Back in 2011, I – the resting cynic- had admittedly become shaken by the prediction of American Christian radio host Harold Camping which claimed that the world would end on October 21 of that year.
For clarification, I didn’t fully believe. I was just haunted by the fact that I was only 22 and my life would have possibly come to an abrupt halt without at least getting married or achieving any of my dreams. Camping’s argument was that the Rapture and Judgment day would take place on May 21, leading to an ultimate end in October.
Even tiny Guyana had become obsessed with the news, so I panicked. I wasn’t much in tune with my religious side, and my life – which at the moment was ripe with depression – was far from being fulfilled. My Sunday School teachings reminded me that the Bible did indeed speak of an imminent fiery end, so I thought… suppose, despite all the previous wrong predictions, this was finally it?
Yes, I panicked. On Rapture Day, I kissed my parents before I left the house, wrote on my sister’s Facebook Wall – because, you know, that officially meant I loved her- and went through the day wondering if the rain that day was God’s precursor for silently taking up his chosen few. Then 18:00hrs – the time they said it would happen- came and nothing did. And I was pissed.
First of all, I was an idiot. On a religious front, God will never give a date and time of his arrival and no scholar or religious fanatic will ever be able to predict it no matter what algorithm they use because… Hello? Time Differences? (And that’s just one reason)
But above all, I was upset because I chose to worry about my unfulfilled life based on a baseless prediction which made me forget for just a moment that my own death is imminent with or without the promise of our world’s end. Whether an ultimate end by fire and brimstone truly cometh, do we worry about D-Day or about the fact that our own death at any time is the one thing in life that is guaranteed?
I’ve got lots of plans for my life, and if all goes well, they promise immense happiness and fulfillment- or at the least, great freedom and a sense of adventure. But many times I get scared and ask myself, will I live to see these plans come to fruition? Am I worthy of it? When will I die?
My morbidity creates real fear for me sometimes. I get scared that perhaps I don’t deserve to be happy and so I may very well die without knowing what true happiness is. I always get bummed when young people die. I always wonder what were the things they wished they could do but didn’t get to. And were they happy at least?
I hate to sound clichéd, but it is at these times that I remember that since we can’t predict the future, all we ever have is today. Literally. We possess truly nothing but what we have in the here and now, and all we can do is hope to see the next moment that has not yet been reached. It kind of sucks though, because not everything can be achieved in the now. Plans have to be made, but what if we never live to see them?
It is here that “living every moment to its fullest” perhaps becomes the only option we should explore.
So to everyone(religious or otherwise) I say we just need to be prepared in the event that our awesome plans don’t get to be fulfilled, that the life we have lived thus far has been worth the while.
So get right with your God. Get over your regrets. Forgive. Solve problems faster. Don’t remain sad. Don’t stay angry. Always try to smile. Do the things that will make the now worthwhile, just in case, you know?
We can’t allow things like the end of the world to scare us whether or not it is real and whether or not we will be alive to witness it, because death is already there with or without those threats.
Yet for centuries people have been trying to predict the world’s end. It was funny just seeing the outcomes of many of those theories.
When May 21 passed silently, Camping said that it had been a “spiritual” day of judgment, and that the physical Rapture would occur on October 21, 2011, simultaneously with the destruction of the world. On October 16, Camping admitted that he did not know when the end would come and we heard nothing from him after the failed D-Day. In 2012 he later admitted to being mistaken, stating that that his attempt to predict a date was “sinful”.
Here are other failed End of Days predictions from the past:
Expected D-Day: Sometime in 1806
Who ‘predicted’ it: The Prophet Hen of Leeds, a domesticated fowl in Leeds, England, who in 1806 began laying eggs that bore the message “Christ is coming.”
How she came by that date: The “Hard” way
What happened when the world didn’t end : People from far and wide visited the location to see the hen lay the fated eggs, convinced that this meant the end of the world was indeed upon them. Finally, some gentlemen, hearing of the matter caught the poor hen in the act of laying one of her miraculous eggs. They soon ascertained beyond doubt that the egg had been inscribed with some corrosive ink, and cruelly forced up again into the bird’s body.
Expected D-Day: Dec. 21, 1954
Who ‘predicted’ it: Dorothy Martin, a Chicago housewife and student of Dianetics, a set of practices developed by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard.
How she came by this date: Through automatic writing, Martin claimed to come in contact with beings from the planet Clarion, who told her that the world would be destroyed by flood and that the faithful would be rescued at midnight by flying saucers.
What happened when the world didn’t end: Martin’s followers, many of whom quit their jobs and gave away their possessions, gathered in her home to await the aliens. (Martin’s husband, a nonbeliever, slept upstairs through the whole thing.) To avoid being burned by the flying saucer, her followers removed all metal from their persons, including zippers and bra straps. Midnight came and went, and the group became increasingly agitated. Finally, at 4:45 a.m., Martin said that she received another message from Clarions informing her that God was so impressed by her group’s actions that he changed His mind and decided to spare the earth.
Who ‘predicted’ it: Hal Lindsey, who continually has been predicting the end of the world since his 1970 book “The Late, Great Planet Earth,” and who, in his 1996 book “Planet Earth 2000 A.D.: Will Mankind Survive?” wrote that Christians should not make any plans after the year 2000.
How he came by this date: Probably the same method he used to calculate the date of the end of the world in his book “The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon,” which is now out of print.
What happened when the world didn’t end: Despite his less-than-stellar track record, Lindsey is still at it. In 2008, he wrote a column for the conservative news site WorldNetDaily suggesting that Barack Obama is the Antichrist.
The end of the world may be real but…
how about we stop waiting on this and focus on our own world’s end instead?