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Well, according to CTV News, and pretty much the rest of the freaking world, it appears that the end is not near, despite an apocalyptic prophecy from an American preacher who stated that the Rapture would occur on Saturday at 6 p.m.
But as the time of reckoning came and went in time zones across Asia and Europe, nothing much happened.
Many people on Facebook and Twitter could only ask: is this the way the world ends? Not with a bang, but a whimper?
Indeed, if the apocalypse was actually occurring on Saturday, it sure didn’t unfold the way that Harold Camping, an 89-year-old retired engineer-turned-oracle, said it would.
Camping, who also wrongly predicted the Rapture back in the 1990s, said there would be earthquakes so powerful they would break open graveyards and send Christian souls back to heaven.
There would be chaos, gnashing of teeth and sorrow for the non-believers.
In fact, the prophecy predicted that Jesus Christ would return to Earth at 6 p.m., but there was nary a sight of the Heavenly visitor in earth’s eastern time zones.
Should we call whatever happens on Saturday as the Apoca-lapse? The Apoca-limp?
Still, the followers of Camping’s ministry, called Family Radio Worldwide, were still likely holding out hope as the countdown continued in North America.
According to Family Radio’s website, Camping discovered a mathematical formula from the text of the Bible that allowed him to pinpoint Judgment Day.
The last time Camping made such a prediction was in 1994, although things didn’t quite go as he had expected.
However, Family Radio’s website maintains that “the accurate timeline of history was revealed to true believers” only a few years ago.
“On May 21, 2011 two events will occur,” the group predicts. “A great earthquake (that) will be so powerful it will throw open all graves. The remains of all the believers who have ever lived will be instantly transformed into glorified spiritual bodies to be forever with God.
“On the other hand the bodies of all unsaved people will be thrown out upon the ground to be shamed. The inhabitants who survive this terrible earthquake will exist in a world of horror and chaos beyond description.”
In an interview with The Associated Press last month, Camping said that there was “no possibility that it will not happen,” and blamed his 1994 snafu on a mathematical error.
Family Radio has mounted an extensive campaign to share its discovery in North America and overseas. Billboards have sprung up from Colorado to Dubai proclaiming that May 21 will bring the end of the world.
The ministry has also organized missions to Iraq and Turkey, where volunteers are asked to use their final days on Earth handing out leaflets. RV caravans are also spreading the word across North America — including one that will end its journey in Vancouver on Saturday.
Jokes prosper in time of prophecy
But the sensation has also provided fertile ground for jokes from those who don’t buy the fringe group’s belief.
Jon Stewart took aim at the radio preacher Wednesday night on “The Daily Show,” saying that “actuarially speaking he’s probably not that far off,” given Camping’s advanced age.
On Facebook, there’s now a “Post rapture looting” page that invites people “to pick up some sweet stereo equipment and maybe some new furniture for the mansion we’re going to squat in” once everyone is gone and God’s not looking.”
The comic strip “Doonesbury” has also poked fun at the prophecy, and countless “Rapture parties” have been scheduled to celebrate what organizers believe will be the continuation of life as we know it.
Thanks to The Associated Press for their background files