OAKLAND -- If the universe started with a big bang, Saturday's non-rapture qualifies as a big whimper -- or maybe just a big bust.
Though the tremendous earthquake and ascension into heaven of the faithful predicted by Doomsday prophet Harold Camping did not happen, there were lessons to be learned from the most-hyped non-event since Y2K.
"For those who were invested in this prediction, their world did end Saturday," said Rev. Jeremy Nickel, the minister at Fremont's Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation. "They thought they were going to heaven, and they didn't. They may have donated all their money. They're going to be in a world of hurt."
Members of churches near Oakland, Calif. based Family Radio, are pouring out in droves, offering comfort and spiritual support to the dejected followers of false Doomsday prophet Harold Camping, who has predicted that the World will end on May 21, 2011.
Family Radio President Camping, relying on Bible verses from Genesis 7:4 ("Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth") and 2 Peter 3:8 (“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”), has come up with May 21, 2011 as the day when 200 million people will Rapture and the rest left behind will perish in a series of natural disasters, including violent earthquakes which would make Japan’s recent earthquake “look like a Sunday school picnic in comparison.” The world will be completely destroyed on October 21, 2011.
However, when no earthquake of magnitude greater than the one that struck Japan (9.0) took place on May 21, 2011, it soon became clear that Camping’s prediction was false and his followers became devastated.
For atheists, this could be an “I told you so” moment.
But that would be too easy. Almost too easy, anyway.
Instead of gloating, some atheists hoisted beers and called the latest failed prediction of Family Radio’s Harold Camping a lesson in human behavior.
“We know he’s not the first or the last who’s going to do this,” said Mike Gillis, a host and producer of the Seattle-area radio show Ask An Atheist on KLAY 1180 AM.
Gillis is one of a handful of atheists who planned a “rapture party” at Dorky’s Arcade in Tacoma. About 80 people RSVPed to the event on Facebook, saying they’d come listen to music and wait for confirmation that there wasn’t any rapture.
“I’m down,” one Facebook fan joked on the event listing. “But just until the looting starts.”