New Delhi: Another Doomsday, that didn't happen. Nothing earth shattering happened at 6 pm on May 21. Harold Camping, the US evangelical Christian broadcaster who had been propagating his Doomsday theory will now have to look for another date for the world to come to an end.
This isn't the first of Harold Camping's failed predictions. The 89-year-old had previously, in 1994, announced that Jesus Christ would return to Earth. His excuse, a mathematical error. He now needs to get his math right yet again.
According to Camping an earthquake was to shake the Earth on May 21, sweeping true believers to heaven and leaving others behind to be engulfed in the world's destruction over a few months.
While many have been sceptical of Camping's prophesies, he does have his share of supporters who have posted about 2,200 hoardings around the United States about the coming apocalypse, and dozens of followers who have driven across the US to spread the news. Unfortunately, for them, all the efforts were washed down when the Earth failed to shake at the precise hour.
Camping's prediction is based on his reading of the Bible and a timeline dating back to ancient events including the Biblical flood survived by Noah. Camping and his followers believe the beginning of the end will come on May 21, exactly 7,000 years since the flood in the biblical story of Noah's Ark.
Some 200 million people will be saved, Camping preaches, and those left behind will die in earthquakes, plagues, and other calamities until Earth is consumed by a fireball on October 21.
The 89-year-old retired civil engineer has built a multi-million-dollar nonprofit ministry based on his apocalyptic prediction. In 2009, the nonprofit reported in tax filings that it received $18.3 million in donations, and had assets of more than $104 million, including $34 million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.
Camping's pronouncement of a specific date for the apocalypse puts him outside the Christian mainstream. Christian leaders from across the spectrum have widely dismissed the prophecy.
Sceptics have their celebrations planned. Across the world numerous events have been organised to celebrate the failure of Camping's prophecy. Bars and restaurants have advertised bashes. In Oakland, US, atheists have planned a gathering at a local Masonic temple to include group discussions on "The Great Success of Past Apocalypses," followed by dinner and music.
While it will be a night to party for many, Harold Camping may have to bring out his copy of the Bible and a calculator.
The doom-sayers have another date to look forward to. December 21, 2012 is next in line of predicted Doomsday dates. The proponents of the theory claim that a that a planet, called Nibiru, will collide with earth. A prophesy, they claim, is mentioned in an ancient calendar from the Mayan civilization. The 2012 Doomsday was initially slated for May 2003, but when nothing happened, a new date popped up.
(With inputs from agencies)