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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.