1994 was a great year for the world ending. Indeed, the world ended more times in 1994 than in any other year in recent memory. Harold Camping, president and general manager of a 39-station network of religious radio broadcasters, proclaimed that before the end of September, 1994, the dead would be arising from their graves for their final judgment. Camping explained to the San Jose Mercury News (Sept. 4, 1994) that he had arrived at his prediction by a laborious and careful process of counting off significant dates in the Bible. Furthermore, his math has been checked by a nuclear physicist and “a number of scientists at the Lawrence Livermore lab,” as if errors in arithmetic were the only way such a prediction might go awry. Mainstream religious scholars, of course, suggested Camping was seriously mistaken. Fortunately, Camping exhorted his listeners, “Don't do anything bizarre. Just live the way you should have been living all the time.” His stations are still on the air, and seem to have found something else to talk about.
|A current Harold Camping billboard in Stockton, CA. Photo by Michael Fitzgerald|
June 9, 1994 was another date on which the world ended. Various fundamentalist prognosticators somehow settled upon that date, and started warning ominously that “June ninth is coming,” the day on which God would supposedly “rip sin out of the world.” Warnings were issued for a major destructive earthquake somewhere along the Pacific “ring of fire,” supposedly only the first event in an eschatological progression. So widespread was the expectation that it was even mentioned on the 700 Club [evangelist Pat Robertson’s popular TV program], although with the clear disclaimer that it would not be the start of the Rapture. When a large underground earthquake, which caused little or no damage or casualties, struck on this date, it was hailed as fulfillment of the prophecy. The last we checked, the world still had plenty of sin.
But don't give up on the eschaton merely because the world has survived into 1995. Dr. Leland Jensen of Missoula, Montana says that he is the Second Coming, and that during 1995 the earth will suffer great meteor impacts, earthquakes, and major planetary changes. Those lucky enough to survive all this will enjoy Heaven on Earth. And according to a story in the Washington Post (March 12, 1994), followers of the Institute of Divine Metaphysical Research expect the world to end in an instant, by 1996. So the end may come while you are reading this page. Fortunately, even if these people are right, they won't be in a position to gloat about it!