This weekend, when I was in D.C., there were a surprising number of ads around the city proclaiming that the Bible says the world’s going to end on May 21.
Of course, the Bible doesn’t say the world is going to end on the 21st. In fact, the guy predicting it has already gotten it wrong before.
…The founder of Family Radio, Harold Camping, reportedly came up with the May 21 date based on a mathematical formula he created one night.
The original researchers who looked at this issue believed people would disregard facts if it conflicted with deeply held beliefs. Instead of accepting facts, the theory predicts people will find ways to verify what they already feel.
“They typically blame themselves that they caused this not to occur and so they’ve got to do better,” said James Richardson, a noted expert on religious movements from the University of Nevada.
Mr. Richardson said it’s easier to accept failure when numbers are involved, such as in this case.
Mr. Camping’s math has been wrong before. The preacher’s followers gathered in an auditorium on Sept. 6, 1994, the day Mr. Camping predicted the rapture. Despite nothing happening, Mr. Camping’s following has continued to grow.
“I understand that other people have been wrong, but the fact is that eventually God is going to revisit us,” Mr. Garcia said.
Mr. Richardson said there’s nothing to worry about — he believes the world will still be turning on May 22. “I want to see someone interviewing these folks on May 22,” he said. “I think they’ll still be around.”
First of all, let me just note that if you’re planning to try the old, “This may be our last night on earth” line on May 20th, that’s morally wrong! Just pointing that out.