Live-Blogging the “Apocalypse”

Since today is the day that the Family Radio folks is the Rapture, I thought I’d keep a tab on what happens (or more importantly, doesn’t) today, and I’ll be listening in to Family Radio (you can listen to it, live, here). I’ll try and update it throughout the day.  All times are Eastern Standard Time:

1:14 AM – It’s currently 6:14 PM in Tonga.  If Family Radio were correct, we’d expect to hear reports of Raptured Tongans.

1:19 AM – This is a bit surreal.  The East Coast station is running a program about heart health, and how to reduce your cholesterol.  Meanwhile, the West Coast station is playing an apparently pre-recorded program “showing” how Scripture proves the end times. So far, the speaker is hammering the fact that Biblical “days” sometimes means “years.”  True enough, but it’s hard to see why it always means years.  I’m incredulous at the number of assumptions built into their model “proving” the end times mathematically.  But what’s stranger than that has to be the heart health program.

1:25 AM – Two comments already!  It’s nice to see how Christopher and Fr. Strobl are spending what may or may not be their last night on Earth.  On a more serious note, it occurs to me that there are some folks who really will die today.  A lot of them, just as there are every day.  I hope that those people prepared themselves as seriously as if the world were truly going to end.

1:32 AM – From Twitter:

Rapture prank: On Saturday, take some of your unwanted clothes and shoes and leave sets of them arranged on sidewalks and lawns around town.


11:30 AM – I’m not great at live-blogging, I guess.  That was quite the intermission.  The Family Radio server is slow — it seems that I’m not the only person trying to figure out how they’re going to spin this one. Their logo is still this:

It gets under my skin that they claim that the Bible “guarantees” that their interpretation is the right one. It’s the sort of arrogance that St. Jerome condemned: “And let them not flatter themselves if they think they have Scripture authority for their assertions, since the devil himself quoted Scripture, and the essence of the Scriptures is not the letter, but the meaning.”  The Bible doesn’t “guarantee” that today is Judgment Day. The Family Radio spin on what the letter of the Bible meant does.  And that’s a guarantee worth a heck of a lot less.

11:43 AM – It’s already tomorrow in Australia (try to not let that blow your mind).  Since it’s May 22, 2011 there, the Aussie papers are crowing over Family Radio’s self-humiliation.  The Herald-Sun gets its digs in (justly) at the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others:

1. Followers of William Miller believed the world would end on October 22, 1844.
2.The Jehovah’s Witness religion has predicted the end of the world in 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994.
3. Charles Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, predicted the world would end in 1794.
4. Famous forecaster Nostradamus predicted doomsday would happen in July 1999.
5. English mystic Joanna Southcott predicted the world would end on October 19, 1814, when she gave birth to the Messiah.

Miller’s the precursor to the Seventh Day Adventists.  I think it’s fair to take these folks to task, but let’s remember a distinction.  When someone like Wesley or even Miller calculates the end of the world, it’s based on doing the math from a faulty interpretation of Scripture.  It’s a mistake (and often an arrogant one), but one that Christians can easily make if they disregard Mt. 24:36. When someone like Joanna Southcott claims that the world will end with her in a central place, it’s much worse.  She claims Scripture foretold her in Rev. 12 (instead of Mary and the Church), and claimed to receive prophesies. She was either crazy or in league with genuine evil. So it’s only right to keep Camping in perspective.

11:50 AM – The Family Radio European station  is still up, and doing Christian music.  Which is going to get weird really quickly.  In most of Europe, it’s already past 6… so either the station isn’t run in central or eastern Europe, it’s run by those “left behind,” or Camping’s a false prophet.  More than one of those may apply.

11:54 AM – The European show’s host just signed off wishing us a “Blessed Lord’s Day tomorrow.”  What??

12:20 PM – Worth remembering: the Family Radio folks claimed that there would be earthquakes with the Rapture.  So there’s no hiding behind the idea that maybe some folks somewhere got raptured, and we just didn’t notice.  The gig is up.

12:22 PM – International Business Times has helpful pre- and post-apocalyptic clocks so you can ring in the rapture around the world.

1:57 PM – John Armstrong takes Harold Camping to task in a big way over at his blog.  This may be the first time John Armstrong has ever gotten angry. Ever.

5:58 PM – Showtime.

6:01 PM Still here. Uh oh.

6:04 PM The local Family Radio run station has switched to local programming. Now it’s a woman from the American Lung Association handling softball questions. The last question: “What is smog?” This IS hell.

7:34 PM Just heard an advertisement for one of their tracts telling us how we can know when Judgment Day will be.  I’m confused by every part of that.  Was that pre-set to run after the Judgment Day had already occurred?  Or did someone decide that this would be a good time to convince people that the Judgment Day had, in fact, occurred?

12:07 AM I’ve had my share of fun updating this intermittently throughout the day, but I have a serious request. While Family Radio was always a fringe movement, and a joke even amongst Evangelicals, there were genuine, well-meaning Christians who put their hopes on Harold Camping’s false predictions. These people are probably going through something horrible right now, as they realize that they weren’t raptured.  We’ve had our fun at the bad theology, but let’s lift them up in some serious prayers, that out of this disappointment, they emerge stronger and better Christians, rather than having their faith shaken.  Good night, everybody.


  1. Ha. First of all, were you playing as the Royals? And second, I think you’re good on the money. If someone was more concerned with their dog’s temporal needs than your eternal soul… well, it’s blood money anyhow. I don’t know, but a field or something?

  2. I was the Royals. Close game. On the rapture side of things, it may be a mercy of Our Lord to return today, but not at the predicted time. That would de-bunk the oracles while at the same time taking advantage of those who seriously did prepare. In reality, there are probably some amazing contemplative communities out there praying right now for all those who desire to meet Christ, but have been deceived. Me, I’m going to bed.

  3. It’s 12:10am on 22 May in Singapore .. I’m eagerly waiting to see any public announcement from him. I bet he just disappears with the millions from his silly followers.

  4. 6pm Central is approaching. It’s a beautiful day in Kansas. If this is the rapture, then I think I’ll quite enjoy it. Thank God for such a lovely afternoon!

    Enjoyed reading your liveblog. It calmed down my anxieties a bit 😉

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