I’ll be in Paris. For real. That is, if I don’t get spirited away to my Father’s Kingdom along with the rest of the pious bigots faithful. Yesiree, Saturday, May 21 is the day — at least according to religious radio broadcaster Harold Camping, who came up with the latest apocalyptic meme to sweep the globe.
Camping is basing his end-times prediction on a numerological formula of his own device. Meaning, all the billboards loudly proclaiming “the Bible guarantees it!” are utter bullshit. In fact, the Good Book explicitly says the opposite: “Of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.” [Matthew 24:36].
That hasn’t stopped Camping’s ministry from driving paranoid Christians into a tizzy. So what’s the math behind his claim? It’s kinda complicated, even to Scientific American. Apparently, it has to do with the date of Christ’s crucifixion, which is conveniently unverifiable. But not to this wackadoodle:
Camping takes Christ’s crucifixion to be April 1 in 33 AD. Come May 21, 2011, Camping says, 722,500 days will have elapsed since that occurrence. And 722,500 is (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17). Those numbers are important, according to Camping, because 5 symbolizes atonement, 10 represents completeness, and 17 is for heaven.
Why does 5 symbolize atonement? Here we turn to Exodus 30:15: “The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls.” For those of you who prefer fractions, “half a shekel” would be 1/2 shekel; the decimally minded might favor 0.5 shekel. Camping is evidently in the latter camp; he takes this verse as evidence of 5’s association with atonement.
Blarbity-blarb, derp-derp. Is anyone even taking any of this seriously?
Turns out, yes. Some Christians are even taking that job and shoving it in anticipation of Armaggeddon. I assure you, this is not why I’m going on vacation. Total coincidence.
Organized atheists are also taking advantage of the insanity. According to DC rag Roll Call:
A group of self-described Godless Americans is defying predictions of the Rapture to kick off a new campaign this week against the religious right. As some Christians quit their jobs this week to prepare for the end of the world, the Secular Coalition for America headed to Capitol Hill with an ambitious task: reducing the influence of religious interests on government. The lobby group — created in 2000 to unite atheists, humanists, nontheists and nonbelievers of all stripes — chose this weekend to meet because of its significance to a small faction of Christians. For followers of religious radio broadcaster Harold Camping, Saturday marks the beginning of the end of civilization and the return of Jesus Christ as predicted in the Bible.
Getting ready for a three-week vacation is actually not that different from preparing for the Rapture, come to think of it. We have four cats and a bunny, which makes it difficult to plan a holiday. Imagine if you were taken by God? Thankfully, The Creator has a plan for our furry friends (or at least his followers do). It’s called After the Rapture Pet Care, and it’s an honest-to-Jehovah business.
If the Rapture does come this weekend, I guess most of our readership will be “left behind.” Which leads me to my final point: if there’s a lack of posts here over the next few weeks, it’s because I’m ON VACATION, not sharing fondue with Sarah Palin and Moses.
Unless, of course, I am…