Through an aggressive marketing campaign, Harold Camping has forewarned via Christian broadcasting network Family Radio that today is “Judgement Day.” Even though the Bible has been published for centuries, God is only just now “opening up His Word because we have arrived at the time of the end.” With the “Biblical Timeline of History” and the “correct method of Bible interpretation” at hand, Camping determined today’s significance through a string of compounded assumptions:
- The earth was created in 11,013 BC (13,000 years ago, when mankind first practiced agriculture).
- Noah’s Flood began on May 21, 4990 B.C., per the Hebrew calendar (Genesis 7:11).
- Christ was crucified on April 1, 33 A.D (April fools, sucka!).
- Biblical reference to a single day is actually reference to a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8).
- Therefore, Judgement Day would occur 7,000 years after the flood (Genesis 7:4). [Note that the same passage alludes to the floods lasting 40 days and 40 nights. So what’s going to happen in 40,000 years? God will retire?]
- There are 365.2422 days in a complete year, according to astronomers (who also determined that the earth is 4.54 billion years old, but who’s counting).
Beyond those anchor assumptions, the variables in his calculations to reach May 21, 2011, are based entirely on biblical number symbolism. For a mind-numbing breakdown of Camping’s math, read his “infallible proof” (I suggest you trip acid first, you might actually be able to follow his genius).
According to Camping’s prophecy, true believers will be beamed up to Heaven today. Apparently, reading the Bible is your ticket to salvation: “God has always saved people through the hearing of His Word” (a crafty publisher sales pitch, wouldn’t you say?). As a “fuck you” gift to the rest of us left behind, a massive doomsday earthquake was supposed to start at 6 p.m. on the International Date Line, move west, and unearth corpses everywhere. Just in case you missed it, nothing happened. But if you are still here tomorrow, that does not mean the prophecy was wrong; prepare yourself for five months of hell until October 23, 2011, when the atmosphere will pop and solar radiation will toast us all (2 Peter 3:10).
Judgement Day street teams in Hollywood, who quit their jobs and families to preach the word, were taking salvation so seriously this week that they spent a lot of time discussing the quality of meat in their tacos and smoking pot. Harold Camping already predicted that September 6, 1994, would be the big day and convinced a lot of people to go along with it. But alas, his calculations were wrong. Oh well, Round 2. I give Camping credit for a strong 2011 marketing campaign, but nothing more. Family Radio has reached 66 stations across the United States and 61 languages globally; I can only imagine how much publicity traffic he has generated through his latest movement. I am very tolerant of most people and their philosophies, but I do not tolerate fear mongering in any form. Dear God, please rapture Camping and his believers (in their favor, mind you) so that we can return to reason and actually get some bills passed in Congress. Amen.
Family Radio aside, there has been a lot of apocalyptic talk lately. Sure, times are tough. But do not overanalyze, dear reader. Economic collapse, climate change, crime, wars, disease, famine, and natural disasters are not uncommon in history. Without question, we need to be better shepherds of our planet. But rampant paranoia will do us no good. I suppose the Mayan calendar, global warming, nuclear holocaust, alien invasion, dark matter, and zombies may all be plausible, but there’s no way to know for sure. All we can do is live and love life as if every day were our last. Take radicals with a grain of salt.