Judgment Day? 5 days and counting…

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that an evangelist named Harold Camping was predicting — no, stating — that Judgment Day will be May 21, 2011.

At a time, I didn’t know if anyone would really notice Camping’s big news, as he is somewhat of a fringe TV preacher.

But everyone loves a good End-of-the-World guarantee, so Camping is getting quite a lot of media attention. Plus, his Family Radio Network has billboards up all over the country — I saw one the other day on the Garden State Parkway — warning of the Big Day.

Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer, also has a small army of followers driving around the country and letting people know not to bother planning anything for Memorial Day.

One volunteer told NPR: “I no longer think about 401(k)s and retirement. I’m not stressed about losing my job, which a lot of other people are in this economy. I’m just a lot less stressed, and in a way I’m more carefree.”

The UK Independent’s most popular on-line story at the moment is: “US preacher warns end of the world is nigh”

Camping, who is based in Oakland, is not predicting an immediate global apocalypse. He is saying, based on his reading of the Bible, that Jesus will return on May 21 and that saved Christians — he says about 2 percent of the world’s population — will be raptured to heaven. Everyone else will face God’s judgment. The world will be destroyed 153 days later, he says.

You can read all about it at WeCanKnow.com. The website was, until recently, taking orders for We Can Know materials. But they’ve stopped: “With our Lord’s Return such a short time away, we are no longer offering free printed materials since there is not enough time remaining for us to effectively produce and distribute them.”

Makes sense, I guess.

Most media accounts point out that Camping previously predicted that most of us would be goners on Sept. 6, 1994. When that didn’t happen, he chalked it up to a mathematical error.

Well, May 21 is Saturday. Come Sunday, if Camping is wrong, I’m sure he’ll get quite a few interview requests.

I get the feeling that a lot of people are gearing up to make fun of him, which would be kind of sad.

AP Photo

Enjoy the next 3 months (Judgment Day may be coming)

You may have heard that some folks out there believe the world will end in 2012.

It has something to do with the Mayan Long Count calendar ending. There are websites selling “2012: The End” T-shirts and websites offering survival tips.

It turns out, however, that the world may end even sooner.

A veteran Christian “”Bible scholar” named Harold Camping has pegged the return of Jesus — Judgment Day — as May 21, 2011.

That’s soon. There might still be clumps of ice on the side of road. The Yanks and Mets might still be in contention.

Those who aren’t raptured away will see the end of the world on Oct. 21.

His website says this: “This web site serves as an introduction and portal to four faithful ministries which are teaching that WE CAN KNOW from the Bible alone that the date of the rapture of believers will take place on May 21, 2011 and that God will destroy this world on October 21, 2011.”

Camping’s followers have placed some billboards here and there, such as the one in the picture, taken by a friend of a friend who was on an Amtrak train traveling from Rhode Island to NY.

The San Francisco Chronicle recently talked with Camping, who mocked the 2012 predictions as a “fairy tale.” As far as his own prediction, Camping has apparently found a mathematical system to scope out prophecies hidden in the Bible.

Camping is a mighty interesting fellow.

I happen to subscribe to Direct TV for the pro football package. I get a channel that shows something called “Open Forum with Harold Camping” almost around the clock, interspersed with two or three other Christian shows produced by Camping.

On “Open Forum,” Camping sits in an old easy chair, holding a weathered Bible in his lap, reading and analyzing verses or taking calls from viewers. It is as no-frills as a TV set could be. His ties look like they are from 1973.

He says that his media company’s work has been translated into 48 languages.

“How can that happen without God’s mercy?” he asks.

Camping does have a significant red mark on his record, however. He previously predicted that Judgment Day would be Sept. 6, 1994. Dozens of his followers gathered at his offices in Oakland, Cal., to await Christ’s return.

Camping chalked it up to a mathematical error.