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May 20th, 2011
07:32 PM ET

Avlon on the end of the world

A Christian radio group says the world will end on Saturday. CNN talks with John Avlon about the possibility. Avlon is a CNN contributor, senior political columnist for The Daily Beast and the author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: End times

soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. KingdomWork

    Just a question to ponder...Could it be that Jesus Christ is returning differently than we expect Him to? Everyone is expecting Him to return with the rapture... The word "rapture" isn't in the bible. Did you know that?

    In the New Testament, the religious people of the day crucified Jesus because they didn't recognize who Jesus was; as well as, His new Kingdom teachings. (Era of Grace) The Pharisees couldn't accept Him or His new teachings. They wanted to continue under the old era of Old Testament Law; thus, they had Him killed because they thought He was a false teacher.

    Maybe Christ is returning in the form of His Holy Spirit? Living through His believers? Our bodies are His temple, where He can live through us? Jesus was coming to baptize us with fire/or the Spirit, and He said, “Oh how I wish it was already kindled..”- I believe Jesus said that because He wanted us to live righteously, yet without His Spirit within us, it’s impossible to keep growing in grace.
    Have you ever looked at what He taught? He taught The Kingdom of God/Heaven. The kingdom is supposed to already be here now! Interesting, right?
    Could it be that no one knows the time or hour of His return because we receive His spirit/return at different times? Just a thought?!?!

    May 25, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  2. Just Jim

    I'm so totally dissapointed in these results.

    My brother's 40th birthday is today.

    I specifically avoided getting him a card, because I knew the US Postal Service was going to be wiped out on Friday.

    Time for an emergency eCard.

    May 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  3. Elite

    here is my lovely footage from the end of the world
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L-KrOoz_mg&w=640&h=390]

    May 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  4. Artist

    HeavenSent

    David, how many times do I have to explain this to you? Read this s-l-o-w-l-y ... 2000 years for man is 2 days for the Lord.

    Amen.

    ----

    Hmmm did god tell you this? Or did this come from man?

    May 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  5. Mark from Middle River

    –>“Growing to swallow Mercury, Mars and possibly even the Earth at its peak the spectacle of the growing sun would be overwhelming. Long before all life on earth was extinguished by fire the enlarged sun itself would be the focus of attention of even the simplest observing mind. But a massively swollen sun isn't even remotely mentioned in scripture.”

    So, ...where did you go to school. Before the sun even reaches Mars or becomes noticeable in the heavens, life on this planet will probably be in peril and/or wiped out. One thing you learn in science is that the balance of life on this planet is very thin. Chances are, between increased radiation and other factors, I doubt that even before the sun halved the distance to Mercury, we would not be able to tell by the naked eye of the sun's size... ever see the sun at high noon and then watch a sunset... pretty different sizes...

    Try this, a simple solar flare. I do believe only once has one been powerful enough to be noticeable by the naked eye. That one caused damage to a phone system in the south and they can still find evidence in Greenland of it happening. That was a simple flare in the mid 1800s . According to the NASA.gov site they predict:

    “The frequency of flares coincides with the Sun's eleven year cycle. When the solar cycle is at a minimum, active regions are small and rare and few solar flares are detected. These increase in number as the Sun approaches the maximum part of its cycle. The Sun will reach its next maximum in the year 2011, give or take one year. NASA.gov“

    –> “I'm sorry Mark but science and prophesy are completely at odds here ”

    Wild ride huh Steve, end of the world and all, Mayan, 89 year old preacher...the best space agency on the planet... Totally and completely on two totally different sides of the spectrum of interesting possibilities.

    The simple thing is, and I will let you folks not of Faith, in on a little secret,... Many or most of us Christians live each day knowing that it could be our last day. A guy or a group declaring it to be the end of the world on a specific day? Most Christians laughed because for many Christians and chances are Muslims and Jews as well, we live with the thought that each day a car could come flying off the road and kill us, a piece of a building could come crashing down, or the heart in our chest could just stop. Most, would not fear the end of the world prediction because one day we shall leave it one way or another. So what is the difference if a solar flare begins to torch the earth or we get shot by a stray bullet.

