O'BRIEN: So much for the doomsday prediction

Posted: Dec. 21, 2012 9:42 pm Updated: Jan. 19, 2013 2:15 am

Whew, we've all dodged another bullet.

In case you missed it, Friday was supposed to be the end of the world. That is if you believe in what the some people were selling. The Mayan calendar ran out of dates in its latest universal cycle. The Mayans believed that the universe is destroyed and recreated at the start of each cycle. Guess we all missed the big bang.

Luckily, we're not Mayans. As Americans, we saw it as a chance to mock them. I'm sure more than a few people threw a party, too.

This isn't our first tango with an end-of-days scenario. And if you believe what Wikipedia is selling -- remember that it is buyer beware on the Internet -- Friday marked the 72nd time in my lifetime, which goes back to 1970, that the world was supposed to end. And I only remembered the Y2K silliness, which four pundits, including Jerry Falwell, predicted to be the end of days.

I made it through my first scare when I was 2 years old. Some guy named Herbert W. Armstrong said that we were all done for in 1972. That was his third try at predicting the end of the world. He also missed in 1936 and 1943. After 1972 came and went, Armstrong claimed that 1975 was going to be it. That wound up being his fourth and final wrong prediction.

Armstrong isn't the only one who kept on trying to predict the end. Author Hal Lindsey thought we were finished in the 1980s. He specifically pointed out that 1988 would be the end. When that pick flopped, he wrote another book saying that the year 2000 was the new end of times.

Falwell wasn't the only famous religious leader to swing and miss. Pat Robertson had October or November 1982 as his time for the rapture. He guessed again and picked out April 29, 2007. Louis Farrakhan thought the Gulf War in 1991 was going to be the one that ended it all. The Jehovah's Witnessess (1975, Oct. 2, 1984, before 2000) and Seventh-day Adventists (1999) also put forth their own doomsday predictions.

The last doomsday scare before this one was by Harold Camping, the Chicken Little of doomsday predictors. He's had six different dates, including two in 2011. Prediction No. 5 by Camping, a Christian radio broadcaster, was May 21, 2011. According to Camping, the world was going to be rattled with earthquakes and approximately 3 percent of the world's population was going to go to Heaven that day. Five months later, on Oct. 21, everything else was going to end.

When 100 percent of the world's population woke up on May 22, Camping said a "spiritual judgement" took place the day before and that the physical rapture and the end of the world would be on Oct. 21. You know how that turned out, since all of you reading this were here on Oct. 22.

As long as no one else pipes up, Wikipedia is going to give us all a while until the next predicted rapture. F. Kenton Beshore, who bases his predictions on the works of Lindsey, so you know it will be brutally accurate, says that sometime between 2018 and 2028 that the world will end.

How will we know he's right? If the Chicago Cubs win a World Series during that period, that's when we'll know we're finished.




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