That’s Great it Starts with an Earthquake …

“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.” – R.E.M.

One time when I was a little kid — probably eight or nine years old, about Mason’s age in fact — I remember seeming some people on the side of the road holding up signs, proclaiming that the world was going to end the next day. When I asked my Mom about it, she told me “the Bible says that no man knows exactly what day the Earth will end,” paraphrasing the Gospel of St. Matthew 24:36:

“But about the day and hour no one knows; neither the angels of Heaven nor the Son but only the Father.”

At the age of nine, that was good enough for me. In fact, I reasoned, if I were God and were actually planning on ending the world on that particular day, I’d postpone it a day — not only in order to spite those people, but in order to preserve Canon as well. Taking that logic one step further, I reckoned that as long as people kept predicting specific days, God wouldn’t pick those days either. And heck, we only need 365 false prophets to cover an entire year, right? And with that, I quit worrying about God pressing a button and ending the world.

And so a week or two ago when I heard that somebody named Harold Camping had predicted that rapture was going to take place on May 21, 2011, I slept well knowing that the world definitely not end on May 21, 2011.

(Spoiler: it didn’t.)

Harold Camping is a cuckoo head nutjob with a radio station and multiple radio shows with, unfortunately, an audience. I say “unfortunately” because, according to news reports, several of Camping’s followers either donated or spent their entire life’s savings to help fund this movement. (Family Radio, Camping’s radio station, also put up $100 million.) Some of those people’s savings went to billboards that sprang up across the country. I saw one on I-40 and Council, not five miles from my house. The one I saw was electronic, but it looked exactly like this one:

Predicting that world’s about to end when you’re almost 90-years-old (like Camping is) isn’t particularly profound. That’s like predicting “something bad is about to happen” when you click on a Youtube video involving a blindfold and two guys throwing a log into an empty recycling bin.

Anyway. I always kind of thought warnings about the end of the world were somewhat counterproductive to the whole point of Christianity. I’m sure the average church-goer can’t stand meatheads who cheat on their wives, abuse their children, and then show up to church every Sunday to ask for forgiveness. (At least I would.) Expand that out a thousand times and you would have people who have led bad, terrible lives being saved just minutes before the rapture is set to take place — which, according to Camping, was 6pm, your local time. I’m not kidding, by the way. Camping said that the rapture would travel around the globe and would happen 24 times, at 6pm, in each time zone. There’s a pretty short list of things that would get me to drop what I’m doing and run to the nearest church, but if I hear news reports of tens of thousands of people floating of the Earth and up into the clouds, I’m high tailing it to the church across the street from our neighborhood (which I don’t is English-speaking) and filling every Super Soaker I can carry with holy water.

I’m not being funny here, but I didn’t really understand why people would float “up” and leave their clothes behind. We know now that God, wherever he is, isn’t “up” from here. If you float “up”, you’re much more likely to hit the moon, or a satellite, or space junk than find God. And why do our physical bodies go up, but our clothes stay behind?

(My front porch, May 21, 2011. Removed after multiple dirty looks from my neighbors, who didn’t float off either.)

Someone else who didn’t float away was Robert Fitzpatrick, the author of The Doomsday Code, a book that deatils Camping’s mathematical theories and how the date of May 21, 2011 was calculated. To reach the final date, Camping worked backwards after figuring out the exact date of “the big flood”. Some of this may sound silly, but check out Fitzpatrick in the following clip. He seems pretty serious to me.

While Camping stayed holed up in his house with the shades drawn, Fitzpatrick went to Times Square where his un-raptured person was heckled and harassed.

No word yet as to whether those who purchased Fitzpatrick’s The Doomsday Code will be getting refunds, although prices of used copies are dropping rapidly on Amazon, and PDF copies of the book are being posted repeatedly, presumably by disgruntled customers.

I think if there’s any message here at all, it’s that, regardless of your beliefs, you should live each day to the fullest. Avoid guys that (a) are predicting the end of the world and (b) are asking for a cash donation, and you should be just fine.

As for the real reason why the rapture didn’t take place on May 21, 2011 … the world may never know.

RIP, Randy Savage.

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2 comments to That’s Great it Starts with an Earthquake …

  • mike warma

    I hope you’re not implying by the end picture that the Macho Man did an atomic elbow smash on god at the last minute and he was laid out too long to end the world. and if you have wings as an angel, do you need top rope to drop in from?

  • Larry Willrath

    I guess that is why he retired as an engineer…he wasnt any good at math LOL