And With That, Harold Camping Quietly Retires…

After spending tens of millions of dollars advertising the upcoming Rapture and End of the World and staking his ministry’s (and his own) credibility on those absurd and unlikely events, it makes sense that Harold Camping would choose to step away as quietly as possible:

Although Family Radio declined to confirm or deny Camping’s status to Charisma News, news reports are swirling that Camping has officially retired from Family Stations Inc.

Family Radio removed from its website Camping’s written comments on why the rapture did not occur on May 21. Those comments included a prediction that the world would come to an end quietly on Oct. 21.

Given Camping’s silence after the world did not end on Friday, a recent stroke from which he is still recovering, and the takedown of his comments, it appears he may not make another rapture prediction.

It’s too bad, really. I wanted to thank him for further ruining the credibility of Christianity and the myth that Jesus is someday coming back. Even when other Christians say that he’s a kook, they have to admit to believing Jesus will return on some unspecified day in the future… Camping is the gift that keeps on giving.

If anyone knows of his location, maybe we can band together and send him a “We Miss You” card:



About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Patrik W

    I thought of him the other day, after the rapture didn’t happen again. And I scanned the interwebz for any news item on what hadn’t happen as well. Came up with pretty much nothing. Which, I guess, is accurate.

    While he was amusing for a while, I think it would be a good thing for him and his ilk to wither away in some forgotten history book. On that note, can’t wait for 2012 to be over so we won’t have to deal with that bunch of looneys.

    • PJB863

      As long as there are gullible sheeple willing to give money to these hucksters, there will always be another crop just waiting in the wings to take their money.  It’s  a story as old as mankind.

  • Anonymous

    Hal Lindsey (born in 1929), who started the current version of this nonsense back in 1970, appeared on George Noory’s Coast to Coast AM talkshow last week to spread more of his signature doomsday fear. I laughed when he criticized Harold Camping, basically one old fool admonishing a similar old fool. “No, no, no, Harold! You don’t understand the rules of the game. You don’t set dates for the rapture!”

    These aging end times hustlers – Camping, Lindsey, LaHaye, Hagee, etc. – really should issue public apologies to all the people they’ve spooked over the decades with their lurid fantasies.

    • Anonymous

      They should be forced to return all of the money they’ve received from “true believers” over the years… but then again, if anyone was stupid enough to send them money, they don’t deserve it back.

      Nevermind.

      • Anonymous

        This is what I would like to see.  Return everyone’s money.  Would actually be worthy of a news story.

    • http://www.facebook.com/keithacollyer Keith Collyer

      You people really don’t understand. The Rapture has happened, but nobody was worthy, so no-one noticed

      • dauntless

        Wow. May 21st called. It wants that joke back!

  • PeteUK

    Take the money and run!

    Never mind, religion with throw up other numpties for us to laugh at there is, unfortunately, a never ending supply!

  • Anonymous

    American Atheists should issue a special Religious Honesty Award to Harold Camping thanking him for his unfiltered and Bible-based exposure of the danger of religious dogma and “knowledge” without evidence.

  • Anonymous

    Gary North has his own load of nuttiness, namely, Austrian economics & Christian Reconstructionism. Yet he writes something interesting about the value orientation of the Christians who believe in the rapture and the end times. Basically the idea appeals strongly to people with a lower-class mentality: They deeply discount the future, don’t pursue education and self-development, don’t save money, etc. Why exert yourself to do those hard bourgeois things if you expect to get swept up to heaven any moment now without having to die first?

    http://www.reformed-theology.org/html/issue11/left_behind_culturally.htm

  • Eskomo

    I always like to polls that show that many christians believe that Jesus will return within 40 years. Keep it vague, nobody will notice.

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    I don’t miss him. Let’s not forget that people had their lives ruined by this crank. There was at least one suicide  and multiple other attempts http://www.christianpost.com/news/fearful-teen-commits-suicide-due-to-harold-campings-doomsday-50542/ Parents who believe in this have left their children unable to afford college because they refused to save up  money http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/us/20rapture.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all other people simply didn’t put away money for retirement because of this. Etc. Etc.

    That’s what happens when people make these sorts of predictions. People are hurt. 

