Today is an unusual post, not my usual Monday post, because, according to some believers (in particular Harold Camping) the world will end on Saturday, so I suppose I wouldn’t be able to post on Monday, now would I?
Seriously, though, I’m writing because I heard about this last weekend, and, since I’ve been studying and exploring the idea of post-apocalyptic and eschatology (beliefs of how the world will end), I find this latest “news” exceptionally interesting. What it has done has gotten folks talking. And perhaps thinking, too.
Here’s the original article from Yahoo, titled “End Times Math.” There are some great links attached to the article, many of which I’ve added to my links, or will reference in this post.
So, why would you, if you heard the news, believe the world was going to end? And are you on the side that believes in something more like the Rapture, whereby only the “good” are taken, and the rest remain behind for flames and brimstone before the final end of the world? Or on the other side that yes, the world could end, but there could also be survivors and they’d have to fight to survive? Personally, I’m a “world as we know it” gal, and believe there will be the possibility of survival; maybe that makes me an optimist.
Although, according to some scholars, my beliefs about the apocalypse could be based on socioeconomic factors [see link to a brief profile of apocalyptic believers]. There could also be something to be said for the draw and appeal of doomsday beliefs. As I’ve been researching the apocalypse – both religious and secular beliefs – one of the ideas that’s stuck with me is the idea that the very idea of the apocalypse is hopeful and optimistic. Sounds odd, I know. But essentially, especially when things seem really bad, at least you could look and think, well, things might get even worse for a little while, but after that the world will end, and either the problems will be over and a new world will begin, or problems won’t matter since everyone will be dead. Put more eloquently, by Eugene Weber in his book Apocalypses: Prophecies, Cults, and Millenial Beliefs Through the Ages:
“Apocalyptic discourse is about the final conflictual aspects of life. When troubles are dominant, apocalypse is in the ascendant; should it be missing, people would begin to worry.” (Weber, 234-235).
Thus, there will doubtlessly be those who believe the world will end tomorrow, or Saturday, or countless other days: there always have been, and seemingly (at least unless the world actually does end) there always will be. It seems human nature to believe that today, or “our times,” are always so much worse than some idealized vision of the past. Weber writes that:
“Eustache Deschamps in the 14th century, [wails] about the decadence of present times, every year worse than the last, [echoing] Ezra, the 2nd century scribe …” (Weber, 236).
So where does this leave us? With yet another new prediction for when the world will end. Whether coming out of the religious or secular world, there will always be more, as there always have been – and yet, incidentally you might notice despite the predictions, the world is still here. I wonder what others will think, if there will be those who will believe these predictions wholeheartedly, potentially taking drastic action. Does this make them better prepared than I, potentially sitting at home or puttering in the garden when the world ends? Or am I better off and happier going about my daily life without worrying about the end of the world?
What do you think?
Anyway, I’ve added some new links regarding this new flurry of Armageddon related links. And I suspect I’ll still be here, still posting a new article come Monday. Heck, maybe I’m just more cynical about the beliefs since I’ve never been a big fan of math anyway, so a calculation of the end of the world based on math has to be wrong in my eyes. 🙂
Take care, and have a great weekend, end of the world or not.