Doomsday hoopla fizzles out on Saturday

Doomsday whoopla fizzles out on Saturday
May 22, 2011 11:56:55 AM PDT
Fear, uncertainty, skepticism and downright disbelief -- those are just a few of the reactions to an East Bay man's prediction that Saturday, May 21, the world would come to an end. The religious leader's preaching of the rapture attracted worldwide attention, but so far, there is no indication that Harold Camping was right. The religious leader owns Family Radio in Oakland. That's where ABC7 met one who family turned this doomsday prediction into an opportunity.

The family decided to leave everything behind in Maryland and head out west. They said they always wanted to make this last minute road trip, but never had the chance. And they did it just in case the end did come.

"I figured if it was going to happen, it's going to happen. Whatever happens, it was in God's hands," said Kellie Bauer from Maryland.

Kellie and Keith Bauer drove to the Family Radio headquarters, all the way from Maryland, with their two small sons. It was part curiosity and part belief that May 21 really could be Judgment Day.

"We have bills and a tough time too so it was more or less, we're always going to have our bills so let's go out and do it. If it does happen?" said Keith.

But since "it" -- meaning the rapture -- as predicted at 6 p.m., in time zones across the world, didn't happen, they left for their cross country trip back home. Believers and non-believers have been stopping by all day. But there's been no sign of Harold Camping -- the man who actually made the prediction.

"It'll be the beginning of Judgment Day and it'll begin wherever the calendar says May 21," said Camping in an earlier interview.

No one was home at Camping's Alameda home, but his neighbors were.

"I would classify myself as a skeptic. It's going to end sometime, but I think his pages must have stuck together in his copy of the Bible where it says we are not to know the hour or the moment," said neighbor Robert Minot.

That's one thing that's enraging Camping's critics and fellow Christians -- that the 89-year-old is so sure Saturday the rapture will come. He made a similar prediction in 1994.

"I hope there are no bad repercussions from it because everybody reacts a different way to these types of things," said neighbor Sheila Doan.

The atheists threw a party.

"Stop all your raving and your rhetoric, your religions make us sick," sang one atheist.

The atheists held their regional meeting and post-rapture party.

"Where this falls, I'd have to say under the heading of scam," said atheist David Byars.

"I think it speaks to both kind of a general lack of skeptical thinking," said atheist Matt Dillahunty.

One group just arrived just before 5 p.m. in Oakland, is Calvary Bible Church of Milpitas. They came with signs in hand calling Camping a false prophet, but to also show compassion to anyone who may be emotional and need consoling and some emotional support.

And now that six o'clock has passed, Dillahunty is sure what will come next.

"What normally ends up happening is they just say, 'Well, God decided to be lenient, he changed the date. We're right, but God changed his mind and it will happen again,' and then they give a new date," said Dillahunty.


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