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Doomsdays throughout time
March 6th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

A look at the ways the world could end

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Think you’ve got a prediction for when and how the world will end? Get in line.

A caravan of RVs is now touring the country to warn people about the end of the world (they say it will happen May 21), but they're hardly the first ones to embark on such a mission.

Throughout time, and across continents and belief systems, humankind has dished out enough end dates to fill a doomsday menu.

The backgrounds of the people who serve them up may differ, as might the details of what will unfold, but the general apocalyptic worldview is nothing original, says Lorenzo DiTommaso, an associate professor of religion at Concordia University in Montréal, Quebec and author of the forthcoming book, “The Architecture of Apocalypticism.”

“It’s a philosophy that explains time, space and human existence,” DiTommaso says. And by buying into this sort of outlook, a person can find comfort in a “comprehensive answer.”

Having studied apocalyptic movements for nearly 12 years, DiTommaso has strong opinions. He calls the apocalyptic worldview “adolescent” because it’s “a simplistic response to complex problems” and one that “places responsibility for solving these problems with someone else or somewhere else.”

As a result, there are dangers to this thinking, he says. Why care about protecting the environment, curing cancer or stopping poverty and violence against women, for example, if you believe it’s all going to end soon anyway?

The imminent doomsday date that’s gotten the most attention in recent years is the December 21, 2012, prediction gleaned from the Mayan “Long Count” calendar.

But not to be outdone by those pesky Mayans, there are some Christians who claim the Bible teaches that Judgment Day will come on May 21 of this year. They say those who are not saved in the Rapture will endure great suffering up until October 21, 2011, when the world will be kaput.

“There’s competition,” DiTommaso says. The Mayan calendar prediction “has gone global, and in the ecology of apocalypticism that’s the big tree right now. So the 2011 prediction has to fight for a bit of the sun. And the supreme irony is no matter how big the tree, it always gets cut down.”

Both predicted ends “will come and go – quote me on that,” DiTommaso says. “Unless the apocalypse we’re bringing on ourselves happens first, it’s not going to happen.”

Author and professor Lorenzo DiTommaso has studied apocalyptic movements for more than a decade.

Those who’ve dedicated the next few months to warning people about the May 21 date, however, hold that they understand what others – including, for instance, DiTommaso – fail to see. They accept the Bible as the undisputed word of God, and they find within the carefully studied scripture “infallible proofs” that the end is not only near but firmly scheduled, says Harold Camping, the force behind the Christian broadcasting ministry Family Radio and the biggest proponent of this doomsday date.

“What happens if nothing happens on May 21? I’m asked that question again and again,” Camping says. “It’s a question I don’t even entertain because it is going to happen. It is going to happen.”

So how do staunch believers, including those who quit jobs, bail on families and give away possessions in preparation for the end, bounce back if these fateful dates they think will bring massive destruction amount to just another ho-hum day?

Surprisingly, they don’t all feel duped, DiTommaso says. Some may fall away or slink off to something new, but when your worldview is apocalyptic in nature, a failed doomsday doesn’t leave you easily shaken, he says.

Instead, what religious people generally do, he says, is write off the end-that-wasn’t as an interpretation hiccup. With deeper study and prayer, they’ll be lucky enough to find another doomsday around the corner.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Death • End times • Faith • Jesus

soundoff (666 Responses)
  1. Mark

    LOL only god know's where and when,and how.The bible say's he will come like a thaive in the night.we will only know then.

    March 6, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • John Richardson

      Yeah, like a thief in the night. And some gun toting Christian rightwinger will probably shoot him.

      March 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  2. John Richardson

    Christianity will end long before the world does.

    March 6, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • NF

      Maybe – but then some other religion will just take over. People can't seem to let go of the hope and peace of some sort of being saving them to live eternally in paradise. And you can never argue with faith. Truth seems a less lofty goal then comfort.

