A PROPHET IS never appreciated in his own country, right? That must have been what Harold Camping thought when the Biblical scholar’s prediction that the world would end this year was pooh-poohed by most of the rest of the world.
Unfortunately for Camping, neither his end-of-the-world deadline for 21 May came to pass – nor did his revised date on 21 October. He now admits that the failure of the world to end “seems embarrassing”.
Never mind, Harold. There are plenty of other apocalyptic predictions to look forward to…
2012 – The Mayan End of Days:
The ancient Mayan civilisation which occupied parts of what is now Mexico were amazing mathematicians, astronomers and astrologers and their long count calendar is meant to come to an end on 21 December 2012. The idea that this is the end of the world with a deadline point has been exploited for years, most recently in the Roland Emmerich disaster movie 2012. Mayan scholars, however, are quick to point out that the date represents merely the end of that calendar’s cycle – but a new one is to start at that point. Oh.
2012 – Nostradamus:
The 16th century French doctor Michel de Nostradamus rolled out reams of predictions and his cheerleaders would say he correctly foretold every major world event from 9/11 to the death of Princess Diana to the rise of Hitler. He pinpoints 21 December, 2012 as Doomsday, with the world hit with several natural disasters and a World War III led by the Anti-Christ, who might also go by the name of Mabus.
A set of Latin phrases attributed to St Malachy in the 12th century claim that the end of the world will come with the election of Peter from Rome, the 112th pope after Pope Celestine II (elected in 1143). The current Pope Benedict XVI is the 111th pope in that line apparently. We’ll only start worrying when a Peter becomes frontrunner in the next race for the Vatican. Malachy was a bishop of Armagh.
2023 Armageddon: Biblical scholar Ian Gurney wrote The Cassandra Prophecy: Armageddon Approaches in 1999. He claims that Judgement Day will come in “less than 25 years”. He comes to this conclusion through interpretations of the book of Revelation and of the Daniel story and some other Biblical prophesies. A fan of Gurney’s book puts together this summary on the Canada Free Press. It may or may not leave you wiser.
Friday, 13 November, 2026:
Pretty specific we know – this one came from Science magazine in 1960 and is based on the theory that only a finite number of humans will ever live and that we are nearing that number. That is a very simplistic explanation of what is called the Doomsday Argument of course – may we recommend Mark Greenberg’s nattily-titled book, Apocalypse Not Just Now as a primer?
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