Do you believe the world will end on May 21st?
A final day judgment for mankind is well-established tenet of several major religions. But now one group believes judgment day may be very soon at hand; as soon as May 21st.
"We're warning the people that judgment day is upon us," says Paul Pisano.
On May 21, 2011, many people say everything they know will change forever.
"It's what we've been waiting for; it's what every supposed Christian has been waiting for, for God to return again," said Barbara Pisano.
In chapters and verse throughout the bible, Judgment Day is described as the day Jesus Christ will return to Earth and pass his judgment on humankind.
Believers in the idea say 200-million people will be instantly saved and sent directly to Heaven.
Everyone else, they say, will suffer great destruction, enduring Hell on Earth for 5-months, after which civilization will be completely wiped out.
For the Pisano family, busy preparing at home in South Philadelphia, they are hopeful God will choose them among the righteous.
"I'm going to be anxious 'am I one of the ones going?' I don't know," says Barbara.
The idea that Judgment Day is this May 21st first gained national attention with the teachings of Harold Camping of Family Radio.com.
He and others say the date came straight from the Bible itself and dates back to God warning Noah about the "great flood" in 4990 BC.
"You have to be willing to be somewhat open-minded and see how these dates are coming about," says Paul Pisano. "They are coming from the Bible.
But Todd Williams, President of the Philadelphia Biblical University, says the Bible DOES NOT give a specific date, and the notion that Judgment Day is days away is nothing more than hysteria.
"Jesus said himself, no one knows the day or the hour," said Todd Williams, PhD. "To predict a day and to predict an hour is taking an awful lot of liberties with the text."
Williams says "end of the world" dates have come and gone numerous times and usually tie into grave events taking place around the globe; now earthquakes, and floods.
"I think the tendency then is for people to read their Bible through the lens of current events or the newspaper," says Dr. Williams. "I think that that's always problematic."
The Pisano's know their belief isn't widely held, nor is it popular, but they continue to spread the message despite the naysayers. And, they aren't making plans past the 21st.
"When you believe something so strongly it's going to happen, so you can't think to the 22nd, my brain can't go past that date," said Barbara Pisano.
Despite his disbelief in the date, Williams believes those preparing for judgment day are well-intentioned people who want others to think about how faith can fit into their lives.
He suggests putting aside fears, anxieties and individual experiences when reading between the Bible's many lines.
"Try to read it as cleanly as you can," Dr. Williams said.
As many of those who believe May 21st as Judgment Day site the Bible as proof, many others have pointed out proof to the contrary on Facebook that Dr. Williams pointed out as well.
Matthew 24:26, "But concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only."
Many Action News viewers responded to our poll question: Do you believe the world will end on May 21st? 95% of voters said "No", while 4.5% of voters said "Yes".
religion, pennsylvania, philadelphia, south philadelphia, special reports, brian taff
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