Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm Not Paying My Bills Until Next Week

I hear tell that the world is going to end on Saturday, at 6pm EDT.
If true it would be a bummer as it would cancel game four of the Canucks-Sharks series. It means I'd miss the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie because I refuse to brave opening night crowds.

I understand that Saturday is only Judgement Day when those annoying Bible-thumpers get spirited up to Heaven leaving the rest of us behind to divvy up their belongings and party without guilt. The real end of the world is due for October 21 which means that God hates baseball because, hello, World Series. Besides, it will still effect the Stanley Cup playoffs because the Sedin twins are clearly God's anointed and the Canucks can't win without them.

The End of the World (TEOTW) History
Religious scholars have been predicting TEOTW for two millennia now.
  • If you really think the Bible is infallible, then the world ended in the First century CE. Jesus said, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt 24:34) 
  • Pope Clement I predicted TEOTW would occur in his lifetime (ca. 90 CE).
  • Hilary of Poitiers and his disciples spend the latter part of the Forth Century predicting TEOTW was nigh.
  • The end of the first millennium was a hotbed of end time predictions. The Catholic Church collected a shitload of indulgence payments to get tickets for rich sinners. When nothing happened the Church killed as heretics the people who demanded refunds.
  • Pope Innocent III predicted the world ending in the year 1284 by adding 666 to the date of the founding of Islam.
  • Around the year 1500 there was another spat of predictions from people who didn't want to wait until the second millennium.
  • In the latter half of the 17th century, some 20,000 Russian believers burned themselves to death to avoid the anti-Christ (aka Peter the Great).
  • American TEOTW predictions began with the Shakers (1792) and Charles Wesley, the founder of Methodism (1794).
  • William Miller predicted the EOTW for March 21, 1843. When that failed he revised it to October 22, 1844. Following that was known as the Great Disappointment

  • In the 1850's Seventh Day Adventist founder Ellen White predicted TEOTW within the lifetime of her followers.
  • The Jehovah's Witnesses predicted TEOTW throughout the First World War, at the start of the Second World War, and trice more (1925, 1975, 1984).
  • Hal Lindsey predicted TEOTW several times in the late 20th century before giving up and writing them as fiction.
  • 1988 was a big year for TEOTW predictions probably having to do with the end of the Reagan Administration.
  • The years around the Second Millennium have been a time of endless TEOTW predictions. My favorite is the numerology claim that if you divide 2000 by 3 you get the number of the beast, 666 rounded down. 
Then there is always 2012. Buy your End of the World gear now, remember to use credit.


Anonymous said...

The end of the world will come some time, but it ain't going to come for the reasons these clowns claim (or hope). They are all just here for comic relief.

tom sheepandgoats said...

The formula was simplistic. The notion (nailing the day) was presumptuous. The baggage (trinity and hellfire) was typical. And he sure did flummox a lot of followers. But he is 'keeping on the watch.' No one can say he's not doing that. As so many before him have done. As you pointed out.