People Believing In Strange Things
The New York Times front page story on the people who believe in Harold Camping’s prophecy about the return of Jesus on May 21 and the end of the world on October 21, points out that the children of these doomsayers are somewhat confused by their parent’s strange beliefs.
The idea of knowing doomsday’s arrival by interpreting or unlocking the secrets of sacred text has been around for a while.
The Times has a second story about a New Yorker who gathered about a dozen believers to prepare for the end of the world in 1925.
The United States has quite a history of biblical Doomsday prophets. A very notable occurrence happened in the 1840’s and it was led by a farmer, William Miller. The prophecies of Daniel would be fulfilled, to be followed by the second coming or advent of Christ and the destruction of the world would occur in 1843 according to Miller who had “figured out” the date of the rapture by careful biblical study.
Much like today, incredibly, thousands of people became convinced this would happen. Miller’s followers were called “Millerites,” and they abandoned their homes and possessions, and prepared for the end. When this did not occur, the date of the end was shifted to 1844, which of course did not happen either.
Ignorance, a lack of education, a need to believe, hard times and inherent stupidity are the ingredients necessary for the strange religious beliefs of doomsday cults. Harold Camping, the ancient, decrepit leader of the May 21 scenario, previously incorrectly predicted the end of the world would happen in 1994. You would think his followers would have learned. No such luck. He is just the latest in a very long line of apocalyptics. The ignorant, misguided people who are following him are in for a surprise.
Camping is wrong about the end of the world.
True, Camping might die on May 21 or sometime within his rapture/end of world prediction, but most of the world’s nearly seven billion inhabitants will still be here for better or worse.
The end of the world may happen sooner than we expect.
Our sun could supernova in less than the 5 billion years that is theorized by scientists.
We may annihilate ourselves with nuclear weapons or humans will systematically continue to overpopulate the world and incrementally destroy our natural resources. But “the end” is not happening on May 21 or any other day that some religious nutcase predicts.
How can I be sure?
Let’s look at the scorecard:
Fulfilled biblical prophecies about the end of the world: 0
Unfulfilled biblical prophecies about the end of the world: Thousands (see here for a small sample of nuttiness.)