For a primer, be sure to read Jaweed Kaleem’s profile of the California multimillionaire over at Huffington Post. Among the details about the retired engineer-turned-biblical numerologist:
Camping is self-taught with no formal religious training.
His six living children, 28 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren think his theories are a sham. Only Shirley, his wife of 68 years, believes him.
Worth more than $120 million and with 66 stations throughout the country, the network’s broadcasts reach as far as Nigeria.
1. Harold Camping is not a trained Bible scholar. He has a BS in civil engineering from UC Berkeley. He has not been to seminary.
2. But Harold Camping does describe himself as a Bible scholar. In this interview at Killing the Buddha, he said: “I am a Bible teacher, a Bible scholar. For the last 50 years, I’ve made the Bible my university.”
3. Harold Camping doesn’t have much patience for theologians or trained Bible scholars. Later in the same interview, he states, “…instead of having to go through the screen of theologians who have tried to understand the Bible, I found that it was far more efficient just to study the Bible itself.”
5. Harold Camping likes math. This comes from his analytical engineering background. In fact, his declaration of May 21 as the date of the Rapture isn’t based on any divine audible revelation from God but from Camping’s unique mathematical approach to the Bible as a code to be cracked.
Read more at Beliefnet.
Reporters have given Camping, who has been wrong about previous Rapture predictions, ample opportunity to find some wiggle-room in his calculation. Read how he came up with the May 21 date here, or go through his calculations, drawn out below:
New York Magazine’s interview with the ”servant of the Lord” included this exchange:
I know you’re convinced this is going to happen, but if May 22 comes around and you’re still here, can we talk again?
I can’t even think about that question because you’re thinking that maybe, maybe Judgment Day will not happen. But it will happen, and I believe the Bible implicitly.
More On Faith and May 21, 2011
Photos, video: Scenes from the apocalypse
John Shelby Spong: Camping does not represent Christianity
Richard Dawkins: Science explains the end of the world
Matthew Paul Turner: The harm that ‘Judgment Day’ will do
Panel responds: How do end-times theologies impact real world behaviors?
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