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Doomsday : End of the World Theories Throughout History

Updated on March 22, 2013

Earth as a Red Giant

Source

When Will The World End?

There have been predictions on the end of the world ever since human beings populated Earth. Obviously none have come true so far. What makes us think that doomsday predictions of the future will come true? There have been firm, dedicated believers of the past theories and there will continue to be. No matter how many believers a theory has, it does not make it more likely to be true.

Are we all Going to Die?!

As we approach the next doomsday deadline, I am inclined to think of all the hysteria doomsday theories have caused over the years. There have been so many prophecies and theories of Doomsday and the end of the world, yet here I still exist. Maybe the reason everyone is still affected by each new theory that comes along is, that they don't know the long line of prophecies and theories of the past that have failed to come to pass. Therefore, I am going to create a timeline, from most recent to most ancient, of the major Doomsday and end of the world theories.

7.6 Billion Years From Now - The Sun Becomes A Red Giant

The theory is that one of two things will happen. The first is that the sun will become so large that it will engulf the earth. If this happens, the earth will obviously be destroyed. The second is that the sun will expand so much that the temperatures on earth will rise to an extremely high level. If this happens, all of the water on earth will evaporate and life will not be able to exist.

This theory is based on the life cycle of stars. In the beginning, hydrogen is converted to helium as the sun produces energy. Once there is no more hydrogen, the sun begins to expand in the beginning of the red giant phase.

2012-Doomsday Predictions Documentary

December 21, 2012 - The Mayan Prophecy

There are many different theories of what will happen on December 21, 2012. The religious say the Christ will come again. Scientists suspect a polar shift, meteor or asteroid. Many believe this will be the day of Armageddon.

The basis for this date is a 5125 year old Mayan calendar. The Mayans were known for their advanced knowledge of astronomy and mathematics. This is how the Mayans developed their calendar. This ancient calendar stops on December 21, 2012 and resets to 0.

Source

May 21, 2011 - Harold Camping

This was the Christian Radio Host, Harold Camping's, original rapture prophesy. He claimed to have used mathematical calculations based on the bible. He claimed this day was going to be the day the Christians went up to heaven while the sinners suffered natural disasters on Earth before it was finally burned as part of Judgment Day. When his prediction didn't come true, he claimed his calculations were off and the real Judgment day was October 21, 2011. He has made multiple other predictions, this was just the most well-known.

The entire situation closely mirrored that of William Miller in the 19th century.

January 1, 2000 - Y2K

People believed that there would be a "millennium bug." The theory was that every computer in existence would get confused when we went from the year 1999 to 2000. Computers were not expected to be able to tell the difference between 2000 and 1900. Believers suggested outcomes of blackout and, in extreme cases, nuclear holocaust. People went out and bought guns and other necessities and prepared to live in bunkers. The New Year came and went with only a few small glitches.

Y2K

Source

1997-2000 - Shoko Asahara

Shoko Asahara led a Japanese cult called Aleph or Aum Shinrikyo, which translates to "supreme truth." He claimed to be Christ and predicted Doomsday to be in the year 1997. His prophecy included a third World War instigated by the United States that would end in a nuclear Armageddon. He and his supposed 40,000 worldwide followers were labeled as terrorists.

1997 - Heaven's Gate

The Hale-Bopp comet was actually visible to the naked eye for 18 months. When the Hale-Bopp comet was seen, rumors started that an alien spacecraft was following it. Believers claimed that astronomers and NASA were covering up the truth. This event inspired a San Diego UFO cult called Heaven's Gate. This group thought that the world was going to come to an end soon. They also believed that this space ship was coming to pick them up. However, the only way this would be possible is if they left their earthly bodies. As a result, they all committed suicide on March 26,1997

March 2, 1982 - The Jupiter Effect

This theory surfaced in 1874, written by two astrophysicists. The men responsible were John Gribben and Stephen Plagemann. These scientists predicted that all nine planets would align, creating a gravitational pull. This pull would create a sizable increase in sun spots, solar flares and earthquakes. Although, the Earth wasn't doomed, there was a 0.04 mm increase in high tide.


Halley's Comet

Source

May 1910 - Halley's Comet

The comet was named after the scientist, Edmond Halley, who was able to accurately predict its orbit. In 1881, scientists discovered that the tail of Halley's Comet contained Cyanogen. This is a deadly gas related to cyanide. Later, it was predicted that Earth would pass through the tail of Halley's comet In May of 1910. People began to fear that the gas of the tail would saturate Earth's atmosphere and kill every living thing.

Earth did, in fact, travel through Halley's 24 million mile tail for six hours on May 19, 1910. The comet is scheduled to show in Earth's atmosphere in July 2061.

March 21, 1843 & March 21,1844 - William Miller

William Miller believed that he could calculate the second coming of Christ down to the exact moment. His calculations were based on a literal interpretation of the bible. Those who followed him were called Millerites. These people sold off everything they owned to join together to wait for Christ at the calculated moment. Many even climbed up into trees and jumped out to get a head start up to Heaven. When the prediction failed to come true, many died from the jump. William Miller then claimed his calculations were off and the coming of Christ was on that date but next year.

After the second failed prophecy, the Millerites split. Half stopped believing and the other half formed what is now the 7th Day Adventists. This new group believed that prediction failed because they hasn't gathered all of God's chosen.

What do you think?

Is the next Doomsday prediction going to come true?

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    • Learning in Life profile image
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      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      Well thank you very much! Cheers to you when we make it through "the end"

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      An excellent job of research and writing on a fascinating topic. I' m going to party on Dec 21. Voted up and awesome.

    • Learning in Life profile image
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      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      Very good point. Thanks for commenting.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      I have followed the doomsday theories for years and the one thing I'm sure of is that all I am promised is this moment in time. I can't worry about the end if I'm living life to the fullest at this moment. The theories may be true but I happen to think I can't do much to stop the process so, no worries.

    • Learning in Life profile image
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      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      I actually got the idea for this hub during my US history class. We were talking about the Millerites and I wanted to laugh so bad!

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 4 years ago

      Interesting list.....I am often amazed at not only why people believe the things they do but why they want to believe in these things. Good hub voted up.