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.

Will Fido be ‘left behind?’

Say you’re a Christian who believes that when it’s time for the Second Coming, you will be raptured away to a better place.

When the time comes, who will take care of Spot and Rocky?

A retired businessman in New Hampshire has come up with a business that will — are you ready for this? — arrange for atheists to care for pets when their Christian owners disappear.

You can read about it on the website of Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA.

At first, I thought it was a joke for sure. But the tone is serious (I think) and there is a mechanism for people to pay $110 for the care of their pet (as long as the Rapture takes place within 10 years).

A Bloomberg article in February said that the business had over 100 clients.

Over 100!

The Bloomberg articles notes that: “(Founder Bart) Centre must reassure the Rapture crowd that his pet rescuers are wicked enough to be left behind but good enough to take proper care of the abandoned pets.”

It also quotes a fella with a biblical prophesy website: “A lot of persons are concerned about their pets, but I don’t know if they should necessarily trust atheists to take care of them.”

EEBP says it has a network of atheist animal lovers in 22 states who are prepared to care for pets when the Rapture happens.

Of course, at that point they’ll know that they’re disbelief was a mistake and will be scrambling to become Christians and/or find a shortcut to salvation. So will they really have the time and will to take care of pets?

But, for now, they’ll take you money in preparation for an event they are sure will never come.

It’s worth reading the Terms & Conditions, which include this:

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If  subscriber loses his/her faith and/or the Rapture occurs and subscriber is not Raptured (aka  is “left behind”) EE-BP disclaims any liability; no refund will be tendered.

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Hey, this has got to be a joke, right?

Thanks to Religion News Service for alerting me to this extreme example of entrepreneurial spirit.