December 21, 2012 is around the corner. More than “3,000 books and countless websites claim that the Maya predicted the Earth will be destroyed on this date.” Tonight at 9 p.m. and midnight ET, Fox will be presenting “Countdown to Doomsday: 12.21.2012.”
“The scenarios are truly frightening: The Earth will be destroyed by colliding with an asteroid or being pulled into the black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Others claim a galactic planetary alignment that will tear the Earth apart or the Earth’s magnetic poles will shift and our planet will turn upside down.”
The author of the book of Ecclesiastes wrote more than two millennia ago, “There’s nothing new under the sun” (1:9) and “the writing of many books is endless” (12:12), especially when it comes to predictions about the end of the world.
Doomsday prophets are a dime a dozen — from predicting earthquakes, “pole shifts,” flooding from the polar ice cap melting, and general ecological disasters.
“Bob Nelson, also known as Mobius Rex, a California radio talk-show host and author of Prophecy, a compendium of doomsday predictions across the ages, expects that ‘less than one third of the world’s population will be around by 2020.’ He adds, ‘It might be best for this planet and humanity if this civilization collapses as quickly as possible.’”1
Edgar Cayce (1877–1945), the “sleeping prophet,” believed that 1998 was the beginning of a New Age — “right after a catastrophic shift of Earth’s axis.”2
Doom, the Society for Secular Armageddonism, had a phone number that you could call to get the latest information on what they thought were signs of the end. Doom, Inc. cited the following as evidence of an impending “do-it-yourself apocalypse”: “chemical and biological weapons, nuclear proliferation, deforestation, the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion, acid rain, the poisoning of our air and water, rising racism, massive species lost, toxic waste, the AIDS pandemic, the continuing population explosion, encroaching Big Brotherism, and at least a thousand points of blight.”
The following recorded message from Doom, Inc., reproduced in the December 1990 issue of Harper’s Magazine under the title “DIAL-A-BUMMER,” gives you some idea of their view of doomsday:
“You have reached the hot line of Doom for news and information related to the coming apocalypse. This is a service for the organization Doom, the Society for Secular Armageddonism, a nonreligious group dedicated to promoting public awareness of the coming end of the world. We believe the apocalypse is at hand, and the reasons for that belief are overwhelming. . . . These aren’t just conversation topics for yuppie cocktail parties; they’re grade A, unadulterated harbingers of destruction, 100 percent bona fide specters of doom, and they’re all proof that we don’t need God to end it for us. The coming end will be a strictly do-it-yourself apocalypse.”3
By the way, the Society’s phone number was 415-673-3666. It wasn’t toll-free. In case the end did not come as they predicted, the people behind Doom, Inc. didn’t want to be stuck with a large phone bill.
It’s my prediction, based on thousands of past failed predictions, that we will most likely wake up on December 22, 2012 with the world still intact. Of course, I don’t want to be as presumptuous as the prophetic speculators of our era, given what the biblical author of the book of James writes:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:13–16).
Let’s not be distracted by prophetic speculation about the end of the world that is little more than “striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14, 17).