By Rheta Grimsely Johnson, Syndicated columnist
The Picayune Item
You have only a few days left to run up those credit-card balances, drain your bucket list, eat anything you want and tell your boss to jump in the lake, the fiery one.
The world ends at 6 p.m. on May 21, 2011, at least according to a Colorado-born, California-based, Baptist-raised, 89-year-old radio preacher who has done the math. There are now more than 2,000 billboards and bus-stop signs all over the country, especially in the region that s more prone to listen to such fateful thumping, the South. One would hope the preacher asked to be billed for the advertising campaign at the end of the month.
Believers in Harold Camping will be looking skyward on the 21st, convinced that anyone smart enough to pull in $120 million by talking Doomsday on the radio surely can pinpoint Rapture. May 21 will be 722,500 days from April 1, AD 33, which is when Camping says Christ was crucified. And the number 722,500 is significant because Camping got there by multiplying three other numbers, holy ones, together twice. Now is the time to slap your forehead. But, of course!
Obviously not shy about assigning specifics, Camping says about 200 million souls will rise, while the rest of us 6.5 billion will be left behind until Oct. 21, when we ll become crispy critters.
U.S. minister Ronald Weinland got similar attention when he said Judgment was coming by fall of 2008. Deadline averted, he s still around to blog end times, which he now predicts for May 27. 2012.
Either way, May 2011 or 2012, time to clean up your act. Or, go for broke. Take Osama bin Laden as an example of the latter philosophy. He wasn t hiding in some cave fearing capture. Heck, no. He was living in a mansion, lounging in a bed beside an oriental rug. We ve all seen the pictures. His followers might have been out there strapping themselves with bombs, but Osama wasn t roughing it. Nosiree, look at me.
If you know you re doomed, live it up.
Camping says he s blowing the trumpet and warning the people, as Ezekiel instructed. He s blowing something all right. But here s a man with millions in assets and a good education engineering, University of California at Berkeley so I m willing to bet he s living exceptionally well in the air-conditioned studio while his sheep hit the pavement and go about the job of spreading the manure.
I won t go through the litany of sins Camping says have led up to a May Doomsday. You ve heard them before. You may even be guilty of some of them.
I ll simply suggest a few more sins that may be the ultimate undoing of mankind. Stupidity. Preying on the stupid for personal gain. Greed. Shooting fish in a barrel.
Add those to the list.
I ll admit. I ve never been very good at math. I m not sure I could multiply the holy numbers 5, 10 and 17 together twice. Some are calling Camping a false prophet, but maybe they are just jealous of his math skills.
Either way, Rapture or not, around 5:45 on May 21 I ll be sitting by a creek bank, nursing something, and it won t be regrets.
Syndicated columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson lives near Iuka. Contact her at Iuka, MS 38852. To find out more about Rheta Grimsley Johnson and her books, visit www.rhetagrimsleyjohnsonbooks.com.