Harold Camping predicts the end of the world. Again.
Harold Camping may have been exaggerating a bit when he said that the world would end on May 21 this year. But that hasn't stopped the radio preacher from making another Doomsday prediction, this time for Friday, Oct. 21.
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"He read a considerable amount of history and came to see humans as brutes," Kent said.Skip to next paragraph
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With this worldview, the end of the world is a welcome way to wipe Earth clean.
"Despite fire, death and destruction, the god of apocalypticism is a god of order, not chaos," DiTommaso told LiveScience in May. "That's the reassurance."
The personal is the prophetic
An individual's psychology and environment may contribute to the apocalyptic worldview. Followers often live and socialize in small groups where outside opinions aren't heard, DiTommaso said. This "social encapsulation" keeps faith-shaking questions at bay.
Camping and his followers are also operating from a worldview that holds that the Bible and its prophecies cannot be wrong, DiTommaso told LiveScience.
"But human ego doesn't easily admit to error, either," he added. That can lead to creative re-interpretations of the prophecies as believers try to explain what went wrong. After Miller's doomsday prophecy failed in 1844, for example, one group of followers concluded that Oct. 22 had actually been the date when Jesus Christ entered a holy sanctuary in heaven in preparation for returning to Earth.
Miller and Camping may share another characteristic: a fear of death. Camping is 90 and is recovering at home from his stroke, according to the Family Radio website. Miller, Kent said, was "deeply troubled" by death. It's possible Camping feels the same way.
"He insists no person can know who God saves and who God damns, but the implication very clearly is that he is among the saved," Kent said. "With that implication, belief in the Rapture means that Mr. Camping would escape the fate that befalls all human beings, which is death."
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