The End Is Near

The world as we know it ends this Saturday; May 21, 2011… according to Harold Camping, Family Radio, and thousands of his followers.  They are selling all earthly possessions and spreading the word that Judgment Day is around the corner.

My favorite of their advertisements reads “Save the Date” in some ironic attempt to get the word out about the seriousness of Jesus’ impending return.

This recently touted doomsday prophecy has nearly eclipsed those associated with 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar, joining a long list of dates hailed as the end of days.

Why are humans so disposed to this hysteria?

Perhaps it is our longing for purpose.  If there is a judgment day to come, a rapture in the works, or some global event divined by the ancients… then perhaps there is a purpose to our history, a reason for our pain.  Instead of a repeating circle or an endlessly processing line, history takes on a directional quality; it is headed somewhere.

Or maybe we latch onto anything that promises a break from our mundane lives.  How exhilarating is the thought that after May 21st our earth will continue to spin, you will still need to visit the dentist, show up at the office, bathe your children, and worry about the bills?  Judgment Day doesn’t sound so brutal when compared with relentlessly regular life.

Allen Marshall O'Brien

Allen Marshall O’Brien is the pastor of a UCC church in Northern California and co-host of the Irenicast. He believes in the importance of education, peace, and ecology, throws things to his border collie Sonata, and writes for multiple platforms.

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