The end of the world is upon us; May 21, 2011 to be exact. That’s the date when Harold Camping, a preacher from Oakland, California, is confidently predicting the Second Coming of the Lord. At about 6pm, he reckons 2 per cent of the world’s population will be immediately “raptured” to Heaven, while the rest of us get sent straight to Hell.
If Mr. Camping were speaking from any normal pulpit, it would be easy to dismiss him as just another religious eccentric, wrongly calling the apocalypse. But thanks to this man’s ubiquity on America’s airwaves and billboards, his unlikely Doomsday message is almost impossible to ignore.
Every day Mr. Camping, an 89-year-old former civil engineer, speaks to his followers via the Family Radio Network, a religious broadcasting organization funded entirely by donations from listeners. As a result of listener generosity (assets total $120m), his network now owns 66 stations in the US alone.
With such deep pockets, Family Radio was able to launch a high-profile advertising campaign proclaiming the approaching Day of Judgement. More than 2,000 billboards across the US are adorned with its slogans, which include “Blow the trumpet, warn the people!”, and a fleet of logoed camper vans touring every state in the nation.
Mr. Camping, who makes programs in 48 languages, boasts tens of thousands of followers across the globe, with radio stations in South Africa, Russia and Turkey. After 70 years of studying the Bible, he claims to have developed a system that uses mathematics to interpret prophesies hidden in it.
Join Wendy Wright, Family Radio President, Gunther Von Harringa, and Biblical scholar Stephen O’Leary Saturday at 1pm ET for a look at Apocalyptic expectations and the madness surrounding it. Talk just got interesting!
Wright On The Edge, Saturday from 1-3pm on WOL and streaming live at woldcnews.com