      March 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Evan

      That's not why I'm Christian. I'm Christian because I seek to find meaning in my life. Without God, life has no meaning, because nothing will do matters. Besides, Christianity is not about eternity in Heaven, it is about building a relation with God. Besides, Christianity is a very down-to-earth religion. It focuses on how broken humanity really is, and that only God can fix us. It focuses on what He has done for us, and how He loves us just the way we are. Christianity will endure forever.

      March 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Burned

      No one has done anything for us, Evan. That's why your fake god is so "accepting". It's easier than trying to explain why prayers do not work. Why people are not healed or "fixed" from being "broken" (whatever that means).
      If you have a lazy god who "llikes things the way they are", then why believe that he is going to actually do something AFTER you are dead?
      You guys are suckered in by these con-artists and their fake docu-ments.
      If I were to write something down on a piece of paper with god's letterhead at the top, would you believe he wrote it or that I was "inspired" to write it by your god? But the possibility that I just wrote it to fool you never EVER occurs to you?
      You are simple, Evan. Your name should be Simon instead.

      March 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  3. Cynthia

    What became of the folks who went into hiding, stocked up on food, water and weapons when they thought the end would come at Y2K? Are they still in hiding?

    March 6, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • John Richardson

      If so, they are obviously hiding very well!

      March 6, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not only that, if they're hiding and no one's missed 'em, that speaks volumes about their importance in the scheme of things.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  4. Derek

    The world will end when the sun's main sequence phase ends and shifts to the red giant phase. Science knows, not silly imaginary friends.

    March 6, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • T-party

      you are correct Derek.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Gemini

      Yeah, but that's only if we are lucky enough to not destroy ourselves first. After all, that's not scheduled to happen for another 5 billion years.

      March 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  5. aria

    there are hundreds, possibly thousands of religions worldwide. one single belief system cannot explain something as expansive as god. i believe in god, and also in evolution, but i do not believe that we were created by it and i absolutely do not believe in religion and look down upon it for THIS exact purpose. it's crowd control. i think that god, whatever it may be, is probably not paying any attention to what we're doing on earth here. even calling it 'god' is probably innapropriate, because it might be just an energy. it might be nothing. i think, if it's there, it could care less about what we do on this insignificant ball of matter suspended in an incomprehensible amount of space, and that any apocalypse scenario is someone crying 'wolf.' any kind of higher intelligence or higher power cannot be explained by one single religion, let alone a group of lowly humans in caravans. it's a means to attempt to convert thousands of others to like-minded thinking. if people are willing to drop everything, pick up a bible, and throw themselves on the ground to beg for mercy all because they think their eternal souls are in danger, then 'apocalypse calls' are effective for getting people to join in on this religion. people don't think for themselves. but eventually, as history shows, these people will cry 'wolf' enough times that people are going to stop buying it. though, it's obvious that these people don't know history, and those who do not know history are bound to repeat it again and again. *sigh* imbeciles. i suppose we didn't learn after the first five or so 'apocalypse' hoaxes.

    March 6, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Evan

      The Bible never says when the world will end. It also makes it clear that nobody knows when the world will end but God. The book actually tells us not to be worried about determining the end of the world, because we (selfish, sinning, finite beings) can never truly understand why God does certain things.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Mike

      That's quite convenient Evan. "God helps those who help themselves." In other words, there is no god, and never has been.

      You need to try to read other books rather than just your bible to get a better education.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Evan But you understand perfectly well who is going to heaven and who is going to hell and why? Christians are always dumping their pat certainties over the will of god all over the place and certainly in this blogspace. But when some Christians actually put out a testable claim about God's will and are proven wrong again and again and again, some just come back with another round of hooey and people like you start mumbling about how unknowable it all is by finite creatures like ourselves. Well, if you'd just follow that logic where it actually leads and admit that IF god exists, we finite creatures can't possibly know his/her/its will with anything remotely approaching certainty, THEN there might really be some progress. Just a little humility where it matters would count so much more than crafty, strategic humility to shield yourself from the embarrassment of being wrong in a spectacularly public way.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Geri

      Aria said...
      if people are willing to drop everything, pick up a bible, and throw themselves on the ground to beg for mercy all because they think their eternal souls are in danger, then 'apocalypse calls' are effective for getting people to join in on this religion. people don't think for themselves. but eventually, as history shows, these people will cry 'wolf' enough times that people are going to stop buying it. though

      Good point Aria!
      Thats why people need to think for themselves. If they were saved by Jesus Christ, and understood his word, as revealed in all truth by the Holy Spirit, they would have the answer to this. Thus, they would not be making errant conclusions about the end of the world.

