May 21st of this year is thought by quite a few religious idiots (sometimes ad hominem attacks really are all they deserve) to be the “Judgment Day,” when Jesus himself will return to earth riding side-saddle on a pegasus and zap all the true believers up into Heaven, leaving the rest of us heathens to suffer the apocalypse for five entire months until the world as we know it ceases to exist on October 21st.
There has, of course, been an awful lot of thought put into the May 21st date and it is preached by many people to be absolutely, undeniably the day of judgment. It could not possibly be any other day, they tell us.
Who, exactly, are they?
They are, fortunately, just a small percentage of the religious population led by one Harold Camping. Unfortunately, that small percentage is able to reach out to a very broad audience. They’ve even gone so far as to raise over 2,000 billboards across the world proclaiming their ridiculous assertions. I’d say it’s a waste of money, but hey, if they’ve only got one month left to blow it all they might as well, right?
How did they reach this conclusion?
I’d rather not provide any links to any particular religious campaign’s website since I don’t believe anybody in particular deserves the traffic, but I will tell you they’ve read their Bibles thoroughly, crunched some numbers, warped some verses and words, and come to their absolute, for-certain conclusion that 2% of the world’s population will be “raptured” on May 21st of this year. If you’re really interested in learning exactly how they’ve come to that conclusion I’ll let you do the Google search for yourself.
Why is this unimportant?
Because the world won’t end this year. I suppose it takes an awful lot of faith to say that, but so what? It just won’t. If it does, you can tell me how wrong I was when we’re all – well, I guess you can’t. The fact of the matter is that these end of the world scenarios and rapture predictions arise all the damn time, all because Jesus himself couldn’t accurately predict the end. Remember, he told his followers it would end during their lifetimes (Matthew 16:28).
So when will judgment take place?
That would depend on whom you ask:
- 1818: William Miller says it’ll all happen some time between March 21st 1843 and March 21st 1844.
- Presumably on March 22nd 1844: William Miller says “No wait, I meant the 22nd of October!”
- 1907: Jehovah’s Witnesses say it’ll go down in 1914.
- 1917: Jehovah’s Witnesses say “Nevermind, it’ll be 1918. We’re sure of it this time.”
- 1924: Jehovah’s Witnesses say it’ll be in 1925.
- 1941: Jehovah’s Witnesses say it’s actually gonna happen in 1942.
- 1974: Jehovah’s Witnesses are pretty sure it’ll happen in 1975.
- 1978: Chuck Smith says the world will probably end by 1981.
- 1988: Edgar C. Whisenant publishes 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988.
- 1989: Edgar C. Whisenant publishes The Final Shout: Rapture Report 1989.
- 1993: A lot of people thought the world would end in the year 2000 with the initial judgment occurring seven years prior.
- And so on, and so forth. Consult A Brief History of the Apocalypse for much, much more.
Why is this important?
I know, I know, I just inferred that it isn’t important a moment ago. But here’s the scary truth: these crazies want this to happen! They want the world to go down in flames. Too bad the Bible tells me only 144,000 people (.002% of the world’s population) will actually make it into Heaven (Revelation 7:4). The Bible is full of accurate predictions, they like to claim. Other than the “lucky guesses,” any events properly prophesied were self-fulfilled. And that tells me whether or not Jesus returns to earth on the back of a half-horse/half-Mother Teresa (he won’t) the crazies will be doing their best to make sure the world sees its end. Holy wars over whom the land of Israel actually belongs to, book burnings, pissed off jihadists, mass suicides… you name it, it could happen.
Is that my prediction?
No. May 21st will come and go, and while us nonbelievers are laughing at all the knuckleheads on the 22nd they’ll just flatten their ruffled hair, put on some rouge, and get on TV to tell us “Sorry, we forgot to carry a one. It’ll be next year, we promise.”
Just like last time, when Camping predicted the end of the world to be on September 6th, 1994.
EDIT – View my ten posts counting down to rapture:
- Counting down: Day 10 – posted 11 May, 2011
- Counting down: day 9 – posted 12 May, 2011
- The Final Countdown: day eight – posted 13 May, 2011
- Countdown: day seven – posted 14 May, 2011
- Countdown: Six – posted 15 May, 2011
- Five days! – posted 16 May, 2011
- Four more days – posted 17 May, 2011
- Three days away – posted 18 May, 2011
- The countdown is nearly over! – posted 19 May, 2011
- Tomorrow’s the big day – posted 20 May, 2011