He previously predicted that the world would end on Sept. 6, 1994, and he gathered a sizable group of fellow believers in the Veterans Memorial Building in Alameda, California, to celebrate The End.
Maybe you heard? It didn't end.
Camping now says his math was off, but he's got that corrected ... and it goes like this: (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500. "Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared."
Math was not our strong subject in school, though we guess the arbitrariness of that "squared" function makes as much sense as pawing through the innards of doves to divine The End of Times. Camping's wigginess, though, is just plain entertaining:
"Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.," he began. "Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that's 1,978 years."
Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days -- the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year.
Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500....
"Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story," Camping said. "It's the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you're completely saved.
"I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that," Camping said.
There's a good chance he actually did fall off that chair. And landed on his head.
People who keep track of these things say there have been at least 220 predictions of The End of the World. Recently, there were two predictions for 2004 and three for 2007. Some prophets, like Jerry Falwell, took the wise dodge of vagueness: "Soon," saith these brethren. "Soon," it turns out, is completely relative. It proved so during the very first prediction of The End in 44 A.D., when a cat named Theudas took 400 people into the desert to await divine transport. Instead, Theudas received transfer via Roman soldiers, who took his head off.
Prophets of The End get so little respect! But among Mr. Camping's followers in the Bay Area of California, along about May 20, 2010, I betcha there'll be some fabulous yard sales.
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