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Your Take: Is it the end of the world as we know it?
Some Christians believe Judgment Day is just around the corner. Their job is to warn the people.
March 8th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Your Take: Is it the end of the world as we know it?

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Note to self: When writing about the End, expect no end of comments.

On Sunday we published “Road trip to the end of the world,” about a group that’s traveling by RV to spread a May 21 doomsday warning. You’ve posted about 10,000 comments on the story. And that doesn’t touch your responses to a sidebar, in which we took you on a historical journey called “Doomsdays throughout time.”

There’s no way to condense the opinions of all of you who expressed them, but here are some of the themes that seemed to emerge.

Doom and gloom has never been so fun

Plenty of you responded with humor, grateful for the news that will let you max out credit cards, avoid summer lawn mowing and forget about studying for final exams.

Some bemoaned the fact that plans you'd looked forward to would be canceled, like JohnDoee who said:

I just booked a vacation to Mexico starting May 21st. Wonder if my trip insurance covers end of the world.

Others invoked a certain headline-grabbing celeb, saying you’d put his antics to shame. Said GQPulbic:

If I knew with absolute certainly the world was ending in three months I would make Charlie Sheen look like a choir boy. Nothing would be off limits.

Still others decided to use the space as a virtual Craigslist of sorts, a venue to snag belongings that have been left behind. Wrote PL90210:

My wife and I are looking for a swingset for our daughter. If any of you have a swingset and feel your family has more important things to do between now and May 21st and wouldn't mind us having it, could you reply back and we can set something up?

No laughing matter

What you read also worried you. You expressed concerns about potential violence and mass suicide, and some even worried that these faithful RV travelers might be “terrorists.” Said Buddesatva:

These folks are mentally unbalanced. The kindest thing that we can do for them is get all of them into a program and I would stongly advise taking the children away. This thing smacks of a suicide cult. Whenever people start talking in superlatives and absolutes, you know that you have a psychosis in the works. The state needs to intervene now before people, specifically children end up getting hurt.

More than anything, those expressing such concern pointed to children who are not only being exposed to these teachings but are actually out there spreading the word, too. We introduced you to one young girl, Arianna, and learning about her got SpaceyG, who quoted part of the story, going:

Not harming innocent people in this, eh? 'It scares me a little bit because some people are going to die, and I think I'm one of them,' she adds. 'I'm trying to do good things, but I'm afraid I'm doing something bad.' Arianna is 7, after all, and being good all the time cannot be easy. Her father stands next to her, nodding his approval. Bless her frightened little heart. I hope she finds a good lawyer on May 22 to sue for punitive emotional damages.

To believe or not to believe

The story drew in many believers, though your beliefs differ, as well as those of you who dismiss religion altogether.

Summing up his (or her) anger was the aptly named AngryAtheist:

All religions are a disease. There's no way we can advance as a people when we all believe in gods that do absolutely nothing to prove an existence. You're taught from an early age when your parents forced you to go to church to learn fairy tales. Open your sheep minds… That fairy tale book called the bible was written by those in power to keep the power, to control the masses, and to gain wealth. There isn't a god, nor was there ever one.

But these sort of responses had plenty of faithful readers fighting back. Some voiced that you, too, believe the end is near, but unlike this group of travelers you refuse to nail down a date. Hundreds threw out scripture, reminding us that “No man will know the day or hour,” and that Jesus will return “like a thief in the night.” Said SBack89: 

Jesus actually states in the Bible, 'Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. But about the day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.' (Matthew 24:35-36). So as Christ says, He has not even been told by His Father in heaven as to when exactly the world will end. So this group of people are going directly against the Bible, the true word of God.

What’s next?

Countless readers wondered what these doomsday travelers will do when they wake up on May 22 and nothing has changed.

Chilcat: "I Reeeeealy hope CNN will do a story on the poor deluded folks on May 22nd." In a quick response, we heard from Wzrd1: "One can wish. But, given CNN's attention span, or lack thereof, they won't. : ( "

Oh, Wzrd1, ye of little faith ...