      Jesus said, No one knows the hour or the day, except the Father.

      DavidMichael said:

      That verse clearly shows that Jesus is less than the Father and not divine.

      David, not
      The Bible also teaches that Jesus is the incarnation of "The Son" who sits on the Father's Throne and who IS God in every PRACTICAL, FUNCTIONAL, and MEANINGFUL SENSE; that He is eternal, wields all the power and authority of God, has all the glory, majesty, and holiness of God, has the character, righteousness, and compa-ssion of God, that His will is the Will of God, and that if you want to know what God is like, you look at the Son.

      Jesus ,while He was God in the fle-sh, operated as a man not as God to show us how to act.

      Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, came to this earth and took upon himself a body of fle-sh like you and I have. He cried, laughed, got hungry, tired, felt anger, anguish, sadness, joy, all of the emotions that we feel. yet through all of that, Jesus was the only human to walk this earth that didn't sin.

      Because He took upon himself a body of flesh (no longer omniscient), and before His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus didn't know when He would return. It wasn't until after His resurrection and He took on the a-ttribute of omniscience, did He know when He was to return to earth the second time.

      Read your bible, and you will see the rest of what Jesus had to say about the end of time.

      The "clock" actually started up, when the Jews returned to thier homeland, for the first time since they were scattered.

      The Budding of the Fig Tree ~~~

      When God begins to fulfill the end time prophecy, He will quickly make an end to it. Those who witness the beginning would likewise see the end; "Now learn a parable of the fig tree. When its branch is still tender and puts out leaves, you know that summer is near. So you, likewise, when you see all these things, shall know that it is near, at the doors. Truly I say to you; this generation shall not pa-ss until all these things are fulfilled. The heaven and the earth shall pa-ss away, but My Words shall not pa-ss away. But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels of Heaven, but only My Father." Matthew 24: 32 – 36 (also see Mark 13:28 and Luke 21:29 – 31)

      Israel is symbolized by the "Fig Tree" and the "Fig Tree" is a fit emblem of Israel

      http://www.pray4zion.org/TheBuddingoftheFigTree.html

      May 14th 1948 Israel became a nation once more with a homeland ~~~ the fig tree blossomed! The fig tree that appeared to be dead, dry, withered and hopeless suddenly springs back to life, putting forth branches, sprouting leaves, blossoming, producing fruit, and putting down deep roots.

      The Vine: symbolizes Israel’s Spiritual privileges (Psalm 80:7; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jer. 2:21; Isaiah 10:1 – 2)

      The Fig Tree: symbolizes Israel’s National privileges (Hosea 9:10; Jer. 24:5; Matt. 24:32, 33).

      The Olive Tree: symbolizes Israel’s Religious privileges (Hosea 14:5 – 6; Isaiah 17:4-6; Isaiah 24:5-15; Psalm 52:8; Psalm 128; Romans 11:7 – 24).

      March 6, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Evan

      John Richardson, I never said I know who is going to Heaven and who is going to that other place. Nobody has proven that God doesn't exist. Our theories are not proven wrong again and again.

      Am I wrong? How can the finite grasp the infinite? I'm not using this argument as a last resort. We really can't understand why God does certain things. Isaiah 55:8 says it best, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD."

      I admit, I am not very humble.

      If you can prove to me that God does not exist, I'll stop being Christian.

