OAKLAND (CBS/AP) — They spent months warning the world of the apocalypse, some giving away earthly belongings or draining their savings accounts. And so they waited, vigilantly, on Saturday for the appointed hour to arrive.

When 6 p.m. came and went at various spots around the globe, and no extraordinary cataclysm occurred, Harold Camping followers took it in stride.

judgment day Apocalypse Believers Await End, Skeptics Carry On

(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The May 21 doomsday message was sent far and wide via broadcasts and web sites by Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer who has built a multi-million-dollar Christian media empire that publicizes his apocalyptic prediction.

According to Camping, the destruction was likely to have begun its worldwide march as it became 6 p.m. in the various time zones, although believers said Saturday the exact timing was never written in stone.

Many followers said though the sun rose Saturday without the foretold earthquakes, plagues, and other calamities, the delay was a further test from God to persevere in their faith.

“It’s still May 21 and God’s going to bring it,” said Family Radio’s special projects coordinator Michael Garcia, who spent Saturday morning praying and drinking two last cups of coffee with his wife at home in Alameda. “When you say something and it doesn’t happen, your pride is what’s hurt. But who needs pride? God said he resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.”

The Internet also was alive with discussion, humorous or not, about the end of the world and its apparent failure to occur on cue. Many tweets declared Camping’s prediction a dud or shared, tongue-in-cheek, their relief at not having to do weekend chores, pay their bills or take a shower.

The top trends on Twitter at midday included, at No. 1, “endofworldconfessions,” followed by “myraptureplaylist.”

Camping’s radio stations, TV channels, satellite broadcasts and website are controlled from a modest building sandwiched between an auto shop and a palm reader’s business.

Camping also predicted the end back in 1994. That time, he says, he simply got his math wrong.

“I’m not embarrassed about it. It was just the fact that it was premature,” he told The Associated Press last month. But this time, he said, “there is…no possibility that it will not happen.”

Camping has preached that some 200 million people would be saved, and that those left behind would die in a series of scourges visiting Earth until the globe is consumed by a fireball on Oct. 21.

Christian leaders from across the spectrum widely dismissed the prophecy.

“People are always concerned about when the end of the world is going to come because people want to have something they can hang onto,” said Fr. George Reynolds of St. Barnabas Church in Long Beach.

As the day drew nearer, followers reported that donations grew, allowing Family Radio to spend millions on more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs plastered with the doomsday message. In 2009, the nonprofit reported in IRS 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.

» RELATED: Hours Before ‘Judgment Day’, Preacher Not Parting With $56 Million Fortune

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (39)
  1. Tina says:

    Harold shame on you!!! No one knows the day or time except God himself… You are right about him returning yes I do believe that but he will come like a thief in the night meaning No one will know… Beware of false prophets!!

    1. Chris says:

      …..and how are you going to know if “he” “they” are false prophets Tina?

      1. Tina says:

        Whatever Chris! Did it happen????

  2. J.G says:

    Were is Mr. Campin ???? What will his excuse be now ? Will more ignorant people put there eyes on this man

  3. Moe says:

    These people are charging $149 to rescue your pet if you get raptured. The evilness of people who take advantage of gullible people. Give them a piece of your mind. I did. petrapturesurvivalplan@gmail.com

    1. mister s says:

      Thats a pretty good idea actually, wish I’d thought of it.

  4. yaa says:

    camping and his family are a bunch of CROOKS… trying to scam people out of there money….
    go get a real job

  5. Arnold Darrow says:

    The world ends at 6 p.m. tonight. Film at 11.

    1. Josh Butts says:

      HAHA, yeah all these news organizations have these stories on how this or that could kill you, but more at 11. Oh, I don’t know, but if this or that could kill me then how about you tell me NOW!

  6. CM says:

    Camping is a liar and a criminal who has taken advantage of weak-minded people who will believe anything people tell them. He is responsible for the lives lost out of the sheer panic for his crackpot “prediction.” A woman in Palmdale, CA slit her daughter’s throat then slit her own throat (they died) because the woman was trying to spare her family from “the rapture.” As far as I’m concerned, Camping can go f*ck himself. Of course, he’s f*cking a lot of people all the way to the bank.

  7. Bernice says:

    I was too harsh in my first comment. I had just heard about him and didn’t realize that he was so old. Perhaps he’s just senile. But then again, were he senile, he would have given away all of his wealth to the poor before the last day–or at least destroyed if he felt no one would be left to use it. Would-be believers, read your Bibles and pray for a true understanding of God’s Word. This is his 2nd prediction. I think the media and everyone else should just ignore him from now on. Some people thrive on getting other people riled up.

