Bugs Bunny: Eh, what's up doc? Hey, I gotta get back to Earth. Can you help me?
Marvin the Martian: *Busy putting his space modulator in a doomsday device* Oh, the Earth won't be there in a few moments. I'm going to blow it up.
Bugs Bunny: Oh, never mind then. *Stiffens cartoonishly in surprise*
Marvin the Martian: *Closes eyes and covers ears* 5...4...3...2...1
Bugs Bunny: *grabs space modulator and runs*
Marvin the Martian: Where was the kaboom? There was supposed to be a great big kaboom. *Notices the space modulator is missing* Hey! Come back with my space modulatooooor!
Seems like everyone thinks the world is going to end these days. Thursday April 21, 2011 was the day Skynet, the super-computer from Terminator, was supposed to become self aware and decide to destroy humankind. May 21, 2011 is Judgement Day, according to some guy (who was wrong once before). June 1, 2011 is the date determined by alien crop circles two years ago to signify Earth's demise. December 21, 2012 is the date the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world. And each theory has its proof in order to suck in the unsuspecting.
Skynet: OK, so this one was totally fiction, but in the Terminator trilogy the super computer system realizes its own identity in the future (2011) and decides humans are bad and must be destroyed and go about killing a ton of people until Sarah Connor and her son strike back and save the human race. Ta dah!
Judgement Day: Harold Camping is the genius behind this theory. Back in 1994 he said the same thing and the world kept on turning. But this time he's right, or so say his devout followers. He's worked out this whole mathematical system that proves he's right and then went around and put up billboards all over the country saying the Bible guarantees this date. I've read the Bible (twice) and it says repeatedly in the second testament that no one is able to know the day or time of the coming of the Lord. But if this guy says the Bible guarantees it maybe there was something I missed. Twice.
Crop Circles: This one's a little more complicated. The website goes into detail on how it's so impossible that these crop circles, which appeared in June 2009, could have been created by people. And the symbols depict a time in June 2011 when the planets and some random foreign object are all in line. This could actually have some effect on our planet, if it's true that the line up occurs, but I seriously doubt our planet will be torn to shreds.
Mayan Calendar: This has been talked about for years now. People even made a (terrible, awful) movie about the world ending in 2012. Now, every earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, volcano eruption or oil spill is all part of some great plan signaling the end of the world. The supposed official date for the end of life as we know it is December 21, 2012, but there's no consensus on how, exactly, it's going to end. We do know that planets and the Milky Way will align on that date (at 11:11pm, how freaky is that?), so, as with the crop circles, whatever cosmic stuff happens will happen, but it's probably not going to be the end of the world.
If you believe in any of these apocalypse theories (ok, so Skynet never happened) it's time to do some praying, buy some supplies and otherwise prepare yourself for the end.
But what does this mean for the rest of us? The greatest excuse to party! Some atheists are having a shin dig on May 22, 2011 to celebrate Harold Camping being wrong (hell, even some Christian groups are purposefully organizing large events immediately after May 21). I might join them to celebrate their ignorance: I remember specifically reading in the Bible that no one is to know the time or day of the rapture, not even Jesus himself. So what makes this schmuck think the Bible hints at it, much less "guarantees it?" There will also surely be huge celebrations right before Christmas next year, which will likely last for ten days, until January 1, 2013.
These are interesting times we live in, and I look forward to each end of the world.