Judgment Day: Radio evangelist predicts Rapture

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- According to billboards all over the country, Judgment Day is Saturday and the world as we know it will end, culminating in the deaths of all non-believers in five months.

According to Family Radio Worldwide, "the Bible guarantees it."

Harold Camping, the president of Family Radio, is the leader of Project Caravan, a Christian group that's dedicated to spreading the word about the end of the world. Many of these believers have quit their jobs and given up everything to do this.

"I know it's absolutely true because the Bible is always absolutely true," Camping, 89, told CNN.

His followers claim that 200 million people around the world will be raptured or swept to heaven to meet their savior on Saturday. The rest of the world and the remaining 97 percent of it population will be destroyed in five months of natural disasters, starting with earthquakes. The first earthquake is supposed happen Saturday at 3 p.m. Arizona time.

Skeptics are somewhat less than convinced.

This is not the first time Camping has predicted the end of the world. He first said it would happen on Sept. 4, 1994. That time, he apparently misread the obscure Bible codes that supposedly give us the exact date of the Rapture.

The equation Camping used to come up with his second date for the Rapture -- May 21, 2011 -- is complex. He says it's all based on passages in the Bible. There are several components, but basically, camping and his followers believe the Bible says that one day is equal to 1,000 years and that the Rapture will take place seven days -- 7,000 years -- after the Biblical flood for which Noah built his ark.

"Amazingly, May 21, 2011, is the 17th day of the second month of the biblical calendar of our day. Remember, the flood waters also began on the 17th day of the second month, in the year 4990 B.C," Camping explained.

At least one expert, an earthquake specialist, disagrees -- strongly -- with Camping.

"If in the past they have predicted the end of the world, and the end of the world hasn't arrive since we are still talking today, it sounds like this prediction have absolutely no scientific value," Professor Emile Okal, a leading scientist at Northwestern University's Department of Geological Sciences, told a Skokie, Ill. news website.

"You can always predict that there will be an earthquake tomorrow. But if you don't tell me where and how big, it's tantamount to saying, 'It's going to rain somewhere tomorrow,' " said Okal, who has 200 journal articles about geology and geologic events, including seismology, volcanic activities and tsunamis, to his credit.

Valley residents are mixed.

"If it's really the end of the world, I'm ready," said one man. "If the world is going to end, it's going to end."

A Phoenix woman said she doesn't believe anybody can foretell Judgment Day, a position many share.

"I believe in the Bible, and it says in the Bible that we won't know the time or the day," she explained to 3TV's Javier Soto. "I believe that we won't be able to predict it."

With science and faith going head to head, only time will tell who is actually right.

What do you believe?