At 6:01PM (or, 12:01PM, depending on the news agency) PDST on May 21st, the world was supposed to end, and the Rapture of (depending on who you talk to, only about some 144,000) Faithful And True Xtians to their heavenly reward, leaving behind their clothing and appearing before god (or, somebody's god, anyway) in "the altogether". They will then spend eternity praising and communing and more praising and communing, and then more praising. In the nude. Forever. Not even a g-string.
The majority of humanity would be Left Behind, muddling through about five months of (as Dr. Peter Weckman told us in Ghostbusters) "Basically the worst parts of the Bible" and a return to a pre-Internet culture, before the Earth would be horribly destroyed. The Billions still on Earth who perish will be cast into a pit of eternal fire and damnation, where they will be damned and in the fire forever, and Lloyd Blankfein and Angelo Mozilo will try to sell other damned souls Ice water Futures. Forever.
One Of The Millions Of Handbills, Preaching The Bad News™:
You're Damned, Because You Did A Bad Thing God Knows About
All this was
Harold Camping Says Even If Jesus Doesn't, Chtulu Loves You.
No one knows how many years Camping had asked for money before the 1994 Judgement Day did not happen -- but after coming up with the 2011 "for-real" date, he had seventeen years to sell this concept and obtain more money from his
Through his network of Family Radio stations (it's FCC licenses alone are valued at approximately $50 Million), Camping broadcast his message of The End Times, and his (always) urgent request that the Faithful send money. Lots of it. To do the good work.
Julian Beck As That Wacky Reverend Kane In Poltergeist II (1986)
Do I Really Have To Spell It Out, Or Did You Make The Connection?
And, send it they did -- approximately $80 Million since 1994, a large amount spent on printing leaflets and billboards from sea to shining sea, announcing The Bad News that the world was ending and that after 6:01PM PDST on 5/21/11, there would be no possibility of salvation If you weren't Raptured, you were damned -- Jesus would turn a deaf ear to your plea for forgiveness. Harold said so.
As the good people at Blazing Alcoholic Beverage point out,
Actor 212 said,
Revelation specifies that Jesus would choose 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel... so that's 144,000 people, all Jewish, presumably.
Now, while one might be tempted to go see if Israel... had an unusual spike in mysterious deaths yesterday, the Diaspora and subsequent immigrations has probably dispersed those Chosen over the entire planet. 144,000 deaths in a population of 7 billion wouldn't even show up in a statistical analysis of the third order.
So it could have happened.
I have the temerity to ask: Providing you believe in the possibility of a comic-book or Hollywood special-effects kind of religion; what kind of deity provides salvation for only 144,000 out of 6-plus billion people or provides no mechanisms or rules by which to increase that number; thereby ensuring that the majority of humans will perish in the everlasting lake, etc. Huh? What Kind?
Your Punishment For Buying Glenny's Line: In Hell, He's On Every Channel
Harold Camping's deity, apparently. Harold was reported as being "in seclusion" in his split-level home in Alameda, CA, and told the local ABC affiliate, KGO-7, that he was "honestly perplexed" and "doesn't understand why [the Rapture] didn't occur" as he had determined.
Possibly he will go back to the drawing board and come up with a new absolutely correct and for-real-this-time-we're-really-sure Rapture Date in, 2030, say. Another nineteen years of gathering the faithful, bringing in the sheaves and shearing the sheep. It's old-school banking, baby.
Camping will have passed away by then, but if his Family Radio is a Camping family business (as many evangelical schemes tend to be), then he'll be leaving a wonderful legacy of fund-raising for his children, along with attempts to raise some of the dead.
The Rapture: A Completely Believable Premise, With Flamingos
Radio Host Who Predicted End of Days To Speak
"Flabbergasted" Harold Camping says he will make a statement on his radio station at some point today -- By GARANCE BURKE, Associated Press
Harold Camping declined Monday to immediately comment to The Associated Press at his home, but said he'll make a full statement in a radio broadcast later in the day... The 89-year-old Camping told the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday he was "flabbergasted" his doomsday prophecy did not come true.
Some of Camping's followers say they are surprised they were not swept up to heaven... Along with the disappointment, believers who spent their savings to advertise the world's end are now facing more earthly concerns.
Noch Einmal, Mit Schwein:
The New York Times reports that Harold Camping says October 21st is the absolutely, definite, real and honest-to-somebody's-god true date for... something. Possibly, the emergence of a new form of Latte from the mind of Starbucks™.
Yesterday, Camping told his radio audience
What [Camping] decided, apparently, was that May 21 had been “an invisible judgment day,” of the spiritual variety, rather than his original vision of earthquakes and other disasters leading to five months of hell on earth, culminating in a spectacular doomsday on Oct. 21 — something he had repeatedly guaranteed.
On Monday, however, Mr. Camping seemed satisfied with his new interpretation, which apparently spared humankind its months of torture for a single day of destruction.
“The world has been warned,” said Mr. Camping, who said this would be his last interview... “We don’t have to talk about this anymore,” he said.
At the same time, it raised concerns that some believers might do themselves harm rather than face Mr. Camping’s promised apocalypse, something he refused to take responsibility for on Monday. “I am not the authority,” he said.
But Mr. Camping said his company — which is a nonprofit — would also not return donations given by his followers in advance of the May 21 prediction. “We’re not at the end,” he said, “Why would we return it?”