotic. I mean, obviously we're all here because the space pixie blew on the unicorns horn, and the purest note of heaven rang out and created the earth under the heavens, and the ringing of the horn begat the ringing in thine ears. Question not lest ye be judged.
Wait, you mean people can just write stuff down and someone will believe it without actually thinking about it? Cool, please send checks to my unicorn church when you have a chance.
A science which does not bring us nearer to God is worthless.
- Simone Weil
I didn't know that Motel 6 maids had computers?! Seriously, I can't imagine you in *any* job which entails communicating complete, rational thoughts.
I can see you're just ignoring my response to your first post and just quoting random people... That's cool I guess. I can do that too.
"God doesn't exist"
"SOMETHING COULD HAVE NOT COME FROM NOTHING" Please google "Virtual Particles" Just because you think it can't happen doesn't mean that it's true. Time to take off the blinders.
"Let me repost it for your little brian to understan, Frookin, since I at work and posted in a hurry:"
Wow, 'I at work', huh? And I don't even know anyone named 'little Brian'. Someone forgot to take their crazy wh0re pills today. You're at work, so stop stealing your employer's time by babbling nonsense on a CNN article. Or, at least *try* to stop copy-pasting the exact same tired BS over and over.
I like virtural particles.... They are very interesting, but I doubt HelsGod could understand judging by his posts so far. If it would help, he can start off by looking into how particle colliders work.
Hint: They don't actually collide particles, just beams of energy which make particles appear essentially from nothing.
@ Get Real – she's got an iPad and hides it down the back of her pants, and keeps posting with her butt.
Wow.. HelsGod has some serious issues here.
We have free will. It's called – I am my own individual. I was born. I have a brain. So I have free will of my own to do whatever in the hell I please.
You can't see thoughts because they are electrical impulses in the brain. Duh.
Something can't come from nothing. – Yes it can. Many different studies at the quantum mechanic level have proved that things most certainly do come from nothing. If you go smaller than the electrons/protons/neutrons of the atom, you get quarks and other small things you can't understand. Science has observed empty space, and while doing so, wathced as empty space suddenly became full of quarks that literally 'came from nothing'. That's how the big bang came. The antigravity of the unexistant universe caused a massive creation of quarks and cosmic strings that exploded out into empty space creating our universe and everything in it. Sorry. Have a nice day.
Helsgod, you are aware that thoughts are a product of a chemical reaction in the brain and scientists have indeed watched this chemical process in action. Heck they can even capture the waves that thoughts produce and in some cases interpret those waves. We already have headgear that can be used in place of computer mice and you can interact with your computer using this equipment. So your analogy falls flat because in fact thoughts are fairly well understood and observed in science. Magical supernatural sky pixies however have never been observed and very likely never will be. Oh and just a side note, who ever said something came from nothing besides religious folks? Scientists don't know where the singularity at the heart of the big bang came from but they are quick to point out the simply don't know. Your team however claims that a magical sky pixie magically made everything from nothing. Looks like you better put some more thought into your arguments because it looks like you just shot your own thoery down. ;^)
Can you work your statements into some kind of comic book format... maybe with pictures that Higgy could color?... that's the only way that she (and those like her) will ever be able to begin to grasp them.
@HeIsGod: “something could have not come from nothing....not even the "big bang". Ok so who created your god?
“I know it’s absolutely true, because the Bible is always absolutely true,” he told CNN before May 21.
Like when it described the shape of Earth as a bowl, for example?
Like the bowl the Rastas might smoke out of. Jah!
Did someone say Burning Bush? You know what God smokes right? GodPot...
According to Eddie Izzard God smoked all of the first batch of marajuana to make sure it was good. Then he slept for a few thousand years and created a bunch of horrific creatures he dreamt of the night before. Eddie says those are the dinosaurs, I think its people.
So then after he wiped out his nightmare creations he sobered up and made a second batch of weed, but decided not to smoke it till he got a few other things done, so he made the rest of the creatures, then made man in his image, then when man would not stop bothering him saying "I'm bored, I'm lonely" God made woman who could never be bored due to the high capacity random access memory that could juggle over a 1000 differing emotions and debates all at the same time but never able to execute a command since that was the man's job...Then, on the 7th day God sat back and smoked that new batch of weed and watch man struggle with not being bored anymore. Then God got the munchies and decided to head to the farthest corner of his universe to create giant bags of Funyuns, and has not been heard from since.