Doomsday prediction boosts congregation numbers

The prediction of the end of the world helping churches!

If you’re reading this after 6pm Saturday then you’re either one of the heathens unfit for Rapture or the world is having a bellyful of laughs at Harold Camping’s expense.  I’m going to take a chance here (since this article is written a day before the world as we know it is due to spiral to its demise) and say that if you don’t see the buried rising into the air, it is more than likely your bills are still due and you still have to drag yourself out of bed on Monday to head to work.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Camping, he is an 89-year-old preacher who has been spreading his doomsday message far and wide.  He is the president of Family Radio, a California-based religious broadcasting network founded in the 1950s funded entirely by listener donations.  Currently Family Radio owns at least 66 stations in the US alone.  Family Radio also has outlets in South Africa, Russia and Turkey.  The network airs programmes in 48 languages.
Camping claims to have been studying the Bible for over 70 years and further claims he has been able to decode hidden predictions with the text.  He believes his mathematical system is spot on as it relates to the end of the world. He says the world will end on 21 May, 2011 because that will be 722,500 days from 1 April AD33, which he believes was the day of the Crucifixion. The figure of 722,500 is important because you get it by multiplying three holy numbers (five, 10 and 17) together twice.
Camping gets points for bravery because he was able to mobilize a huge following despite the fact that he has once before claimed the world will end.  In 1992, Camping claimed his flawless calculations pointed to September 6, 1994 as the second coming of Christ.  Hundreds of his listeners gathered at an auditorium in Alameda, California looking forward to the end of the world.  He later admitted he miscalculated and last year set May 21, 2011 as the new date for the Rapture (when the faithful will be swept up from earth into heaven, thus avoiding the seven plagues that herald the end of the world) and all non-believers will be destroyed along with the entire earth in fire and brimstone five months later on October 21.
This time around he has gotten scores of people to quit their jobs and become his ambassadors to spread the message.  Additionally, listener support and donation increased this time around to over US$120m which went into launching a high-profile Armageddon publicity campaign, making it almost impossible to ignore.  He claims that only around 200 million people (around 2 percent of the world population) will rise to Heaven during the Rapture.
There have always been apocalyptical prophesies throughout history during economic and political instabilities.  These chaotic times have brought about certain cult movements.
Around the world people have donated their life savings to Family Radio or are preparing for “the end” in one way or another.  Some have organized end of the world themed parties while others have decided to have one last hoorah before the sun sets on their existence.  In St Lucia it’s not different.
The STAR has gotten reports of people giving away personal belongings.  In one instance, we heard of a particular individual giving away several motor vehicles to anyone who would accept.  A colleague related gleefully an experience on a bus where a man told passengers he’s going to withdraw the entire contents of his bank account to “eat and drink before he meet his maker.”
In other instances, some churches have recorded a slight increase in attendance in the days preceding the apocalyptical date.  One religious leader joked with the STAR that all those who want to blow their cash should send some in the direction of the church so that it can be used for much needed “post-apocalyptical” projects.
Meanwhile, Pastor Tim Robinson of Streams of Power Tabernacle has been sharing his thoughts on Campings teachings.
“The scripture says no man knows the day or the hour.  Every individual needs to ensure their heart is right with the Lord all the time.  Tomorrow is never guaranteed.  Whether we make it past today or tomorrow no one knows.  There’s nothing to worry or panic about once your heart is right the Lord,” he said.
Father Jason Biscette of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception laughed heartily when asked to comment on Camping’s philosophies.  He said, “The Catholic Church stands by the Bible.  Mathew says no one shall know the time nor the hour of the coming of the Lord.  We encourage people to be ready at anytime.  Once you live your life in a manner that is pleasing to God, then there is nothing to fear.”
Biscette was concerned about those who subscribe to Camping’s beliefs and urged the public to be cautious of so-called prophets.                  “Remember Jesus said there will be wolves in sheep clothing.  We had a recent self proclaimed prophet on island.  We need to vigilant at all times for persons looking to exploit the weakness of others.  Once you abide by the teachings of the Bible then there will be no need to entertain the ramblings of naysayers or false prophets.”
So what are your end of the world plans?  I can only imagine the crazy things that may come to mind.  I would be rather petrified (but entertained) if I saw someone streaking through Castries on my way to the market this morning.
If the apocalypse is not today, I do feel for those who blew their lives and savings on an old man’s egocentric ranting.

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