Come May 21, if a Christian radio broadcaster is to be believed, the end of world as we know it will be upon us.
The rapture, says Harold Camping, is near. This time, despite his previous prediction of 1994 being the "end of times," he says he now really, really, really means it.
Don't count longtime University of Denver Religious Studies Professor Carl Raschke as among those who are all that impressed.
"Absolutely nothing new," he said. "I've seen this cycle so many times in my lifetime, it's like, 'OK, so here it goes again.'"
March 23, 1843: The prognosticator was a man by the name of William Miller.
Oct. 22, 1844: Apparently William Miller made an "oops" the first time, so this was his "do-over."
Dec. 17, 1919: Someone said the alignment of the planets was going to make the sun explode.
Sept. 6, 1994: Camping makes a bold prediction and offers this date. Oops.
Now he "re-do" of May 21, 2011.
Camping arrived at the number by looking at the Bible. He says he has figured out the year of the Biblical flood to be 4990 BC. He also says he's figured out that God gave the world 7,000 years after that (there's a much longer explanation for this, but we figure if you were that interested, you would have gone to his website by now).
Add 7,000 years to 4990 BC, and you will arrive at 2011 (skip the non-existent year zero).
May 21, 2011, is simply the Biblical anniversary of the Great Flood, he says.
Of course, should he be wrong, he may just choose another date. Raschke says history is filled with those sorts of prognosticators as well.
"It's like, 'I wasn't wrong, I just got the calculations wrong.' And this is basically what's always happened," he said. "The genre of the apocalypse - it sells in this country."
Now sing it those REM lyrics with me: "Six o'clock. TV hour. Don't get caught in a foreign tower. Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself turn."
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)