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Belief • Bible

soundoff (1,121 Responses)
  1. Cody

    'Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. But about the day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.' (Matthew 24:35-36). Only the Father knows. Lord please forgive us for the sin in our lives. I need you, Christ!!! I hope and pray that the people that don't know you as Lord will realize their need for you.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Colin

      Citing superst-itous hogwash to refute other superst-itous hogwash

      March 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  2. one world

    I believe in god, and it's called nature-we're one, on the level of planetary being. Man/Woman was created in the image of god, duh! so what's so difficult to grasp on. Atheism is limited, and so is religion. Expand your horizons, beyond dogma, and embrace this creation. I am sick and tired of all the predictions...

    March 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  3. LeRoy

    Heck no. Those people are crazy. If any of you are so sure give me your home.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  4. Tom

    My wife and I got behind this caravan in our own RV last December. Our rig had a little body damage from a fall storm, so we were tempted to follow them to a rest stop in hopes of asking them where they're planning to have their RVs repainted on May 22. We thought we might use the same shop.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  5. Bob

    The punch line to Christianity is "believe or die". This "event" is all about that. Harold says everyone who is not a believer is going to die this year. He also says EVERYONE who goes to ANY church is NOT saved and will die with the us. Do you believe that? If so check yourself out.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  6. Davydenko

    Holy crap, why does CNN CONTINUE to give voice to fringe lunatics? It gets really old when there's an article every day about what some deluded religious people are saying without any evidence. Please stop or I, and I'm sure many others, are going to stop visiting this site altogether. There's freedom of speech and then there's spotlighting the voice of bigoted lunatics, and CNN has done the latter time and time again. It's entirely tacky and tiresome.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  7. maine liberal

    I hope its t5r ue because i just got a new 2011 lamborgini .first payment is due june 1 sweeeet

    March 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  8. Bob

    Only God knows the day and time. When ask, Jesus said No one knows this but the Father.
    Since the Bible is based on His teachings, you can not find when the end will come.
    That is one reason for living your life as God would want you to; because you do not know when
    the end will come.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Colin

      Again, citing superst-itous hogwash to refute other superst-itous hogwash

      March 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • maine liberal

      Matthew 24:24, 26 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. ... If they shall say unto you, Behold, ... he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

      Matthew 24:36-51

      36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[a] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • dgaf

      Isn't the Son the Father in human form. Using that logic, wouldn't the son know the what the father knows? Seeing as the son is the father and visa versa.

      March 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  9. Sharyl

    But these sort of responses had plenty of faithful readers fighting back. Some voiced that you, too, believe the end is near, but unlike this group of travelers you refuse to nail down a date. Hundreds threw out scripture, reminding us that “No man will know the day or hour,” and that Jesus will return “like a thief in the night.” Said SBack89:

    Jesus actually states in the Bible, 'Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. But about the day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.' (Matthew 24:35-36). So as Christ says, He has not even been told by His Father in heaven as to when exactly the world will end. So this group of people are going directly against the Bible, the true word of God.

    Me: ok soooo if GOD didn't tell Jesus when the world will end if it will ever end..... WHERE IS EVERYONE COMMING UP WITH MAY 21st! Someone had to have just pulled that date out of a hat and said " ok let's really make ppl fearful...hmmmm May 21st sounds like a good day to throw ppl into a panic!" People realize these are sensative times and fear mongers are out there spreading their trade (FEAR) . DO not buy into it. Instead spread Peace. 🙂

    March 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Colin

      Citing superst-itous hogwash to refute other superst-itous hogwash.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Bob

      Per Harold, 5-21-2011 is exactly 7000 years from the day God closed the door to Noah's arc. The bible says seven days will pass. One day is 1000 years, per Harold.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @Bob

