"That date has not one stitch of biblical authority," Camping says from the Oakland office where he runs Family Radio, an evangelical station that reaches listeners around the world. "It's like a fairy tale."
The Mayans were telling a fairy tale.
The article gets even funnier after that.
Camping, 88, has scrutinized the Bible for almost 70 years and says he has developed a mathematical system to interpret prophecies hidden within the Good Book. One night a few years ago, Camping, a civil engineer by trade, crunched the numbers and was stunned at what he'd found: The world will end May 21, 2011.
This is not the first time Camping has made a bold prediction about Judgment Day.
On Sept. 6, 1994, dozens of Camping's believers gathered inside Alameda's Veterans Memorial Building to await the return of Christ, an event Camping had promised for two years. Followers dressed children in their Sunday best and held Bibles open-faced toward heaven.
When the earth failed to end, Camping attributed it to an error in his mathematics. Fortunately for Camping, his followers were completely unshaken by his calculatory peccadilloes and have even more conviction that he is right this time.
"Evidently, he was wrong," [a follower] allowed, "but this time it is going to happen. There was some doubt last time, but we didn't have any proofs. This time we do."
(Did anyone consider that maybe it was Jesus who miscalculated the date last time? Maybe he showed up six hours later, but everybody had already gone home. Then he was too embarrassed to say anything about it.)
I don't mean to come down too hard on any one nut in this fruitcake of a world, but ... Does this guy actually build bridges and things? Now that scares me.
... No, really. I must have missed something. Maybe this was from The Onion.