Don’t make any big plans for May 21, 2011. Why? Because according to 88-year-old Christian nutcase Harold Camping, that’s the true date for the end of the world:
Camping, 88, has scrutinized the Bible for almost 70 years and says he has developed a mathematical system to interpret prophecies hidden within the Good Book. One night a few years ago, Camping, a civil engineer by trade, crunched the numbers and was stunned at what he’d found: The world will end May 21, 2011.
Ah yes! It’s the old mathematical-system-for-decoding-the-Bible method of predicting the future! Very popular among your die hard Christian nutcases as we’ve seen many times before here on SEB.
Lest you think Mr. Camping is new to this game, let me assure you he is not! He has predicted the end previously back in 1994. Those of you paying attention to current events may have noticed it didn’t end. A revelation that was a bit of a shock to the dozens of followers and Camping as they sat waiting for Christ’s return. Later he would admit that he “may have” made a mathematical error.
This time it’s different, though! He’s spent 10 years working on this new date and he’s pretty confident he’s nailed it and he’s got the formula to prove it:
By Camping’s understanding, the Bible was dictated by God and every word and number carries a spiritual significance. He noticed that particular numbers appeared in the Bible at the same time particular themes are discussed.
The number 5, Camping concluded, equals “atonement.” Ten is “completeness.” Seventeen means “heaven.” Camping patiently explained how he reached his conclusion for May 21, 2011.
“Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.,” he began. “Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that’s 1,978 years.”
Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days – the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year.
Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500.
Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500.
Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.
“Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story,” Camping said. “It’s the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you’re completely saved.
“I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that,” Camping said.
Does it not surprise anyone else to learn that Mr. Camping is a former engineer? For some reason this sort of silly nonsense seems to come from a lot of engineers.
For example back in my youth, when I worked as a Desktop Publishing Coordinator for a local Kinko’s, I once met a man who also claimed to have mathematically proven the existence of God and had figured out the date of his return. He wanted me to print up a bunch of business cards with his proof on it. He had a bunch of numbers that he’d plucked out of his ass, that all meant something to no one outside of himself, and he had multiplied and divided and added and subtracted them for all manner of reasons, again known only to himself, and the final result was the number: 1. Which he interpreted as signifying God’s existence. He spent quite some time explaining it all to me and I smiled and nodded back the entire time. The same way you do with a crazy person brandishing a knife in hopes he won’t suddenly try to slit your throat with it to show you what a good job he did sharpening it.
Anyway, you’d be forgiven if you think Mr. Camping lost his followers after he fucked up the first time, but then you’d be grossly underestimating how credulous people can be:
Employees at the Oakland office run printing presses that publish Camping’s pamphlets and books, and some wear T-shirts that read, “May 21, 2011.” They’re happy to talk about the day they believe their souls will be retrieved by Christ.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Ted Solomon, 60, who started listening to Camping in 1997. He’s worked at Family Radio since 2004, making sure international translators properly dictate Camping’s sermons.
“This world may have had an attraction to me at one time,” Solomon said. “But now it’s definitely lost its appeal.”
[…] Rick LaCasse, who attended the September 1994 service in Alameda, said that 15 years later, his faith in Camping has only strengthened.
“Evidently, he was wrong,” LaCasse allowed, “but this time it is going to happen. There was some doubt last time, but we didn’t have any proofs. This time we do.”
Would his opinion of Camping change if May 21, 2011, ended without incident?
“I can’t even think like that,” LaCasse said. “Everything is too positive right now. There’s too little time to think like that.”