And we can almost say with assurance: the world will not end May 21, 2011.
But that doesn't wash with Evangelical Man of the Minute, ultra-right wing Harold Camping, founder of We Can Know radio. (Notice we do hedge a little with the 'almost' word above). He and his followers say the world will begin ending (so to speak) at about 3p PDT a week from Saturday. And continue through Oct. 21 until the whole God-damned mess will be all blowed-up real good.
"There’s going to be this tremendous earthquake that’s going to make the last earthquake in Japan seem like nothing in comparison. And the whole world will be alerted that Judgment Day has begun."
While the evangelist's focus is on poor, but stupid people, one successful New Jersey businessman, Michael Finaldi, traded in his wife & family (who think he's nuts) and let go his worldly considerations and material possessions to warn the world full time of the fast-breaking prophecy.
It's not the first time Camping has made a Doomsday prediction in his twangy Southern California voice: the one he made in 1994 (as you probably can tell) didn't pan out. He says he was doing the best he could with the information he had:
"At that time there was a lot of the Bible I had not really researched very carefully...But now, we've had the chance to do just an enormous amount of additional study and God has given us outstanding proofs that it really is going to happen."
Camping's spotty record as a prophet hasn't stopped many others from all over world (especially Latin America) to have picked up and left their homes to drive caravans of bumper-stickered vans to spread the word.
The start point is 4990 b.c. (the year of the great flood when God destroyed the earth with water). Camping believes if you add 7,000 years, minus one because there was no year "0" you get 2011. Camping believes Judgment Day will be on the 17 day of the second month. According to Camping, that's the same day it started raining on Noah. According to Camping's version of the biblical calendar, that is May 21.
The message is being spread by Camping's Family Stations, a 53-year-old non-profit, non-commercial, Christian radio network with 66 outlets. Billboards 1,200 in the US and 2,000 worldwide warns of doomsday in technicolor and 2nd Coming size fonts: "The Bible guarantees it!"
But will he give away his money before May 21st? "What’s the point,?" he says. "In other words, Judgment Day is the end of the world. That means that the whole world is in judgment, it will not be business as usual at all. At all."
And what happens if it doesn't happen? "It is going to happen. There is no Plan B, he says."
You can hear more - much, much - more on Kirkland's KARR (1460 AM) where Rev. Camping insonorously holds forth daily as his 15 minutes tick away.
We can only pray for wall-to-wall cable coverage on the Big Day, with cameras at Camping's door to catch his first reactions to the massive quiet o'er the earth.