Will the World End on May 21?

I vote no.

Yesterday I was working on campus at the Headhouse II garage, steam sterilizing soil and planting my rhizotron firs. During the afternoon an RV pulled up in the parking lane on Curtin near the Creamery. It had “Judgment Day, May 21, 2011” signs on it. A group of people stood beside it for an hour or two. They held signs, passed out literature, and talked to anyone who would listen.

They were inspired by the teaching of Harold Camping and his Family Radio ministry.

A Family Radio inspired RV.

While I watched them I felt a deep sadness. I think that Believers are called to look like fools at times, for we live to glorify God and hold values that cannot be measured tangibly. By my evaluation the Judgment Day, May 21 project has ample foolishness without any redeeming value. I do not agree with the “logic” used to pinpoint the date, and I see it as a distraction that does not point people toward the Gospel. And that is why I felt sad.

Many people laughed when they saw the RV and proselytizers (some discreetly, some not). Many pictures were taken (I can tell you my first reaction was I need to photograph this). At times hecklers taunted.

“Care to bet on that?”

“You guys are crazy.”

“Oh no! Is the sky falling?”

“Not on my watch, bro.”

The vanity of that last comment struck me. “Not on my watch, bro.” As if to say the end of the world would not come as long as this kid with the popped collar and frosted hair held it at bay.

After the RV had left I thought about the May 21 prediction. If I really believed that May 21 was Judgment Day what would I do? That thought has remained in my mind. It has made me think about the end times today (along with the fact that I am participating in a Bible study of the book or Revelation that started today). It seems to me that we are called to live with a constant sense of urgency and preparedness, but not a recklessness that comes with knowing the exact end date.


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