Today’s Opinion: Another Judgment Day

POSTED: 05/25/11 1:23 PM

We all know now who Harold Camping is: a misguided self appointed religious freak from California who fooled thousands of people into believing that the world would come to an end on May 21. It didn’t happen, of course, and that came as no surprise to most people.
But Camping, at 89, is not about to give up. He disappeared for a couple of days, probably to evade the media, muttered that he was flabbergasted that nothing happened on Saturday, and finally resurrected himself.
While the web site of his Family Radio was quickly purged of the May 21 Judgment Day prediction, Harold has come back with a vengeance and also with a new date. Now he says that the world will come to an end on October 21.
That will give the atheist movement Eternal Earthbound Pets a good laugh. The group has sold already 259 contracts for looking after the pets of Christians who believe they will go to heaven on Judgment Day. At $135 a pop, the atheists have managed to collect already close to $35,000. With almost five more months ahead of them towards the new date, they are going to have a field day.
Harold Camping now claims that Judgment Day did not happen last Saturday due to a little calculation error. That’s a remarkable statement for a preacher who went to great detail in the leaflets he distributed also in St. Maarten to explain how he had arrived at the date of May 21.
He pointed out for instance that there are 365.2422 days in a year; that’s why we have a leap year. But that puts the four-year average at 365.25 days, a tad more than the 365.2422 days. Camping was ready for that one too: every 128 years one day is dropped from the calendar. We guess that’s the unlucky year for those born on February 28. This is how Camping arrived at his now seemingly worthless 722,500 days between April 1 of the year 33 A.D. and May 21 of this year.
So is Harold Camping just another crackpot? His prediction that 200 million people will go to heaven on Judgment Day fell short of expectations this time. American newspapers reported about several believers who had maxed out their credit card for last minutes adventures like a trip to the Grand Canyon. Now they have to manage to keep the credit card company off their backs until October 21. But in the end, we figure that they’ll have to pony up and that Harold Camping will be going to heaven before all of us.

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