Many speculate it is little more than profit.
It sells books, has created a booming tourism industry in Mexico and is fostering a demand for survival kits, insurance policies and reserved seating in “doomsday-proof” bunkers.
Further, as cultural historian Paul Boyer notes, the more people feel marginalized or alienated from society, the more apocalyptic ideas will find fertile soil.
But now to the thinking “Christianly” part.
The Christian view of time is linear. The Bible paints a clear picture of a beginning and an end.
Many Christians believe that end is imminent. A 2011 Pew Center poll found 41 percent of Americans believe the rapture will occur before 2050.
It doesn’t matter.
When the end comes, the Bible doesn’t suggest fear or anxiety but rather spiritual readiness and hope.
As for spiritual readiness, Jesus said the most important matter was to keep watch and be prepared, ending his “little apocalypse” teaching in Matthew 24 with the parable of the 10 virgins, the parable of the talents and the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matt. 25).
And as for hope, the Psalmist writes: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:1-4, NIV).
So yes, the world will end.
The real question is whether it will be met with faith in the living God. As the late Chuck Colson wrote, “Christians know that God is working out His purposes in history, and that faith removes all anxieties.”
Even those sparked by obscure and misunderstood ancient prophecies.