    • Anonymous

      The people that were hurt by this are idiots that don’t deserve anyone’s sympathy.

      Many of them were also gloating about how jesus was going to take them up to heaven while us sinners suffer 5 months of hell on earth, followed by the most horrible tortures one can imagine for all eternity.

      I have no pity for these psychopaths that got hurt due to their own stupidity.

      • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

        And how about the children of those “psychopaths?” The children who had no say in what their parents were doing with the money, and will now suffer as a result? Do they deserve it? Do you have any pity for them?

        • Dave

          I agree, it is sad. How is this NOT a psychological illness that’s passed down from generation to generation, similar to the ‘abusive relationship’ chain.

        • Anonymous

          Stupid people breed stupid children. The human race is stronger without them.

          • Johnjmangano

            Actually, their children will lklely turn out to be atheists.  … once they become fully aware of their parents’ foolishness.

          • A Portlander

            Get off our side.

      • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

        Nathan has already brought up the children. But the other individuals mentioned are worth feeling sorry for also. One  of the articles talked  about a 14 year old girl who commited suicide. 

        As to the parents and adults who may be hurt by this, not all the people who think we’re going to hell are bad people. Indeed, the fact that so many of them try to spend their time trying to prevent us from going to hell shows that many of them aren’t bad. They care about us. Even as their God is fine damning people to hell, they are not. In an odd way they are a better example than atheists that one can be good without God. The atheists are good without God. These people are good in spite of God. 

      • Thin-ice

        Canadiannihilist: get counselling, or stop being so damn angry, or stop publicizing that you are an atheist. Your choice. 

        Your ignorant statement,  “Stupid people breed stupid children” is so ridiculous that it’s laughable. As intelligent as you might be, there are many thousands MORE intelligent people who believe in religion, and more specifically, the rapture, as inane as that sounds.

        Intelligent people get suckered into religious belief, and are not immune because of their IQ. Their children will probably grow up with that belief too, until something triggers skepticism, like many of us experienced. 

        • Anonymous

          I’m not angry Thin-ice, I’m just realistic.
          And why is “Stupid people breed stupid children” ridiculous or laughable ?
          It’s the same principle of evolution. Surviving members of the species pass on the desirable traits that kept them alive to their offspring.

          The problem is in human society you can procreate without having any desirable  traits.
          The other problem is you have no right whatsoever with telling me I have to do what you say, even with the “choices” you offer.
          I am also aware that there are many intelligent religious people, many of much higher intelligence than myself. However they’re not the ones killing their children and giving H Camping all their money.

          Johnjmangano:
          I truly hope so. If they survive through their parents hefty dose of crazy they’ll be good and (probably) useful members of society.

          • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

            Sometimes stupid people breed smart people, and sometimes smart people breed stupid people. That too is a part of evolution, that mutation part. Not to mention we still don’t know exactly how much environment has an effect on adult intelligence, and how much is purely in the genes. What of it? It still says nothing about the ethics of how we treat them. 

            Nor do I find it self-evident that society or the human race is stronger without “stupid” people. I’ve known a number of individuals that would not score high on an IQ test, but were nonetheless valuable to society, and I’ve known rather useless members of society that had scored high on IQ tests. If you’re going to claim that society is stronger without them, then first define your terms, and second make your case. 

            I am also aware that there are many intelligent religious people, many of much higher intelligence than myself. However they’re not the ones killing their children and giving H Camping all their money.

            It would not surprise me in the least to find out that many of Camping’s followers who gave him all their money were and are intelligent. Intelligence alone is no barrier to belief in the things he said, and if they truly believed, then why bother saving money?

  • http://www.travismamone.net/ Travis Mamone

    All we need now are for Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, Mark Driscoll, and the rest of the fundamentalist shitheads to retire!

  • William

    His prediction came true! Camping’s world came to an end on Oct 21!

  • Thin-ice

    Unfortunately, while the “Name-The-Day” Rapturists are discredited again, the “No-Date” Rapturists are still flourishing and feeling smug and vindicated!

