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Pattaya Daily News

20 May 2011 :: 17:05:57 pm 53870

World Prepares For Judgement Day, 21 May 2011

A loosely organised Christian movement has spread the word around the globe that Jesus Christ will return to earth on Saturday 21 May 2011 to gather the faithful into heaven.
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The rapture is the belief that Christ will bring the faithful into paradise prior to a period of tribulation on earth that precedes the end of time.
The prediction of the rapture date was made by Harold Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer from Oakland, California, who founded Family Radio Worldwide, an independent ministry that has broadcast his prediction around the world. Mr. Camping’s prophecy comes from numerological calculations based on his reading of the Bible. He says global events like the 1948 founding of Israel confirm his math. However, even some Christians who believe the Rapture will occur think he’s wrong.

Co-author of the Left Behind series of Christian prophecy novels, Rverend Tim La-Haye said Mr Camping “trivialises the very serious study of Bible prophecy by ignoring Jesus’ statement that everyone seems to know except him, and that is that no man knows the day nor the hour” that Jesus will return.

Mr Camping has been derided for an earlier apocalyptic prediction in 1994, but his followers say that merely referred to the end of “the church age” – a time when human beings in Christian churches could be saved. Now, they say, only those outside what they regard as irredeemably corrupt churches can expect to ascend to heaven.

“Beyond the shadow of a doubt, May 21 will be the date of the Rapture and the day of judgment,” he said in January.
Such predictions are nothing new, but Mr Camping’s latest has been publicised with exceptional vigour – not just by Family Radio but through like-minded groups. They’ve spread the word using radio, satellite TV, daily website updates, billboards, subway ads, RV caravans hitting dozens of cities and missionaries scattered from Latin America to Asia.
The prediction has been publicised in almost every country, said Chris McCann, who works with eBible Fellowship, one of the groups spreading the message. “The only countries I don’t feel too good about are the ‘stans’ – you know, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, those countries in Central Asia,” he said.

of the Hmong ethnic minority who gathered near the border with Laos earlier this month to await the May 21 event. The government, which has a long history of mistrust with ethnic hilltribe groups like the Hmong, arrested an unidentified number of “extremists” and dispersed a crowd of about 5000.

No such signs of turmoil are apparent in the US, though many mainstream Christians aren’t happy with the attention the prediction is getting. They reject the notion that a date for the end times can be calculated, if not the doctrine of the Rapture itself.

Pastors around the country are planning Sunday sermons intended to illustrate the folly of trying to discern a date for the end of the world.

No one will know for sure whether Mr Camping’s prediction is correct until Sunday morning dawns, or fails to dawn. In the meantime, there will be jokes, parties, sermons and – in at least one case – a chance to make a little money.

Bart Centre, an atheist from New Hampshire, started Eternal Earth-bound Pets in 2009. He offers Rapture believers an insurance plan for those furry family members that won’t join them in heaven: 10-year pet care contracts, with Mr Centre and his network of fellow non-believers taking responsibility for the animals after the Rapture. The fee – payable in advance, of course – was originally $110, but has gone to $135 since Mr Camping’s prediction.

Mr Centre says he has 258 clients under contract, and that business has picked up considerably this year. But he’s not worried about a sales slump if May 21 happens to disappoint believers.

“They never lose their faith. They’re never disappointed,” he said. “It reinforces their faith, strangely enough.”

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