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Doomsday date was miscalculated, says Harold Camping

Doomsday date re-recalculated by Harold Camping to take place in October. Most Christians dismiss the doomsday date predictions.

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Family Radio would never tell anyone what they should do with their belongings, and those who had fewer would cope, Camping said.

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"We're not in the business of financial advice," he said. "We're in the business of telling people there's someone who you can maybe talk to, maybe pray to, and that's God."

But he also said that he wouldn't give away all his possessions ahead of Oct 21.

"I still have to live in a house, I still have to drive a car," he said. "What would be the value of that? If it is Judgment Day why would I give it away?"

Apocalyptic thinking has always been part of American religious life and popular culture. Teachings about the end of the world vary dramatically — even within faith traditions — about how they will occur.

Still, the overwhelming majority of Christians reject the idea that the exact date or time of Jesus' return can be predicted.

Tim LaHaye, co-author of the best-selling "Left Behind" novels about the end times, recently called Camping's prediction "not only bizarre but 100 percent wrong!" He cited the Bible verse Matthew 24:36, "but about that day or hour no one knows" except God.

"While it may be in the near future, many signs of our times certainly indicate so, but anyone who thinks they 'know' the day and the hour is flat out wrong," LaHaye wrote on his website, leftbehind.com.

Signs of disappointment also were evident online, where groups that had confidently predicted the Rapture — and, in some cases, had spent money to help spread the word through advertisements — took tentative steps to re-establish Internet presences in the face of widespread mockery.

The Pennsylvania-based group eBible Fellowship still has a website with images of May 21 billboards all over the world, but its Twitter feed has changed over from the increasingly confident predictions before the date to circumspect Bible verses that seem to speak to the confusion and hurt many members likely feel.

Camping offered no clues about Family Radio's finances Monday, saying he could not estimate how much had been spent on getting out his prediction nor how much money the nonprofit had taken in as a result. 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.

Josh Ocasion, who works the teleprompter during Camping's live broadcasts in the group's threadbare studio sandwiched between an auto shop and a palm reader's business, said he enjoyed the production work but he had never fully believed the May 21 prophecy would come true.

"I thought he would show some more human decency in admitting he made a mistake," he said. "We didn't really see that."

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Associated Press writer Tom Breen in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Videographer Ted Shaffrey and AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll in New York, contributed to this report.

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