The World End Saturday
May 20, 2011 by staff
The World End Saturday, 89 years old, Harold Camping is preaching with absolute certainty about the end of the world. “May 21, 2011, the day of the trial,” he says with conviction, in a YouTube video posted last year. “It’s the day that ends all activity for the salvation of the gospel … is the most important day of a billion times than any other day that the world has ever known.” That day, Camping estimates about 207 million people, or about 3% of world population is out of the land. What follow is five months from earthquakes and other calamities until the world ends officially on 21 October this year.
Like all those who proselytize to the world, camping has spread his message with a small army of followers, if any, are supported by a substantial budget, according to some estimates is more and $ 100 million. There have been stories in the media, families sell their homes, leave their jobs and budget your finances so that May 21 is left with nothing. After all, do not need it, right?
But camp has been wrong before. The former engineer, who started in the Family Radio network in 1958, predicted in 1992 that the world would end in September 1994. (He also wrote a book entitled 1994, on the same line?) When the apocalypse did not materialize, Camping cited a mathematical error and emerged with a new date: May 21, 2011. Despite the dubious evidence to support the current campaign has been a surprising number of followers, who spread pamphlets, the transmission of your message in the back of trucks and plaster on billboards across the country – a fact that Paul Boyer, a historian at the University of Wisconsin, who studies apocalyptic beliefs, gives the radio voice of the campsite. “He has a very compelling talk,” says Boyer. “He speaks with conviction and there is a certain percentage of people responding to that kind of belief.”
Throughout history, such movements have emerged, especially in times of war or economic and political instability. “When you think your world is going to hell in a handbasket, it’s comforting to say, ‘The world is evil, but God’s going to get out of it,’” said Doug Weaver, associate professor of religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, who teaches the history of Christianity. To this end, apocalyptic movements have appeared in almost every period of chaos after the Great Fire of London in 1666, for example, or during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860′s. The outbreak of World War I unleashed a torrent of predictions to-the-world: Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses predicted the second coming of Christ would occur in 1914, which said it would mark the end of times of non-believers.
The most famous example is that of William Miller, a Baptist preacher who predicted that the world would end sometime between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844. (When the order came too late, changed the date to October 22.) It is estimated that 100,000 “Millerites” sold their possessions between 1840 and 1844 and led to the mountains to wait until the end. “It is a cult mentality,” says Weaver. “That’s good to escape and flee. It is a very escapist version of religion, but some people are too afraid to die and is a very powerful thing to feel like I was on the winning side.” In fact, when Miller’s prophecy proved false, his followers explained it away by saying that the events do happen – just do not notice anything, and that only happened in heaven and not on the ground – and became the Seventh Day Adventist Church movement.
But while the story is full of failed predictions of doom, there is no reason to believe that it could be just around the corner. In fact, a 2010 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 41% of Americans believe that Jesus will return to Earth before 2050. Many Christians believe strongly in the Rapture, when the faithful will be swept from earth to heaven, thus avoiding the seven plagues that announce the end of the world.
While the Bible states that belief, does not endorse setting the date. “I do not think there is any clear indication anywhere in the Bible that can be used for a road map or calendar to try to plot when the end of time that could happen,” says R. Scott Nash, a Bible scholar in the Department of Christianity at Mercer University in Georgia. Attempts to establish a general date chaining several passages of Scripture and completely ignore the context in which they were written. Camping, for example, bases its calculations complex in Jesus being crucified in 33 AD However, Nash, like many scholars of the Bible, believes that the crucifixion actually occurred three or four years before – which means that even if what you are preaching Camping is true, the end must have come as early as 2007.
So what does the Bible say about preparation for the final? Basically, be on guard: “You do not know what day your Lord will come”, as Matthew 24: 42 says. “The Bible teaches that fans wait expectantly,” says Kathy Maxwell, assistant professor of biblical and theological studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. “It’s not supposed to leave our jobs, selling our stuff and move to the compounds to wait, are we supposed to take care of people and contribute to society.”
As for Weaver, when asked what he hopes to make the May 22, said he plans to go to church in the morning and jumping on a trampoline with her grandson in the afternoon. Later in the day he plans to watch the Yankees game, if you are playing bad, he says, is the only way we are going to suffer that day.
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