      You still haven't realized that Noah's arc is a myth? How do i know its a myth you ask? Well lets posit some logical questions:
      1. How can noah build such a large cruiseliner to hold ALL the animals of the earth with primitive tools?
      2. How can noah accommodate a lion and a zebra on the same ship without the lion having his zebra for lunch?
      3. How can noah (who thought that where he lived in his little part of the world was actually the entire world) save the indian bengali tigers, australian kangaroo, polar bears, penguins that he doesn't even know about because he's a primitive man????
      4. From no 3, If noah did bring polar bears and penguins onto his ship, did he build a special refrigerator to keep them from dying (cause u know they cant survive in warm climates)
      5. If this supposed flood did occur, why can't scientists find a plethora of fossils from that point in time of all the dead animals? did god use special water in the flood that dissolved all the bones of the animals?
      AND i could go on and on to show you how easily it can be seen that noahs arc is a MYTH!

      Oh and another thing, look up the wiki on the 'Epic of Gilgamesh'. This collection of myths were written 200 yrs before the bible and the noah story is copied right outta there! Read up on 'Relationship to the Bible' section for noah and the flood. Thanks!

      March 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  10. Cody

    Please forgive us Father for the sin in our lives!!! We need you, I need you!!!!

    March 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  11. Smith

    The cake is a lie.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Aethrys

      Well, at least we'll all have a chance to play Portal 2 next month before the world ends. Assuming valve doesn't push it back again at the last minute.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  12. pothead

    The Wizard of Oz was a great book and so was Cinderella! Peter Pan is also great! And we teach our kids to believe in the Easter Bunny! So to quote from a move, "What's it like living with the Easter Bunny and Peter Pan in your head"? I'm sticking with Santa Claus...your jesuz has given the world nothing compared to Santa, go figure...

    March 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • mantaec

      Will Santa die too? Can't we wait until after Christmas for the world to end? I wanna Snickers Betty!

      March 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  13. cash in

    Is there any way they could all meet be on May 20th and give me their life savings? It would help out here in the real world.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  14. Stan

    I wish these folks would back-up their beliefs. They could reverse-mortgage all their belongings to have more funds to spread their word, if they actually believed like they want us to. I can't give their claims any weight, if they don't.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  15. jmsdh

    It's a funny thing. Practically all of the atheists who post here act as though they have a monopoly on the subject. For example: "religion is holding mankind down in the mud." Yeah, right, all of those high-water marks of civilization inspired by and celebrating religion are plummeting you in debris. Most of the others here just seem to want to get their own perspective heard and aren't insisting they are going to convince everybody. So, who is the less simplistic, more even-handed and realistic? Who is demonstrating ignorance and rash judgment? Pretty obvious the atheists are intolerant and narrow-minded.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Colin

      There is abig difference. Some of us may offend with our strong opinions, but we do not tell Christians how the must live. I wish christians would stop trying to tell me (i) what I can and cannot watch becuse it offends THEIR view of morality; (ii) what I can buy on a sunday; (iii) what may gay friends can and cannot do. to name a few areas where they wish to control me based on their Iron Age superst-itions.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Shadyjade

      I am not intolerant or narrow minded. I just don't believe that there is some "God" in the sky, I believe the bible is the word of man and not your "God". I also believe that you have the right to belive in fairytales and nonsence, I also believe Tom Cruise has the right to believe in his alien religion, that is what makes America great. I tend to live my life according to science and facts, if you chose to believe in "God", good for you, I hope it brings you comfort but do not imply that because I use my brain and am not a sheep that I am intolerant, you could not be further from the trusth.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Bob

      The Christian message at its core is "believe or die". Harold says the loving God is going to murder millions this year. He says that everyone who attends ANY church is NOT going to be saved. Is that what Christians believe? Is it a good thing?

      March 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Aethrys

      Well, the church has held humanity back several times, delaying the acceptance of everything from a heliocentric solar system to the "theory" of evolution. To say the church is anything but narrowminded is a joke. Hell, plenty of christians actually think the bible was written by god, which is why they take everything in it as absolute truth.

