Friday, June 13, 2008

The day the world will end


This is the day the world will end. That’s right, Thursday, June 12, 2008, sometime today, according to Texas Prophet and notoriously poor speller, Yisyrayl “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins, nuclear war which will lead to doomsday will get under way today. If you are unfamiliar with Hawkins’ message, search for him on YouTube and you will be deluged with hits for his prophetic videos. If you’re a believer in these sorts of proclamations, its time to clean out your bank account and load up on Krispy Kremes, cigars, and 40s so you can kick back and watch the fireworks.

Unfortunately, Ol’ Bill has a history of being wrong. Hawkins also predicted that September 12, 2006, would be the date the world would end. Despite obviously missing that one, his followers keep following him. Many have legally changed their name to “Hawkins.” Why? Because Hawkins believes that only those with the last name of Hawkins will be saved.

Of course, according to ABC News[1], followers are also expected to buy their doomsday survival products from Hawkins’ own company. This, in addition to the no-doubt mandatory tithing to his ministry, makes the gospel of Armageddon a profitable message.

These guys probably got their start with the first caveman who, on a cloudy morning some millions of years ago screamed, "Oh heavens, some giant bird has eaten the sun and it will never rise again and we'll all die." After much general panic, when the sun rose again, he was beaten to death and life returned to normal.


People, especially it seems, fundamentalist and evangelical Protestants, have been claiming that we are living in the "end of days" as set forth in the Book of Revelation probably since St. John of Patmos set the document out for the ink to dry.Why this happens should be obvious. Imagine how empowering it would be to realize that you are the only person who has been given inside information about how the world is going to end and how people can survive the cataclysm. Now you can not only save those you care about, but you get to play god by choosing who lives and who dies. In addition, you will receive enormous amounts of adoration and if you are condemned by anyone as being a fool, your admirers will lash out at those who condemn you and praise you as a martyr. What a life!


Just in the past few years, how many times have we seen "great prophets" of doom appear? There were hordes of them surrounding June 6th, 2006 (6/6/6), Y2K, the avian flu, remember the suitcase nuke scares after 9/11? Religion has also seen hordes of them. These special individuals who use numerology, secret messages from their television, or "bible codes" to predict the dates of "raptures" or "second comings" or Armageddon. (Even though they wouldn't know what har Megiddo was nor could they find it on a map.)

In fact, the 1980s and 90s were decades of unparalleled optimism for eschatologists. According to What Really Happened.Com, the following are a sampling of the failed apocalypses of the time:
1980 - North Carolina prophecy teacher Colin Deal set dates for the return of Christ for 1982 or 1983, 1988, 1989, and in a March 17, 1989 radio broadcast, "about eleven years away." If at first you don't succeed...


1980 - Prophecy promoter Charles Taylor predicted rapture in 1988: “with the millennial reign of Christ due to begin in 1995, the rapture must surely occur in 1988 to coordinate with many other prophecies!" Not surprisingly, Taylor also made similar predictions for 1975, 1976, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, and, of course, 1989.


1981 - May 25. About fifty members of a group called the Assembly of Yahweh gathered at Coney Island, NY, in white robes, awaiting their "Rapture" from a world about to be destroyed between 3 p.m. and sundown.


1980 - Psychic Jeanne Dixon predicted a world holocaust for the 1980s.


1988 - Edgar C. Whisenant, in his book 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988, gave a three day period in September for the saints to be "caught up with the Lord." When this failed, he issued another book claiming that he was a year off, and urging everyone to be ready in 1989.
1991 - Reginald Dunlop, end-times author, stated that "The Antichrist would be revealed" around the year 1989 or 1990, perhaps sooner." The Rapture he predicted for 1991."


1990 - Elizabeth Clare Prophet predicted the end of the world by nuclear war in 1990. Her church has since seen a decline in membership.


1992 - "Rapture, October 28, 1992, Jesus is coming in the Air." Full page ad in the October 20, 1991, issue of USA Today, placed by followers of the Hyoo-go (Rapture) movement, a loose collection of Korean "end-times" sects. When the prophesied events failed to pass, much turmoil broke out among the sects.


1993 - David Koresh, self-proclaimed little lamb of Isaiah 16, and the Second Coming of Christ, died in a fiery conflagration with some 80 of his followers.


1994 - Arab Christian prophet Om Saleem claimed that the antichrist was born November 23, 1933, that his unveiling would come in 1993 and the rapture in 1994.


1994 - Harold Camping, a radio evangelist, wrote a book entitled "1994?" In it, Camping says, "if this study is accurate, and I believe with all my heart that it is, there will be no extensions of time. There will be no time for second guessing. When September 6, 1994, arrives, no one else can be saved, the end has come."


1997 - Mary Stewart Relfe wrote in 1983 that she had received detailed "divine revelations" from God. She released a chart showing World War III beginning in 1989, the Great Tribulation starting in 1990, and that Jesus Christ would come back in 1997, just after Armageddon."


1997 - On March 25, followers of Marshall Applewhite’s Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass murder-suicide in Southern California


1998 - Larry Wilson, a former Seventh-day Adventist pastor, predicted four massive global earthquakes beginning around 1994 and ending in 1998 with the Second Coming.[2]


Of course, 1998 was when Edgar Cayce said the world was going to end, wasn’t it? Hal Lindsay and Nostradamus had us checking out in 2000. The list could go on for as long as you were willing to read[3], but it eventually just gets depressing.


I'm not saying that, someday, one of them is not bound to be right. What I am saying is don't waste your life fretting about each new "prophet of doom." Live joyfully and love boldly each day as if it were your last; because one day will be.


However, if you enjoy the prognosticators of doom, it appears the next big date to circle on your calendar is when the Mayan calendar runs its course in December of 2012. Apparently Staples is all out of refills.



[1] http://www.abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Story?id=5008225&page=1
[2] http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/rapture.html
[3] A more complete list can be found at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/9941/infinity1.html
--Dr. B. Keith Murphy is the Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences at Fort Valley State University.

3 comments:

Todd Laurence said...

In 1558., Nostradamus,
writing to King Henry,
mentions the Chaldean
number/alphabet,
(numerology). He also
includes the code number
1080, which represents
"truth" - and this number
set was also mentioned
by Plato, (universal
number) and others.
Using the Chaldean
system produced extraordinary
results, which were
verified by senior
researchers at Princeton
University.
The highlights are in
the news article posted
here.
http://www.webspawner.com/users/cosmic/

The notion that unrelated
events can come together
in an 'meaningful order'
was advanced by Pauli, Nobel
laureate, physics, based
on his many years of
conversations with Dr. Carl
Jung, who first suggested
a 'synchroncity principle'
at work in reality, which
acts as a balance to cause
and effect.
Both agreed that number is
the most primal archetype
of order in the human
mind.
Jung: "man has need of
the word, but in essence
number is sacred."

Pauli: "our primary mathematical intuitions
can be arranged before
we become conscious of
them."

"entelekk" - numomathematics

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Anonymous said...

Hey - excellent rundown of doomsday predictors. I'm amazed at how many of them predict near term events, they must be very good at convincing themselves... though I'm not sure how convinced Hawkins is, if he was also profiteering from the event. What would he do with the cash?

I couldn't help but imagine a reporter interviewing him. Wouldn't you be inclined to say "End of the world for next Thursday. Okay, can we just tentatively book a brief conversation for Friday?"

Don't know if that conversation happened yet.

-The Researchinator:
http://eachmorning.blogspot.com/