The spate of recent natural disasters and stagnant global economy has given new life to the cottage industry predicting Armageddon is upon us. What are the chances that it really is?
Not good, according to Dr. Doug Weaver, associate professor of religion at Baylor University and co-editor of The Acts of the Apostles: Four Centuries of Baptist interpretation.
Weaver points out that Jesus told his followers, specifically, that no one knows the time of his return. That doesn’t stop people from trying to predict it. From Nostradamus to William Miller to Christian radio host Harold Camping, people seem determined to predict the end of days. In fact, Camping is traveling around the U.S. in an RV telling anyone and everyone who will listen Judgment Day is 21 May, 2011.
Author Robert J. Fitzpatrick also picked 21 May, 2011 as the date when Judgment day will begin. Yes, begin. For Fitzpatrick, Judgment Day is in fact 5 months of hell on earth before the final cataclysm on 21 October, 2011. Fitzpatrick goes so far as to provide mathematical proof for his predictions in his book The Doomsday Code: God Is Warning Us Through the Bible.
“God will be saving only a small percentage of the earth’s population: only 200 million people,” says Fitzpatrick. “These will be people who have cried out to God for mercy, so this is what we need to do. People won’t want to make any long-range plans after they read the proof we are so near the end of the world. That will be on October 21, 2011, although no one will want to be here after May 21, 2011.”
Don’t get your hopes up. Camping, at least, has been wrong before.
He’s not the only one to have his Dooms-date proven wrong.
In the 19th century, lapsed Baptist and former soldier William Miller also thought the world was coming to an end. Miller predicted at least three dates for Armageddon, 21 March, 18 April and 22 October, 1844. Obviously, he was wrong. His beliefs and prognostications did spark Adventism, a religious movement in North America that spawned several major Christian denominations including Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventists.
Chances are the world won’t end Saturday. Go ahead, pay your bills, plan your Memorial Day weekend and do whatever else you do on a normal weekend. The world really can’t end, it would ruin the Mayan’s predictions of time ending in 2012….