Friday, May 20, 2011

The End of Days?

I just stumbled upon this story which informs us that certain religious nutjobs in the States have declared that the end of the world is going to take place tomorrow, Saturday 21st May 2011. No specific time is mentioned, I don't think; but I suspect it's likely to be around noon, on Central Standard Time (how the good folks of the Bible Belt set their watches).

Ah, well, strictly speaking, this is not yet quite the end. No, it is to be the time of The Rapture - as calculated from a close reading of The Bible by an 80-year-old Christian radio broadcaster called Harold Camping. The Rapture is the snatching up of the righteous from the Earth to meet with God in Heaven (or perhaps just to be taken for a thrilling flight through the clouds - Biblical references are unclear on this point). Christian nutjobs disagree as to whether this event precedes or is simultaneous with the Second Coming of Christ. Camping, I gather, takes the view that it precedes it, and ushers in the period of Tribulation upon the Earth, culminating in the great battle of Armageddon; then we get the Second Coming and the Millennium of Christ's rule upon Earth. Mr Camping, however, regards the Millennium as more of a metaphor (but the Tribulation and Armageddon are not?), so... Armageddon is the End of Everything. And that will be exactly 5 months after The Rapture, on 21st October. You have been warned. At least I'll have one more birthday; but it might be a rather sombre affair, overshadowed by being the Penultimate Day Of Existence.

So, the world won't end tomorrow. But it will be the start of very bad things.

Of course, we probably won't know for sure whether Mr Camping was right or not straight away. The 'righteous' are probably so few in number - and such dull people! - that their disappearance may go unnoticed. And the very bad things might not immediately seem that much worse than what we've been experiencing anyway - wars, revolutions, earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns, bird 'flu in humans, the continuing proliferation of Starbucks and McDonald's. With all of this going on, The Antichrist is going to struggle to get himself any airtime.

Still, it makes a fellow glad to be an atheist...

[Mr Camping had previously predicted September 1994 as the beginning of the End of Days, but graciously admitted to a "mathematical error". He seems much more confident this time. I hope he won't be too disappointed if he proves to be mistaken again; he seems such a genial old buffer.]

1 comment:

Froog said...

My SMS exchange with drinking buddy The Weeble about this yesterday -

F: So - anyone you know been carried off into the sky by angels?

W: Nothing happening yet. I think it doesn't start until around 6pm.

F: Is that noon in Jerusalem?

W: God is on GMT.

F: All the best fictional characters are English.

W: Ah, but all the best fabulists are American.

F: Latin American!