OK, I’m very nearly over this whole apocalypse guff. Just as well it’s nearly over, right?

Giddee up!

But let us muse for a moment on why the hell we find it all so fascinating. Human beings love to predict the End Times. It’s our thing. We like to riff on doomsday, chatter about eschatology, get our Armageddon on. We wait for the second coming when technically there wasn’t even a first coming.

It’s a fundamental part of religion, the idea that at some point this will all come to a crushing end, those of us who picked the right God and wore the right shoes will be elevated to a higher plane while those with dud tickets suffer for eternity.

Yay! Suffer in your infidel jocks!

You can predict what happens later tonight when, after all this talking, nothing actually happens.

The woo woo wallies will recalculate, the New Age mystics will recalibrate, and a new end date will be pronounced.

This is what end-time movements do. They adjust, and move on. UFO cults, cargo cults, religions and nebulous spiritual movements cannot be dissuaded.

In fact, at the very moment they are proven wrong by still being here, rather than realising that their entire belief system rests on a silty, shifting foundation of bullshit, they believe even harder. They want to believe.

When they open their eyes and realise they’re still here, they go back to their magic book or their ancient calendar or their star maps and rejiggle their ridiculous mathematics and that act itself strengthens their faith (unless, of course, they come to a tragic end like the Heaven’s Gate cult).

The failure of Judgement Day to arrive results in vigorous discussion that arrives at the conclusion that human error, a mistaken sum, is to blame. That discussion itself with all the numbers and speculation and re-adding up then becomes a sort of proof that there will be a Judgement Day - don’t worry, most of the unfaithful will still be wiped out… it’s just that someone forgot to carry the one.

Belief needs an apocalyptic stick/carrot scenario to really amp up the commitment level. An apocalypse can intensify the emotion, strengthen the us-versus-them solidarity, and open the wallet.

So hold on tight, people, because this is not the end. We’ll begin again tomorrow.

Twitter: @ToryShepherd
Comments on this post will close ... when the world ends… or at 8pm AEDST.

Most commented


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    • subotic says:

      11:44am | 21/12/12

      Prof. Hubert J. Farnsworth: The last proton should be decaying about now.

      Philip J. Fry: Bye, last proton.

      Prof. Hubert J. Farnsworth: And here we are. The end of the universe.


      Philip J. Fry: Well, now what? You guys want to talk?

      Bender: No, thanks.

    • Queensland Observer says:

      11:51am | 21/12/12

      “Belief needs an apocalyptic stick/carrot scenario to really amp up the commitment level. An apocalypse can intensify the emotion, strengthen the us-versus-them solidarity, and open the wallet.”

      I totally agree. Case in point - the Climate Change Religion/Cult, their Deity Gaia, climate ‘indulgences’ are carbon taxes, carbon pricing etc, climate priests Al Gore, the IPCC, the Bob Brown and the Greens/Labor, and climate cathedrals called windfarms, desalination plants, and other generally useless enterprises that has wasted billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

      If it behaves like a religion - then ipso facto, it is a religion.

      Thanks Tory for making it possible to identify the beast so very well.

    • Kika says:

      12:40pm | 21/12/12

      The problem with that though is religion is based on faith. Climate change is based on science. Whether or not the science is proven, I think the general consensus is that it is happening and we should be doing something about it otherwise we will have a real apocalypse on our hands.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      01:38pm | 21/12/12

      If there was no promise of an afterlife would you still be a Christian?

    • TerryG of PK says:

      02:56pm | 21/12/12

      @ Kika
      “I think the general consensus is that it is happening and we should be doing something about it otherwise we will have a real apocalypse on our hands.”
      Isn’t the carbon tax “doing something about it”. In all honesty its probably to late. Apocalyptic? unlikely. Wild weather, more than likely. Oceans rising, some say they have been for 3 billion years through warming periods and ice ages, how?, you really believe ice asteroids slammed into the planet forming our ocean. Come on! You probably believe oil and gas is finite to.

    • Queensland Observer says:

      03:30pm | 21/12/12

      You should never assume anything, Mr Jordan.

      Kika, I’d argue that climate change is based on belief - after all, none of you have independently and scientifically researched that mankind is negatively impacting global climate, you are only going on what others have said, and a lot of those others argue in favour of the whole climate change ideology because a great deal of money,influence and power is tied up with it - just as a lot of money and power is at the heart of many religions and cults.

      If you can offer me independent substantial proof that the planet is warming catastrophically then I might believe your religion - however given the fact that the planet seems to be going about its business as per usual, then I choose not to believe in your Gaia God and your apocalyptic predictions.

    • Ravi says:

      03:49pm | 21/12/12


      And, as has been pointed out elsewhere, we do not have another Earth to experiment on if global warming turns out to be real. That is, given that there is a great deal of good evidence supporting the notion of global warming, we had better bloody-well behave as if it is, because there is nowhere we can go to start again. This is the only home we have.

