It’s not hard to imagine that on May 22nd, 2011, the multi-millionaire, Harold Camping woke up, scratched his head, poured himself a cup of coffee, and got back to work: calculating the end of the world.
The former engineer and self-taught bible scholar, Camping had (mis)calculated the demise of mankind with the use of arbitrary-gone-relevant numbers which led to confident conclusion that the world as we know it would no longer exist come May 21, 2011 – roughly 9 pm Eastern.
As people from all over the world either braced for the end or threw Doom’s Day parties, the 21st of May passed as quietly as the last.
Even though Jesus left many of today’s important questions and debates unanswered, he did specifically tells his disciples that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away: But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.” Mathew 24: 35-37.
Camping was betting that his math would prove Jesus wrong.
Complete with a countdown clock on his website, Camping and his followers were certain that this would be the last day. His confidence was, at the very least, impressive.
Mr. Camping had spent millions of his own dollars, and utilized the power of his 60 radio stations to proselytize the day of doom to the world. With that kind of money and that kind of media exposure he didn’t have a problem generating a following nor people ready to listen.
Like a few used cars, Mr. Camping traded in the value of some of his radio stations to reportedly spend $100 million in the global doom’s day campaign.
This wasn’t his first prediction. Back in 1994, Camping predicted another doom day but as history would have it, it never came. After reviewing his calculations, camping quickly revised his prediction to October 21 2001.
Camping isn’t alone on the miscalculation of either the rapture or an Armageddon-type day prediction. Many self described profits have predicted the end of the world and have gone on to maintain a significant following. Ellen White, the founder of the modern day Seventh Day Adventist church had predicted the end of the world in June 1845. A century and a half later, Elizabeth Claire Prophet, the leader of The Summit Lighthouse and Church Universal and Triumphant, predicted the destruction of the world predicted the end of the world in 1999 and instructed her followers to spend thousands of their own dollars on bomb-shelters.
Nevertheless, soon after his prediction had failed to come to pass, Mr. Camping hit the numbers again and quickly said he had miscalculated. The new end of the world date would be coming in October 2011.
As 2012 approaches, the Ancient Maya civilization’s prediction of the destruction of the world now stands on deck. And without a doubt, there are sure to be more predictions in the months and years to come. Until, then it never hurts to stock up on canned goods.