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countless scenarios regarding the end of the world. Every religion and culture have at least one main theory that describes in detail how the end of time will occur. There are numerous books, articles and web sites that predict the approaching signs that foretell the end times.
The Christian faith is one such religion that is based on the day of judgement. There are dozens of references in the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible that concern the end of the world. It is called by many phrases such as the "Day of the Lord," "the Day of the Son," "The Last Day," "The Day of the Son of Man," or the "Second Coming" (Existence pp). For Christians this means that Christ will return to gather the just and annihilate the evil, and to found a glorious kingdom on earth filled with the highest spiritual and material blessings (Millennium pp). All the saints will participate in this event and Christ is said to reign for one thousand years (Millennium pp).
The roots of the belief in this glorious kingdom which is part natural and part supernatural, are "found in the hopes of the Jews for a temporal Messiah and in the Jewish apocalyptic" (Millennium pp). Due to the political pressure of their circumstances, the expectation of a Messiah who would free the people of God assumed a character that was to a great extent earthly who would free them from their oppressors and restore the splendor of Israel (Millennium pp). The apocalyptic books, especially the book of Henoch and the fourth book of Esdras, indicate various details of the arrival of the Messiah, "the defeat of the nations hostile to Israel, and the union of all the Israelites in the Messianic kingdom followed by the renovation of the world and the universal resurrection" (Millennium pp). The natural and the supernatural are blended in this conception of a Messianic kingdom during this closing act of the world's history (Millennium pp). Within this event, the close of the present order of the world and the beginning of the new that this sublime kingdom of the chosen people is believed to find its place (Millennium pp).
In "Planet Earth-2000 A.D.," Hal Lindsey speculates that the demonic locusts, the plague of the fifth trumpet, as described in Revelations represent helicopters (Callahan Pp). The appearance of locusts is said to be like horses ready for battle, with crowns of gold on their heads, their faces like human faces, their teeth like lion's teeth, their scales like iron breastplates, their tails like scorpions with the power of their stings hurting men for five months, and the noise of their wings like the noise of many chariots rushing to battle (Callahan Pp). Lindsey likens this description to military helicopters, the wings the blades, the armor the metal of the helicopter, the human faces of the locusts being the crew members in the cockpit, however, Lindsey fails to describe just how the helicopters harm men for five months, unless one wants to rationalize that perhaps some biological weaponry is possible used in his scenario (Callahan Pp).
For thousands of years, legendary leaders such as King Solomon, Egyptian pharaohs, and Napoleon Bonaparte, have fought over Megiddo, located in modern day Israel, where some of the world's greatest battles have been fought (Buel Pp). According to scholars, Megiddo is the place called Armageddon in the New Testament, where the Bible says the end of the world will occur (Buel Pp). Dror Ben Yousef is a biblical archeologist who graduated from Tel Aviv University. "According to the New Testament, the final battle should happen here, in the area of Megiddo - Har Meggedon - which means Armageddon. The good powers - the powers of light would win over the powers of darkness here in Megiddo" (Buel Pp). Of course no one knows exactly when this is to happen, but this is definitely the place that it should happen (Buel Pp).
According to Appendix 25 of the Quran, the signs of the approaching end of the world include the splitting of the moon which is said to have already happened in June 1969 when human landed there and brought back moon rocks, discovering the Quran's 19-based mathematical code which was fulfilled in 1969-1974, and the "creature" which is said to be the computer (Khalifa pp).
Even PBS, the Public Broadcasting System has gotten into the act of end of the world scenarios with its recent four part series produced by Ted Turner called "Avoiding Armageddon." The documentary explored the explosive crossroads between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (Avoiding pp).
Dr. Amy Smithson, an expert on chemical and biological weapons, and a senior associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center, launched the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project in 1993, which serves as an information clearinghouse and watchdog for the concerned issues (Avoiding pp). Among the concerned issues is the fact that there are numerous facilities across the United States as well as around the world that house large quantities of chemicals that if released by accident or in an incident of sabotage "could do a great deal of harm" (Avoiding pp).
Aside from biological terrorism that could threatened human life on a large scale if not global, there is always the threat of a nuclear holocaust. In "Letter Bomb: Nuclear Holocaust and the Exploding Word," Peter Schwenger writes of his belief that a radical instability characterizes human life, "including the conscious and unconscious functions of the human mind" (Rainwater Pp). He argues that the simultaneously real and imaginary possibility of nuclear holocaust reveals this truth in our lives and thoughts, yet since "such referents as the nuclear age are processive rather than static in meaning, the same open-endedness that threatens to extinguish human existence might provide counters to this extinction" (Rainwater Pp). Schwenger is aware that the threat of nuclear destruction remains, and the dissolution of the Cold War between the superpowers has made no "difference in the pursuit of nuclear weaponry by other countries with more local agendas replete with global consequences" (Rainwater Pp).
According to Norman Cohn, author of "Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come," "chaos exited before the gods were born, before death existed" (Cohn pp 6). However, "chaos was not imagined as immaterial: it was a boundless ocean called Nun" (Cohn pp 6). Cohn shows through a journey of ancient cultures that none, whether Egyptians or Vedic Indians, believed in the idea of an apocalypse, but rather in the notion that order was somehow linked in a standoff with chaos, therefore all was as it should be. Zoraster, however, developed a new line of thinking, in which there appears a war between chaos and order, good and evil, causing a transformation. This thinking was eventually united with the prophet Isaiah, thus creating a permanent state of insecurity, resulting in volumes of Jewish apocalyptic literature that evolved into the Christian ideas of a Final Judgement. Cohn likens religion to politics and theologians to politicians.
Or perhaps, grey goo will end the world. Eric Drexler is the scientist who first warned that human-made self-replicating nanobots could theoretically run amok and turn the entire planet and everything on it into a 'grey goo' is currently trying to calm public fear of a robotic Armageddon (Seriously Pp). In an article for the journal Nanotechnology, Drexler tries to reassure everyone that "all risk of accidental runaway replication can be avoided" (Seriously Pp).
This grey goo scenario was first posed by Drexler in his book on nanotechnology, "Engines of Creation," in which he describes "how small nano-scale robots could be built to replicate themselves using any organic material," and waring that these self-replicating nanobots could "leak" into the wild and eventually the world would be covered in a grey sludge "competing for the remainder of the planet's resources with microscopic earth munching robot swarms" (Seriously Pp). He regrets having mentioned this grey goo scenario because it has caused many investors to avoid nanotechnology and has prompted politicians to halt funds for research (Seriously Pp). However, Drexler points out that grey goo is really less of a concern than other potential problems with the technology such as nanoterrorism and nanoviruses (Seriously Pp). As with any apocalyptic scenario, there are those who are preparing, such as the group called PERMANENT, Projects to Employ Resources of the Moon and Asteroids Near Earth in the Near-Term, who are building a 'space ark' to escape the impending technological doom (Seriously Pp). Says a spokesperson for the group, "How can we assure the survival of mankind and our children ... only by space colonization -- getting out of the Earth's biosphere" (Seriously Pp). Yet robotics guru Han Moravec believes this is silly because "We will turn into robots ... It's both inevitable and desirable" (Seriously Pp). Moravec sees this transformation as a natural part of the evolutionary process, "It's bigger that we are ... We are merely components within it" (Seriously Pp).
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