TEXAS FAITH 43: What gives rise to end-times predictions?
Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.
I had wanted to avoid the May 21st rapture debate because it seemed like so much of a chip shot. Even many who believe in one form or another of end-times theology have disagreed with the prediction of Harold Camping of the Family Radio Network. He's the fellow that predicted Judgment Day was to come Saturday. (As I understand it, Camping, a civil engineer, reached that conclusion by pegging May 21 to being exactly 7,000 years after Noah got caught in a flood.)
But his prediction has generated plenty of attention. And since Judgment Day didn't come, and we all are still here, let's deal with the underlying issue in this discussion. And that is the ongoing prediction of the world's end.
Camping is hardly the one to offer a precise date. The New York Times reports how Seventh-Day Adventist Robert Reidt long ago predicted February 6, 1925 as the day of reckoning. And the Christian Science Monitor last week catalogued five big examples of end-time dates, going back to one in 1844.
Here, then, is this week's question:
What gives rise to precise end-times predictions?
Should end times be a motivation for religious renewal? According to the great saint Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, religious motivation based on fear is low-grade religion.
2) Asha -- for satisfying material aspirations.
3) Kartavya-buddhi -- out of a sense of duty (literally, "a mentality of what should be done").
4) Räga -- out of genuine attraction for the Lord.