    It's like the scene in the Indiana Jones movie when he has the middle eastern man in the boat and the ships blades are cutting through the back of the boat.

    Indiana Jones: Where is he? Talk or you're dead! Dammit tell me! Tell me!
    Kazim: If you don't let go Dr. Jones, we'll both die!
    Indiana Jones: Then we'll die!
    Kazim: My soul is prepared! How's yours?

    Atheist many times say that we of Faith live in fear, the problem with that is, at least in the Bible, it says many times to fear not for God is with you. So, come what might, solar flare or cancer... “My soul” was prepared on the 21st just as it was on the 20th and today on the 22nd and will be tomorrow. 🙂

    Peace.

    May 22, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      And I'll let you believers in on a little secret....most of us non-believers came from a background of faith. I was raised Catholic and didn't turn my back on my faith until I actually dug deep into the bible and the history behind it. Science had answers and plausible explanations for things the bible used magical mumbo jumbo to explain. Pat answers like "god did it" or "god works in mysterious ways" no longer had any credence because they don't provide any new information.

      As for living each day as if it were our last...well it is we who do so much more fully than those who expect some type of reprive after we die. My "soul" doesn't exist and thus I spend zero time worried about how I may have offended some heavenly overlord. By contrast it is you who worry about what possible transgressions may have jeopardised your path to eternity. Call it fear or whatever it is nonetheless something that doesn't come up in our perspective. It is you not us who have a fear of hell...for us it just isn't real and carries zero weight as a threat.

      Live long and prosper.

      May 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      And also what you refered to as a simple solar flare was actually a CME or coronal mass ejection. Solar flares are common occurances during solar maximums and are responcible for the auroras on planets with a magnetic field. CME's are much more rare and different in the sheer scale of ejected ionized particles. Luckily the earth is a pretty small target for such ejections and the last one happened before we had extensive power and communication grids. The consequences of a CME imparting a huge induced charge into the earths magnetic field today would overload transformers and communication grids on a global scale. Devastating for sure but only to electrical systems and short-lived we should come through such an event without reverting to barbarism and is certainly not an event of apocalyptic proportions.

      May 22, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      –> “My "soul" doesn't exist and thus I spend zero time worried about how I may have offended some heavenly overlord. By contrast it is you who worry about what possible transgressions may have jeopardized your path to eternity.”

      Ok, so we go back and forth saying.. “you live in fear... no you live in , ...no no you live in fear”. The “Hand of an Angry God” sermon, most churches do not deliver that sermon any more:)

      –> “And I'll let you believers in on a little secret....most of us non-believers came from a background of faith. “ No ...I have never thought of such 🙂 First time I have heard that one. Normally I would go on a rant about just a flock of rebellious members of the faiths but you have acted with much respect so forgive me for that bit of sarcasm. The question always hold is that when some folks study deeply into the Bible or other books of faith some on occasions ...become something different. They tend to stop being to nice to hang around with. They either become Bible learned atheist or they become Bible learned Christians. Both of which, when you boil them down, was looking for something else in the Bible. I have met some Christians that know the scriptures by heart but at the same time could not tell you how God has touched their lives. At the same time they feel they are “better” Christians because they know the Bible so intensely. I have also met Atheist here who, like the Christians I mentioned know the Bible very well. It is almost that both sides believe that the Bible is the end. I choose to see that God's hand touches the world every day. Proof is in my Faith, Non proof is in yall's. .. at the same time I am at peace about that from both the Bible Learned Christians and the Bible Learned Atheist.

      It is interesting that you believe that we live in such fear. The other day I was listening to BBC World service and a guy from some country declared that we Americans live in constant fear of pretty much everything. Basically that we Americans wake up worried that children in some small country might get two meals a day instead of one so we do what we can to make that not happen. It is Americans who are afraid...

      I guess it is the same because I look at your words and a while back I would have said that your post are signs that you are the one in fear of God's judgment because you deep down in places you do not want to admit, you have a shade of fear that one day you might meet him.

      Like I said there has to be a better way than the “you live in fear...no your live in fear” type of conversation.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      –> "Devastating for sure but only to electrical systems and short-lived we should come through such an event without reverting to barbarism and is certainly not an event of apocalyptic proportions."