  8. Timothy McGarry says:

    As Edward G. Robinson said: “Where’s your Moses now, see?”

  9. marc in california says:

    the world is ending before All My Children , One Life To Live, and the next American Idol is crowned? That certainly is on the side of sucks.

  10. steve says:

    i agree that no one knows when hes coming why are u making such terrible discision you have destroyed lots of people life by saying the doomsday is today ..god will rebuke u in the name of his beloved one jesus christ

  11. JB says:

    this is f***ing stupid. Camping is stupid for making lies and making other people think this. he probably is saying all this bull**** just to make money. whoever else believes that the world is going to end at 6 pm tonight is stupid….. dont believe in what that old stupid (no offense to old people) person. hes full of BULL****!!!!

  12. borin says:

    This man is a false prophet and is a fake. No man can predict the exact date for doomsday. I don’t know what Bible he’s been reading from. He just want media attentions and make money off of everyone.

  13. Thomas Forcade says:

    Understand that although Mr. Harold Camping might really believe what he is saying is the end of the world,and many have doubts,(i know he is wrong because the other signs that are in the bible,have not yet happened) He is still fullfilling bible prophecy.By being a false profit.As it say’s in the bible,in the end times,(wich i do believe we are living in) There will be false profits.He is one of them.And those who follow these false profits will be deceived,as you have listened to someone who did not understand what was written,or has chosen to ignore it.To know what the truth is,and to understand what will be the final signs,there is more that has yet to happen.If you want to know when,i will say this much,The time is close for those who measure the waiting in months.For those who measure by years,enjoy this year as much as you can.Enjoy the family you have,and friends.And remember,in the end we will see that what was written was true.

  14. borin says:

    What excuse will he have on Sunday May 22 when the World doesn’t end.

  15. Tina says:

    Were suppose to live everyday as if it’s our last cause were not guaranteed tomorrow! Just love the Lord with all your mind body and soul and you have no worries!!! Blessings upon us all…

  16. Brad in PA says:

    7:11 here in Pittsburgh and we’re all still here and doing fine! This jagoff is the definition of a false prophet!

  17. Barbara Long Beach says:

    I must say I am a non believer the day of reconing is today plus, I am certain only the most pious will be going to heaven the rest of us have to suffer… I’m not a saint so I’m not floating off today … as I was on my computer I got an email alert of 6.2 earthquake in malasia (time approx. 6pm their time)… I said Naw, can’t be… we shall see who isn’t here among us on Monday! Only sinners will be crawling the earth (as usual) … see ya Monday!

  18. scoperadio says:

    It is official, and we have Harold Camping to thank, as of 6:01 CDT Camping has made us all aware today, as many already knew, 5/21/2011 – that god never existed, god is a fictional made up myth as well as the bible is a bunch of fictional words, used to divide the earth, and the people in it, used for monetary gain and political advancement, used for wars, and used for brainwashing. Harold Camping is to be credited for “The Awakening” or “The Enlightenment” if you will, allowing us all to finally see the truth, which is the ultimate lie of world history – God.
    I would like to take this opportunity to officially thank Harold Camping, multimillionaire founder of propaganda source – christian family radio, for showing all of us, and all of them how one can financially gain from the lies of god and the bible, but also for helping us realize beyond a shadow of a doubt that god never was real, and never existed. Thank you Harold, you have done the world a great service today.

    1. OCSkeptic says:

      Amen, brother or sister. Amen.

  19. Don says:

    Why do you think this guy is stupid? He is smart enough to take a lot of money from all the morons who are oh so certain that these are endtimes.

    For millions, I’d be willing to look a little embarrassed tomorrow. You know, pretend like I’m upset and actually care about his flock of idiots.

    He’s probably laughing his ass off right now. I mean, you don’t see him giving away all his money do you?

    Just another con artist in the religion industry.

    1. scoperadio says:

      no doubt, dude is laughing at his donors alllll the way to the bank as we speak. Matter of fact he called wells fargo and asked them to stay open after 6 so he could make a nice deposit, i dont feel bad for any one opf his donors though, if they are stupid enough to give him money and believe what he says, they deserve what they get.

  20. Borsia Novak says:

    When you base your beliefs and philosophy on fairy tales and fables things are bound to go wrong.
    I’m sure that he is saying that it isn’t 6:PM in all the world yet so he has a few hours to still be right.
    As an atheist I suppose I should add something deep and profound so here is my personal message to Camping and his followers,,, Quack, Quack.

