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Flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes,...even multiple nuclear power station meltdowns. Mix those modern disasters with the mysterious wording of the Magic Book....and today has been predicted to be the End of Days. Like, the end of all days. Starting at 6 P.M. Pacific time, check your local listings for times in your area.
Every day Mr Harold Camping, an 89-year-old former civil engineer, speaks to his followers via the Family Radio Network,....
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.
Did you get all that?
Camping's end of the world prediction for today doesn't simply depend on sophisticated numerology theories either.
Recent events, such as earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand and Haiti, are harbingers of impending doom, he says, as are changing social values. "All the stealing, and the lying, and the wickedness and the sexual perversion that is going on in society is telling us something," he says. "So too is the gay pride movement. It was sent by God as a sign of the end."
Oh no, not the Gay Pride Movement again....correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't 9-11 blamed on the Gay Pride Movement too? Or was that Hurricane Katrina?
The Family Radio Network emcee has a history of predicting the second coming of Jesus....
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. "But now, we've had the chance to do just an enormous amount of additional study and God has given us outstanding proofs that it really is going to happen."
His bad. But hey...."additional study" and Camping is good to go for later this evening...or maybe, you know, not.
All good crazy, religious fun...I guess.
But you know me, I can't let an opportunity like this one go by without taking a couple of potshots.
Camping can be easily dismissed with all his numerological nonsense but what about the oh-so-very-serious Christian doctrine that Jesus will "return"? According to all major Christian traditions, Jesus will be making a return trip to earth, end this world as we know it, destroy his enemies (which means all us unbelievers) and gather his "flock" up into heaven for an eternity of...bliss.
There are, of course, many, many interpretations of how the end days will come down....tribulations, plagues, rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple, a one thousand year period before, after or during Christ's return, the anti-Christ (apparently not Obama), a false prophet, the descent of the Holy City, fire and brimstone....and naturally, my favorite, the bottomless pit of eternal fire. So, your prophetic mileage may vary.
But, let's think larger picture here for a moment.
For thousands of years, God's people, Israel.....awaited it's "messiah." Thousands of years. The ancient Jews awaited the day when Yahweh would usher in his Kingdom on earth, and those days would start with the advent of the Jewish "messiah", a new king, the anointed One.
Christians claim that Jesus of Nazareth was that "messiah." So, thousands of years go by, according to the New Testament explanation, and finally, the "messiah", Jesus, breaks onto the scene.
This Jesus of Nazareth lives 30-35 years, according to the tradition, and is killed by the Romans as an insurrectionist. Crucified.
Thousands of years....then the "messiah" finally arrives, stays around for 30 something years....then, it's over. He's gone.
Stubborn followers of this "messiah", with the same zeal about their prophecies as Harold Camping has for his today, immediately start a new prophetic tradition. 'Yes', the first Christians are told, 'we've waited thousands of years for Yahweh's "messiah". Yes, Jesus is that "messiah." Yes, he was supposed to introduce God's Kingdom on earth. But now that "messiah" is gone and we'll have to wait for him to return for that Kingdom to finally begin.' Two thousand more years go by.
Now....how much sense does all that make?
Just like Camping's May 21, 2011 End of Days makes no sense.....neither does the original New Testamental "2nd coming" make any sense. Just as Camping's failed initial prediction in 1994 led to "an enormous amount of additional study" to come up with yet another wild-eyed prediction for 6 P.M. this evening.....so too the early Christians. The early Christians, just like Camping in 1994, couldn't accept the fact that they were totally mistaken about Jesus...and so after "enormous" studying those early Christians came up with a new prediction. That new prediction was that Jesus would come a 2nd time.
Camping is mistaken. All previous date setters were mistaken and misguided. All future date setters will be mistaken. And the early Christians were mistaken.
The End of Days is not coming today at 6 P.M Pacific. Jesus, whether there ever was such a man, is never "returning."
We're on our own...so let's make the best of it.