      March 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Burned

      Evan, if you cannot see the truth, why ask for the truth? The proof that there is no god is all around you. There is a TOTAL LACK of proof that any god exists and this lack is EVERYWHERE.
      This lack is proof that there is no god. Real proof has never been found despite thousands of years of deluded people seeking proof that their delusions are real.
      They wanted to prove their god to others and have never been able to. All they can do is fool people and lie. Fraudulent proof is not real proof.
      There is no proof that your god exists. None. And this god supposedly made the universe. I guess we're still in the "day of rest" period where god is too tired to listen to prayers, too tired to help people, too tired to prove he exists.
      And he wants to put people in hell for things they didn't do? Don't you ever THINK about any of this stuff, Evan?

      March 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Anglican

      Burned. If God could be proven in scientific or mathmatical terms, He would not be God.

      March 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Cheezitsuk

      Anglican, why do you even bother to post with nonsense like that?

      March 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  6. Khooda

    Impact of movies and fantasy fiction novels leading to wild imagination 🙂

    March 6, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  7. Me

    Oh my, you silly naive Christians. Oh how sad you will be when your god doesn't come. Maybe then you will realize that he was just in your imagination.

    March 6, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • Evan

      Please read the Bible before you criticize it. Christianity is a wonderful religion. It focuses on how broken each one of us really is. It assures us justice will be done; the wicked will not go unpunished and the righteous will not go unrewarded.

      March 6, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Evan: So it just makes you feel better. Yeah, I'm convinced. Where do I sign up?

      March 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  8. non believer

    so all who believe in the end of the world, please forward all your cash my way for safe keeping

    March 6, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  9. albert

    It's sad that the article is not actually based on What the Bible actually says. This is false religion at it's finest. Jesus actually warned us about these kinds of people Matt. 7:21-23. As a side note, I think it is unfair that Jehovah's Witnesses are included in the article. The article states that "It was not their official doctrine". so why bother listing them? These few people (witnesses), drew their own conclusion and were wrong. It would have been different if they were following doctrine, but they were not.

    March 6, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • albert

      As a side note, the Noah's Ark story in the Bible mentions some animals being loaded by 7 and not just in pairs. I really wish people would read and study their Bibles instead of listening to the lies of their priests and preachers.

      March 6, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • dgad

      Albert.....dont you have a meeting today at your "salon"..? Assemblies tell jw's not to post on internet sites your veiws? so why do you disobey?

      March 6, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  10. give your head a shake

    I am always impressed and amused by the sheer stupidity of which the human animal is capable.

    March 6, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  11. dogs rule

    Gotta love "HWTruth". The Mafia came up with the same scheme for everyone in NYCity and New Joisey who didn't pay protection to the Don!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2011 at 8:38 am |
  12. David

    Fear rules the West. Bloodthirsty death cults have ruled the West and the Middle East for over two thousand years. There will be no End of the World unless any of these peoples fantasy "God" actually appears, and then by God, there will be a lot of death. All because we didn`t "believe" the right way. This isn`t God, this is a DEVIL from Hell. The Bible needs to be outlawed for warping peoples minds into believing it is justifiable to kill people who disagree with you. Does anyone care to disagree?

    March 6, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • dogs rule

      No disagreement here. Anyone who doesn't believe you should try being a Roman Catholic or a Jew in Bible Belt, y'all!!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 6, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  13. T-party

    self fufilling prophecy perpetuated by internet, histeria,bad economy,greed,government intervention in western civilization, and of course judgemental religion's

    March 6, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  14. Common Sense

    Doomsday predictions and those that believe them, even when they do not occur, are believed by the same people who believe in speaking in tongues and faith healers. Yes they may not be healed at one of these events, but they gladly spend their money because they have faith and believe everything they read in the Bible (and on the internet) is true and maybe they need to study the Bible more for their miracle.

    March 6, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • T-party

      @ Common Sense ...very true...great post

      March 6, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  15. VJG

    1975 "had an impact on JW beliefs"? Could we have some examples that prove this?

    March 6, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  16. Kotzbue

    How about Mark 13:32 then. And many, many different scholars, for almost 2,000 years, have looked at these passages and have no qualms about there authenticity.

