Humans have a macabre fascination with the end of the world — will humankind go out with a bang or disappear with a whimper? Are we the architects of our own demise or cosmic pawns in a game we can’t control?
Apocalypticism is the religious belief that there will be an apocalypse, a term which originally referred to a revelation, The original word in Greek — apokalypsis means an unveiling, a revelation i.e. to disclose , but now it is usually referred to the belief that the end of the world is impending, This credence is usually accompanied by the idea that civilization will soon come to a tumultuous end due to some sort of catastrophic global event.
The notion of apocalypse originated from The Book of Revelation (often called the Revelation to John, Apocalypse of John, the Revelation from Jesus Christ ,which is the final book of the New Testament which is the final book of the Christian bible. Revelation is an apocalyptic prediction and is the only book of the New Testament classified as apocalyptic literature with extensive use of visions, symbols etc. especially in connection with future events. The Book of Revelation was written probably in around the year 96, right at the end of the first century.
The book spans three literary genres: the epistolary, the apocalyptic, and the prophetic. The Revelation of John, the Apocalypse, also must be looked at from the perspective that it’s not the only such piece of apocalyptic writing that we have. In fact there are lots of writings from the ancient world that we know by name and we can actually read today also. So when the author of the Book of Revelation sat down to write, there was a very strong paradigm of what revelation literature should look like and sound like.
But the story of apocalypse is an old one, one of the oldest humans tell. In ancient religious traditions beyond Christianity — including Judaism, Islam and Buddhism — it is a common narrative that arises in moments of social and political crisis, as people try to process unusual or shocking events.
HERE ARE SOME APOCALYPTIC BELIEFS OF VARIOUS FAITHS:
Christianity: Some Christians believe that the New Testament’s book of Revelation(the second part of the Christian Bible), isn’t just metaphorical, but a literal description of a final battle on Earth between God and the forces of Satan. Before that happens, there is a series of horrific events—including an earthquake, lightning, and a fiery hailstorm that burns up a third of the trees on Earth etc.it is also believed by the idea that Christ will return.
Islam: Prophet Muhammad—describes the events that lead to the end of the world. Natural disasters increase, and society undergoes a moral decline that leads to a surge in violence, bloodshed, anarchy, and sexual immorality. In the Islamic tradition, the Quran tells stories of plagues and of a final earthquake that will tear the earth apart. Amir Hussain, professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University, said, “Apocalypse also includes what happens when one’s eyes are opened”.
Hinduism: Hindus apocalyptic beliefs are different from other religions, because they believe that the universe goes through endless cycles of creation and destruction. In that cycle, three gods—Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva—all play a role. Brahma is the creator of the universe, while Vishnu preserves it during its existence. Shiva’s job is destroying the universe, so that it can be recreated.
Buddhism: In Buddhism, time is cyclical, not linear, making apocalypse both an end and a beginning. “Apocalypse happens and then a new order starts, a new social order, new moral order,” said Vesna Wallace, professor of Buddhism at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “The story repeats itself.”
Modern, secular American life is filled with its own apocalyptic visions. Movies and television shows depict civilization on the brink of extinction. “The Walking Dead” explores life amid the zombie apocalypse. “The Hunger Games” presents a dystopian future after conflict and ecological disasters have destroyed much of the world.
WHY DO PEOPLE BELIEVE IT ?
I think history will tell you that end time predictions increase when people are being ill-treated or feel oppressed and this increases when despair hits – in terms of how the world is experiencing economic and political turmoil. The people who are most likely to believe in doomsday predictions are those who are religious, because there are many religious texts that indicates end of days. Even today, people continue to make predictions about dates in the future in which the world will inevitably end. It is an extraordinary belief because there is little proof to back these claims, and they are often the result of someone trying to interpret ambiguous information that is in religious or other ancient texts.
Very popular source of doomsday predictions is the Mayan Calendar. One of the most famous end of world predictions was for December 21st, 2012. People took this prediction seriously, and they stocked up on food and read up on survival skills. The reason that the Mayan Calendar was proof of this end was because the most popular Mayan calendar abruptly ended on December 21st, 2012. Whether one believes in doomsday predictions or not, it is hard to deny that it is a very common belief that has scared all of us at one point or another.
According to psychologists, possible explanations for why people believe in modern apocalyptic predictions include an innate human fascination with fear, personality traits of paranoia and powerlessness and a modern romanticism involved with end-times due to its portrayal in contemporary fiction.
HOW TRUE ARE THESE PREDICTIONS ?
Predictions of apocalyptic events that would result in the extinction of humanity or the destruction of the planet have been made since at least the beginning of the Common Era. The 2012 phenomenon predicted the world would end by Earth getting destroyed by an asteroid,or an alien invasion; or a supernova. Scientists from NASA, along with expert archaeologists, stated that none of those events were possible.
Every year, new apocalyptic predictions waft through the the internet and the tabloid media. In 2019, for example, the world was predicted to end in a nuclear war, an asteroid impact, and a new ice age, Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s. They continue to do so today. None of the apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true. More than merely spotlighting the failed predictions, this collection shows that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions often are individuals holding respected positions in government ,science or hold strong religious beliefs . While such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines, the failures are typically not revisited.
Nostradamus, the world’s most famous 16th-century prophet and mystic, is believed to have prophesied the year 2020 and has called for both disasters and revelations. A year marked with both favorable and dangerous results. Pandemics are surrounded by a sense of impending apocalypse. Throughout history, they have been understood as final tribulations, a sign of the end time, It is also quite extraordinary to believe that you can pinpoint, to the exact day, when the entire world will end.
The end of the world is near—again! For centuries, doomsdayers have prophesied the apocalypse. But there’s a tiny catch: None of the end-of-world predictions ever come true.