Adam Bird


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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The End?

The End?

Last Saturday, the 21st of May, passed just like any other, much to the confusion and dare I say it - annoyance to a preacher named Harold Camping and his followers. Harold Camping is a Christian Evangelist and predicted with utmost certainty that on this date, the world would come to a catastrophic end for millions, and the start of something wonderful for the believers of Christ, as this date would see the ‘second coming’ or the ‘rapture’ as prophesied in biblical texts.

It would be easy to laugh, to ridicule and use Mr Camping as another example of Christian eccentricity but their are plenty of Christians making obscene and outlandish claims on a daily basis, such as the one about living life as a Christian means that you are not allowed to mix with non believers, or that two family members cannot socialise as their churches have different beliefs. But those people don’t get the negative publicity and ridicule as a good old “end of world” proclamation does.

In fact, Mr Camping has done more harm than good to the Christian faith, people reading these headlines use them as further bait to ridicule and laugh at the “Jesus creeper/bible basher” majority who understand their faith and are more in-tune with the real message of the bible which is that the nobody, least of all God knows when the rapture is going to occur.

Anyhow, my knowledge on biblical prophecies is fairly minimal and not the main reason for me writing upon this topic. What does interest me, however is the human interest in “The end”, our curious fascination with the exact moment when human life ceases to be no longer. Be it through a natural disaster, a religious leader returning to earth to claim His servants or being obliterated by the Martian Navy Seals. It seems that whichever way we are destined to go, we want to know about it, embrace the Hollywood depictions and yet seem to revel in mocking anyone putting an exact date upon our inevitable demise

The Internet is awash with millions of articles and discussions about Armageddon, Judgement Day, Worlds End and events of an Apocalyptic nature dating way back to since time began all the way through centuries of the future. Next year is of some particular interest, with the ancient Mayan calendar ending on December 21st 2012 (Oliver’s birthday unluckily enough!), but even then, this event only really bares any significance due to the 2012 blockbuster movie of the same name and the resulting Internet rumour and speculation which is likely to increase exponentially as we draw ever closer to that potentially fateful date.

Reality however paints a far bleaker picture, as Benjamin Franklin once said "but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes". We are all heading for our own Judgement day, the day when when we find out once and for all what lies beyond the secret walls of death and learn categorically without doubt what eternity holds. Does the idea then that we may all, at once be hit from a rock from outer space, comfort us? Knowing that by dying instantaneous along with our loved ones that we will not be leaving anyone else behind and that the personal nature of death becomes a shared experience?

Since writing this, Mr Camping has been in the news once again, adjusting his dates accordingly. Which means, that by his latest calculations we have until October 31st of this year to complete our business and say our farewells, after of course doing all the things that we wanted to do. In fact there are a rather large amount of worrying stories about people who took Mr Camping’s word as gospel, gave up their jobs, sold their houses and made a manner of other preparatory moves to conclude their earthly existence.

Wouldn’t it be nice if things really were that simple? That a global announcement was made, “Ladies and gentlemen a meteor is heading our way, you’ve got six weeks to say your goodbyes” and we were left to our own devices. Would we all patiently put our houses up for sale, quit our jobs and wait patiently in line for the next plane to the nearest desert island? I’d hazard a guess that things would be nothing like the sort.

Maybe it’s the fact that from a selfish point of view, we as human beings want to be the last out the door? Knowing that the Apocalypse happened on our watch, in our lifetimes not eons down the ages and that we were the last of our kind? That our lives were lived out like the conclusion of an expensive movie and that the answers to our questions were answered right at the end?

But then again, if you start thinking about it too much we can surely forgive Mr Camping for being a little bit crazy?


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