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It’s the End of the World (And I Feel Fine)

Barry Karr

Skeptical Briefs Volume 4.3, September 1994

An article in the March 12, 1994, Washington Post begins: “Connie Roberson and her husband, Jimmy, don’t save for retirement or their children’s college education. Victor Jackson, a senior at Cleveland State University, doesn't worry about the job market. Jackson and the Robersons believe that by 1996 the world is going to end in an instant. They were among about 1,000 people who attended the Institute of Divine Metaphysical Research’s conference last week.”

Can't wait that long? Well, according to Harold Camping, operator of the Family Network Radio, it is “very likely” the world will end this month—September 1994. In a New York Times article, reprinted in the July 16 Buffalo News, Camping said: “I keep checking and checking and listening to everyone that wants to speak to the issue. Is there anything I've missed? Is there anything I've overlooked? Is there anything that [my debate opponents] could offer that I've missed? And, frankly, I didn’t hear that.” The article goes on to mention that if Christ doesn't return in September, “it is a win-win situation since Family Radio and supporters have gotten better at proclaiming the Gospel. Family Radio’s giving is up 15 percent this year. Its annual budget is $12 million.”

Number of end-of-the-world predictions reported throughout all of recorded human history that have (so far) come true: 0. And counting. They keep makin’ ‘em, and we'll keep reportin’ ‘em.

Barry Karr

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Barry Karr is the director of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.