Why are we so fascinated with the May 21, End of the World phenomenon? For many of us, the spectacle of these people with their doomsday signs and complicated calendar calculations provides good comic relief and finger pointing — “look at the freaks.” But as a piece by HuffPost Religion writer Jaweed Kaleem shows, the followers of Harold Camping and his end-time crusade are real people whose conviction of the impending end of the world was seemingly inspired by a deep desire to create meaning and certainty in life within our difficult and chaotic world.
Eschatology is the fancy term religious scholars use to talk about the end of the world. It is derived from the Greek word eschaton, which means the last or the end. Eschatological thought in the Bible is consistently marked by a sense of desperation concerning the way the world is, as opposed to the way the world ought to be. Apocalyptic scriptural references anticipate that God‘s reign will break into this world; a promise that ultimately provides hope in the future as it projects a time of radical departure from the difficult realities of the present. (more…)