End of the world as we know it

Prophecies of world ending cause religious speculations…

Bobby Gibler | Staff Writer

Janie Simonton | Staff Writer

The world ends tomorrow.

According to Howard Camping, a self-proclaimed “Bible scholar” and founder of Christian radio station Family Radio, the exact date for the end of the world is May 21, 2011.

But many Doomsday theories cite other end dates, such as December 21, 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar.

At the site of the Donner party disaster of 1847 (where stranded pioneers anticipating their death left messages for future generations before reverting to cannibalism), professor Lloyd Cunningdale (of Salt Lake City) and his students discovered a time capsule left by settlers containing predictions for the future. According to the information in this capsule, the world will end in 2016 when a massive disease will spread over the world and kill all humans.

At 3:28 AM on September 14, 2047, according to ReligiousTolerance.org’s synopsis of the end-of-the-world prediction prophesized by the Church of !BLAIR!, led by Reverend Clifford Gdansk, the world will end when “Astro-Lemurs (extra-terrestrials similar in shape to lemurs, but with rainbow colored bodies) will attack the entire human race and beat them to death with gigantic burritos.”

However, Biblical prophecies have been fulfilled and through mathematical calculations, it has been concluded that the world will end tomorrow, according to Camping. Camping said he used his former career skills from civil engineering to do the calculations which stem from Biblical sources.

According to pastor Bill Hounshell of New Hope Baptist Church in Loveland, Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled all the time. Hounshell said the end of the world, regardless of the date, will erupt with several catastrophic events, according to the Bible.

“[The] first three-and-a-half years [of the tribulation and slow destruction of the world after Judgment Day] are pretty wild,” Hounshell said. “There’s going to [be] wars; there’s going to [be] famine [and] pestilence. God allows man to destroy himself [in the beginning]. War, that’s man; that’s not God. Disease, pestilence, that’s man; that’s not God. But then after awhile, God then turns loose his nature, and…nature is earthquakes and storms; man can’t control that. Man can control man, or at least try to. But man cannot control nature, because nature’s controlled by God.”

Hounshell, however, said he disvalues Camping’s idea that the world will end tomorrow, because the Bible says that man cannot know when the end of the world is.

“In [Matthew 24:36], …Christ himself [said]… ‘But of that day and of that hour, no one knows, even the angels,’” Hounshell said. “Now that’s pretty powerful authority. He said, ‘Not even the angels in heaven, but my father only [will know when the end of the world is].’”

According to senior Shreya Reddy, who said she is Hindu, Camping’s theories lack clarity, and she believes the end of the world is still thousands of years away. Reddy said the Hindu religion bases itself on four cyclic time scales in which the world gradually degrades and succumbs to sin.

“[In Hinduism,] there are four cycles for the world; they’re called ‘Yugas,’” Reddy said. “We’re in the fourth one right now, which is called the Dark Age. This is when there’s ¾ sin and ¼ virtue. This period is believed, in Hinduism, to have started 5,000 years ago and is a barrier between earth and heaven. It is a time period where corruption and vice and impurity take over.”

Reddy said the end of the world will come when the Dark Age ends, not on May 21.

“Hinduism actually believes [the Dark Age] goes on for 432,000 years and it just started 5,000 years ago,” Reddy said. “So the end of the world in [the view of] Hinduism is not coming for a while. Everything is going to be destroyed at the end of [the Dark Age] because sin will have taken over. Then, the creator, Brumha, will create the world again and the four cycles will start over.”

Although Reddy said that the end of the world won’t happen for millenniums, Hounshell said that several Biblical prophecies that predict the end of the world have been lining up, possibly indicating that the end of the world is sooner than what people may think.

“[The end of the world] could be today; it doesn’t take a whole lot of prophecy yet to be fulfilled,” Hounshell said. “[For example,] 1948, …Israel was recognized as a nation for the first time. God said, at the end of time, Israel will once again rise up and be recognized. A lot of prophecies that Jesus gave us in the twenty-fourth chapter [of Matthew are] coming true even today.”

Hounshell said that one of the most apparent Biblical prophecies currently being fulfilled deals with the out-of-control population growth of buzzards in the Megiddo Valley of Israel, the site of the prophesized Battle of Armageddon.

Senior Mathew Winters, who said he is a “liberal Catholic,” said that he believes that people tend to fit current disastrous events to the fulfillment of prophecies.

“[End-of-the-world speculations are] always…more believable when we have natural disasters or when we have economical disasters,” Winters said. “People thought it was the end of the world after World War I, and then when World War II occurred,they thought it [again]. So when things [happen] economically or [we have], war, …  earthquakes [or] tsunamis, people equate it all with physical prophecy.”

Junior Matt Anderson, an atheist, however, said that although the recent tendency of current events to match Doomsday prophecies is eerie, he would not believe anything not grounded in science.

“I don’t think [Camping’s] beliefs have any ground,” Anderson said. “I think anything that relates back to any scientific method would be something I would find probable.”

Anderson also said that, should the end of the world happen, it would not be due to any supernatural force.

“I think the human race will do something stupid to kill [itself],” Anderson said. Reddy, however, said she sees several qualifications of fulfillment required before the end of the world happens.

“I was kind of spooked and creeped out by [Doomsday] theories, but I think the world has a long way to go. Even though there’s a lot of sin and corruption, there’s still a lot of purity and that needs to be lived out.”