Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Psychology Of The End (3)

A Different Kind Of Look At Eschatology

Many "ends" have come in the history of man. Many groups have predicted the end of the world. Other ends have been postulated, such as Y2K. People's behavior has radically changed as a result. Although Y2K wasn't the "end of the world" per se, many people stockpiled arms in bunkers in Montana or Idaho in waiting for the collapse of the government following the global failure of computer chips. My church gained a few families from a church up the road because their pastor moved his family to a bunker in Montana in mid 1999 and closed down the church. In December, I bought several months of canned goods to protect myself "just in case." In the year 999, people feared the end of the world because it was a thousand years since Christ came to earth.

In 1994, my first church, led by Harold Camping, had quite a shaking up as a result of Camping's end of the world prediction. He first made his prediction public in 1992. Many people did strange things while facing the end. Some people quit jobs, some people cancelled bible studies, some people out of jobs delayed getting new ones, some people gave huge sums of money to Camping's ministry - even entire life savings - to "get the gospel out" at the last minute. Although I wasn't at that church until the week after the prediction date, I heard plenty of stories about odd things. Just two days earlier, their church picnic had people giving tearful goodbyes to one another. Church leaders were up late at night answering phone calls from terrified parishoners. Some people dropped out of life after the end didn't occur.

In the bible, Paul warns Timothy that men named Hymenaeus and Philetus were teaching that the resurrection already took place and that it was upsetting the faith of some believers. The end has a powerful affect on people, so it should come as no surprise that one's view of eschatology can greatly affect how people live in the here and now.

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