May 21, 2011

Rapture: the in-depth story

A few quotes from the Guardian:

It's a complicated business calculating the precise date of the end of the world.There's the Great Flood to consider, which may have happened around 4990BC, depending on who's estimating. And the timing of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Then there's a bit of maths that involves equating one day to 1,000 years.

Do all that and it turns out that Armageddon will begin at 6pm on Saturday. That is, if Harold Camping has got his calculations and his reading of the Book of Ezekiel right.

Raptured (a note for "quick" readers: being raptured is OK, being
not raptured is not)

The 89-year-old doomsday prophet, a former engineer who perhaps inevitably comes from California, has prompted a tide of expectation, elation and derision after persuading listeners to his Family Radio Worldwide across the US and as far away as the Philippines to sell up everything and prepare for the beginning of the end of the world with the second coming of Jesus.

If all goes according to plan, those who have been "saved" by Jesus will rise into the air in the Rapture and look down as God smites billions of nonbelievers with a great earthquake rolling from city to city across the planet, and a bit of fire to boot.

Judgment day will begin at 6pm wherever you are. The mayhem will move west over the planet, wiping out cities, towns and villages.

In the US, some believers have given up their jobs and donated money they think they will no longer need to pay for more than 2,000 billboards across the country proclaiming "Judgment Day: May 21, 2011 – Cry mightily unto God. THE BIBLE GUARANTEES IT!"

Thousands of people, some wearing T-shirts proclaiming that doomsday is at hand, have said goodbye to family and friends. It is not always welcome. Abby Haddad Carson gave up her job as a nurse two years ago to spread the message. Her three children do not believe it. "My mom has told me directly that I'm not going to get into heaven," Grace Haddad, 26, told the New York Times. "At first it was really upsetting but it's what she believes."

Callers to Christian radio stations have debated what to do about nonbelieving friends and neighbours who will be left behind to endure the wrath of God.

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