Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Mar/11

27

Forget 2012, The End is Even More Nigh…

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Via the Independent:

The end of the world is nigh; 21 May, to be precise. That’s the date when Harold Camping, a preacher from Oakland, California, is confidently predicting the Second Coming of the Lord. At about 6pm, he reckons 2 per cent of the world’s population will be immediately “raptured” to Heaven; the rest of us will get sent straight to the Other Place.

If Mr Camping were speaking from any normal pulpit, it would be easy to dismiss him as just another religious eccentric wrongly calling the apocalypse. But thanks to this elderly man’s ubiquity, on America’s airwaves and billboards, his unlikely Doomsday message is almost impossible to ignore.

Every day Mr Camping, an 89-year-old former civil engineer, speaks to his followers via the Family Radio Network, a religious broadcasting organisation funded entirely by donations from listeners. Such is their generosity (assets total $120m) that his network now owns 66 stations in the US alone.

Those deep pockets were raided to allow Family Radio to launch a high-profile advertising campaign, proclaiming the approaching Day of Judgement. More than 2,000 billboards across the US are adorned with its slogans, which include “Blow the trumpet, warn the people!”. A fleet of logoed camper vans is touring every state in the nation. “It’s getting real close. It’s really getting pretty awesome, when you think about it,” Mr Camping told The Independent on Sunday. “We’re not talking about a ball game, or a marriage, or graduating from college. We’re talking about the end of the world, a matter of being eternally dead, or being eternally alive, and it’s all coming to a head right now.”

Mr Camping, who makes programmes in 48 languages, boasts tens of thousands of followers across the globe, with radio stations in South Africa, Russia and Turkey. After 70 years of studying the Bible, he claims to have developed a system that uses mathematics to interpret prophesies hidden in it. He says the world will end on 21 May, because that will be 722,500 days from 1 April AD33, which he believes was the day of the Crucifixion. The figure of 722,500 is important because you get it by multiplying three holy numbers (five, 10 and 17) together twice. “When I found this out, I tell you, it blew my mind,” he said

.

If that was really the case, his mind may not have been in the best condition in the first place, but I’ll let that pass.

This, however, is too entertaining to overlook:

Critics point out that this isn’t the first time Mr Camping has predicted the second coming. On 6 September 1994, hundreds of his listeners gathered at an auditorium in Alameda looking forward to Christ’s return.

“At that time there was a lot of the Bible I had not really researched very carefully,” he said last week.

Ah yes, there’s always that next time…

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5 comments

  • Hortensio · March 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    *gets popcorn, deckchair; prepares to watch apocalypse*

  • Susan · March 28, 2011 at 12:54 am

    I guess he won’t be bothering to endorse any of the presidential candidates.

  • John · March 28, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Since he’s departing the face of the Earth in about 7 weeks I wonder if he would be up to giving me his house? I’ll let him stay there with no expenses until May 30th or the rapture, whichever comes first.

  • Roger H. · March 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    It’s worth pointing out that, if I recall correctly, the B.C./A.D. system didn’t arise until mid-way through the 6th Century…A.D. There is generally thought to be a margin of error of ~15 years and interestingly there is no year 0.

    We drove from Phoenix to the San Diego for a brief vacation about two weeks ago and I saw a few of his billboards headed west from Alpine, Ca. Suffice it to say, I was not convinced. Nonetheless, it is enough of a reason for me to schedule a viewing of Der Ring Des Des Nibelungen such that I am watching Gotterdammerung on May 21st with Brunhilde’s Immolation playing right about 6PM. Not that I ever need an excuse to listen to Wagner, but I will take one.

    Oh yes, details details…6:00 pm in which time zone?

  • Mark Plus · March 29, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I would submit that the actuarial tables have more of a say about Harold Camping’s future than “bible prophecy.” I apply this to other octogenarians in the U.S. who have spent their lives hustling the “end time,” namely Hal Lindsey, Jack Chick and Tim LaHaye.

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