      Before you jump on me, I'm not necessarily an atheist. I'm more aptly described as agnostic. I am sick of organized religions, and the way the various groups manage to continually embarass themselves. There may or may not be a god, I am of the opinion that people should be able to privately practice their beliefs either way, in the privacy of their own homes, and put an end to this church nonsense. It has never made sense to me how someone who follows rules and traditions set down by a church created by man should have any closer standing to their god than someone who skips it in lieu of paying respects to their god in their own way.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • jmsdh

      Shady, I wish you could listen to yourself for a minute. "The right to believe in fairy tales and nonsense" (there, I corrected your spelling for you). According to you, you use your brain and those who disagree with you automatically aren't. Do you call that tolerant discourse? No, your language is abusive and dismissive from the beginning. If you want to receive respect from those you disagree with (I don't know if you do), you need to show them respect in kind. If you don't understand the foundations of their point of view, well, there are A LOT of them, the majority in every profession according to a PEW poll, and I wonder if so many people could be brainless and nonsensical. Are YOU the only one who is right? Do you hold a monopoly on these final answers? That is not to say they are right, just worth taking seriously instead of snidely.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • dgaf

      You can not bunch atheistic thinkers into one category. I for one consider you an atheist too. You do not believe in Mithra, Krishna, Zeus, or Thor (therefore you are an atheist in their regard). You consider the secular community to be arrogant and narrow minded yet you claim to have all the secrets of the universe (and beyond) at your fingertips. Try and take a different perspective and I think you will find that your beliefs are far more arrogant than someone (like me) who says, "I don't know, and have no reason to believe what you do."

      March 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  16. ThisGuy

    No one knows the day or the hour. That guy got it right.

    These people are in for a big shock. Generally what previous doomsday-ists have done is kill themselves after finding they're wrong (or before they can find out).

    March 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  17. Josie

    So if it is on May 21, that means I have to cancel all of my plans I have for the rest of the year...something tells me not going to happen! I'll keep living my life, learning, growing, and doing the best I can...and hope for heaven (or to return back...either way)...life will go on and when this finally does hit...no one will be prepared for it! I say let things go as they should be.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  18. smitty

    This totally explains the Charlie Sheen party rampage!

    March 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  19. davetv51

    The REAL STORY is this is being pushed by the No 1 christian radio broadcasting network, "Family Radio" and it's co-founder, Harold Camping. He also predicted this would occur in 1994 in his book, "1994". He uses numerology as the basis for the end date but he is basically wrong in his entire approach to the Bible., i.e., you can't be saved through Jesus or any other redemptive way, you simply cry and wail "oh God maybe, maybe you'll save me" with no FAITH no ACTION no following Jesus, etc. on your part. Not very uplifting, to say the least. Let's run it down again, we are to destroyed by an angry God with absolutely no road map for forgiveness or salvation.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Colin

      Once you buy into the whole ridiculous notion of a creator of the Universe having a personal interest in humans and reading their minds whenever they pray, the rest is just icing. Is their belief ALL that much sillier than your average Christian?

      The one big mistake they make (that christians know to aviod, if only instinctively) is they say something accountable (as they will discover on March 22).

      March 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  20. Colin

    The good thing about claiming that the end is coming but we don't know when, is that you can't be wrong.

    March 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Al

      ding ding ding

      "we have a winner"

      March 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Maria

      Believing in a doomsday allows people to not believe in all the gradual ways we are ruining society, the planet, or whatever else. As someone who studies climate change, I should think we'd be lucky to have the world end suddenly through no fault of our own, which would spare everyone from having to deal with humanity declining in much less flashy ways.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @Colin

      You have spotted the 'Barum statement'! Well done sir! Now only if these religious people can wrap their head around what you said..........I can always hope!

      March 11, 2011 at 5:58 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.