Friday, May 20, 2011

It's the end of the world?

For those of y'all not attuned to the rantings of the millennialists, you might just want to call it an early day and hang out in the backyard or the pool or the local watering hole because it just might be your last chance.

According to Harold Camping, an 89 year-old Christian fundamentalist out in Oakland, tomorrow is Judgment Day. According to his research, a series of major earthquakes will rock each meridian at 6pm local time. Thus will begin the so-called Rapture. Believers claim that the souls of the "saved" will be lifted off the earth and transported to heaven on that day. Supposedly the earth will be destroyed five months later on October 21, 2011.

Mr. Camping bases his bold prediction on a few numbers and phrases he found in the Bible over the course of five decades. He claims that the beginning of the Rapture was ordained to occur exactly 5,000 years after the Great Flood that wiped all but eight people. He claims that exactly 722,500 days will have passed between the day Jesus was crucified (April 1, 33) and May 21, 2011 and that the number is significant based upon his own brand of numerology.

5 x 10 x 17 x 5 x 10 x 17 = 722,500

According to Mr. Camping, the number 5 symbolizes atonement, the number 10 symbolizes completeness and the number 17 symbolizes heaven. Well, the numbers 5 and 17 can't be broken down any further, but the number 10 is not a prime number, its factors are 2 and 5. Oops. I guess I missed the significance of the number 2. But that's just a minor detail, I'm certain.

I've lost track of the number of times the predicted end of the world came and went. If Mr. Camping's wrong we still have the Mayan doomsday on December 21, 2012 -- unless of course the reason the Mayan calendar ended was the poor schlub drawing it up just got tired and went home.

For those of our brethren with little else to do but listen to doomsday prophets while watching infomercials all day (and night), an army of volunteers have quit their jobs to caravan across the country warning the unsuspecting that the world is coming to an end tomorrow.

It never ceases to amaze me the numbers of folks who get suckered in by snake-oil salesmen like Harold Camping. We have produced a generation (or more) that believes their fate is beyond their hands; a generation that looks for someone to blame for all of their misfortune. There are vast conspiracies afoot that affect every aspect of our lives. Secret societies sit behind the velvet curtain pulling the strings on the puppet show acted out in front of us. None of us bear any responsibility for our position in life.

These are the folks who sit on our juries. These are the folks who decide whether our clients walk out of the courtroom.

When the earthquakes don't occur; when the rapture doesn't begin; when the world continues on just as it has for years and years charlatans like Mr. Camping will have an explanation for why the destruction didn't happen. And I can guarantee it won't start off with "I was wrong..."

I'm pretty sure we'll be chatting again next week.

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