Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fallout from Harold Camping's Doomsday Prediction

       When the clock struck 6:01 pm this past Saturday, May 21, 2011, many Christians and non-Christians alike breathed a sigh of relief. The church wasn’t raptured, and a massive earthquake didn’t occur.
       Most of the day Saturday I joked around about Harold Camping’s false prophecy with my mom, my hairstylist, and a fellow patron while getting our hair done at a neighborhood beauty salon.
       “I’m getting my hair done for Jesus,” I quipped.
       “I want to have all of my errands done before 6 pm,” a woman giggled, “so I’ll be ready.”
       Don Lemon, a CNN news anchor, even joked a bit. “Well, it’s 5:52 pm, 8 minutes before the world is supposed to come to an end. I’ll hang around for a couple of seconds after 6 to see if we’re still here.” When it was 6 pm, Lemon said, “Well, looks like we’re still here. Now let’s go to The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” My son and I chuckled as I turned off the television.

Not so Funny
       While some poked fun of the doomsday prediction, because they simply didn’t believe it, at least one of Camping’s followers didn’t think it was so funny. In a news segment on ABC World News Weekend Edition filmed in Times Square New York City, Good Morning America anchor Ron Claiborne interviewed Robert Fitzpatrick, a Camping follower and retiree who allegedly spent a sizeable chunk of his $140,000 life savings on poster advertisements in the New York City subways. Claiborne reported that Fitzpatrick was clearly shaken, shocked, and saddened when nothing happened at 6 pm.

Interrogation Time
       News reporters, cameramen, photographers, and irate New Yorkers surrounded Fitzpatrick in Times Square and peppered him with questions. “We’re still here! We’re still here!” exclaimed an onlooker. “Why didn’t the earthquake happen?” “Why are we still here?” demanded a man in the crowd. Fitzpatrick tried to explain from the bible how Camping arrived at his doomsday prediction. “That’s God Word,” shouted another man. “You shouldn’t play around with God’s Word.” “I want my money back,” demanded a woman. “Are those people who spent money on buses to travel around going to get their money back?” “Are they going to get their money back?”
       My burning question is: What does Camping have to say about all of this? One news report said Camping was in seclusion in Oakland, Calif., and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Can Anything Good Come From This?
       The travesty behind this false prophecy is that many of Camping’s followers spent their hard earned money, left their jobs, left their families, and wasted time traveling the country to spread the news that the world was going to end on May 21, 2011. The false prediction made people nervous at the very least and almost caused a panic. The good news is that this false prediction got people talking about the bible, the gospel, who Jesus is, the fact you must be saved to go to Heaven, and that there will come a time when God’s judgment will come upon the earth. So if it takes an event such as this, even a duplicitous one, to spread the gospel and encourage people to begin thinking about their salvation and spiritual lives, it can’t be all that bad (Philippians 1:18). 

** This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays here.


  1. Great observations Judy. The most loving, and biblical response I've read is on the following link. Please read, and let me know what you think!

  2. Judy,
    Travelling back from Georgia with my husband, we listened to FOX and CNN on the radio continually as this subject was discussed. I agree with your conclusion - I am sure good did come from it. I couldn't help but think of Jonah's prediction of Nineveh going to be destroyed and his frustration with our merciful God when it didn't happen.

  3. I see your point yet I think...doesn't false prophets such as this one bring a negative idea in the minds of people? Now if I bring up the Bible and what God says in it, they may say "oh, yea, like the world is going to end,hahahah!"
    Unfortnately it makes a mockery of God's word.
    Yet, I am reminded as I type that God can bring everything to His glory. He was not surprised this all happened.

  4. Philippians 1:18, great reference. It did sadden me to see the craze this caused, especially to Christians. We have nothing to worry about in this life. Staying in Philippians 1 going down a little further Paul is clear that to Live is Christ, and to die is gain. The gospel is our mission. Until our last breath, we will be proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ because that is the true testament of life. Good post.

  5. Yes Judy, if all of this keeps God before your eyes then there is good in it all. I feel sad for the people who lost everything.... Great thoughts

  6. True Camping got the date wrong but the truth remains that Christ will return one day and it behooves us all to live with that truth in the forefront of our minds.

  7. Hi Judy:

    Yes God does cause all things to work for good "for those who love Him and are called to His purpose."

    I too, joked about still being here, but it's really sad that so many put their faith and trust in this man and not in Jesus. (Even though they may think they have faith in Jesus.)

    Last night I read that he has changed the date again - this time to October 21st, saying he was wrong and "flabbergasted" when it didn't happen. When are people going to wake up and see this man for what he is - a false teacher.


  8. I like the quote, "Every kick is a boost." The Lord seems to turn to good anything man can produce. I couldn't help chuckling over some of the reactions. I do believe the end will come in God's own time. :)

  9. I agree. It certainly got people thinking. Sad part is since it didn't happen as predicted a lot of people concluded it will never happen.


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