When California preacher, Harold Camping, predicted the world would end this Saturday evening, several of my Rapture-ready friends insisted I finish reading the "Left Behind" series and make my preparations.
"The Great Atomic Power" was first recorded in 1952, the year that the hydrogen bomb was first tested. The song may have provided some comfort for those listeners aware that the nuclear arms race was at its height.
When I was a kid I knew The World was going to Hell in a hand basket. I didn't know what that phrase meant, still don't really, but I knew that it was one of the only times I could get away with saying hell.
Around 1830 John Nelson Darby, having selected scripture passages from Daniel, Revelation, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and elsewhere, pasted them together, called them a whole, and invented the Rapture, a word not found in the Bible.
Christians can bet on a supernatural rescue for themselves and their kind and wait for the cataclysm, or they can dedicate themselves to compassionate action to alleviate suffering and injustice, to creating a better world.
Predictions of the Apocalypse or its personal equivalent of a direct path to heaven have been a common theme throughout human history. We seem determined to keep ourselves in a constant state of preparation for the end of time.
There are some 50 million Evangelicals in the US who believe in the literal truth of Bible prophecy. All are fixated upon Israel. Because for a great many true believers, the end of the world is just the beginning.