The following is an excerpt from an interview the New York Times conducted with Harold Camping, the religious nutcase that believes today will bring the Rapture. For those unaware of the Rapture, it’s the event where God will take all of the good Christians up into heaven without them having to die first.
- How certain are you that world is going to end on May 21 — do you have any doubts?
God has given sooo much information in the Bible about this, and so many proofs, and so many signs, that we know it is absolutely going to happen without any question at all. There’s nothing in the Bible that God has ever prophesied — there’s many things that he prophesied would happen and they always have happened — but there’s nothing in the Bible that holds a candle to the amount of information to this tremendous truth of the end of the world. I would be absolutely in rebellion against God if I thought anything other than it is absolutely going to happen without any question.
- But you were wrong the first time you predicted that the end of the world would take place in September of 1994. So you must think, in the back of your mind, that maybe you can’t actually predict when the end of the world will be.
In 1992, two years earlier than that, I had already begun to see that there was a good likelihood that 2011 would be the end, but at that time when my research in the Bible was not nearly complete — there were whole books of the Bible that I had not gone through yet very carefully — I thought that at that time that there was a possibility it might be 1994, and so I wrote a book, 1994?, but I put a big question mark after it, and in the book it also indicated that 2011 was also a good possibility. And so it was just a preliminary study that I’ve been able to complete during the last fifteen years.
- Describe to me what exactly you expect to happen on May 21.
I know reporters don’t like to hear from the Bible, but the Bible has every word in the original language — it was written by God. Incidentally, no churches believe that at all, they don’t hold the Bible in the high respect that it ought to be. But every word was written right from the lips of God, and God declares: [Camping reads various passages from the Book of Revelation describing the Rapture.] In other words, when we get to May 21 on the calendar in any city or country in the world, and the clock says about — this is based on other verses in the Bible — when the clock says about 6 p.m., there’s going to be this tremendous earthquake that’s going to make the last earthquake in Japan seem like nothing in comparison. And the whole world will be alerted that Judgment Day has begun. And then it will follow the sun around for 24 hours. As each area of the world gets to that point of 6 p.m. on May 21, then it will happen there, and until it happens, the rest of the world will be standing far off and witnessing the horrible thing that is happening.
- If six o’clock rolls around and there are no major earthquakes, are you going to start to get worried?
It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. I don’t even think about those kind of issues. The Bible is not — God is not playing games. I don’t even want to think about that question at all. It is going to happen.
- You haven’t thought about what you’ll tell your followers on May 22 if the Rapture doesn’t take place?
I’m not even thinking about that at all. It. Is. Going. To. Happen. Because I trust the Bible implicitly, the Bible is God’s word — it’s not from a man, it’s not from an organization of some kind where there’s plenty of room for error. It is the word of God. When God speaks that it is going to happen, the Bible is a very factual book, and God gives many examples of how he has made prophesies and it always has happened in exact accord with what God has prophesied.
- I know you’re convinced this is going to happen, but if May 22 comes around and you’re still here, can we talk again?
I can’t even think about that question because you’re thinking that maybe, maybe Judgment Day will not happen. But it will happen, and I believe the Bible implicitly.
The very interesting thing about Camping’s predictions is that it’s not just non-believers who are ridiculing him, Christians are getting in on the act too. In fact, Christians are even more offended by his claim that he knows exactly when the rapture will be and there’s a gpood reason for them to be. By claiming to know when it is, Camping is putting himself on an equal footing with God and above all of the angels in heaven and Christ himself.
Now, if you’ve read this page before you’ll know I’m a devout atheist who is offended by any attempt to organise religion at all. I’m also one of those people who likes to know what he’s arguing against so I pretty much know the Christian Bible. The following is from the gospel of Matthew and can be found at 24:30-44.
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the tribes of the land will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
So there we have it. The Son of God and the angels in heaven don’t know the time and date of the Rapture, but don’t worry, one man figured it out from studying the Bible for a few years. Does anyone else smell bullshit here?
Still, it would be completely unfair to dismiss this man’s claims simply because he’s claiming to be above spiritual beings and deities so here’s what I think we should do. Every single Christian in the world should leave their addresses in this thread and then us non-believers will know where we should go to clean up after the Rapture. We’ll know where may be on fire due to people cooking, where a pet may be left alone and unfed, where an atheist child that needs to be looked after has suddenly been left alone. In order to save on the paperwork and possible chaos that will arise from their disappearance, all of those Christians should also empty their bank accounts (leaving the money either in plain sight) and leave their doors unlocked so that us non-believers who are good people at heart can look after what they’ve left behind. If you’re a Christian without any atheists in the family or pets that need looking after, then give your house away. Find the nearest homeless person and take them to the lawyers office with you, signing over all of your worldly possessions to them. It’s the Christian thing to do after all, and you wouldn’t want your good fortune to cause others pain and trouble. What, don’t you believe you’re good enough to be taken?
Just, whatever you do don’t try to help Jesus out by kickstarting the Rapture yourself. Let’s face it, if you believe in this happening today then there’s a good chance that you’re just that insane.