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Most Turn Blind Eye To ‘Judgment Day’ Broadcaster’s Apocalyptic Vision

Above: Participants in a movement that is proselytizing that the world will end this May 21, Judgment Day, gather on a street corner on May 13, 2011 in New York City.


Aired 5/23/11

Is the world coming to an end on Saturday? A California broadcaster says “the Bible guarantees it.” But as with Noah's Ark, he's having trouble convincing everyone of apocalyptic doom.

The judgment day ads plastered around San Diego are the work of Family Radio, based in Oakland. The network’s 89-year-old evangelical broadcaster, Harold Camping, has been frantically warning the world of its apocalyptic fate.

Camping says the earth will shake and believers will be called to the heavens on Saturday at approximately 6 p.m. local time, in each time zone. He says those remaining will endure five months of the earth's ultimate destruction.

Family Radio spokesman Tom Evans said May 21 is the result of more than five decades of studying scripture and crunching numbers.

“God placed in the Bible a very specific timeline, and he used men in the Bible and their birth and death ages as a timeline of history," said Evans.

According to Camping's calculations, Saturday marks exactly 7,000 years from the date of the great flood in Noah's day. He references the specific timeline in Genesis 7:11: ”In the six hundredth year of Norah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broke up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”

But similar to Noah, Camping is having trouble convincing everyone. Dozens of groups on Facebook are planning rapture parties to wait out the end-of-days. "On May 21st 2011, after the rapture is done and all that's left are the sinners, we're going to have one HELL of a party," writes one Facebook user.

The prediction has also inspired mocking messages on Twitter. The hashtag #IfTheWorldEndsOnSaturday is one of the top trends. "#iftheworldendssaturday I hope I've done enough in my life to be welcomed into those pearly gates," tweeted CarlaRenay.

But many of Camping's loyal listeners have been inspired to quit their jobs, sell their houses and hit the road to help get the message out.

Robert Smith, Dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry at Point Loma Nazarene College said he’s saddened so many are being led astray.

"He does speak authoritatively for some," said Smith. "They’ve listened to him over a period of years and I think they’ve been drawn into that sense of here’s this teacher, we’ve put our faith in him, we’ve heard him, he’s said some really good things -- we’re going to cast our lot with him.

Camping made a similar doomsday prediction in 1994, but this time, he says, "the Bible guarantees it." Family Radio’s Evans knows the stakes for them are sky high.

“We have nothing to gain from this. If it’s not true, May 22 will come and then Family Radio’s reputation in the world . . . we’ll have no reputation. People will totally discount us.”

Apocalyptic enthusiasts who wake up disappointed on Sunday can look forward to December 21, 2012 – the next doomsday prediction.

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Avatar for user 'Dave77'

Dave77 | May 20, 2011 at 9:53 p.m. ― 5 years, 9 months ago

Harold Camping may be wrong about the end of world for good and the exact date for it. However, he is completely in error. The world is coming to an end of sorts - it will soon be so completely transformed that we may not be able to recognize it. The Christ is soon to return the world openly, not to destroy it, but inaugurate a whole new age - where justice and egalitarianism prevail. See for more info. Harold Camping may have the last laugh afterall (but he will still be on earth when he does).

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 22, 2011 at 4:54 p.m. ― 5 years, 9 months ago

Last week I was crossing the border on foot into Mexico and there were two guys passing out "Judgment Day" pamphlets. I said to the tall guy, "Yeah, just like he said in 1994! Give me a break!"

"YOU give me a break!" he snarled back.

I was working in a bookstar in Plaza Bonita back in 1994 and I remember it was a bigger thing back then, probably because many were already looking toward Y2K. Anyway, a lot of people special ordered the book. Some of them close to the date of September 6th. Needless to say, when that day came and went, no one picked up their special orders.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 22, 2011 at 4:57 p.m. ― 5 years, 9 months ago

I use to listen to Camping back in the early 90s--just to get informed. Although he is described here as an "evangelical," he believes in the "elect" and in predestination, both of whom are Calvinistic tenets and in theory, contradict evangelicals.

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