At 6 p.m. Saturday, a terrible earthquake will shake the world and mark the beginning of the biblical rapture, or day of judgement, said Harold Camping, founder of Family Radio, a Christian group that claims judgement day is to take place on May 21, 2011.
In an interview with New York Magazine, Camping asserts the world will end according to numbers and mathematical formulas he claims to be signs from the Almighty.
"God has given sooo much information in the Bible about this, and so many proofs, and so many signs, that we know it is absolutely going to happen without any question at all," Camping said in that article.
Religious leaders in Town and Country and Manchester, however, are skeptical that such a day is possible to predict. Saturday will be just another day, they say.
"Scripture says no one knows the time or season when it is going to happen--not even the son of God," said Shari Borders, a minister at Gateway Christian Church in Town and Country. "I've always thought that even if God planned on doing it Saturday, just the fact that someone is saying that is going to happen, he would change his mind."
This may be a reasonable assertion, taking into account Camping previously predicted the end of the world in September of 1994. Camping claimed then that he did not have all the information necessary, but now he does.
Borders said regardless of the day the world ends, her mission as a Christian should remain always the same.
"I believe God calls us to be Christian and live the way he wants us to, whether he comes again tomorrow or he waits another thousand years," Borders said. "What we are called to do will never change. Although he could choose to come at any point and we should live understanding that and not take that for granted, if he doesn't come in my lifetime, I am no worse off, because I lived the way he asked me to."
A member of the told Patch this is the widely accepted belief among most Christians.
Father Ambrose Bennet, of the Abbey Church, said Christ himself said that the hour of his final advent is God's secret, quoting the bible "But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
This belief is not only shared among most Christians, but other religions such as Islam.
"We do believe there will be a day of judgment and life after death," said Ghazala Hayat, chair of the Islamic Foundation Public Relations Committee. Hayat also handles media inquiries for the Mosque in Manchester. "Nobody knows when that day is; the Prophet said only God knows."
Hayat said she heard about the May 21 day of judgement on the radio early Thursday morning and could only smile at the claim. She said Muslims and Christians share a similar believe in regards to the day of judgement. In Islam, Christ will also return to earth for the final day, and there is no way to prepare but to follow the steps outlined previously by God.
"We believe that the messiah will come back," Hayat said. "Nobody knows when that day is, but all we can do from day one is to pray, do acts of charity and follow what God wants us to do."
Borders shared a similar message from the Christian standpoint.
"I just need to stay right with God and pray and hope that my family is ready as well," Borders said.
Will the world end Saturday evening? We will find out. Meanwhile, Camping has told reporters he does not think about that question.
"It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. I don’t even think about those kind of issues," he said in the New York Magazine article.
Father Bennet said Christians should not be distracted by beliefs such as Camping's.
"We believe in Christ's return in glory and are called to live in faith and watchfulness but not to become obsessed with bizarre speculations," Bennet said.