With the upcoming disaster film "2012" and the current hype about Mayan calendars and doomsday predictions, it seems like a good time to put such notions in context.

Most prophets of doom come from a religious perspective, though the secular crowd has caused its share of scares as well. One thing the doomsday scenarios tend to share in common: They don't come to pass.

Here are 10 that didn't pan out, so far:

The Prophet Hen of Leeds, 1806

History has countless examples of people who have proclaimed that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent, but perhaps there has never been a stranger messenger than a hen in the English town of Leeds in 1806. It seems that a hen began laying eggs on which the phrase "Christ is coming" was written. As news of this miracle spread, many people became convinced that doomsday was at hand — until a curious local actually watched the hen laying one of the prophetic eggs and discovered someone had hatched a hoax.

The Millerites, April 23, 1843

A New England farmer named William Miller, after several years of very careful study of his Bible, concluded that God's chosen time to destroy the world could be divined from a strict literal interpretation of scripture. As he explained to anyone who would listen, the world would end some time between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. He preached and published enough to eventually lead thousands of followers (known as Millerites) who decided that the actual date was April 23, 1843. Many sold or gave away their possessions, assuming they would not be needed; though when April 23 arrived (but Jesus didn't) the group eventually disbanded—some of them forming what is now the Seventh Day Adventists.

Mormon Armageddon, 1891 or earlier

Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, called a meeting of his church leaders in February 1835 to tell them that he had spoken to God recently, and during their conversation he learned that Jesus would return within the next 56 years, after which the End Times would begin promptly.

Halley's Comet, 1910

In 1881, an astronomer discovered through spectral analysis that comet tails include a deadly gas called cyanogen (related, as the name imples, to cyanide). This was of only passing interest until someone realized that Earth would pass through the tail of Halley's comet in 1910. Would everyone on the planet be bathed in deadly toxic gas? That was the speculation reprinted on the front pages of "The New York Times" and other newspapers, resulting in a widespread panic across the United States and abroad. Finally even-headed scientists explained that there was nothing to fear.

Pat Robertson, 1982

In May 1980, televangelist and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson startled and alarmed many when — contrary to Matthew 24:36 ("No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven...") he informed his "700 Club" TV show audience around the world that he knew when the world would end. "I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world," Robertson said.

Heaven's Gate, 1997

When comet Hale-Bopp appeared in 1997, rumors surfaced that an alien spacecraft was following the comet — covered up, of course, by NASA and the astronomical community. Though the claim was refuted by astronomers (and could be refuted by anyone with a good telescope), the rumors were publicized on Art Bell's paranormal radio talk show "Coast to Coast AM." These claims inspired a San Diego UFO cult named Heaven's Gate to conclude that the world would end soon. The world did indeed end for 39 of the cult members, who committed suicide on March 26, 1997.

Nostradamus, August 1999

The heavily obfuscated and metaphorical writings of Michel de Nostrdame have intrigued people for over 400 years. His writings, the accuracy of which relies heavily upon very flexible interpretations, have been translated and re-translated in dozens of different versions. One of the most famous quatrains read, "The year 1999, seventh month / From the sky will come great king of terror." Many Nostradamus

devotees grew concerned that this was the famed prognosticator's vision of Armageddon.

Y2K, Jan. 1, 2000

As the last century drew to a close, many people grew concerned that computers might bring about doomsday. The problem, first noted in the early 1970s, was that many computers would not be able to tell the difference between 2000 and 1900 dates. No one was really sure what that would do, but many suggested catastrophic problems ranging from vast blackouts to nuclear holocaust. Gun sales jumped and survivalists prepared to live in bunkers, but the new millennium began with only a few glitches.

May 5, 2000

In case the Y2K bug didn't do us in, global catastrophe was assured by Richard Noone, author of the 1997 book "5/5/2000 Ice: the Ultimate Disaster." According to Noone, the Antarctic ice mass would be three miles thick by May 5, 2000 — a date in which the planets would be aligned in the heavens, somehow resulting in a global icy death (or at least a lot of book sales). Perhaps global warming kept the ice age at bay.

God's Church Ministry, Fall 2008

According to God's Church minister Ronald Weinland, the end times are upon us-- again. His 2006 book "2008: God's Final Witness" states that hundreds of millions of people will die, and by the end of 2006, "there will be a maximum time of two years remaining before the world will be plunged into the worst time of all human history. By the fall of 2008, the United States will have collapsed as a world power, and no longer exist as an independent nation." As the book notes, "Ronald Weinland places his reputation on the line as the end-time prophet of God."


Views: 84

Comment by Gaytor on November 5, 2009 at 3:47am
It's a bit of a stretch because they are only predicting the beginning of the end, but, JW's have been predicting Jesus's return over and over during the last century. Come on JW's , knock on my door please!

