Or not. Nothing happened. What a shock. No quakes, no Rapture, no nothing. The closest we came were some day-early Victoria Day fireworks in Canada and some American atheist jokesters laying full clothing outfits out on the street and sending off helium-filled inflatable plastic bodies into the sky.
On this site, a non-scientific poll was run last week soliciting people’s predictions on how Harold Camping, the now twice-failed Doomsday Prophet, and his believers would respond when nothing happened. Out of a very modest total of 47 votes, 49% of voters predicted that believers would claim that due to the strong display of faith put up by their small group, God in his infinite mercy decided to spare the world of sinners – for now (this was the response of a 1950s Doomsday Cult, studied by Psychologist Leon Festinger et al; Festinger is most well-known for developing the concept of Cognitive Dissonance); 34% of respondents predicted that believers would frantically avoid talking about the issue; 8.5% believed that Camping would, as he did in 1994, claim that he had made a mathematical error (“Oops, forgot to carry the zero. Was off by 1000 years. Come back next millenium.”); 6% of respondents predicted that believers would simply admit to having been wrong and state that they’ll have to re-think some things about what they believe; and 2% (or 1 voter) predicted that believers would take their own lives.
Some believers have already spoken on how they felt after the time of reckoning came and went. One indicated that while he had had his doubts during the big lead-up to nothing, he suppressed his skepticism because he believed in God; he also simply wanted it to be true. Rationality and intellectual honesty fail.
It’ll be interesting to see how other believers respond to being shown that they were unequivocally wrong and that the rest of the world that scoffed at them were unequivocally right. Hopefully none of them have done anything drastic – e.g., self-Rapturing. There’s no question that many of them are feeling pretty down right now. Hopefully they get the emotional support they’ll need, and that not too many people that are close to them will rub their noses in this (though, for the broader community, they clearly brought the coverage on themselves – they begged for the attention, making themselves and their claims more than fair game).
As of the time of this posting, Harold Camping and his follower’s banner website WeCanKnow.Com remains up, without any updates, and it’s Judgment Day ticker has been at 0 days, 0 hours for over a day now. Tacoma, Washington atheist association spoof site, WeCantKnow.Com‘s “Countdown to Backpedaling” ticker is now over one day into the predicted backpedaling period.