    • TChong says:

      11:59am | 21/12/12

      I think we’ll live to tell the tale
      But just in case, I’ll be singing Doc Neesons true Oz anthem, as the hour approaches.
      Looking forward to next year, so we can all take to our respective trenches, and argue the toss over the same issues again, and again.

      To all Punchers, Good, Bad,  Left, Right and Indifferent
      :Best Wishes For Chrissy ,and the New Year.

    • subotic says:

      12:23pm | 21/12/12

      Philip J. Fry: All in all, I’ve led a full life. Let’s say the three of us grab a six-pack and watch the universe end?

      Prof. Hubert J. Farnsworth: Hear, hear!

      Bender: That’s basically what I do every day.

    • Max Redlands says:

      12:04pm | 21/12/12

      What has interested me is the differing views of what constitutes “the end of the world”. To me this means there is some kind “whole planet” earthhquake which results in the globe exploding/rupturing into a billion bits of rock, lumps of lava and whatever else is in the earth’s core and other debris and detritus from the surface (it’s not the Rapture it’s the Rupture!) or, alternatively, the earth will some how fly off its axis into deep space where eveything freezes over (which isn’t really the end of the world more a very extreme re-location). Many others seem to have a very anthropologically centred concept of it whereby it means human civilization if not the human race entirely is swept away by ...well I’m not sure exactly what they think it will be… a global tsunami which floods all land mass or will the earth’s surface some how self-combust for no apparent reason?

    • sunny says:

      02:34pm | 21/12/12

      If you would have asked anyone 50 years ago - even 30 years ago they all would have said nuclear war. Heck, it’s likely that the world actually did go within a bee’s dick of destruction maybe half a dozen times due to malfunctioning systems or such, and it’s just that we didn’t get to hear about it (probably a good thing).

    • LJ Dots says:

      04:41pm | 21/12/12

      Thanks for the reminder sunny. I might get into the armageddon spirit and rent Failsafe tonight. Great movie.

    • HC says:

      12:30pm | 21/12/12

      I’m almost disappointed.  I was hoping that for the first time in 2 million years or so this planet might finally be free of human idiots.  I was especially looking forward to the fact that all the politicians and their idiot arse-kissing followers would have finally shut up.  Oh and thinning out the awful f***ing Xmas shoppers.  For a time that’s supposed to be about goodwill to all men and all that bullsh!t people sure are rude angry and selfish little bastards at this time of the year.  What is it about a holiday like this that brings out the hypocrites?

      Alas, the idiots keep breathing, the politicians keep lying, the moron voters keep on hating each other for no reason, the hypocrites keep shopping and the world keeps turning…

    • Duane says:

      12:52pm | 21/12/12

      Happy little Vegemite, aren’t we? ;o)

    • fml says:

      01:16pm | 21/12/12

      And people keep whinging…

    • Duane says:

      12:49pm | 21/12/12

      If you listen carefully, you can hear R.E.M.

    • Don Shimoza says:

      01:06pm | 21/12/12

      It all makes sense now. Recently a scientist said that our universe is probably a computer simulation. The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy says that when somebody finally works out the true meaning of the universe it will immediately be destroyed and replaced by one even more inexplicable. This has probably already happened countless time before. Are we about to see a Universe where Labour brings in a surplus?

    • Paul says:

      04:20pm | 21/12/12

      @ Don Shimoza: Are you up for a Pan Galactic Gargleblaster? I certainly need one after shopping at Woolies today.

      I’m looking forward to the Earth being destroyed to make way for an interstellar super highway so humans can no longer breed.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      01:12pm | 21/12/12

      I don’t care remotely about a handful of idiots that get sucked into cults. Just chalk it up as a fact of life that there will always be idiots. There are probably even mathematical equations to predict how many people are stupid enough to do it at any one time.

      There is one thing that DOES worry me however; the possible reason why this 2012 hoax is so vastly more popular, with so many more people getting sucked into it, is the simple fact that there was a hollywood movie about it. That when you think about it, is an extremely frightening low for human stupidity.

    • void says:

      02:08pm | 21/12/12

      I prefer the blanket statement: one quarter of the human population is outright stupid.  Plain and simple.  Of course which quarter that is and who it encompasses is up to the individual.

      And that movie was horrible and does not deserve more than a passing, dismissive mention.

    • Ravi says:

      03:59pm | 21/12/12

      Some groups are called cults. Others are called religions. Which word we apply appears to depend on how many adherents they have. Christianity has no better method of determining truth and falsehood than Raëlism.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      01:49pm | 21/12/12


      I’ve just spent the last 24 hours running a muck and now I’m told that the world isn’t ending.

