Doomsday and Apocalypse averted – for now. Left inset: DC Comics villain Doomsday. Right inset: Marvel Comics villain Apocalypse.(Photo Credit: CC BY/JD Hancock/Flickr)

Doomsday and apocalypse predictions have existed for as long as humankind has had religion to gently (or not so gently) suggest how to think and behave. Count May 21, 2011, as yet another shovelful into the celestial brimstone bin. WFMY 2 News in Greensboro, N.C., reports that billboards are heralding the grand day of judgment.

‘The Bible guarantees it’

“Cry mightily unto God,” admonish billboards advertising a May 21, 2011, Judgment Day broadcast by Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio network founder Harold Camping. The broadcast is scheduled to air May 21 from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Family Radio affiliates, of which there are more than 150 across the U.S.

Camping believes May 21, 2011, will be the Rapture, when true Christians are gathered together in the heavens to meet with Jesus Christ. Five months later on October 21, 2011, Camping believes God will destroy the Earth and the universe entirely. The last time Camping predicted these events would kick off was in September of 1994.

Doomsday predictions are not an exact science

Like many before and many who will come after him, Harold Camping has attempted to use Biblical metaphor to ascertain the end times. Seven days becomes seven millennia, and through a series of mathematical calculations that seem to change depending upon who is solving for x, doomsday is “pinpointed.” Based upon the Hebrew calendar, Camping figured because May 21, 2011, was 7,000 years (7 “days”) after God told Noah global judgment would occur, Judgement Day is nigh.

“The Bible has given us absolute proof that the year 2011 is the end of the world during the Day of Judgment, which will come on the last day of the Day of Judgment,” says Camping on

Four memorable doomsday prediction failures, Caucasian blend

For your doomsday pleasure, here are four of many notable apocalypse reservations that were broken:

The Prophet Hen of Leeds, 1806

The English town of Leeds supposedly had a hen in 1806 that began laying eggs bearing the phrase “Christ is coming.” Closer inspection of the egg-laying process bucked this catastrophe.

The Millerites, April 23, 1843

New England farmer William Miller believed the Bible indicated the world would end between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844. With his followers the Millerites, he ended up deciding upon April 23, 1843. Many followers sold their worldly possessions for naught. Some went on to found the Seventh Day Adventists.

Halley’s Comet, 1910

Astronomers in 1881 determined that Earth would pass through the cyanogen-laden tail of Halley’s comet in 1910. Stories about mass extinction via poison gas made the front page of the New York Times, but by 1910, scientists knew better.

Heaven’s Gate, 1997

In a tragic Jonestown-style mass suicide, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult gave away their lives in 1997. The appearance of the Hale-Bopp comet was interpreted as the coming of an alien spaceship. Heaven’s Gate leader Marshall Applewhite assured his followers that the only way to get on board for paradise was to leave their earthly bodies behind.

WFMY News 2:
Wikipedia entry for Harold Camping:

Doomsday and apocalypse (Beware: Contains scripture)

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