Harold Camping has announced that this new date corrects his previous incorrect prediction that the world would end in 1994. He acknowledges that the previous prediction was based on a "mathematical error." The new prediction has, however, a much more fundamental theological basis:
The number 5, Camping concluded, equals "atonement." Ten is "completeness." Seventeen means "heaven."
"Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.," he began. "Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that's 1,978 years." Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days - the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year. Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500.
Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500. Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.
"Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story," Camping said. "It's the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you're completely saved. "I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that," Camping said.
Squared, mind you. How can you argue with such mathematical precision? And please ignore the shape of his head in the shadow...