Here we go again, it’s the end of the world on May 21, 2011 (this Saturday). How can May 21st be the end of the world when Oprah’s last show is on May 25th? Rumor has it she has God booked for this last show, so why would He end the world before He is on Oprah? Who does that?
Is this just an effort to upstage the Mayans whose calendar puts the end of the world at December 21, 2012. The Mayan’s thought the world was flat and the sky was held up by big cats and they practiced human sacrifices, but apparently they got the scoop on the end of time.
But wait! Before you sell all your earthly possessions and dig up your unused Y2K survival kit, keep in mind there have been a lot of doomsday predictions of all different flavors.
I’ve discovered a pattern – all end-of-time prophecies have one thing in common: they did not happen.
Here are just a few actual failed doomsday predictions. (They are A LOT more.)
The Hen of Leeds in 1806
It was rumored a hen in the English town of Leeds in 1806 began laying eggs on which the phrase “Christ is coming” was written. People went crazy until it was uncovered as a hoax and the only thing this chicken was laying were some bad eggs.
The Millerites Preached the end would be April 23, 1843
A New England farmer named William Miller concluded that God’s chosen time to destroy the world could be divined from a strict literal interpretation of scripture. He prophesied the world would end between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. He preached and published enough to eventually lead thousands of followers (known as Millerites) who decided that the actual date was April 23, 1843. Many sold or gave away their possessions, assuming they would not be needed; though when April 23 arrived (but Jesus didn’t) the group eventually disbanded. Interesting to note that this group formed what is now the Seventh Day Adventists.
Mormon Judgment Day before 1891
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, in February 1835 said that he had spoken to God recently, and during their conversation he learned that Jesus would return within the next 56 years, after which the End Times would begin promptly.
Pat Robertson and Jack Van Impe
Poor Pat. He’s like a Twinkie; you just cannot destroy him. (Twinkies are indestructible thanks to a toxic mix of modern chemicals.) Even when he predicted Judgment day before the year 1982 expired and it did not occur, people still watch him and send him money. This is truly a great mystery.
And his brother evangelist Jack Van Impe has made several failed predictions of when Jesus will return. People still listed to him, too. Go figure.
Death by Melting Ice on May 5, 2000
Cashing in on the failed Y2K bug, Richard Noone wrote the book “5/5/2000 Ice: the Ultimate Disaster.” According to Noone, the Antarctic ice mass would be three miles thick by May 5, 2000, a date in which the planets would be aligned in the heavens, somehow resulting in a global icy death (or at least a lot of book sales).
And of course, my favorite global death comes from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where the Earth is demolished to make way for an Intergalactic freeway. But don’t panic, fortunately the Earth was restored from a back-up. (You should always back-up your data!)
Here are more of the end-of-time’s greatest hits:
It’s funny how after-the-fact we giggle dismissively at each failed apocalypse prediction. But what’s more perplexing is how many of us become entranced with the next big Judgment Day forecast. We soak it up like a ShamWow.
To quote R.E.M.
“It’s the end of the World as we know it, and I feel fine”