The End of the World is Nigh on Nigh...Again...Apparently

The End of the World is Nigh on Nigh...Again...Apparently

Google 'when is the world going to end' and you will find many suggestions for the day that will we meet our maker. The most popular is 21st December 2012 which is a bit of a bummer because I won't make my birthday on 29th. Better not ask for any presents next year.

But for those who are already fed up with the state of the world you'll be pleased to know that according to serial Prophet of Doom, Harold Camping, who previously predicted the end of the world on 6th September 1994, 29th September 1994, 2nd October 1994, 31st March 1995 and May 21st 2011 (all of which turned out to be rather more Apocalypse Not Right Now) we have a new date for our Doomsday Diary, 21st October 2011. Apparently Harold Camping was actually right this time. May 21st was the Judgement Day and as Rapture, when Jesus comes to harvest his Christian followers leaving the rest of us to wander a godless earth, takes place exactly 5 months after Judgement Day, 21st October is the date.

Now personally I will be pretty annoyed if this happens. Having enjoyed the Rugby World Cup for the past few weeks, I really want to the see the final but that's on the 23rd October, two days after the end of the world. Mind you, on the plus side it would mean that there is no chance of France winning it. I'm also pretty disappointed in Judgement Day. I thought we were supposed to be sorted out into the Sheep and the Goats and I can't even remember what I was doing on that day. I mean, am I a sheep or am I a goat. I sort of thought that it would be a bit more dramatic.

But Harold Camping isn't the only one not to put any dates in his diary for 22nd October. A little known tool, the Rapture Index, used to monitor the frequency and intensity of the biblical signs of the end of time reached it's highest point in August of this year. It means impending doom apparently and many people believe in it enough to donate money to support it. The Rapture Index was started by Todd Strandberg in 1997 (yes, two years after the world was supposed to end) and is described by its founder as a sort of 'Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity'. The Index gives a numerical value to various end time signs from plagues to apostasy. Less than 100 means that we can confidently book our holiday for next year, over 160 means just buy short stories. Today it stands at 180, just a few points below its all-time high in August of 184. Mind you, it's been' fasten your seatbelts time' for the past few years and we are all still here.

But however much others may scoff, there are still those who believe this 'end of time' stuff. Come The Rapture they will be off to the hereafter. But what about their little furry friends? Who will look after them in this post-Rapture world? It seems that 'All Dogs Go to Heaven' was just a cruel Hollywood myth. Enter Bart Centre from New Hampshire. For a small fee of of $135 for a 10 year contract (just in case they've got it wrong again) plus $20 for each additional pet, Bart's company 'Eternal Earth Bound Pets' will offer you 'the next best thing to pet salvation in the post-Apocalyptic World'. Their team of rescuers will come round and collect your pets with the promise to look after them for the rest their lives. Another great idea I didn't have! Their website promises that all their 'rescuers' are committed atheists, after all, you don't suddenly want them to be whisked off to nirvana leaving Fido without his Baker's Complete.

Christian eschatologists have been predicting the end of the world since the days of Ignatius of Antioch in 35AD so if dear Harold is wrong again, don't think you are off the hook. There are more ends of the world predicted in 2020, 2240, 2280 and the year 5 million... but I don't think we have to worry about that last one too much.