Oakland minister Harold Camping has again gone on public record with a specific date for the end of the world. This time, according to Camping and his Family Radio
worldwide extension, the end of humanity will occur on Saturday, May 21 when a massive earthquake will strike New Zealand.
Only Christians who have fully accepted Jesus Christ as their savior will be gently plucked from the earth and deposited into heaven, an event known as "the rapture." Everyone else is out of luck.
Camping is so confident of his doomsday prediction that he has taken out more than 5,500 billboard advertisements across every populated continent to alert everyone on our coming demise.
But not everyone is convinced. The news of the pending end of humanity has caught the attention of atheist groups nationwide, and some have decided to turn the event, or non-event as it may be, into an excuse to throw a party.
"We're confident we'll still be here," Larry Hicok
, the California director of the American Atheists, told the San Francisco Chronicle
. "But if it does happen, we wanted a front-row seat."
In Seattle, atheists have planned a "rapture party" with a fund-raising and awareness hook.
"This is a good reminder that 'godless heathens' may indeed have souls, or at least great compassion," Frances Dinger wrote in a letter
to the Seattle Times
. "If the Rapture comes, the funds generated at the party will go toward 'Rapture relief.' If no one is raptured, the funds will be donated to Camp Quest, a summer camp that instructs children in critical thinking and fosters an interest in science."
Ideas for "rapture party" planners have also been circulating on the Internet
. Among the party features: a multi-layer dip, representative of each level of hell; an assortment of devils food cake; deviled eggs; hiring trumpet players to blast the rapturous wail; 666 themes and devilish attire.
In addition to rapture parties, a Facebook page has been created, titled the "post rapture looting" and has already drawn more than 175,000 people who plan on attending the event, the Associated Press reported