    March 6, 2011 at 8:06 am |
  17. JWTruth

    Laugh all you like, but the Great God Jehovah is not One to be mocked. (Galatians 6:7)

    He loves us and clearly warned us in the Holly Scriptures of what will soon happen so that those with a good heart mite come to a know Him and get saved. But every one who arogantly reject Jehovah and the message his true Witnesses are preaching will be distroyed: "That is how it will be in the conclusion of the system of things: the angels will go out and separate the wicked from among the righteous and will cast them into the fiery furnace. There is where [their] weeping and the gnashing of [their] teeth will be. (Matthew 13:49-50)

    Jesus Christ told us about his upcoming Great Day of Judgment and what would happen to every one who do'snt worship his Father Jehovah: “Then he will say, in turn, to those on his left, ‘Be on YOUR way from me, YOU who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41)

    Do not be misled by the athiest propaganda in this artical; Jehovah will not be mocked.

    March 6, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • dogs rule

      I guess he REALLY loved the people who died on 9-11? Or were you sleeping through that...................

      March 6, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • dogs rule

      On another note: Your horrid spelling shows just how ignorant you really are..................

      March 6, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • JC Truth

      Instead of studying the bible, why don't you give a whack at studying spelling?

      March 6, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • albert

      A real Jehovah Witness would not have written what you did. I think you are just trying to discredit the Witnesses.

      March 6, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Evan

      Atheists, please read the Bible before you criticize it, as the Bible brings up the issue of why God allows evil many times.

      God assures us of three things:
      1) Even when evil happens, he is still in control. He knows what he is doing. Just because something bad happens to someone does not mean he does not love them. Besides, who are we (selfish, imperfect, finite beings) to criticize the eternal, perfect, all-powerful creator of the universe? Criticizing God is attacking reason with reason.

      2) God assures us that suffering in this life will only be temporary. He also assures us that good will come out of evil. With 9-11, for example, think of how many terror plots have been foiled, and how many people have been kept safe because 9-11 allowed us to recognize the threat of terrorism.

      3) God assures us justice will be done. In the end, good will triumph. The righteous will not go unrewarded, and the wicked will not go unpunished. God is just, and will reward or punish us according to what we have done.

      Also, remember, God gave us free will. He gave us the choice to forget about him if we want to, and that is what we did. While God allows evil, humans made it possible. However, he is very smart, infinitely smart, in fact. God uses the evil we do to accomplish his goals while still giving us free will.

      People often say religion does nothing but cause wars. First off, only 7% of wars have been because of religion. Second, in the last 100 years, more wars have been caused by non-religious people (World War I, World War II, Cold War, Vietnam War, Korean War, etc.). Third, religion should end wars. However, it is religious people that start wars. We, being sinners, do not always do the right thing. Upon reading the Bible, you will see how far off track many Christians are today.

      March 6, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • steveinmn

      Mock God? Never.

      Mock an incoherent, rambling, self-contradictory set of scrawlings written by people who claim to be ghostwriting for God? Sure, absolutely.

      Map/Territory confusion; you can get over it with help.

      March 6, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Evan

      Steveinmn, please read the Bible. The Bible does not ramble. The Bible does not contradict itself. There are many prophecies in the Bible that have come true almost to the letter. The Bible is indeed one of the most incredible books ever written. Two-thousand years later, it still applies today. The Bible was written by a variety of authors, everywhere from a king (Solomon) to a shepherd (David) to a Prime Minister (Daniel) to a medical doctor (Luke), on 3 continents in 3 languages, yet it still maintains the same theme.

      Even if you are not willing to accept the spiritual meaning of the Bibe, please be polite.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Mike

      Evan, you're crazy. How do you function in the modern world that is governed by science, law, and reason? It is arrogance to the utmost degree to think that your religion is100% correct while thousands of other religions are wrong. Religion is a man made concept used to control the masses. When you study history, do you think, "Wow, those silly Native Americans and their spirits talk". Or "Wow, those silly Greeks and their Zeus and Hera".

      That's how normal people think of you.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Don

      I've read the bible, Evan. It's a book of bronze-age myths, fables, and legends, with some historical fiction thrown in.

