According to Camping, who has spent the great majority of his 88 years of life studying the Bible, the rapture will be May 21, 2011. According to this article, by Justin Berton at the San Francisco Chronicle, Camping has a large following, even though his previous eschatological prediction failed when the end of the world did not come on September 6, 1994.
Camping pores over scripture attempting to find a hidden meaning in the numbers found there. This reminds me of the brilliant episode of The Simpsons, "Thank God It's Doomsday",
where Homer does his own predictive calculation for the end of the world, working out random selections from the Bible on a chalkboard until he's convinced he knows when the rapture is coming.
It makes me ill to see people still falling for this garbage. I lived with the "end of the world" mentality as a Jehovah's Witness. It's a mindfuck. You put your life on hold for a date. You don't deal with your health or your life mindfully because, well, "the end" is just around the corner, so why bother? But I digress.
How does Camping justify his beliefs? Like all good fundamentalists he feels he has God's backing.
"We are now translated into 48 languages and have been transmitting into China on an AM station without getting jammed once," Camping said. "How can that happen without God's mercy?""
In the words of Homer Simpson: "God loves you. He's gonna KILL you!"