ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Doomsday Predictions – Why they can be Fascinating

Updated on October 30, 2014

6 Days of Darkness

By now we’ve all heard about the dire prediction – 6 days of darkness this December – a solar storm that will all but obliterate the sun’s rays for a period of 216 hours from 16th to December 22nd 2014. Tacked on to this sensationalist news was a supposed announcement from NASA chief Charles Bolden who was asking people to remain calm. This is of a piece with various doomsday announcements that have been made in the past and like them has been found to be a hoax as well. However the question begs to be asked - why do these alarmist, dire and gloomy predictions gain such currency?

My first memories of a doomsday prediction

The first time I remember hearing of a Doomsday Prediction was when I was in class three or so – when a class mate told me in self important tones that we would all die and the end of the world was imminent. This made life quite interesting in school; with much bated breath discussion taking place sotto voce in the school corridors. When my father laughed off the prediction when I spoke of it at home, I was just a little bit affronted at not being taken seriously.

Then when the supposed date for the end of the world came and went without creating so much as a ripple on the surface of the placid lives of my friends and me, we began to assume my father’s dismissive point of view. After this, numerous doomsday predictions have repeatedly been made and have elicited little other than a passing glance from me; there have always been prophets of doom making catastrophic predictions and there will be many more in the future as well.

Harold Camping’s 21 May Doomsday Prophesy

A couple of years ago, a 14 year old Russian girl created worldwide headlines by committing suicide in response to the Doomsday predictions made by Californian radio Evangelist Harold Camping. He has had a long history of doomsday predictions from years previous but when he made a prediction about 21 May and said that the ‘righteous’ would ‘fly up to heaven’ and that the rest would suffer five months of “fire, brimstone and plagues, with millions of people dying each day, culminating on Oct. 21, 2011 with the end of the world”, at least one person took him seriously enough to take her own life. Many American followers reportedly quit their jobs or depleted their savings in readiness for apocalypse that failed to materialize.

Why is the idea of doomsday so fascinating?

In fact why is the idea of heaven and hell so fascinating? One, it is the idea of all of us getting our just desserts; presumably good consequences for us because we are ‘right’ and bad consequences for those who are ‘wrong’ (read those we dislike or disagree with). It is a tempting thought that such ‘justice’ is in store for all us in at the end of this unjust, chaotic, seemingly random world; indeed that someone who is ‘In Charge’ will bring about this.

Then there is the fact that predictions of fire, and brimstone and large scale disasters are also fascinating – disaster movie anyone? They ignite the imagination and capture our collective attention.

Further many of us have a small streak of paranoia within us, and if someone comes along to tell us that our paranoia is justified after all, we probably find that our feelings were at least a little warranted after all.

Lastly it is the endless fascination that an overwhelming majority of us have with predictions of the future – witness the continuing popularity of Nostradamus and his 16th century French book Les Propheties with interpreters still trying to equate present day events with predictions made by him hundreds of years ago. The fact is that we would all love to know what is going to happen in the future and if something as exciting as the end of the world is on the cards; it has everyone riveted!

Doomsday predictions

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 3 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      The new testament bible speaks about a new earth which could be seen as the aftermath of a world wide disaster.

      Science even speaks about historic events that would certainly be considered worldwide disaster. Like giant meteors hitting the earth and killing off prehistoric creatures.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)