      There is no god.

      March 6, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Evan

      You said: "God assures us of three things:"

      God's first assurance:
      1) "Even when evil happens, he is still in control. He knows what he is doing. Just because something bad happens to someone does not mean he does not love them. Besides, who are we (selfish, imperfect, finite beings) to criticize the eternal, perfect, all-powerful creator of the universe? Criticizing God is attacking reason with reason."

      Re 1 :
      If God exists and is all good, we must have evidence that all of the evil / suffering we see, are for a higher purpose.

      There's no evidence at all, that 300 to 500 million people dying from Smallpox in the 20th century, is for a higher purpose.
      A baby born without a brain, or a worm eating a child's eye, has what purpose? A mom watching her baby die of starvation, because she has no milk, serves what purpose?

      Where's the love, Evan? Pfui!

      As William Rowe points out, "when a fawn burns to death in a forest fire and no human being ever knows about it, this apparently unnecessary evil does nothing to build the character of human beings. It is just suffering."

      You ask, "Who are we to criticize god?" Why, we are the ones who are doing the suffering. If I am to be flogged, isn't it my right to know what lesson I am to learn from the agony?

      God has failed to make it absolutely clear that the evil inflicted upon humans is for a good reason and is not just gratuitous. We are left to guess what lesson we are to take away from our ordeals.

      Christians declare, that their god is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent.

      1. An all good god would want to do away with all evil/suffering.
      2. God is all powerful, so He is able to do away with all evil/suffering.
      3. Yet, Evil persists.
      Therefore, the Christian god either does not care, or does not exist.

      God's second assurance:
      2) "God assures us that suffering in this life will only be temporary. He also assures us that good will come out of evil. With 9-11, for example, think of how many terror plots have been foiled, and how many people have been kept safe because 9-11 allowed us to recognize the threat of terrorism."

      Almost 3,000 Americans died in the 9/11 attack. Surely, an all good, all powerful, all knowing god could have found a better way to alert us to the threat of terrorism. Is god a dunce? Does He care so little for human life?

      God's third assurance:
      3) "God assures us justice will be done. In the end, good will triumph. The righteous will not go unrewarded, and the wicked will not go unpunished. God is just, and will reward or punish us according to what we have done."

      Re: 3
      There certainly no evidence for any sort of divine justice, that you are claiming.
      Bad things happen to good people. Bad people often live long lives in the sun.

      Do you think maybe the divine justice thingy, might have been made up, to justify scoundrels who did not receive justice in this life? Yeah, me to. LOL

      You said: "God is just, and will reward or punish us according to what we have done."

      Really? So, is it faith or works? Or is it a combination? Which carries more weight? Hmm...

      Your statement would indicate that "sins" are quant_itative. Murder would require a more severe punishment than say, telling a fib. Someone who has done lots of things Jesus approves of, would get a better mansion in Heaven.
      Most people do good and bad things. Is there an exchange rate? A lie is cancelled by donating your old coat to the poor?

      According to Christians, god sends unrepentant sinners to Hell and the saved to Heaven. An either or situation.
      There is no cooler part of damnation, or a better location in Heaven.

      The Christian view of eternal punishment or eternal bliss, seems to contradict a sliding scale of reward or punishment.

      If the Christian view is correct, it would call into question, a just god.

      You said: "Also, remember, God gave us free will. He gave us the choice to forget about him if we want to, and that is what we did. While God allows evil, humans made it possible. However, he is very smart, infinitely smart, in fact. God uses the evil we do to accomplish his goals while still giving us free will."

      Christians declare, that their god is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. Actually, no being can have all 3 attributes at once they are incompatible. But that is another conversation.

      If god is all knowing, He knows what will happen in the future. If the future can be known, free will is an illusion.

      The prophecies in the bible, would not be possible without events and actions being predetermined.

      If god has a plan for each of us, free will is not possible.

      Cheers!

