May 21 Is Judgment Day? Harold Camping's Latest Doomsday Prediction
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, former civil engineer Harold Camping is one of the leading voices of the doomsday movement. After doing some number crunching based on biblical figures, Camping has apparently come up with a new and improved expiration date for the human race: May 21, 2011. Camping previously thought that the world was going to end on Sept. 6, 1994, but discovered that he had made a mathematical error.
Instead of standing on a random street corner and shouting out his new theory, Camping has taken his message to the airwaves and the Internet. Not only does the doomsday prophet mantain a radio presence from San Francisco to China, he manages a sprawling media company that spreads his predictions via billboards, postcards and mission groups throughout the world.
Others have joined him online with websites like wecanknow.com and the eBible Fellowship.
Catherine Wessinger, a professor at Loyola University in New Orleans who studies doomsayers like Camping, suggests that the interest in Camping's predictions is a reflection of the uncertainty millions of Americans face in a shifting economy.
"A lot of times these prophecies gain traction when difficulties are happening in society," she told NPR. "Right now, there's a lot of insecurity, and this is a promise that says it's not all random, it's part of God's plan."
Still, according to Rapture doctrine, most people will barely notice that Judgment Day has gone by. That's because May 21 is, according to Camping, the day when only the righteous will be saved and taken to heaven. Everyone else, on the other hand, will have to remain on Earth for a period of torment. The real fire and brimstone show, Camping further predicts, will get under way in October.
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