Just because Harold Camping doesn’t know the date – a neither does anybody else – does not mean that the heavens and the earth will not pass away.

There is really not too much difference between the “prophecies” of Harold Camping and Soko Asahara and modern cosmologists who speak with all of the authority[sic] of modern science. The most notable difference is the immediacy of the former – which make their errors more evident – and the “comfort” to be found in most of the latter with the deep time future aspects of their proposed cataclysms. If taking out a 30 year mortgage doesn’t bother us why would a 3,000 or 3,000,000 year sell by date on the universe concern us?

It is easy to dismiss Camping and the commercial machinery of religions who seek to prosper off of messages of impending doom – any true religion and especially any true Christian will realize that the immanentization of the eschaton is the goal toward which we are moving – it is dangerous to ignore the Asahara and Jim Jones characters who spring up Strangelove like across the social landscape and it is equally dangerous to swallow whole the conjectures of scientific speculation that finally reduce the universe to matter formed from a cosmic belch that reduces man to a tube for processing waste.

Doomsday prophecies : a complete guide to the end of the world   James R. Lewis Amherst, N.Y. Prometheus Books, 2000.  Millennialism Case studies Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. 269 p. : ill. ; 23 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-265) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

From the time of the earliest tribal religions, high priests, self-proclaimed prophets, and purveyors of doom have been predicting the end of time.

This encyclopedic survey of endtime predictions looks at the history of these prophets and the religious sects that forecast the exact dates that civilization would take its final bow. Author James R. Lewis eloquently remarks that all of these doomsday fear- mongers have one thing in common: they have all been wrong.

As the year 2000 ushers in a new millennium, widespread interest in the end of the world, judgment day, and the “return” of a “savior,” as predicted by many old and new groups, has spread like wildfire across the planet. Encompassing the truly bizarre, the suicidal, the homicidal, and the almost believable, Doomsday Prophecies touches on apocalyptic strains in each religion, revealing that endtime predictions reach all the way back to Old Testament writings. They have thrived for centuries, and today they find new life with New Age religions and televangelists.

Included are “prophecies” from the Hindu scriptures, the Ghost Dance, Iroquois tradition, the Shawnee prophet, the Turner Diaries, Aum Shinrikyo, the Branch Davidians, the Children of God, Rael, Dorothy Martin, Edgar Cayce, Marshall Applewhite, the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord, and more.

Lewis includes everything, from the longtime belief in a final battle between good and evil to the space-age belief that heaven’s gate can be reached through travel with alien beings. Sometimes humorous, often tragic, this enduring book examines the questions raised by the mass appeal of prophetic movements as a theme in popular culture.


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