Brief History of the End of the World
Most people's concept of the 'end of the world' comes from the book of Revelation . Today, there are an estimated 25 million Christian fundamentalists in the US who believe it will come with the 'Rapture'; others point to an ecological catastrophe, the AIDS pandemic, nuclear and biological warfare. When apocalyptic prophecy catches fire, the results can be absurd like the let-it-all-hang-out antics of the 17th-century Ranters. But it can also lead to horror the Nazis recast it as the Third Reich; militias in America have killed in the name of the coming apocalypse. We are currently in the grip of an apocalyptic struggle for Bush and his neo-Conservatives, the war is a 'crusade', for Osama Bin Laden and his supposed network of Islamic fundamentalists it is a jihad; for both, it is a battle against absolute evil that will usher in a new age for the elect. From its Biblical beginnings to the Branch Davidians, via the Vikings, the French Revolution, the Pilgrim Fathers, Hitler's Apocalyptic rhetoric, asteroids, Hollywood and suicide bombers, Pearson's illuminating study shows the end of the world is still very much on the agenda.
By: Pearson, Simon