Monday, September 24, 2012

Calamity (from Earth) in the Holy Records

     Fire and brimstone,drought, famine, hurricanes, hail, plague - all these destructive forces have been inflicted upon humanity at least since the time we have been able to keep records. But in the various religious texts, are these stories just imaginative make-believe meant to strike the 'fear of God' (or gods) into each of us? Or, are these true accounts of real events?
Noah's Ark (Edward Hicks)

     Most of us are familiar with the story of the great flood and Noah's ark in the Judeo-Christian scriptures and in the Koran. A flood story is also seen in the Greek myths when Zeus commanded his brother Poseiden to shake the earth (earthquake), cause the rivers to flood and send in the sea (tsunamis?).
     The Mesopotamian 'Epic of Gilgamesh', as well, recounts a great flood. The Caddo people of early North America tell the story of torrential rains that covered the lands and decimated the population.

     In the Book of Genesis, the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, some say, could have been due to an asteroid strike, an earthquake or even a nuclear explosion. The supposed destruction of these two cities also corresponds to a period (about 4000 years ago) of increased seismic activity in the Middle-East. The destruction of the Egyptian army as they pursued Moses and his followers across the Red (Reed?) Sea has been thought to be due to an unusual 'tidal' event...just at the right time.
The Destruction of Sodom
and Gomorrah (John Martin)
     One of the most researched calamities described in Holy Scripture have been the 10 plagues of Egypt:
  • 'blood' in the Nile (volcanic pollution from upstream?, red toxins from algal blooms?); 
  • infestations by frogs, insects, flies and wild animals, pestilence, 'boils' (that's 5 plagues right there); 
  • destruction by hail storms, 
  • plagues of locusts (insects, again); 
  • darkness (solar eclipse?, sandstorm?), 
  • death of the first born (secondary to pollution?).
Plagues of Egypt (John Martin)

     Volcano deities, with their attendant stories of destruction, are revered in some areas of Indonesia and still recognized by many as a potent force in Japan (Mt. Fuji).
     In the Zoroastrian faith, 'the end of the world' is described as occurring with 'molten metal that flows across the earth like a river'. (see post: The End of the World).
Mount Fuji


     *Symbols of religion and apocalypse: subject of research for the novel  The Tao of the Thirteenth God - Amazon Kindle.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Doomsday in Modern Culture

     "The End is Nigh"  Aside from the multiple prophesies of the end of the world that date back to 'biblical' times, the date for doomsday has been predicted by:
William Miller
  • various religious groups: Jehovah Witness :2014; Adventists (William Miller): 1843 then 1844); Bishop James Usher (mid-1600s): Oct 23, 1997; Hindu calendar:1999-2003; Jewish calendar: 2240; Muslim calendar: 2076
  • various 'new age' groupsNostradamus: July 1999; Unarius Society: 1985 then 2000; Edgar Cayce: 2001-2001; Jack van Impe: after year 2000; Richard W. Noone: May 5, 2000; remember the year 2000 new millenium predicted 'crash'?
  • "pop culture": Homer on 'The Simpsons' (2011); Harold Camping, founder of 'Family Radio' who, in 2011, predicted the end on May 21, 2011 then revised to Oct 21, 2011.        
Homer Simpson
     Four decades ago, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer model called World 3 warned of an apocalyptic course for human civilization in the 21st century.
     In May, 2012, Scientific American Magazine reported that in the book '2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years', Jorgen Randers of the BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo, and one of the original World3 modelers, argues that the second half of the 21st century will bring us near apocalypse in the form of severe global warming.
     Randers claims that 'Food per capita is going down, energy is becoming more scarce, groundwater is being depleted. Most worrisome, greenhouse gases are being emitted twice as fast as oceans and forests can absorb them'.
Edgar Cayce
     Graham Turner of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization fears that collapse could come even earlier, but due to peak oil rather than climate change. After comparing the various scenarios generated by World3 against recent data on population, industrial output and other variables, Turner and, independently, the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, conclude that the global system is closely following a business-as-usual output curve.
Apocalypse Due to Climate Change
     In this model run the economy continues to grow as expected until about 2015, but then falters because nonrenewable resources such as oil become ever more expensive to extract.

     All of these 'predictions' have been shown to be fantasy (so far). Perhaps what we should be more concerned with are the 'scientific' predictions of the 'End of Days' (see the post: Real Apocalypse). Then, if you make a prediction and wait long enough, you're bound to be right.
PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
     After all, Sir Isaac Newton himself predicted that the end of the world would occur in 2060.
     *Apocalypse: subject of research for the novel  The Tao of the Thirteenth God - Amazon Kindle.