Five months after falsely predicting that the world would end on May 21, Christian radio host Reverend Harold Camping is once again saying that the end is nigh. This time, though, he's doing it quietly.

Camping's predictions that the world would end back in May -- based, he said, upon rigorous analysis of dates in the Bible -- were preceded by a media blitz, with signs of the apocalypse emblazoned everywhere from billboards to buses to banner ads on web sites (including, it must be said, on Metro's.) But when the world failed to end, Camping became a laughingstock, his claims that a "spiritual rapture" occurred without anyone noticing falling on deaf ears.

Camping held on to his faith, and proclaimed a new date for the end of the world: October 21. People laughed, and then generally moved on (Camping had a stroke in June, which made it harder to make fun of him.) But now the 90-year-old prophet is out of the hospital, and October 21 is coming up. How is he handling the apocalypse the second third time around? (A reader reminds us Camping also predicted the world would end in 1994.)

Very carefully, as it turns out.

 

There are no bus ads and no billboards this time, and no warnings of giant earthquakes and fiery volcanoes. Camping's newest statement, playing intermittently on Family Radio, advises that for nonbelievers the end will be soft and gentle: "Probably there will be no pain suffered by
anyone because of their rebellion against God. ... We can
become more and more sure that they’ll quietly die and that will be the
end of their story."

Even the date, so prominent in the first campaign, has been de-emphasized. Camping merely warns "the end is going to come very, very quietly probably within the next
month ... by October 21."

So don't worry, heathens: The world is only "probably" going to end on Friday.

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