      So, I take it you took a break from the news when Katrina hit? Or the Atlanta gas shortage a few years back. The day the power went out in the New York tri-state area. .. It won't take much my friend. Not much at all.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Well Mark it appears that we've come full circle. I believe you are a genuinely good person. You aren't ignorant or dismissive, knowledgable about what science has to say with a sincere healthy scepticism and most importantly honest about your beliefs being rooted in faith. Too many theists(no favoritism here...I reject all gods) assert a gnostic position about their god and gods will like they have been given the super decoder ring of truth but wont share. Most point to the bible here but we both know the pitfalls of believing everything you read.
      You view gods hand at work in the universe and in the hearts of men whereas I see natural causes. You see purposeful foresight by god where I see happenstance hindsight. We both experience the natural world as filled with awesome splendor, intricacy and complexitiy. God is your creator, I am made of starstuff. God is your author of objective morality, I behave according to the nessesary emergent ethos of any social animal. To you the spark of life is divine and your consciousness is a shadow of your eternal spirit, I view an immensely long chain of the biological evolutionary continuum where I am not the endpoint but just the current pinnacle.
      For the aspects of reality that we perceive with our 5 senses and our intellect the differences between our viewpoints is really quite minor. It would be the height of arrogance for me to unequivically dismiss the possibility of a deistic creator yet I assign that a low probability due to a lack of evidence.
      It is the gods of men and in particular the god of abraham that I reject completely. As a catholic I was taught that mankind is pitiful, wretched, tainted with sin and in dire need of redemption by a jealous judgemental god. Despite your objections it is fact that we are told we must accept our guilt and fear the wrath of god. I see that as dangerous and unacceptable...a control mechanism...belittling to the human condition. As an atheist I am unfettered by such dogma and constrained only by humanistic principles that align quite closely to Jesus' teachings. No surprise there since most of what he preached was common sense....just not the supernatural bits.

      May 23, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • UnwrittenUntold

      @ Athiest Steve – I myself couldn't have said it better. Thank you. [:

      May 23, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  6. The Amazing Insights of Brad Brainiac, Christian

    The end of the world was really a bore. I really expected Jesus to be more dramatic.

    But don't lose heart, fellow Christians. The end of the world is still near. It will happen exactly like it was supposed to today, but not today. That's what makes those people just plain crazy: they got the day wrong.

    May 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Mark Bohannon

      And you know better than they.
      I'm afraid you are exactly like those people.

      May 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • UnwrittenUntold

      Lol! I find this comment really histerical. If it were " Jesus" they wouldn't have gotten the day wrong LMAO! The world isn't going to end. And I belive there is no "god who will make rapture happen"

      May 23, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  7. Mark Bohannon

    Imagine there's no Heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    May 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      I agree 100%, but at least give Lenon the credit he deserves... 🙂

      May 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • UnwrittenUntold

      Beautiful Writting. [:

      May 23, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  8. Jenn

    Christianity- The belief that some jewish zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat of his flesh, drink of his blood, and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master. So he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a sinful woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree!..... Yea makes perfect sense!!!!

    May 21, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Mark Bohannon

      Beautifully said! Are those your words? If so, I want to reference them if you don't mind.

      May 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Cherish Marie

      If only there was a big fat like button =)

      May 21, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Jenn

      🙂

      Peace...

      May 23, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • UnwrittenUntold

      This comment just made my day. [: lol But I seriously couldn't have said it better my self.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • InFormed99

      Jenn said "symbolically eat of his flesh, drink of his blood"

      actually, according to scripture, the bread and wire actually CHANGE INTO flesh and blood at the moment you swallow them. How gross is that???

      May 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  9. Reality

    And we are live from CNN at 6:53 PM !!!!!

    May 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  10. jayla

    Here we go: another end of the world prediction that fell through. I find it very hard to feel sorry for the people that sell their homes, quit there jobs, give away their worldly possessions because some scam artist told them the end is nye. Why? Why are people so quick to jump on the end of world bandwagon? I'm Catholic and as religious as the next person, but there are too many things to see in the world, too may books I haven't read, many places I want to see. If it happens, it happens. But the Lord Himself said no one knows when the end will happen. Simple mathematical calculations will not work. LIVE YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST, BE HAPPY, BE A GOOD CARING PERSON. That's it.

