Atheists Offer May 21 Doomsdayers a May 22 Party

One evangelist's doomsday prediction has the world ending on Saturday, May 21. His followers and his radio network are running hundreds of billboards across the country, extolling that the apocalypse is nigh.

If it doesn't happen, though, there's an Oakland-based atheist's group ready to help disappointed/unfulfilled believers with a party on Sunday. They've also raised their own counter-billboards to point at what they see as "nonsense."

The American Atheists' 68-foot billboard near the Bay Bridge in San Francisco reads: The Rapture: You Know It's Nonsense: 2000 Years of "Any Day Now!" Similar signs are in Houston, Wichita, Kan., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The party goes down May 21-22 -- dates chosen specifically to highlight the "insanity" of this event, according to Larry Hicock, California Director of American Atheists.

There's also societal danger involved when people sell their belongings or liquidate their assets to support apocalyptic crusades, like Howard Camping's at Family Radio Network -- not to mention being the world's ultimate downer.

"We feel that Camping's well-intentioned rapture campaign is indicative of the problems with religion," Larry Hicock, California Director of American Atheists, told NBC Bay Area in an email.

"Instead of focusing on how to solve the many social, political, economic and environmental problems we face today, he appeals to fear and a sense of defeatism. Life is about living, not about having an eternity of bliss in an imaginary afterlife for which there is no evidence."

Should things go like they always do, Mr Hicock's group will have another media blitz to counter on Dec. 21, 2012, too.

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