On Monday, Harold Camping gave an 82-minute broadcast on his Family Radio station, explaining why his predicted Judgment Day earthquake failed to occur on May 21. The embedded video above is a complete recording of the broadcast, provided by YouTube user Chibity.
Q: If six o’clock rolls around and there are no major earthquakes, are you going to start to get worried?
A: It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. I don’t even think about those kind of issues. The Bible is not — God is not playing games. I don’t even want to think about that question at all. It is going to happen.
Q: You haven’t thought about what you’ll tell your followers on May 22 if the Rapture doesn’t take place?
A: I’m not even thinking about that at all. It. Is. Going. To. Happen.
Q: I know you’re convinced this is going to happen, but if May 22 comes around and you’re still here, can we talk again?
A: I can’t even think about that question because you’re thinking that maybe, maybe Judgment Day will not happen. But it will happen, and I believe the Bible implicitly.
Oh dear. Looks like he suddenly had to start doing some serious thinking about those questions and issues which he didn’t want to think about. I guess he had at least three possible conclusions to choose from:
- The whole prediction is a complete mistake.
- The prediction of the event is correct, but the actual date is off by a few days/weeks, due to an error in his calculations or in his interpretation of the Bible.
- The prediction of the event is correct, and the date is correct, but the event on May 21 was invisible.
I’ve compiled a few interesting highlights from his broadcast on Monday, in which he selected conclusion #3. The numbers in purple indicate the start times in the video above.
[1:51] I can tell you, very candidly, that when May 21 came and went, it was a very difficult time for me. A very difficult time. I was truly wondering: “What is going on?”
[7:14] We have been looking at the information in the Bible too Earthly, like it was actually physically going to happen, when the Bible is a very spiritual book. There’s a lot of things in it that are very factual, of course, very factual, but there’s also a lot that is very spiritual. But how to know whether to look for it in its spiritual understanding or its physical understanding is a very very difficult task. But suddenly it dawned on me: “Oh I see what happened.” We were convinced that on May 21, God would return here in a very physical way, that is by bringing a great earthquake, and by ushering in the final five months of the Day of Judgment. The fact is, when we look at spiritually, then we find He did come, He did come.
[42:00] We have not done our correct homework in understanding the nature of May 21. But the fact is there. It was not a Judgment Day that was visible. It’s an invisible Judgment Day. It’s a spiritual Judgment Day. But it is Judgment Day. The world is under judgment today.
[47:55] Q: Previously to 21st May, people have asked you about a spiritual earthquake, and at that time, you were very explicit. You said: “It will not be a spiritual earthquake. There is no chance whatsoever that it will be a spiritual earthquake. It will be definitely a physical earthquake.” How do you reconcile that with what you are saying now?
A: Can’t you see, when we study the Bible, we don’t know everything. The Bible is very complex. I challenge any one of you – you start reading the book of Jeremiah, verse by verse, or any other book of the Bible, but take a book like Jeremiah, and you start reading it […] verse after verse, and you’ll wonder: “What is God talking about?” And yet, this is the way we have to search out the Bible. It’s very slow and very tedious, and yet we have to do it, and we don’t always hit the nail on the head the first time.
“When we study the Bible, we don’t know everything.” I’m not sensing the same level of absolute certainty that he expressed in his New York Magazine interview…
There’s one final event remaining in his set of predictions. May 21 apparently marked the invisible beginning of the Judgment Day period, and it will apparently end on October 21. “On October 21, 2011, the entire universe, together with all the non-elect unsaved, will be completely annihilated.” 
Wow! Forget about massive earthquakes – the entire universe will be annihilated! All 100 billion galaxies! All 100,000 billion billion stars! Should be quite a spectacular event Better tell NASA to cancel its new James Webb and NuSTAR space telescope projects, because there won’t be any universe left to observe
[29:18] On May 21, 2011, we didn’t feel any difference, we didn’t see any difference in the world, but we know from the Bible that God brought Judgment Day to bear on the whole world. The whole world is under Judgment Day, and it will continue right up until October 21, 2011, and at that time, the whole world will be destroyed.
[30:50] We’re just learning that we have to be looking at all of this a little bit more spiritual, but it won’t be spiritual on October 21, because the Bible clearly teaches that then the world is going to be destroyed altogether.
No point in putting any events in your diary after October 21, I guess.
Harold also found much inspiration in a recent letter from one of his listeners:
[9:19] Today I received a letter from somebody, one of our listeners, and I want to read it. It’s a very very nice statement, and I think I’m learning something from it. “The great earthquake and rapture and the universe melting in fervent heat will all happen on the last day, October 21, 2011.” […] In other words, we’ve been teaching that it would happen on May 21, but it’s all going to be compressed on the last day. This person has got an insight here that of course we’re going to be checking out very carefully. “The great earthquake didn’t happen on May 21st, because no-one will be able to survive it for more than a few days, or let alone five months, to suffer God’s wrath. Because everything will be leveled and destroyed after that great earthquake, and there will be no food source and water source to keep anyone alive, and there will be no shelter.”
[17:50] Now that letter came from somebody who’s not a theologian of any kind, and yet it’s got a lot of sense to it.
A very reasonable explanation for why the great earthquake didn’t happen! Strange that this thought didn’t occur to him when he made his original prediction…
[31:21] The fact is, when you study the Bible, you’re always learning. We had all of our dates correct. We had all the proofs correct. They don’t change at all. Every proof, every sign is all correct. The only thing is, God had not opened our eyes yet to the fact that May 21 was a spiritual coming, whereas we had thought it was a physical coming.
I wonder if there are any facts about October 21 to which God has not yet opened his eyes?
Note: I’ve filed this post and my previous post under the category of psychology rather than religion or spirituality, because I regard Harold Camping and his predictions as an interesting case study in the social psychology phenomena of cognitive dissonance and rationalization, rather than a source of thought-provoking spiritual ideas.