Rapture passes – believers downcast, pastor silent

May 23rd, 2011 by Staff

(05-21) 12:29 PDT Oakland — We’re still here.

Followers of an Oakland radio minister who predicted that Saturday would mark the start of the world’s last days waited in vain for a religious homecoming that never happened.

After driving from Maryland in the hope of being taken up to heaven in the Rapture with a crowd of fellow believers, Keith Bauer admitted his disappointment Saturday as he stood in a near-empty parking lot outside the locked Family Radio headquarters in Oakland.

“I was hoping,” the 36-year-old trucker told reporters, who outnumbered believers at the grimy hub of worldwide speculation that Earth would end that very day at 6 p.m. “Heaven will be a lot better than this earth.”

Neither radio employees nor radio minister Harold Camping were in evidence on Hegenberger Road near the Oakland Airport.

Although it wasn’t yet 6 p.m., Bauer began having doubts about Camping’s prophecy when the predicted devastation and Rapture didn’t happen in places like New Zealand, where the deadline had already come and gone.

“There’s definitely a pre-determined date,” Bauer said. “But that’s up to God.”

At Hegenberger Psychic next door, Anthony Lee wasn’t surprised.

“No one can tell when the end of the world will come,” he said. When he and Camping debated the question, the pastor told him that believing Christians would be removed from the world on Saturday, with the ultimate end coming on Oct. 21. Lee told the pastor that clairvoyance works best with things like relationships.

Camping, 89, was unavailable for comment, having said he would spend his last hours on Earth with family. His station compound was locked up tight. Razor wire encircled a rear parking lot by the radio’s warehouse. Through barred windows it was possible to see boxes stacked up inside, each with a label saying “I hope God will save me – Harold Camping.”

Outside, a poster read, “The end of the world is almost here. Holy God will bring judgment day on May 21, 2011.”

David Richardson, who visited the station Saturday morning, observed that Camping’s prophecy was already “in partial failure mode.”

Richardson works at Lawrence Berkeley Lab and isn’t a follower. He said he is a “compassionist,” and was there to tell people that “if the theological speculation of a fallible man fails, then that does not mean God has failed you.

“We all make mistakes.”

It wasn’t Camping’s first attempt to use numerology from the Bible to predict the end of the world. He had once said Judgment Day would be in September 1994, which passed without incident.

“Predicting the end of the world is a bit like alcoholism,” Richardson said. “Once you get started, it’s hard to stop.”


One Response

  1. Uytia Convisi

    Well if predicting the end of the world is like alcoholism then believing in god must be like a drug addiction.

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