    May 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  11. TarHeel gal '72

    In light of commentaries and chatter:

    The World is going to end on May 21st this year. This is according to the latest reports I’ve heard. Or is it the Mayan calendar that's right when we hear December 12, 2012 repeatedly tossed around? Or what about in the Summer of 1962 in the mountains of North Carolina when cardboard cut-outs read: “The World will end, the World will end tomorrow, get ready~”

    I am more inclined to believe those scratched-out torn pieces of cardboard from rugged, humbled, often toothless, old men standing outside the Transylvania County courthouse.

    But, in reality, none of us know the exact timing of the end of the World. Nor, in my opinion, should we contemplate or concern ourselves with spreading eschatological or endtime dates.

    God clearly says that we will not know the day or the time. Jesus makes a point to tell us that He doesn’t know. Nor do the angels. Jesus does say that we should be ‘awake at the switch’, however, and avoid complacency. “Ever watchful” is the wording, I recall. “Mindful”, like the homeowner preventing the thief from entering. That kind of preparedness.

    Dates placed into our psyche, even from experts who do nothing but analyze and evaluate all sources, seem to create a false presumption that we are in charge. This presumptive idea certainly presents more questions than answers. At the very least, definitive eschatological dates for human consumption are overwhelmingly confusing.

    The fact is that God is in charge and has always been in charge. So trying to play God removes us farther away from our relational position with a loving Father.

    Let’s just say that we knew. And agreed that we knew in a global consensus. How would human beings react? How would you and I respond?

    In the logic of CS Lewis, shall we count the ways?

    First, there are some who would pro-actively party, or shop, ‘til they dropped in the ever-present theory: ‘the one who dies with the most toys wins.’

    Second, cruelty towards those less fortunate in order to ensure and protect ones best position would exist on multi-levels.

    Third, many would be remain in ‘benevolent oblivion’ and ‘benign neglect’. The ‘if I don’t acknowledge the truth, it doesn’t exist’ theory. ‘So be it.’

    Fourth, people would prepare and ready their hearts, minds and Souls through prayers,
    reflection, repentance and mental awareness in the manner that God requested
    through His Son.

    And in the continued ethical logic of Lewis, only one spot is found to be correct.

    My mind catapults in reverse to the misty, fog-ridden mountain mornings that occupied the Summer of 1962, the time when the World was to come crashing down upon all in my life. The 'end of days' signs were so primitive that I think many had been scrawled with coal. But, there was a special ring to them that rang true. Any child who had been called out of the area lake by a lifeguard’s whistle notifying him or her to ‘get out’ for the removal of snakes knew that the World could end at anytime. And knowing this was a good thing.

    The World was to end on Monday, February 28, 2011 for my husband and myself. At 6:33pm. It would happen on a particularly dangerous spot as we entered the relatively new Anthony Henday Highway. An engineering dropout must have designed the angle of the entrance and the snow barrier blurred all lines of vision. Everything pointed to “gunning it” and my 2006 Buick Allure was ready. “Gun it”, I thought. And then, ever so calmly and ever so firmly, came a voice not my own: “pull over. Pull over to the right and stop. Now.” I knew that couldn’t be right, I needed to “floor it” and get this Buick going.

    The inner voice nudging me ruled that day. I obeyed. Because of this, my husband and I lived to tell about it. You see, the largest truck, as only seen in the mountains, whished by exactly where we would have been. A hair away. So close, that we both knew we had been saved. And it was so surreal that it embedded our Souls. Once again, we knew we had heard the voice of divinity, the voice of life, and followed. Is this in part what “ever watchful, ever mindful” means?

    Living as if the World will, indeed, end on May 21st or even December 12th, 2012 may be deceitful. Perhaps we should live as if the World will end tomorrow. Ever mindful. For as any 12 -year old knows, you may not make it out of the lake!

    May 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • G -THE -GREAT

      excuse me its 10:11 here and nothing happened, they're no earthqaukes no cracks in the street so i think you might want to drop the whole apocalypse thing okay.

