Tomorrow, the 21st of May 2011, the world is supposed to end. Well, not end, but the Rapture is supposed to occur and all those annoying true believers will be out of our lives forever. Good idea. But who has come to this conclusion, and why?
|"I'm an old goat."|
Well, blame a guy called Harold Camping. He's an 89-year-old ex-engineer who, perhaps inevitably, lives in California. He's studied the Bible intensely, particularly the Book of Ezekiel. He had to consider the Great Flood, which possibly happened around 4990BC, depending on whose estimations you go by, and then there was the timing of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Not forgetting a bit of number-crunching that involves equating one day to 1,000 years. So he had his work cut out. But he thinks he's got it right, and if he is, at 6pm tomorrow dozens of people will just disappear.
If his calculations pan out, people will just rise up into the air and look down on the ensuing panic as the Lord Almighty smites the shit out of the rest of us. Earthquakes, fire, brimstone, the whole Biblical lot.
"Everyone will be weeping and wailing because they'll know in a few hours it'll come to their city," Camping told the TYT Now online news show. "It's going to be a horror story of tremendous proportion." Cheery soul, ain't he?
People are taking this seriously. Some have given up their jobs and donated all their money to pay for Camping's "Family Radio Worldwide" to put up more than 2000 billboards across the US that say "Judgment Day: May 21, 2011 – Cry mightily unto God. THE BIBLE GUARANTEES IT!" Other loons are sporting T-shirts that say much the same message. They've said goodbye to family and friends, some as far back as two years ago. Callers to Christian Radio Stations are in a panic about the whole thing too, one caller in Oregon wondering aloud if he should arm himself against the people in his street that were doomed and possibly feeling jealous of all the peeps who've found the Lord.
Even some nonbelievers are getting in on the act. Atheists are throwing "after Rapture" parties to celebrate the departure of the religious – or at least Christians – from their midst. Good idea.
Now before you start panicking, let's just back up a little. Mr. Camping has predicted the end of the world before. In 1994, it was. Of course he blamed that on an error in the calculations but says that now he's definitely right and there is no possibility of error because all the information has come from the Bible, and naturally there's no way that can be wrong, is there?
Besides all of his faultless calculations, good old Harold has tons of other evidence to back up his claim. He says that the re-establishment of Israel is a surefire sign that the end is nigh. He says the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan is just a taster of what to expect come Saturday dinnertime. He also claims that the rise of the Gay Pride movement and same-sex marriage is one of the biggest signs of the return of Jesus.
But get this. H.C. is just going to sit at home while chaos ensues and watch it on telly. As for his eight kids, only one of them believes dear ol' barmy dad.