I began seeing those doomsday billboards up along the Ike and Edens expressways a few months back. Besides the date, May 21, 2011 and the Judgement Day is Coming warning written on them I couldn't make out any thing else on them, mainly because in Chicago traffic one needs to pay attention to the stop-and-go flow.
I thought it might just be another fundamentalist special on the need to repent, a general warning that Judgement was eventually coming sometime soon and advertising some huckster's 3 hour fire and brimstone All-State Arena spectacular.
It was only later that I learned the billboards were actually claiming to indicate the endtimes. On May 21 2011 at 1800 eastern the Chosen shall be raptured as earthquakes strike every time zone.
The best response to this claim was from Richard Dawkins. Dawkins told Washington Post On Faith editor Sally Quinn, "Why is a serious newspaper like the Washington Post giving space to a raving loon?"
Even though Camping violates one of the established Apocalypse principles, that the Rapture Ready must be told the endtimes is near but just far enough away from their lifetimes as to allow them to be continually sold on the false beliefs of the bible, it doesn't matter.
The failure of the May 21, 2011 End of the World will be forgotten as easily as Camping's 1994 End of the World predicition and every other fundamentalist nutjob's Apocalypse claim.
In his last book, A Demon Haunted World, Carl Sagan wrote about a conversation he had with the Dali Lama:
In theological discussions with religious leaders, I often ask what their response would be if a central tenet of their faith were disproved by science. When I put this question to the current, 14th, Dalai Lama, he unhesitatingly replied as no conservative or fundamentalist religious leaders do: in such a case, he said, Tibetan Buddhism would have to change.So, we now have 2000 years without a Second Coming. It's really time the so-called christians think about what they believe and why they believe it.
Even I asked, if its a really central tenet, like (I searched for an example) reincarnation?
Even then, he answered. However, he added with a twinkle, its going to be hard to disprove reincarnation.