I adore my mother in law. I do. I think she’s a terrific lady, and I quite like spending time with her. But DAMMIT! She forms her opinions based more on magical thinking and less on facts, and it drives. Me. Nuts. WE ARE NOT IN THE BLASTED BIBLICAL “END TIMES”!
I swear, you people need to find something else to go on about. I am SO not kidding. What IS it with the whole “end times” thing? I google’d “end times”… 84MILLION hits! I’m sure there are a lot of duplications in there, but still! Holy crap! I then google’d “rapture”…15million. “Second coming” yields 25 million.
Okay. Deep breath. I want you to listen to me very closely. Okay? You need to stop. People have been predicting the end of the world since there have been village squares. The likelihood of anyone actually getting it right is now more remote than the chances of my beloved New York Knicks winning the NBA Championship come June of 2009. It just isn’t going to happen. Let’s look at a few facts.
In 30 AD, Jesus himself predicted the “end times” in the lifetime of his contemporaries. This cannot be a surprise. If any of you have actually bothered to read the Torah, it would be perfectly clear that by claiming himself to be “the chosen one,” son of God, Jesus is predicting the end of the world. That’s what happens. The world ends, game over, and God’s chosen people (guess what? Jews, not Christians) are all swept up, and EVERYone else (including Christians, sorry, you’re not Jewish) will be punished and left to inherit the earth, but won’t be going anywhere near heaven. Now you tell me. How’d that work out?
Okay, yes, I get it, you’re not convinced. Let’s go further. Now that we’ve totally revamped the Torah into the Bible, added an entire new book and all and reworded it to mean what Jesus REALLY meant (because of course, he isn’t going to abandon all his followers), and look at some Christian “end time” prophecies.
This site goes on for quite some time, so I’m just going to c&p a few of them and you can read the rest at your leisure.
ca. 2800 BC According to Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts (1979), an Assyrian clay tablet dating to approximately 2800 BC was unearthed bearing the words “Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.” This is one of the earliest examples of the perception of moral decay in society being interpreted as a sign of the imminent end.
Okay, I know that one isn’t a “Christian” revelation, being 2800 years before Christ was even born….but if nothing else, it should hammer home the idea that people have been saying the world is ending for a long, LONG time.
ca. 70 The Essenes, a sect of Jewish ascetics with apocalyptic beliefs, may have seen the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 66-70 as the final end-time battle. (Source: PBS Frontline special Apocalypse!) 2nd Century The Montanists believed that Christ would come again within their lifetimes and establish a new Jerusalem at Pepuza, in the land of Phrygia. Montanism was perhaps the first bona fide Christian doomsday cult. It was founded ca. 156 AD by the tongues-speaking prophet Montanus and two followers, Priscilla and Maximilla. Despite the failure of Jesus to return, the cult lasted for several centuries. Tertullian, who once said “I believe it just because it is unbelievable” (a true skeptic if ever there was one!), was perhaps the most renowned Montanist. (Gould p.43-44) 247 Rome celebrated its thousandth anniversary this year. At the same time, the Roman government dramatically increased its persecution of Christians, so much so that many Christians believed that the End had arrived. (Source: PBS Frontline special Apocalypse!) 365 Hilary of Poitiers predicted the world would end in 365. (Source: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance)
There are many stories of apocalyptic paranoia around the year 1000. For example, legend has it that a “panic terror” gripped Europe in the years and months before this date. However, scholars disagree on which stories are genuine, whether millennial expectations at this time were any greater than usual, or whether ordinary people were even aware of what year it was. An excellent article on Y1K apocalyptic expectations can be found at the Center for Millennial Studies. (Gould, Schwartz, Randi) 1033 After Jesus failed to return in 1000, some mystics pushed the date of the End to the thousandth anniversary of the Crucifixion. The writings of the Burgundian monk Radulfus Glaber described a rash of millennial paranoia during the period from 1000-1033. (Kyle p.39, Abanes p.337, McIver #50) 1184 Various Christian prophets foresaw the Antichrist coming in 1184. (Abanes p.338) Sep 23, 1186 John of Toledo, after calculating that a planetary alignment would occur in Libra on September 23, 1186 (Julian calendar), circulated a letter (known as the “Letter of Toledo”) warning that the world was to going to be destroyed on this date, and that only a few people would survive. (Randi p.236)
This goes on quite some time, and leads us to current day. ReligiousTolerance.org has a rather extensive list of recent and current predictions of the end of the world. As you can all see, none of them have actually come to fruition. Nor will they. There simply is no day written down where the world is actually going to end.
Is it going to happen? Certainly, some day. Either some huge asteroid will get through our atmosphere or we’ll be sucked into the black hole that will be created when our sun goes supernova or (and far more likely in my estimation) we’ll blow ourselves up. But regardless…it will have nothing whatever to do with Jesus coming back.
So. My advice to you is….stop worrying about it! Enjoy your life. Because really, it’s the only one you have. Stop waiting around for something you’ll never have and appreciate what you DO have. Life goes by fast enough….do you really want to miss it?