      March 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Evan

      Mike, easily. The concept of God is very reasonable. The fact that, out of no where, the universe just created itself from nothing is not. The Bible is not a science textbook. It is not anti-science.

      Don, the whole Bible? Also, explain to me how, from nothing, the universe created itself.

      David Johnson, you are right, my friend. God is all-good. But that is not his only quality: God is also all-just. God does care about us. If he let the most evil person ever go unpunished, however, how do you think the righteous would feel? Also, God thanks and promises to reward those who suffer for righteousness. If not in this life, in the next. You are correct, faith is not works-based. Believing in Jesus is the best thing we can do, for all our "good deeds" are like dirty rags compared to loving God. In fact, this deed is so righteous it outweighs all our bad deeds. Nothing else we do can do that. Also, we can still have free-will with God knowing what we will do. Just because He knows what we will do does not mean He forces us to do it. Therefore, God can have a plan for us. Also, God is doing the suffering as well. God suffers when we sin, when we reject Him.

      God can do anything, except contradict his own nature. God is perfect and cannot fail. Let's look at a commonly used example: "God cannot create a rock too heavy for Him to lift." However, because God is perfect, He cannot fail. If He created a rock too heavy for him to lift, that would be failing. Also, God is infinitely big. For him to create a rock too heavy for him to lift, the rock would also have to be infinitely big, which is against God's nature.

      Again, who are we to criticize how God runs His universe? Who are we to think we can understand everything God does? Please, my friend, do not treat God like we can completely understand him.

      Thank you for being polite.

      March 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Burned

      "Please, my friend, do not treat God like we can completely understand him."

      Yet you did nothing else in your post.
      You are a typical christian hypocrite. And like most of them, you cannot see the blindly obvious hypocrisy in the things you say.
      God must not be perfect if he can't make things any clearer than a bunch of contradictions touted by hypocrites.

      March 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  18. Reality

    Our world as we know it will end but the Universe will go on forever.

    Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in one to five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

    March 6, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • T-party

      Reality great accurate post!

      March 6, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • Evan

      The problem with that theory is everything eventually loses energy. If the universe constantly expands and shrinks, eventually it will lose energy. Just like a rubber bouncy ball, it loses energy.

      Infinity does not exist in real life. Picture this: a dad is in his racecar riding around a track. His son, on the in-field, is also riding around in circles on his tricycle. The son completes 12 laps for every one lap his dad completes. However, if his dad completes infinity laps, so has the son. In this case X=Y even though Y is 12 times more than X. Also, picture this: you have infinity CD's, and each CD had infinity songs. You completely listen to one CD. However, if you listen to all the CD's you have listened to the same number of songs as if you had just listened to one. Also, picture this: you are at a train station. The train track is infinity miles long. If the train started at the very beginning of the track, it would never reach you. "But infinity doesn't have a start," you may say. My point exactly. The universe has not always existed, nor will it always exist.

      Atheists commonly believe the Bible is anti-science. However, the Bible is not a science textbook. The Bible and science can still be true at the same time.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • justlooking

      Good post and true. It is a sign of pure human arrogance to think that we are the only beings that matter in this great big universe. We may destroy ourselves first-now that's scary!-before anyone comes to judge us but life will certainly go on.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Reality: All evidence points to the "Big Freeze" instead of the "Big Crunch." There doesn't appear to be enough matter in the universe to retard the current expansion, so it'll just keep going.

      March 7, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  19. Kotzbue

    P.S. Dont forget what Christ said when asked about the end of the world in the book of Mathew, chapter 24. This is where the disciples asked what would be the sign of the end of the age. Christ answered in verse 36, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." There is a lot more to the signs for the end of the age and the whole chapter is well worth reading if you are interested but the long and the short of it is that no one knows but God.

    March 6, 2011 at 7:30 am |
    • Reality

      Kotzbue,

      Many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professor JD Crossan and Professor Gerd Ludemann) after thorough analyses of Matt 24: 36 have concluded that the passage was not authentic. See for example Professor Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 92 and p. 232.

      March 6, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • DavidMichael

      That verse clearly shows that Jesus is less than the Father and not divine.