  21. When the day is over and nothing happens i hope it will be another proof that god does not exist. But these morons will give us another explanation why it did not happen. Because he walks in mysterious ways i guess. But by telling us the bible says so they are all proving themselves wrong. We dont have to do that for them.
    Just full of contradictions as always.

  22. Thomas Foarcade says:

    To all the Atheist,just because you have no faith,does not mean that the proof of your “God is not Real” speech is that this false profit is wrong.Rather he is a perfect exaple of the bible being very accurate.It said there would be false profits.NOWHERE in the bible does it say you will know when.Very much the opposite.It say’s no man shall know.So if you think you can use this as an excuse for your proof,just shows you never even read the bible,and have no knowledge about what is to happen in the end times.So you can be relaxed in not knowing.And have no faith.But don’t use someone who was false from the very begining as your “proof.”..p.s. you are entitiled to your own opinion,as am i.

    1. OCSkeptic says:

      It also says three times that Jesus would return before those listening to Him died…that was about 2000 years ago. Guess He was a false prophet, too. Where’s my golden calf?

  23. John says:

    to all the Christians talking about false prophets, read the first commandlment. You know, the one the supports POLYTHEISM. “I am the Lord you God. You shall not have other gods before me.”

    Not, “I am the only god.” or “Other gods don’t are false.” No, it clearly says there are other legitimate gods but my people will put me first. think about that before you insult someone else’s faith. Maybe God doesn’t like you telling Him what He thinks about something when this is something Moses took directly as dictation.

  24. bill burns says:

    Does that mean the coloreds get to rape and pillage some more?

  25. - says:

    Both the old man and the myans are wrong. In the beginning of time there was no such thing as 12 month callender. Time was base on day and year and time. so if you look at the date 12-21-2012 it really reads the 12th year and 21st day 9:12 pm. So this would be after 2,000 years after JC death it really means 12th year after 2,000 , that would show 2012. the 12th year also means the beginning of the new year january. 21st is still the day. 2012 can in time mean milltary time because the beginning of time did not have a every 12 change they had a 24 hour clock. so 2012 would mean 9:12 PM, But in theroy could still mean January 21 2012 9:12 PM. I’m just saying. But 12/21/2012 could also mean longitude and latitude before the date arives. I did however look at a map of the world base on 12/21/2012 using longitude and latitude and found three spots around the world,and it also shows if you look at it as a three point triangle of the earth.

  26. still alive says:

    Well, it’s 8:15 and the world is still turning, rapture has not happened. More blather from Christians that turned out to be false. Hmmmm, what’s the scorecard now, proof that “god” exists – 0; proof that “god” doesn’t exist – too many to count. And before ANY Christians dare to debate this, remember, the book of fables says that you can’t eat shellfish. If you’ve eaten shellfish, don’t bother – your words mean nothing to me. Considering how popular Red Lobster is in the US, I’m guessing an overwhelming majority of you have no leg to stand on.

  27. SHW No Mercy says:

    World Trade Center Attack 9.11.01 Japan Quake 3.10.11 Add dates. World End 12.21.12. Send donations for billboards.

  28. BK says:

    I think this minster is complete idiot, that needs to stop preaching He Is Not God, God is really the only one that will know when the end of world will be, Someone should sue this idiot minster for his $56 million dollar fortune, for false information or false advertise, I am not trying to be mean I am not saying religion is bad I am just saying that you need to do your research better idiot!

  29. citizen says:

    What bible do these allege Christians follow? The Camping bible? The printer forgot to put the part in the Camping bible that the world will end when the sun does not come up, the stars from the sky will fall, and the heavens will open with angels coming down to earth. Sad that wasn’t printed in their bible. Unfortunately, they are following a Capitalist not a true Christian.

    1. Tanya says:

      True Christians treat EVERYONE the way they would want to be treated and remain virgins until they’re married. Tell me, do you treat everyone as you’d like to be treated? Did you remain a virgin until marriage? Doubtful. Think of the entire book and what it says, rather than the select passages that are convenient for you and your beliefs at the moment.

  30. Left Behind? says:

    Hey, what if it did happen and so few were worthy that nobody noticed that they had been raptured? Wouldn’t that be sad for the goats when the master tells them, “Begone, I never knew you!”. All the hot air wasted thinking some people were so much better than the others only to find they weren’t chosen. That would be a kick in the pants. “I wish we’d all been ready”.

  31. non believer says:

    Please stopped all the non sense and giving the life of the children have a chance to live for the future. no one knows the future will comes please stop the non sense and enjoy your precious life.Stopped the preaching and the news.What kind of Gods tell the people to die.why r u praying for survival?Gods will kill us all.

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