Friday, May 20, 2011

This is the way the world ends?

I generally ignore that ramblings of fundamentalist preachers, especially if the rambling is on radio or TV. I would probably ignore this latest doomsday proclamation, except that for the past couple of months, in my daily telephone conversations with her, my 87-year-old mother has been talking about the end times.

Mom began by asking if I knew when the world will end. I responded from Mainline Christian theology: no one knows. Although my mother doesn't suffer from dementia, she either forgot my answer or didn't want to accept it because she would ask the same or similar questions each time we spoke to each other.

That routine began to change about three weeks ago. Mom still asks if I know when the world will end, but now she also shares with me third party answers: this TV preacher said or that minister said. The obsession that Mom has developed  about apocalyptic theology has me wondering about her mental well-being.

I fear that there may be many more folks other than my mother who are concerned about tomorrow. CNN reports people have been leaving their jobs and homes and families, happily expecting to be raptured into heaven. (Sigh)

I wonder if these folks have been told that this announcement of doomsday has has been made over and over  for the past 2,000 years. Even Harold Egbert Camping, who made the prophecy that the world will end tomorrow, made similar forecasts before:

...he (Camping) predicted that Jesus’ second coming was to take place between September 15th and 27th in the year 1994. Camping pushed his book frequently on the radio, teaching from it on his program, “Open Forum” and other Bible teaching sessions. When September 1994 rolled around and Jesus did not return, Harold worked like a showman who is caught and said that he had not understood the message from God, but predicted a new date which was good. The date was afterward changed eight times until he settled for the year 2008. Look at the following dates:1.   September 6, 1994?  (Subsequently extended a few days, given the slight variations in the ancient calendars). 2.    September 15, 1994, the Jewish Day of Atonement? 3.    September 25, 1994, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles? 4.    October 4, 1994, the actual birthday of Jesus as calculated by Camping? 5.   December 25, 1994, our traditional celebration of Christmas and Christ’s incarnation and birth, based on the statement in Revelation 11:10 that the enemies of God’s people would ‘send gifts one to another?’6.     February 25, 1995, the Jewish feast of Purim?7.   May 3, 1996, when he was so sure of this date that he devoted several Open Forumprograms to explain how the ‘four watches’ (alluded to in Mark 13:35) extended the date until September 6, 1994. 8.    His current teaching, that September 6, 1994 was the right date after all, but it was for the beginning of the Great Tribulation, not Judgment Day.  Simple arithmetic would put the return of the Lord no later than 2008.” ~ John S. Torell

OK, as you may have suspected, I give 0% credence to Camping's "prophecy."  When I consider the end of the world, I perceive that T.S. Eliot is more on target that all of the apocalyptic prophets:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
~ The Hollow Men 
As others are doing this evening, I am enjoying the humor in all of this uproar, especially the suggestion that the end of the world will be a great media event, beginning at the International Dateline at 6:00 PM and moving west through each time zone, hitting each at exactly 6:00 PM. As I await thje doomsday hour, I may as well spend my time laughing at the whole absurd thing:

Well, we don't have much longer to wait: as I publish this post, it is 12:50 PM, 21 May 2011, at the International Date Line  Less than six hours before "it" begins. 

I'll see you with my T.B.I.M post on Monday -- if there is a Monday!


  1. I like the time zone part of that. It gives us a lot of time to prepare and check to see what has gone on in the earlier zones!

  2. Very good, Rev Saint.

  3. When I realized this morning I was still alive, I came straight over to get your infinite wisdom. I, too, have reported on this event today, but not nearly with the respect you have given it.

    I can't believe (really) that people actually quit their jobs. Wonder what their unemployment papers say.....

  4. I love your take on this. I wonder what the next date for the end will be?

  5. I grow weary of preachers who prey on our fears. This is not the act of a good predator. Would Alex or Artemis do this to a mouse?