      May 22, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • fimeilleur

      My 12 year old knows how to swim... we made sure he learned at a much younger age to swim... we also taught him that science has more potential to reveal answers to life's questions than the non-answers the buybull provides by stating "Gawd did-it".

      May 22, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  12. DaLe

    Today at 6:45 p.m. local time my phone received a sms from the bank I have an account at, basically saying that they want from me nearly 2 000 EUR within the following 3 days.

    May 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  13. HearsTruth

    Hi Peace...

    Your right I believe in Jesus. Although I cannot speak for all Christians, I'm pretty sure someone, somewhere shares my view.

    I'm still lost. I don't have answers, but I'm fine with it. It's a learning experience, and the Bible is complicated. Interpretation is key. Obviously Mr. Doomsday's interpretations were down right wrong, nothing happened. Whether or not its in the scriptures, who would know the day or hour? On the contrary, Harold's beliefs were of destruction instantly, within the time zones(Massive earthquakes). In Revelations, John gives many signs before the "End". It's ALL based on faith. If I have faith but am wrong... there would be nothing. Now Vise Versa- I would lose too much, and why? lol I could go on and on and on.. . and not get anywhere with my point.. But I do know in my heart, I feel a sense of togetherness with the universe, belonging, pride of what we all have. I try really hard to make my interactions meaningful, treating others how I would like to be treated. I forgive, probably too easily, but if I mess up (not perfect) I would like to be forgiven just as fast... Theories suck! oh I do believe in evolution too, just not the monkey way of it, as well as MY interpretation of the Bible.

    Thanks HT

    May 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  14. Linda (Lin)

    Here are a few verses from Mathew 24 (King James Version) that may summarize that it is not man's decision, only God in Heaven.

    Verse 23: Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

    Verse 29: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.

    Verse 36: But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

    Lin from Springfield, Illinois

    May 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Linda (Lin)
      You said: "Here are a few verses from Mathew 24 (King James Version) that may summarize that it is not man's decision, only God in Heaven.
      Verse 23: Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
      Verse 29: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
      Verse 36: But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."

      Jesus did not predict the date or the time, but He did predict He would be back in the 1st Century:

      [The little carpenter speaking] Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” – Matthew 24:34

      Which goes to show you, this entire Jesus was the Messiah belief is a myth.

      No god. No seduced virgin. No son of god. Just reality. LOL

      Cheers!

      May 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Wipe0ut

      And....No Atheist, only foxholes

      May 22, 2011 at 3:12 am |
    • Artist

      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      May 23, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  15. HearsTruth

    It saddens me to read the insulting murmurs of ignorant people! Harold Camping does not speak for every Christian! Just goes to show morals and ethics are declining in the so called "educated".

    May 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Hears Truth

      Hey -HT...

      I'm interested to hear your thoughts. The people that truly believe in the May 21st, 2011 (doomsdayer's) and the real christians that know 'the truth', isn't it really just a difference in 'time'...?

      My point being, (assuming you are a christian), you believe the bible where it states (paraphrasing here)..."Only God knows, etc..." But, really... you christians still hold the same 'beliefs' that Camping and his followers do.

      It's just a matter of (time) before Jesus descends from the heaven's to slay the non-believers, and whisk away all the good/believing christians to heaven, yes...?

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      May 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Fidei Coticula Crux

      There is a difference between calling yourself a Christian and being a Biblical Christian.

      “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” – Matthew 7:21, NKJV.

      The Bible tells us how to test prophets and how to recognize false gospels:

      “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of Him.” – Deuteronomy 18:22

      “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” – 1 John 4:1-3

      “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! – Galatians 1:8-9

      This is why Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Seventh-day Adventism, Unification Church, Christian Science, Unity School of Christianity, etc. are classified as cults and not Christian because they teach false biblical doctrine.

      Furthermore, Paul warns us in the Great Apostasy, don’t believe those who say the Day of the Lord has already come (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4); and these doomsdayers had already made one false end of times prophecy before.

      May 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Al

      “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of Him.” – Deuteronomy 18:22

      That Is one of the most hilarious verses in the Bible. Want to buy some snake oil?

      May 21, 2011 at 4:10 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.