Friday, May 20, 2011

End of the world, end of the movement?

So the rapture is supposed to occur tomorrow, in which all true believers in Jesus will be taken up to heaven. And the world will end on October 21. Um. Yeah.

So what happens when (not if) this prediction turns out to be wrong? Will the movement predicting this fizzle? Or will it find some way to explain away the bad prediction? A sensible person might think the movement will fizzle, but other movements that have had failed end-of-world / second coming predictions have survived. The Seventh-day Adventist Church grew out of a movement that predicted that Jesus would return on October 22, 1844. And now they're a somewhat-mainstream Protestant church. The Jehovah's Witnesses seem to have made somewhat more vague predictions, saying God's kingdom would be fully established on earth in October 1914, and suggesting that Christ's thousand-year reign might start in late 1975 or soon after.

Both of these movements lost members after these failed predictions, but the movements are still alive and well.

Two days from now, I want to see what says. Will this movement find a way to survive?


tom sheepandgoats said...

Ah, well. The formula was simplistic. The notion (nailing the day) was presumptuous. The baggage (trinity and hellfire) was typical. And he sure did flummox a lot of followers. But he is 'keeping on the watch.' No one can say he's not doing that. As so many before him have done.

Alex said...

I'm curious about how you link belief in trinity and hellfire to false predictions of the end of the world. And I see that you're a Jehovah's Witness. I'm wondering how you respond to accusations that your church has made some incorrect predictions in the past. (See the Wikipedia article that I linked to.) I know the Jehovah's Witnesses' predictions weren't as specific as Harold Camping's, but at the very least you have to admit many members believed they'd been deceived. (For example, the people who left the church after 1975.)