A godless apocalypse

According to modern astrophysics, the world will end when our sun runs out of hydrogen, its primary solar fuel.

My tradition is reality based. It says that the earth is a medium-sized planet revolving around an average star (our sun), one of billions in our Milky Way galaxy, which is one of billions of galaxies. Earth is a relatively tiny object in a massive universe, of interest to us only because we happen to live here.

According to modern astrophysics, the world will end when our sun runs out of hydrogen, its primary solar fuel. A superheated atmosphere will expand across space, embrace nearby planets, and incinerate everything on earth in perhaps five billion years.

It will be a godless apocalypse.

I leave it to faith-based communities to argue over whether their scriptures predict the world will come to an end in 2011 or 2012. My best guess from reading their scriptures is that the world already ended about 1,900 years ago. Mark 13:30, Matthew 16:28, Luke 9:27, and many other passages indicate heaven and earth would pass away and Jesus would return in that generation. I don’t expect the prediction of our contemporary, Harold Camping, to be any more accurate than that of Jesus.

In the last 2,000 years, Christians in every new generation believed its times would be the end times. To all such past and present prognosticators, I have but one question: How’s that working out for you?

I look forward to hearing what Harold Camping and his followers will say on May 22.

Image courtesy of Dave Young.

About

Herb Silverman Herb Silverman is founder and President Emeritus of the Secular Coalition for America, author of “Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt,” and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Charleston.
  • alance

    My tradition believes God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. There is no place in our Milky Way galaxy where God does not exist. There is no such event as a Godless apocalypse.

Read More Articles

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

shutterstock_186566975
Hey Bart Ehrman, I’m Obsessed with Jesus, Too — But You’ve Got Him All Wrong

Why the debate over Jesus’ divinity matters.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.

shutterstock_186090179
How Passover Makes the Impossible Possible

When we place ourselves within the story, we can imagine new realities.

This Passover, We’re Standing at an Unparted Red Sea

We need to ask ourselves: What will be the future of the State of Israel — and what will it require of us?

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

pews
Just As I Am

My childhood conversion to Christianity was only the first of many.

shutterstock_127731035 (1)
Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church?

In an age of rising singlehood, many churches are still focused on being family ministry centers.

2337221655_c1671d2e5e_b
Mysterious Tremors

People like me who have mystical experiences may be encountering some unknown Other. What can we learn about what that Other is?

bible
Five Bible Verses You Need to Stop Misusing

That verse you keep quoting? It may not mean what you think it means.

csl_wall_paper
What C.S. Lewis’ Marriage Can Tell Us About the Gay Marriage Controversy

Why “welcome and wanted” is a biblical response to gay and lesbian couples in evangelical churches.