Episcopalian, former Y2K expert, and vehement anti-rapturist.
No. Emphatically, vehemently, and loudly, NO! (Not that that will surprise the old-timers around here.)
Christian have been expecting the end of the world since Christ died and citing Scripture to back it up. They overlook verses which refer to false prophets predicting the end is near and Christ’s saying that no one will know when the end comes. I remember the panic back in 1999; I’ve read about the panic in 999 C.E. People have pointed to any number of things and said “The world will end on [insert date]!” A few of them have gotten in deep trouble after persuading their followers to give everything away. Why should the folks who are saying the world will end in 2012, or any other date be any different?
To me, this End Times stuff is a bunch of nonsense made up a century and a half ago by a man who may well have been asmisguided as he was devout. It’s a tool of fear, used to scare people into faith, not unlike a cartoon I once saw of a guy lying on the ground with a sword at this throat saying, “So, tell me about this Jesus Christ fellow?!” It also seems to me to revel too much in the suffering of one’s fellow human beings. I’m afraid to me, it’s Christianity at its worst and I do find it shameful.
Even if I were to decide some sort of End Times would come within my lifetime, I don’t think I should I change my behaviour because of it. To me, doing so would be the equivalent of “Look busy! The boss is coming!” As a devout Christian, if I am incapable of living a good, devout life without that threat hanging over me, perhaps I’m not as good a person as I think I am. I’m not going to church today. I injured my knee quite badly two weeks ago and it won’t withstand the rigors of a church service and the work week ahead. If I were to decide the end of the world is near and decide, “Whoops! I’d better go to church because of that”, I’d be no more than a hypocrite and Christ had some harsh words for hypocrites.
Since I believe in a God who is truly without boundaries or limits and is far beyond human understanding, I’ll concede there is a chance the world will end this week, just as there’s a chance my knee will miraculously heal itself during the next few hours. Even if the world does end, it shouldn’t make a difference to my daily life, conduct, and faith. God’s a bit too smart to be fooled by a quick change about under duress, or so I fervently hope.