Saturday, May 21, 2011 was supposed to be a significant date. This day was supposed to mark the Armageddon, which has been predicted incorrectly many times over already. Usually these predictions combine scripture with math to calculate a date for the coming rapture. This time was no different. Here is an overview of the situation from a skeptic's point of view.
The one behind it all this time, playing with numbers and people's beliefs as well, is a Mr. Harold Camping. He predicted the judgment day from an equation. Now, before the equation itself is even explained, know that Camping has already predicted doomsday wrong in the past, in 1994, and blamed it on a "mathematical error".
I've gone over the equation and the simplest way I can summarize it is (5x10x17) x (5x10x17) = 722,500.
5 stands for atonement.
10 stands for completeness.
17 stands for heaven.
From the time of the crucifixion of Jesus on April 11, 33 AD to May 21, 2011, is 722,500 days.
Camping is the one who came up with the significance of these numbers. According to Camping (and no other specific or credited source), the numbers put together like that means "Atonement has been completed by Heaven" and is repeated twice in the equation for emphasis. Also, the exact date of the crucifixion is disagreed on by scholars.
Supposedly, "it" (whatever he defines as "judgment day") was supposed to happen at exactly 6:00 PM no matter where on earth you were . . . so it would happen overseas first, then on the East Coast of the United States where I am, then slowly make its way to California three hours later.
So . . . how does this even make sense? What if I decide to hop on a plane and fly westward until I reach where people have already been judged? Do I win? According to Camping, people were going to be judged and the few remaining believers would be taken away to heaven and the 7 billion that remained would be left on Earth to be destroyed in a series of natural disasters, starting with a massive earthquake.
Camping is an 89-year-old former engineer and owner of the Family Radio Network, a Christian radio show. He is not a credentialed religious scholar nor does he even have any legitimate math experience. AAs farfetched as his theory may sound, he used his radio show to market the rapture and he has a cult-like following of people who are hanging onto his every word and fully believed that 5/21/11 was their doomsday. People have sold their every material possession, including their homes, to help pay for things like billboard advertisement to spread word of the rapture. Believers have stated that they would adjourn to the date even if it passes, which to me makes about zero sense. How can you hang onto something that has already passed? It must be because they didn't want to hear they were wrong on May 22nd.
Don't get me wrong, I am not denouncing Christianity even if it does not fully define what I believe in personally. I understand the bible talks about a second coming of Jesus, but nowhere does it say, "MAY 21 2011 - JUDGMENT DAY! BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!" Actually, the bible specifically says that no man will know the exact moment. To quote Matthew, 24:36, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
Author's Note: Sources: