Doomsday: Don’t Panic.


Note: The following is based on an actual conversation I had with several students yesterday. It made me laugh at first, but now looking back on it, I still feel a little sad at the perception people have of religion. I know I am ignorant of many things in both other religions and my own, and conversations like this have challenged me to study what I say I believe.

This post is in no way meant to offend any one or any religion or Christian denomination.

Doomsday: Don’t Panic
A Conversation Between Classes

“Ms. Harris, tomorrow is May 21,” said M—–.

“Yes, the twenty-first usually follows the twentieth day in the month,” I said, curious as to where this conversation was going.

“Yes, but tomorrow the world will end.” Her tone was very matter-of-fact, and I was just a little bit surprised that my nominal muslim student would believe the claims of an American Christian group.

“Do you believe that?”

She gave me a Look. “No,” she said, and then her face relaxed. “But I suppose it’s possible.”

“Do you believe the world will end tomorrow, Ms. Harris?” asked N——.

“No.”

“No?” came several questioning voices.

“But Ms. Harris,” M—– exclaimed, “you’re a Christian, right?”

“Yes.”

“The Bible says the world will end on May 21. Don’t you believe the Bible?”

“The Bible does not say the world will end on May 21,” I corrected. “The Bible is very clear that no one knows what day the world will end. No one. Only God.”

“But those people –”

“Yes, many people have tried to predict the day the world will end with the Bible, but when someone tells me that the world will end on a specific date because of clues they found in the Bible, I don’t believe them.” I paused. “They are too busy looking for hidden clues when the obvious answer is right there in the text. This isn’t the Da Vinci Code,” I added softly.

M—– thought about that for a few minutes.

“Those people in America,” she said casually. “They must not be real Christians. Real Christians know they’re Bible. They must be – oh, I don’t know – Baptists or something.”

That was an altogether new topic.

21 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

24 “But in those days, following that distress,

“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
25 the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’

[Mark 13:21-37]

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