      But in my defence, my brain made me do it. Tory, there is a box of chocolates in the post. I’m sorry, and I’ll replace the cat!

    • Geronimo says:

      02:03pm | 21/12/12

      Your symptoms indicate an overdose of Brer Wabbott’s Snake Oil, a good recommended antidote is a Great Big Drop of the Fearless Friar’s Tonic.

      Creates imaginary miracles for his True Believers.

    • subotic says:

      02:11pm | 21/12/12

      Bender: Dying sucks butt! How do you living beings cope with mortality?

      Turanga Leela: Violent outbursts.

      Amy Wong: General sluttiness.

      Philip J. Fry: Thanks to denial, I’m immortal.

    • ramases says:

      02:28pm | 21/12/12

      It cant be the end of the universe because I haven’t visited Milliways yet and seen the whole thing myself. Then and only then will I believe.
        Lets face it folks, life’s too short to worry about whatever’s and there are more important things than sitting around waiting for the inevitable end. Get out there, live a full life and when you wake up dead one morning just remember that shit happens to us all eventually.

    • PJ says:

      02:31pm | 21/12/12

      You do not have to be religious to come up with Apocalyptic notions.

      You could be a Climate scientist as well.

      Belief that there is 3 God’s in one, or that the world will be destroyed by fire is no more lunacy than claiming an Australian Government Carbon tax on Australian household electricity and Industries will prevent Global Climate change.

      I do not see any distinct between the two. Both Religion and Climate Change supporters have a Doctrine, a Creed and saints and sinners. Both require a certain amount of faith and none believers are frowned upon.

    • Ravi says:

      04:02pm | 21/12/12

      Maaarge! Change the channel!

    • StarStuff says:

      02:34pm | 21/12/12

      One day it will all end. Just (probably) not tonight. It’s our human foreknowledge of our mortality which feeds our fascination with apocalypse. How will it happen?  Will we survive it? I personally hope by the time it does we have discovered a way to reach other planets when our world is no longer habitable by living organisms or simply no longer exists. Humanity, with all it’s frailties and flaws is still the Universe made conscious. Until the Universe itself implodes it would be nice for us to hang around to continue to wonder and explore… But it will all probably be over in seconds, before we’ve even known what hit us, sadly.

    • LC says:

      02:54pm | 21/12/12

      Tomorrow is going to be a very good day. I’ll put off my last minute Christmas shopping one more day to spend more time laughing at the doom-mongers.

    • Anjuli says:

      03:26pm | 21/12/12

      Was not the same thing being said during the war to end all wars (what a nice thought) 1914 to 1918..

    • Knemon says:

      03:51pm | 21/12/12

      I recently had a visit from two Jehovah’s Witnesses, I nervously invited them in for a drink and a chat, they asked me was anything worrying me, I said that everyday news was starting to depress me, same old, same old, civil wars, suicide bombers, economies crashing with leaders seemingly unable to change their political ideologies regardless of the consequences…it was getting me down and I was sick of the same old crap…they told me not to worry, both assured me that all would be well, for soon there was going to be a new beginning, a second coming, all evil in the world today would be washed away, god would replace current leaders with his chosen people, the world would be returned to a nirvana like state…I looked at them in total disbelief but they kept reassuring me that everything will be ok and I needn’t worry.

      What a relief. confused

    • Ravi says:

      04:05pm | 21/12/12

      So many people have strange ways of “knowing” things. I prefer Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’s method: run and find out.

    • Cedric says:

      04:03pm | 21/12/12

      No Tory, it’s not alright. The Day is not over yet, the 8pm EAST closure of comments here,  will not save people, unless of course they don’t log on, and pretend to watch The Barretts of Wimpole Street with feigned interest. Some will say it’s apocalypse now. Others will say it’s real. Almost no one will say it’s not. I expect to die. I’ve been told that’s inevitable.

    • Carz says:

      04:48pm | 21/12/12

      Given that the world isn’t supposed to end until after 10pm AEDT isn’t closing comments at 8pm just a bit mean?

    • kerrie's Birthday says:

      06:26pm | 21/12/12

      What’s Trending
      Friday, December 21, 6:37 pm
      msnNOW homepage
      msnNOW | Web
      Australian apocalypse image posted to reddit (colt1hryh/http://redd.it/157dpi)
      Sydney destroyed as Mayan apocalypse draws near
      7 mins ago

      We foolishly ridiculed those who tried to warn us. But after all our denial that the apocalypse was imminent, all that’s left to do now is rummage around in the boss’s drawer for a half-empty bottle of Jack and quietly wait for the end. Reports of Australia being just fine as it greeted December 21 were clearly premature. Aliens, kaiju, meteorites and explosions are all coming our way, and this incredible Reddit picture of Sydney that is definitely not (really badly) Photoshopped proves it. Oh well — at least we got in a couple of them bacon sundaes before the end. [Sour


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