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At the age of ten life seems simple, it's all about running jumping and climbing trees. By eighteen you have discovered the opposite sex, alcohol and nightclubs. By twenty five you are your own person, confident and full of life. Suddenly you hit thirty. You find yourself questioning your choices from the years that have past, feeling slightly left on the shelf, wondering where your life is heading, juggling family and friends and faced with ever aging parents. You are not alone, welcome to 30 years and countinga sideways look at life in your thirties.

It is the end of the world as we know it. Maybe not.

This weekend Maz went away with her work which meant that I got to spend three days on my own. Not a problem and in truth it was nice to get a little me time. However as luck would have it Saturday was marked by some to be the end of the world. Typical. Which meant had the four horsemen of the apocalypse rode into town they would have found me sitting in my pants, drinking a Guinness and playing Grand theft auto on the Xbox 360. Could be worse I guess.

If you haven’t heard the story it went something like this; Harold Camping, 89, an American (as always) evangelical broadcaster predicted that Jesus Christ would return to earth on Saturday the 21st of May 2011 and true believers would be swept up, or "raptured", to heaven. He has used broadcasts and billboards to publicise his ideas.

Personally I wasn’t worried about the whole thing. I am an atheist and as such no particular belief system has any meaning on my life. Besides Mr Camping has predicted an apocalypse once before in 1994, though followers now say that only referred to an intermediary stage (kind of a Rapture beta test I guess) and nothing happened then either. My only concern was that the Rapture was pencilled in for 6pm which would mean that I would miss Doctor Who at 6:45pm. Bummer.

Naturally the web went crazy flooding social media sites with posts from both believers and non-believers alike. Amongst the craziness a few stories caught my eye. Firstly the excellent cartoon from the Oatmeal called How God is managing the 2011 rapture. Secondly I also loved the idea of the Atheists in Tacoma, Washington, who had a post rapture party and called their celebration "countdown to back-pedalling".

I also like the brilliance of an atheist and entrepreneur from New Hampshire, Bart Centre, who enjoyed a boost in business for Eternal Earth-bound Pets, which he set up to look after the pets of those who believed they would be raptured. He has gained more than 250 clients who were paying him up to $135 (£83) to have their pets picked up and cared for after the rapture. They would be disappointed twice, he told the Wall Street Journal. "Once because they weren't raptured and again because I don't do refunds."

Come Sunday then believers were somewhat perplexed after poor old Harold’s prediction failed. Some believers expressed bewilderment or said it was a test from God of their faith, after the day passed without event. Meanwhile, the evangelist at the centre of the claim, Harold Camping, has not been seen since before the deadline. Funny that.

I did feel kind of sorry for a few people. Like Robert Fitzpatrick, a retired transportation agency worker in New York, who said he had spent more than $140,000 (£85,000) of his savings on advertisements in the run-up to publicise the prediction. After 1800 passed and nothing had happened, he said: "I do not understand why... I do not understand why nothing has happened. I can't tell you what I feel right now. Obviously, I haven't understood it correctly because we're still here." Or Mr Bauer, a tractor-trailer driver, who took the week off work unpaid for the voyage to the other side who said "I was hoping for it because I think heaven would be a lot better than this Earth." Countless other stories of kids whose parents spent their college savings funds and families who sold their homes have also since emerged.

While it is easy to poke and make fun at such people it is stories like this that really fire me up. I have no particular axe to grind with any one religion however I do have the problem when a faith presents itself to it’s followers as truth when in fact it is nothing more than an idea or theory. The default answer for science is “we don’t know for sure but this what we think…” why can’t religious leaders do the same and say “here is our ideas but we could be wrong of course”. instead we get idiots like Mr Camping saying he knows "without any shadow of a doubt" that "judgement day" is arriving and “there is no Plan B" while all time ruining lives in the process.

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