DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dark clouds hung in the sky and doomsday warnings spread like wildfire leading up to this supposed judgment weekend. But when the clock finally struck 6 p.m., this May 21, 2011, North Texas seemed, well, the same as usual, actually.
California radio preacher Harold Camping, 89, put up 2,000 billboards nationwide proclaiming the Apocalypse was to come Saturday. He used his Family Radio network as a pulpit, drawing thousands of followers nationwide who listened in on his 66 stations.
But for Zachary Moore, the impending rapture was as good a reason as any to celebrate.
“This is the life we have – let’s make the best of it,” he said.
At Cedar Hill State Park, his atheist organization, the DFW Coalition of Reason gathered for a No Rapture Party.
Guests even jokingly set aside a seat for the worldly possessions left behind by a Christian already called up to the heavens.
“The rapture stuff is completely ridiculous – and most people think so,” he said.
But, Camping and his followers took this all very seriously, investing millions of dollars in advertisements this year.
“The Bible Guarantees It,” read the billboards. The Bible, in fact, never specifies a date or time for the return of Christ. In the book of Mark, it reads, “No one knows, not even the angels in Heaven.”
But, the concept of rapture is a fundamental belief of orthodox Christianity tied into the resurrection.
“Christ will descend from heaven. Those who are alive are going to be transformed and called up – which is where the word ‘rapture’ actually comes from,” said Michael Svigel, of the Dallas Theological Seminary.
Svigel said any prediction of when it would occur would come from a fringe group. And, as funny as it may seem, there can be a very tragic side.
“There are people who believe in this who have invested time, money, reputation – and it’s very sad, it’s very sad when people are mislead,” Svigel said.