OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Some shut themselves inside to pray for mercy as they waited for the world's end. Others met for tearful last lunches with their children, and prepared to leave behind homes and pets as they were swept up to heaven.

And across the globe, followers of a California preacher's long-publicized message that Judgment Day would arrive Saturday turned to the Bible, the book they believe predicts the beginning of Earth's destruction on May 21.

The doomsday message has been sent far and wide via broadcasts and web sites by Harold Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer who has built a multi-million-dollar nonprofit ministry based on his apocalyptic prediction.

After spending months traveling the country to put up Judgment Day billboards and hand out Bible tracts, Camping follower Michael Garcia planned to spend Friday evening with his family at home in Alameda, near the Christian media empire's Oakland headquarters.

They believe it will likely start as it becomes 6 p.m. in the world's various time zones.

"We know the end will begin in New Zealand and will follow the sun and roll on from there," said Garcia, a 39-year-old father of six. "That's why God raised up all the technology and the satellites so everyone can see it happen at the same time."

The Internet was alive with reaction in the hours past 6 p.m. Saturday in New Zealand.

"Harold Camping's 21st May Doomsday prediction fails; No earthquake in New Zealand," read one posting on Twitter.

"If this whole end-of-the-world thingy is still going on ... it's already past 6.00 in New Zealand and the world hasn't ended," said another.

Camping's radio stations, TV channels, satellite broadcasts and website are controlled from a humble building on the road to the Oakland International Airport, sandwiched between an auto shop and a palm reader. Family Radio International's message has been broadcast in 61 languages.

Camping, however, will be awaiting Jesus Christ's return for the second time. He said his earlier apocalyptic prediction in 1994 didn't come true because of a mathematical error.

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And  there are some of us who feel religion shouldn't be ridiculed?? Give me a break!
The talk shows reveal there are plenty of religion watchers who are keenly aware that this incident supplies a lot of ammunition for agnostics and especially atheists.  People are going to feel guilt by association, and since they love to feel guilty about one thing or another, perhaps they will examine their faith by a more powerful microscope and see that it is as bogus as a seven dollar bill. Every cleric should be made to look like Bernie Madoff: religion is a Ponzi scheme.  It's three card monte.
I saw a seven dollar bill once. It was magical.
I predicted that nothing rapture-ey would happen. And my prediction came true. There is only one logical conclusion that I can come to: I am a prophet and everyone in the world should give me all of their money so I can continue making predictions for the benifit of society. The prediction for tomorrow: the sun will rise to the east, and then slowly move in a westward direction, until it sets.
That's nothing.  The Booble says that on at least one occasion, the earth stood still in its orbit.  Can you predict that?
Does it really? I wouldn't have thought that it would have said anything about the earth having an orbit at all, owing to them thinking the earth was the center of the universe and the sun revolved around the earth. could you please explain this?

"that's why God raised up all this technology and satellites" ..... ----- LOL OH MY FUING GOD!! These people MUST be MOCKED and RIDICULED but also there should be a serious discourse on the detrimental effects of apocalyptic ideologies in our civilization!

Look:

1. by believing the world will end anyhow, the moral imperatives of climatic and environmental responsibility become irrelevant.  republicans and american corporatocrats have used religion time and time again to hypnotize people into thinking that the environment shouldn't matter.

2. wars in the middle east are easily spun as prophecies that are being fulfilled (by the hand of God's chosen nation, of course, the USA) reveal god's plan to gullible christians.  the fact that irak rests where babylon used to be, and frequent references to it exist in the Bible including the one verse in psalms that celebrates the beating of babylonian children, legitimized the war in irak in spite of the fact that the case for it was build on lies and that the only people who ever benefited from it were the investors and oligarchs of the oil industry - it's a capitalist war

3. it's interest to understand religion within the marxist context of the ideological 'superstructure' that helps to set in place relations that are abusive, inhumane and oppressive because, time and again, religion serves as this structure throughout history and we're all grown ups and should be able to see through this by now.  it's such obvious fraud. 

4. apocallyptic imagery generally serves to propose and feed ideologies based on fear instead of hope.  these ideologies are regressive instead of progressive.  they appeal to the worst, and not the best and the most promising, in people.  a more wholesome, educated, scientific ideology would turn the threat of a meteor into a multi-generational project to advert it, to prepre, colonize and populate other worlds, to establish a Plan B and a Plan C for humanity, to ensure our survival but these religious ideologies are hope-less and anti-humanist.

5. then there are the david koreshes and the mahdi-ists and the guyana suicides and other end of world cult manifestations that become self-fulfilling prophecies.  i wouldn't be surprised if the mormons and the westboro baptist church show this sinister side of their curriculum at some point in future history, especially as mormons gain more political power and as the phelps breed like *&^$#@ rabbits, teaching new generations even more hatred than the previous.  The Mormons in the past at one point ALMOST created a scenario similar to modern Palestine in the heart of the Midwest, but the people of Missouri rose against them and crushed their Sionist settlement (their prophet told them that Missouri was Eden and Sion, that Adam and Eve had lived there).

Re: Phelpses breeding like rabbits...uh, I think that an unfair analogy.  Rabbits are a good deal smarter.
As the owner of tw house rabbits,I agree. My rabbits are way smarter than those people.
"Never tell your enemy he is doing the wrong thing."
— Napoleon Bonaparte

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