      March 6, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Evan

      DavidMichael, we, as finitie, mortal, imperfect beings, cannot truly grasp the nature of the Trinity. Maybe Jesus had to surrender his knowledge of when the end of the world will occur to become human. Maybe Jesus chose not to know. We can't truly understand why God does certain things, and it is best to not criticize them, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD" (Isaiah 55:8).

      March 6, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Evan Well, if Christians, as mortal, finite beings, would kindly STFU about all the many ways their god supposedly wants to micromanage everyone's lives, we might get somewhere.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • David Johnson

      Actually, Jesus predicted He would be back in the 1st century.

      Jesus speaking: I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” – Matthew 24:34

      This verse is in all three of the Olivet Discourse accounts. (These accounts are to be found in Matthew 24:1-51, Mark 13:1-37, and Luke 21:5-33).

      For some time, critics of the Christian faith have argued that Jesus explicitly said here that all of the events prophesied in the Olivet Discourse, including His return, would happen before the last person living at that time died.

      Jesus promised, that He would return within that generation, but He did not. Since He was wrong, He could not have been God, so the Christian faith, is based on error.

      To bolster the argument, in all of the other places in the Gospels where Jesus used the term “this generation,” he was referring to people living at that time.

      These guys also feel Jesus was "mistaken" LOL!

      The respected Christian apologist and author, C.S. Lewis 1960 essay "The Worlds Last Night"
      “Say what you like,” we shall be told, “the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.”

      Bertrand Russell, in his book, 'Why I Am Not A Christian',
      He discredits the inspiration of the New Testament: "I am concerned with Christ as He appears in the Gospel narrative…He certainly thought that his second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at the time. There are a great many texts that prove…He believed that his coming would happen during the lifetime of many then living. That was the belief of his earlier followers, and it was the basis of a good deal of his moral teaching." Russell later reasons that it would be fallacious to follow a religious leader (such as Jesus) who was mistaken on so basic a prediction as his parousia.

      parousia = second coming
      eschatology = •the branch of theology that is concerned with such final things as death and Last Judgment; Heaven and Hell; the ultimate destiny of humankind

      Albert Schweitzer in his 19-century book, 'The Quest of the Historical Jesus', summarized the problem of "Parousia delay" as follows: "The whole history of Christianity down to the present day... is based on the delay of the Parousia, the nonoccurrence of the Parousia, the abandonment of eschatology, the process and completion of the 'de-eschatologizing' of religion which has been connected therewith."

      Jesus Predicted a First-Century Return Copyright © 2008 by Michael A. Fenemore Revised: 2008 Oct 20 P a g e1
      Jesus did not know the “day and hour” of his return (Matt. 24:36). However, he knew it would take place before his generation had expired. This clearly precludes a delay spanning two millennia or even a single century.

      Believers try to spin it, but those are the literal words of Jesus the uhh...carpenter. ?

      Cheers!

      March 6, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      Actually, Jesus repeatedly predicted that the whole Kingdom of God would come down upon the Earth withing the lifetime of some of his listeners. That's a lot more that his personal return, and there is no way anyone can legitimately claim it somehow happened. Jesus was very wrong on a core part of his teaching.

      And Jesus could not have been a carpenter, as there was very little wood in the area. More likely he worked with stone.

      And, my favorite passage in the Bible, Mark 3.21 "When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Yes, Jesus' family, who knew him all his life, thought he was crazy. Apparently Jesus kept his divinity in the closet for 33 years, and even the Virgin Mary did not know about it.

      March 6, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  20. Kotzbue

    Dont forget the End of the World by Global Warming coming soon, brought to you by govt funded research that proves it!!

    March 6, 2011 at 7:09 am |
    • HeavenSent

      You couldn't prove Gore's lies to all those that endured over 5 feet of snow in the Northeast. Snowed down in the southern states too, along with Texas getting flurries. Where was Al this winter? Probably soaking up the sun some where in the globe never to read the papers in NY or DC about how many roofs collapsed.

      March 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.