Doomsday billboards creating buzz

May 19, 2011 10:00:00 PM PDT
We are just about 24 hours away from the time when, according to a California preacher, Christians will experience the rapture, and the rest of the earth will begin a downhill slide into the end of times.

The prediction has caused a bit of a stir and more than a few jokes. But what do local religious leaders think about the issue?

Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping believes world destruction will begin at 6pm Saturday on the other side of the world and would progress to this side, nation by nation. It would hit here at 5pm our time.

According to Camping, the beginning of the end of the world is Saturday.

"Is he crazy?" one Houstonian said.

"I don't think tomorrow, but maybe 2010," another said.

Camping, 86, miscalculated his last "end of time" prediction for 1994. He bases his theory on a mathematical system to interpret clues in the Bible. Camping claims believers will experience rapture, while non believers would be tortured until the fiery end.

And he predicts it will begin with a massive earthquake, like in the movie 2012.

"If it comes Saturday, which is the day I think he's predicting, then that means God is a liar. That means someone knew and so it contradicts scripture," Pastor Lorenzo Ewing said.

Ewing with Fellowship of Love Church in Katy believes it's unlikely the world will come to an end Saturday because no one can predict that.

But, if it does, he would welcome it.

"I believe that heaven exists. If heaven exists, this is only temporal, this is passing," Ewing said. "For me to be in love with my house my car, it's only temporary."

But Camping launched a campaign about Saturday, putting up doomsday billboards and passing out flyers to spread the word.

And, as Rabbi Mark Miller from Congregation Beth Israel puts it, the message is spreading fear.

"To me, my preference is that people would look at religion as a source of inspiration, to do better in their lives and not to be afraid of things like this," Miller said.

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