Family Channel entrepreneur and broadcaster Harold Camping says that his much-publicized prediction that the world would end on May 21, 2011 – which did not actually happen – was made “as a goof.”
In an interview with Piracy Today reporter Ripley Reason, the 89-year-old Christian broadcaster claimed that the tone of his voice used when he made the prediction should have tipped believers off that he was merely attempting to create a hilarious joke.
“I did it as a goof,” said Camping. When Reason expressed doubt about how appropriate this was, Camping replied, “You just need to understand my sense of humor.”
A large number of people gave up their jobs and sold their possessions when they learned of Camping’s prediction. Many dedicated themselves full-time to promoting Camping’s network under the assumption that this would help save souls that could then ascend to heaven in the rapture, which according to many interpretations of the book of Revelations in the Bible precedes the times of tribulation before the destruction of the world. Non-believers who are not saved in the rapture would have to stay on earth and die when the planet is destroyed and then go to hell for an eternity of torture.
“I still think it’s pretty funny,” said Camping.
When Reason asked whether or not Camping sinned by giving false witness, he again reiterated that the tone of his voice was mildly sarcastic and that smart people caught it and understood that he wasn’t claiming to know the future. “As for those morons out there,” said Camping, “that’s their problem.” He did, however, thank the morons for helping to promote his company.
Furthermore, he said, when stating the supposed prediction Camping had his fingers crossed, so it doesn't count as a lie.
Reason asked Camping if his 1994 doomsday prediction was also a goof. Camping said that it wasn’t, but that he had merely confused the end of the world with the disappearance of the World Series, which did not occur that year because of a labor dispute.
When asked if it was likely that he would make such a prediction for a third time, Camping said that it is “entirely possible,” but that it won’t be any time soon because at the moment Family Channel has “more money than we know how to spend, thanks to those gullible boneheads.”
"I've been stood up by men before, but I though Jesus was different."