The End of the World As He Knows It

Pastor Harold Camping explains his prediction that the world's ending on May 21

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Someday, there might be a person who accurately predicts judgment day. It won't be Harold Camping. That quasi-scholarly elderly pastor crisscrossing the U.S. with "May 21" doomsday rhetoric has been amusing. But with a mere 9 days to go until the world doesn't end again, his time in the limelight is rapidly expiring. So, to preserve the Family Radio broadcaster's apocalyptic nonsense for reference, here's Camping's most quotable moments:

  • On the Exact Time of Judgment Day on May 21st  "When the clock says about 6 p.m., there’s going to be this tremendous earthquake that’s going to make the last earthquake in Japan seem like nothing in comparison. And the whole world will be alerted that Judgment Day has begun." [Daily Intel]
  • On the Mayan's 2012 End of the World Prediction  "That date has not one stitch of biblical authority...It's like a fairy tale." [The San Francisco Chronicle]
  • How He Feels About the World Ending  "I'll tell you, it's a mixed bag. Everybody here knows children, husbands, and wives who mock and don't believe this. On May 21st they'll be entering Judgment Day, and that will be sad, sad, sad." [SF Weekly]
  • Why He Won't Give Away His Money Before May 21st  "What’s the point? In other words, Judgment Day is the end of the world. That means that the whole world is in judgment, it will not be business as usual at all. At all." [Daily Intel]
  • On His 1994 Doomsday Prediction That Didn't Pan Out  "It's a learning curve, like with anything, the first time someone rode a bicycle if it didn't have training wheels they'd fell over. And you have to get more experience." [Steve Gill Radio]
  • But Why This Time Is Different  "At that time there was a lot of the Bible I had not really researched very carefully...But now, we've had the chance to do just an enormous amount of additional study and God has given us outstanding proofs that it really is going to happen." [The Independent (UK)]
  • If the World Doesn't End, Does He Have a Plan?  "Absolutely not...It is going to happen. There is no Plan B." [NPR]
  • Why People Need to Take This Seriously  "We're not talking about a ball game, or a marriage, or graduating from college. We're talking about the end of the world, a matter of being eternally dead, or being eternally alive, and it's all coming to a head right now." [The Independent (UK)]

By the way, have you seen the pastor's math? Here's his latest calculations:

The start point is 4990 b.c. (the year of the great flood when God destroyed the earth with water). Camping believes if you add 7,000 years, minus one because there was no year "0" you get 2011. Camping believes Judgment Day will be on the 17 day of the second month. According to Camping, that's the same day it started raining on Noah. According to Camping's version of the biblical calendar, that is May 21.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.