California-based Harold Camping, who heads the Family Radio Christian network, has predicted May 21, 2011 to be the Doomsday, or the Judgment Day, when around 200 million righteous will Rapture into heaven and the sinners will be left behind.
According to Camping, on May 21, 2011 the world would be plagued by massive earthquakes and other natural disasters that would make Japan’s earthquake in March “look like a Sunday school picnic in comparison”. Camping said the natural disasters will continue until October 2011, when the world will be destroyed completely.
Camping is quite sure about his prophecy. “We know without any shadow of a doubt it is going to happen,” he said.
The Doomsday prophet has relied on the Bible to make his calculations. He combined verses in Genesis 7:4 (“Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth”) and 2 Peter 3:8 (“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”) to conclude that the Doomsday – May 21, 2011 – will take place 7000 years after the Great Flood (4990 B.C.).
Though Camping did not predict the exact hour of the Doomsday, his follower Robert Fitzpatrick believes “the events of Judgment Day will begin on May 21, 2011, just before 6 p.m.”. Fitzpatrick is the author of “The Doomsday Code” which summarizes Camping’s works.
The Doomsday prophet has his fair share of critics.
Christian scholars disagree with Camping, arguing that foreknowing the exact date of the End is not biblical. They have denounced him as a false prophet.
Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Seminary, takes verses from Acts 1:7 and Matthew 24:36 to disprove Camping. “Christ specifically admonished his disciples not to claim such knowledge,” wrote Mohler in his blog.
James Kreuger, author of “Secrets of the Apocalypse” has also taken the same verse in Matthew and said, “For all his learning, Camping makes a classic beginner’s mistake when he sets a date for Christ’s return.”
Some Christian leaders like Robert Jeffress, who pastors a 13,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, blame Camping, saying that the Doomsday prophecy has given Christianity a bad name. Jeffress said Camping and his false predictions give non-believers “one more reason to discount the Bible.”
Previously, Camping has prophesied that the Doomsday will take place in September 1994. But when it was “business as usual” on the appointed day, Camping said he had made a mathematical error.
Hence evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins has already written off Camping’s prediction, saying, “He will inevitably explain, on May 22nd, that there must have been some error in the calculation, the rapture is postponed to . . . and please send more money to pay for updated billboards”.
Incidentally, Camping’s ministry has managed to raise around $100 million over the past seven years to fund his Doomsday message.
So what would you do on May 21, 2011, i.e. this Saturday? Would you be praying to God fervently so that you are saved? What about the athiests? Or would you do what Camping would be doing – watching (Two and Half Men on) TV and listening to (Lady Gaga on) the radio?