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The sky is falling. Again.

Religion Link, a news story idea service from Religion Newswriters, often sends interesting emails on many topics. Today's caught my attention.

The writers noted that end-of-the-world worries, fears (and for some, hopes) are astir. The weird weather might be part of it!

They have a good analysis on what it all might mean.

“Apocalyptic thinking is a characteristic of the American religious imagination and has been a staple of popular culture and belief throughout history. Such ideas can illuminate important aspects of the national culture and societal trends, in terms of short-term versus long-term thinking.”

Consider these developments, the writers said:

  • A March 2011 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute that shows that 44 percent of Americans believe recent natural disasters are signs of the end times. The number rises to 67 percent among white evangelicals.
  • A recent poll by the National Association of Evangelicals showed that a majority of its board of directors believe in one of various end-times scenarios.
  • One well-known preacher, Harold Camping of Family Radio, has predicted that Jesus will gather the righteous believers to heaven on May 21, 2011, and that event will be followed by five months of fire, brimstone and plagues.
  • The “Rapture Index” – a measurement of the nearness of the biblically promised end of the world – at in April hit a record high of 184.
  • Sixteen years after it published the first of the Left Behind series of apocalyptic thrillers by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, Tyndale publishers in April released an updated version aimed at appealing to a new generation, as well as a repackaged version of a companion title by the same authors, Are We Living in the End Times?

So EndNote readers: Do end of the world prophecies make you jittery, happy or amused? Let us know — before it's too late! Just kidding on that.

(AP archive photo from the end-of-the-world movie “The Day After Tomorrow”)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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