The End Is Near (Again)


Jun 5, 2017
The following originally appeared in early 2012, at the height of the "Mayan Doomsday Prophecy" hysteria. I had seen so many History Channel programs about this foolishness that I was moved to rattle off a rant about it. (By the way, don't get me started about the History Channel - or, as I like to call it, The Pawn Shop/Bigfoot/Drivers on Icy Roads/UFO/Folks Who Live Near Swamps,/Loch Ness Monster/Folks Who Pick Through Other Folks' Garbage Channel. Hmm. Perhaps I should just shorten that to the Garbage Channel.)

The End Is Near (Again)

I once heard someone say that anyone who gives a date for the end of the world is correct in a sense. This is because, after the date passes, the prophet is revealed to be either a charlatan or a jackass. Therefore, the end of the world has indeed come - for the prophet.

This isn't always the case, however. Many doomsday prophets have actually been able to attract more followers after a failed prediction than they had before.

The foremost example of this is Jesus. When some of his disciples asked about his return and when the Kingdom of God which Jesus predicted would occur, Jesus said:

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. (The Gospel of Mark. Chapter 13, Verse 8. KJV)

Let's see... wars, earthquakes, famines, and troubles (which could mean almost anything). Are these really predictions, or merely a statement of the obvious?

There has hardly been a day gone by since Jesus spoke these words that there has not been some kind of conflict happening somewhere in the world, and the same was true even before he "predicted" that nations would be at war. Earthquakes - major and minor - occur on a daily basis somewhere in the world, and have been for longer than we have been recording them. Famines have been taking place regularly ever since man learned to farm rather than forage for his food. Troubles? Name a day when nobody, anywhere in the world, has had troubles. (Okay. The original text says "pestilences", not troubles, but pestilence has always been around as well.)

"But these things are more frequent now," the end-timers claim. "They're more destructive now, and we hear more about such things now than in the past."

First of all, these events are not more frequent now. In the case of earthquakes, they are actually less frequent and less violent than in earlier periods of Earth's history. Second, if these events are more destructive to the works which man has built, then that's only because the human race has spread itself out to cover almost the entire planet. And, finally, the reason we hear more about these events today is not because they are happening with a greater intensity, but rather because we are living in an age of rapid, worldwide communications and a 24/7 news cycle.

Perhaps Jesus learned his precognitive technique from the prophet Daniel:

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (The Book of Daniel, Chapter 12. Verse 4. KJV)

In my youth, I have actually heard preachers use this "prophecy" as proof of the Bible's veracity. "You see," they would say, "Daniel predicted the population boom, the travel boom, and the knowledge boom. It's only a matter of time before the world goes boom!"

Yes, it's quite a prediction alright. In the future - at the time of the end - there will be more people, more traveling, and knowledge will increase.

But what's the alternative? Of course there are more people, who travel more, and know more, than there used to be. Does this mean that we are living in the last days? No, because this isn't really a prediction. It's merely progress. If Daniel had predicted that there would be fewer people, who stayed home and were ignorant, and if that would have happened, then it would have been quite a prediction indeed. (Then again, with the advent of television, perhaps more people are staying home and becoming more ignorant.) As it is, Daniel's prediction is about as earth-shaking as predicting that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow morning.

Daniel made his prophecy during one of the low points in the history of Israel - the Babylonian captivity. (There have, unfortunately, been many low points in the history of this beleaguered people. This wasn't the first, nor would it be the last.) After Daniel and his prophecies, Israel once again recovered and grew. Again, we see that a flawed - indeed, almost worthless - prediction was followed by growth, not decimation; just as Jesus' failed predictions were also followed by the expansion of the Christian church.

These are not the only examples, however. For instance, in spite of the fact that Nostradamus' prophecies concerning the end of days have failed miserably, his followers still claim that he was something more than just some medieval quack who wrote bad poetry.

I have an old paperback copy of Nostradamus Predicts the End of the World written by Rene Noobergen in 1981. On the cover of the book, it says:

Before the year 2000 ---
--- The Arabs will wipe out Israel.
--- New York City will be destroyed by an earthquake.
--- The US will ally with Russia against China in WWIII.

Inside the book, all the details are given - along with the appropriate quotes from Nostradamus - for each of these disasters, as well as many others. All of them were to take place before the year 2000.

Gee. I must have slept through all that.

Proven wrong? Yes. Meaningless claptrap? Absolutely. And yet, more books, magazine articles and television programs have been dedicated to Nostradamus since 2000 than there were prior to his having been proven wrong. His followers (of which there are more now than there were in 2000) simply reinterpret Nostradamus' predictions to mean something else, just as they have done with all his prior prophecies. (An example: The Hister, a river where little of consequence ever took place in spite of Nostradamus' prediction to the contrary, was reinterpreted to mean Hitler - a person who was, unfortunately, very consequential in recent history. This is the kind of charlatanism which abounds amongst the Nosties.)

Other examples of growth in spite of evidence can be found in America's religious history.

There's the tale of the Reverend William Miller, who predicted the end of the world (not once, but twice) in the 1800s. Many of Miller's followers sold all their possessions, bought "ascension robes" (sold by Miller, of course) and waited on a hilltop for Jesus to come and snatch them away. Twice.

Now, you'd think there would be a lot of very pissed-off people after they realized that their Lord wasn't going to make an appearance - especially after that second time. But no. The Millerite movement grew. Today it is known as Seventh Day Adventism, and it is one of the largest Christian denominations in America. Go figure.

Or try to figure how the Jehovah's Witnesses have announced a date for our destruction at least four times since the early 1900s, and - once each Date of Doom had come and gone - saw increases in their membership rolls each time.

Try to figure out why The Late Great Planet Earth, written by fundamentalist Christian Hal Lindsey, still sells copies even after he implied in the book that Jesus would return sometime during the 1980s. (He wrote the book in 1970.)

You might be thinking, "It's not that hard to figure out. People are stupid sheep who will fall for anything."

You may be right. Which leads me to my prediction:

Some folks are now making a mint (a la William Miller's ascension robes) by selling books which claim that an ancient Mayan prophecy has set the day of our doom to be December 21, 2012. This is rather difficult for me to understand, since I was under the impression that there isn't anyone alive today who can read the ancient Mayan language. There is no "Rosetta stone" which would help us translate this dead language. (The Mayan Calendar might be a recipe for llama stew for all we know.) That aside, the question remains: What will happen starting December 22, 2012?

I predict the movement will grow. Those who predicted destruction will say something like, "Oh, we didn't mean a literal destruction. We meant a destruction of our old way of life, and an embracing of a New Age of mankind" - or some other similar claptrap - and people will eat it up. (Some of the 2012ers are saying this kind of thing even before the Mayan "doomsday", just to hedge their bets.)

Mark my words: Neo-Mayanism will become the New Christianity. You heard it here first.

Of course, my prophecy includes a proviso which no other prophet has ever had the humility to utter. It is this:

I could be wrong.

And, of course, I was wrong. Neo-Mayanism just hasn't taken off the way I thought it would. What a pity.

Take care.

Freak Show

Active Member
Dec 13, 2016
Which do you think people want to believe in more, a book that is 3 inches thick with other new versions of, or a book that is 1 inch thick. Also, which book do you think religion will push more. Religion wants one thing, to have power over you. The bible has a lot of stories within it to prove points. Some points have more stories than others so that you will believe that point. When you constantly have these stories and points told you you over long periods of time( thousands of years) people tend to believe them. I'm not saying the bible is a complete lie, just about 3/4 of it is.