    And at 63, I am discovering that because of my god-damned evangelical beliefs up until I was aged 59, my retirement fund is nowhere near where it should be. My parents, my pastors, my fellow christians, and even Jesus, were saying, “Don’t worry about the future, God will take care of you” and “I am coming back soon” and other similar lies. Like an idiot I believed them. And if I get laid off now I’m screwed . . .

    • Phillytech78

      God is still faithful don’t give up, “He will never leave you nor forsake you” I dont even go on this blog ever I was just looking up info on Camping to see if he finally recanted… a sign ? I dont know but so sad to see someone loose their faith.

      • Thin-ice

        Philly, don’t waste your tears on me. Contrary to being sad, shedding “Jesus as my personal Savior” was the best thing I ever did! I am happier, less guilt-ridden, and free to ask questions and be curious about the universe which I live in, which I never did as a Christian because the answers were too threatening!

        Philly, I challenge you to learn the TRUTH about your Bible and it’s myths, and learn to live on your own two feet, and trust in yourself!

        • Stephen Weeks

          Welcome to the club, Thin!
          Steve Weeks, DDS
          Religion-Free since 1956!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

        “Losing” my faith was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

      • Kamakanui

        Oh, go read Leviticus.

      • Anonymous

        I’m pretty sure that this “god” you say is faithful doesn’t actually exist.  The best thing that the people who got suckered in by conmen like Camping could do is to lose that faith and apply a little critical thinking and scepticism.  They’d be better for it.

  • Biacoreguy2008

    Hey Hemant, I could always drop a nice card in his mailbox. Camping lives in Alameda, CA. That’s very close to my neighborhood :)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

    He waved, the spaceship landed, and away he went.

  • Mysciencecanbeatupyourgod

    I wonder if his followers have legal grounds to mount a class action suit?

  • Sagewolf

    Awww!  Kitty looks so cute!

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    Kitteh!

    *ded of the cute*

  • The Seth Colfax

    Faith free and fucking loving life. Mr. Camping, I am going to miss you and all of the laughs you brought to me with your abysmal radio show.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe it wasn’t a stroke–maybe he half-raptured.

  • Gift Tower3000

    We Christians have always known Jesus would return on an unspecified date. Why is this our shame? Far from it. It is God’s honor to keep that information to himself because he said, “My glory I will not give to another.” It is his glory to know the dates and times of everything. No man will ever know exactly how the universe began or how it will end, is another secret that is his glory. There is no problem. We Christians bow our heads in humility knowing we were created by the Almighty and he will never let us know everything. He doesn’t have to. And he never will. And that’s how it should be.

    • Charles Black

      Wasn’t Jesus supposed to have returned in the 1st Century A.D (C.E) as indicated in Matthew 16.28?
      Or is that fact too uncomfortable for you to take in so you claim your imaginary version of Santa Claus (Jesus) will return “any day now”?

    • Anonymous

      “We Christians bow our heads in humility …”

      So, apparently, you humble christians are NOT made in the image of your god, the cosmic glory-hound/attention whore. It’s beyond me why the creator of the entire universe would need or want to be glorified by mere pathetic, dirty, disgusting sin-ridden human beings, but I’m sure you’ll think up something. And I’m sure it will be just as convincing as your previous post.

    • David

      Both Jesus and Harold Camping predicted the second coming will happen during  the lifetime of their contemporaries and they both failed. See here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbBYLQxC7z0

  • Anonymous

    Good riddance to the evil old bastard. I really wish he could be made to pay for the suffering he caused.

  • Ray Mansell

    I have to admit that I’ll miss “Brother Camping”. I happened across his nutty radio program some years ago, and from time to time listened to it in the car. He provided me with lots of giggles, but mostly I was gob-smacked by the credulity of the people who would call in to ask him questions about passages in the bible. It was simply astonishing, and very scary to realise there are so many gullible people out there who are so easily led and who can vote! 

  • Ray2007

    Maybe some who commented here would like to prove what they believe to those on the forum of the sermonindex website – http://www.sermonindex.net/index.php. Of course if you aren’t able to defend your beliefs you’d probably not want to even attempt to do so. See you there…and be prepared! 

  • Anonymous

    Why would we want to go on some strange evangelical website?  There is a forum right here for people that want to discuss atheism and religion.


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