I’m With Stupid: Todd Hartley | AspenTimes.com

I’m With Stupid: Todd Hartley

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

Repent, people! The end is near, and this time we really, really mean it even more than we did the last time. We’re totally serious this time. The world is going to start to end on May 21, 2011, guaranteed, so you’d better be ready.

I know we previously claimed that the world was going to end some time in 970, 1000, 1284, 1504, 1524, 1533, 1648, 1666, 1794, 1814, 1836, 1843, 1844, 1847, 1874, 1881, 1910, 1914 or 1919, but back then we didn’t have the technology we have now, so you can understand how we might have gotten a little confused. They were honest mistakes. Now that we’re using computers instead of abaci for our calculations we’re sure we won’t screw up like that again.

We also freely acknowledge that some of the more recent doomsday predictions, which included 1967, 1969, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2008, were perhaps a little off base, but we hope you took those predictions with a grain of salt. After all, consider who was doing the predicting: Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Sun Myung Moon, David Koresh, the “John 3:16” guy and the Heaven’s Gate folks, among others, so they weren’t exactly the most trustworthy doomsayers.

This time is different, though. This time, the end is being predicted by Harold Camping, the driving force behind Family Radio, a Christian broadcasting network based in Oakland, Calif., that has 66 stations in the U.S. and is translated via the Internet and other methods into 61 languages.

Of course, Camping first predicted that the world was going to start to end on Sept. 6, 1994, but that was before a few irrefutable indicators of the end times – the gay pride movement being one of the most notable – really came to the fore. This time, with his calculations completed and all the signs in place, Camping is sure he’s right.

“I know it’s absolutely true,” said the 89-year-old radio host, “because the Bible is always absolutely true.”

Camping’s prediction is based in part on a Bible passage that reads “one day with the Lord as a thousand years.” God gave Noah seven days’ warning before starting the flood, and 2011 is exactly 7,000 years after the flood, thus God has “given mankind a wonderful proof that Judgment Day will occur in the year 2011.”

There’s another “tremendous proof” that involves shekels and the numbers 3, 5, 10, 17 and 23, but to follow Camping’s explanation, you’d pretty much have to be a delusional person of, say, 89 years or so.

Somehow, though, in Camping’s mind it all makes sense. So sure is he of his prediction, in fact, that he’s managed to recruit a bunch of “ambassadors” who’ve left their families and jobs behind to drive around the country in caravans of RVs to spread the “awesome news” of the coming apocalypse.

According to Camping, on May 21, people who will be saved will be raptured up to heaven while everyone else endures 153 days of death and horror before the world officially ends on Oct. 21. You’ve got to be mighty sure of which fate awaits you to consider that “awesome news,” but I can only assume Camping and his followers have no concerns.

Now, some of you might consider ditching your family to drive around the country with a bunch of strangers the sort of thing that would disqualify you from the rapture, but that’s because you’re forgetting Ezekiel 33. In that Bible passage, as you’re no doubt aware, God tells us that if we see the “sword coming against the land,” and we don’t “blow the trumpet to warn the people,” their blood will be on our hands. These ambassadors have seen the sword, so their primary job now is to blow the trumpet.

There exists the slightest possibility – and I want to emphasize just how slight a possibility it is – that Camping, like every other end-of-the-world predictor before him, could be wrong, and his followers might find themselves in a bit of a tough spot on May 22 when they’re still here with no jobs and families that aren’t particularly pleased with them. We’re not saying that’s going to happen, but it might.

In that case, you’ll be granted another chance to repent and save yourself, because you can rest assured that if the world doesn’t end in 2011, it surely will in 2012. That much is certain, guaranteed.