From Wiki

The Watch Tower Society has made various predictions about the coming of Armageddon and Christ's millennial reign, raising expectations of their imminence in the years leading up to 1914, 1925, and 1975. As a result, the organization has been accused of making false predictions.[263][264][265] These accusations focus on the Watch Tower Society's claims to be God's "prophet organisation" – and its expectation that members should place unwavering trust in its predictions[266][267][268] – while at the same time accusing other religions of being false prophets
Comment by Morgan Matthew on November 5, 2009 at 4:11am
while at the same time accusing other religions of being false prophets

That has ALWAYS boggled my mind...
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on November 5, 2009 at 9:58am
I wish they would all pack their bags and go, already.
Sucked into spaceships... glimmered into heaven.... whatever.
Just LEAVE so the rest of humanity can get around to lowering C02, applying fair civil rights and fixing all the messes those asshats created in the first place.
Comment by Doug Reardon on November 5, 2009 at 11:08am
There have been prophets predicting the future throughout my life, to my knowledge, not a single one, of those that I have heard about, has ever been right. My mother's personal favorite prognosticator was Jean Dixon, I don't think any of her predictions ever came true.
Comment by Skycomet the Fallen Angel on November 5, 2009 at 2:20pm
It's the end of the world everyday... well... at least it is to theists. lol.
I personally don't think we should worry about the "end of the world" or "the end of the human race" [which are 2 different things, might I add... despite many people's egotistic attempts to make them one in the same.] Don't get me wrong! I don't mean this as an insult... my basic philosophy is that hte human race as a whole is egotistical. We WANT to be important... so many of us invent ways in which we can be important [God's chosen people... etc.]. So there is no doubt that life on Earth will go on without us! What, afterall, makes us more special than any other species that has roamed this planet since life's beginning about 3.5 billion years ago? I doubt that the universe cares much about us humans. Furthermore, people should also not confuse "the end of the world" with "the end of the universe" or "the end of everything." Just like the universe doesn't care about us, it also doesn't care about our puny planet, so the cosmic cycle of life and death of stars, solarsystems, and galaxies, will continue even after the Earth is gone. In fact, there is no consensus among science today on whether the universe WILL end! [Some think it will, some think it won't.] However, there is a consensus on the end for the planet earth [and our sun for that matter] and the end of the human race.
Religious people are right about one thing in this matter... our time on Earth as a living species WILL come to an end... and the earth WILL be destroyed. Although... when either of these things will happen is something that is as of now, unknowable. We can only make guesses based upon averages. No species of life lasts forever, although some last longer than others. Biologists say that the "average" lifespan of a single species as a whole is about 2 million years. [Don't worry about this, though, because the "modern human species" hasn't yet been around for nearly that long. Two million years ago.. our anscestors were just learning to stand on two legs!] That is, we may live that long, or longer, IF we don't KILL OURSELVES before that! [Some people have speculated that we are already in the process of doing so through climate change]. Also, about when the "world will end" [as in the planet], there is a speculation on this time period based on the average life of an average yellow star, like our sun. Most stars the size and strength of our sun last for about 10 billion years. [We are currently 5 billion years into the cycle, so we don't even need to think about the end of the Earth yet... most likely we humans won't be around then anyway.] Many scientists believe that in about 5 billion years, the sun will die... and as is typical for the type of star it is, as it collapses, it's outer layers will expand "rapidly" [on a cosmic scale - so who the hell knows what that means... lol] and will turn into a "red giant star" as it's core collapses. As the sun swells in this dying phase... it will literally swallow ever cosmic object out to Mars or the Astroid belt. [So at this point, the earth is "toast." - a little pun] When the sun swallows the Earth... it's great heat will dissolve the planet.
Comment by Skycomet the Fallen Angel on November 5, 2009 at 2:41pm
Date: November 5, 2009
Time Left Unil the "Apocalypse": 2 years, 2 months, and 17 days.
Comment by shawn brian judd on November 5, 2009 at 3:59pm
It's the end of the world as we know it! All hail our new Alien Overlords! Tell them not to trust the Euro trash.The french will just surrender ,or change sides.The English will just write books like (The Alien Delusion) or (The Borg are not Great) and the Germans don't even get me started!
Comment by Skycomet the Fallen Angel on November 5, 2009 at 4:33pm
Comment by Lord Atheist on November 15, 2009 at 9:09am
Cant forget June 6th 2006 (6-6-06) "Satan's return"
july 7th,2007 (7-7-07) "Jesus' return"

how about

December 18th,1998? A psychic went on the Oprah show and said several cities would be blown off the map?
Comment by Shawn D. Hubbard on November 15, 2009 at 12:24pm
I've got that crazy book! You can order free copies, what a joke!


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2018   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service