The secular, especially the anti-religious, left, enjoy these spectacles of religious foolishness. They seem to confirm for them not only how absurd these end-of-days predictions are, but how absurd religion is in general.
But the left should not laugh too loudly. The religious world has far fewer doomsday predictions than the left does. At least every few years, the secular-left frightens itself -- and tries to frighten everyone else -- about another doomsday scenario.
The most obvious current example is, of course, global warming. For years now, we have been told by the world's left-wing media that scientists are united in predicting that there will be worldwide catastrophe as a result of global warming caused by manmade carbon dioxide emissions. Oceans will rise so high that they will drown many of the world's great coastal cities; entire island-countries will disappear; vast areas of the world will dry up; and countries will fight one another for the little remaining fresh water.
Compared to the global warming scenario, I'll face the Rapture -- and I'm not even Christian.
Of course, none of these global warming predictions has materialized. For example, in April of this year, Der Spiegel reported:
"Six years ago, the United Nations issued a dramatic warning that the world would have to cope with 50 million climate refugees by 2010. But now that those migration flows have failed to materialize, the UN has distanced itself from the forecasts. On the contrary, populations are growing in the regions that had been identified as environmental danger zones."
As a result of so many such false alarms, and because so many places have experienced record cold temperatures, global warming has been renamed "climate change."
But global warming is only the most recent doomsday scenario offered by the left. Here is a small sample of some others:
Recall the Time and Newsweek cover stories about how heterosexual AIDS would become a national plague -- since "AIDS doesn't discriminate." Skeptics who said at the time that heterosexual AIDS in America was largely a scare were called "anti-science." But Michael Fumento, the science writer who wrote "The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS," first in Commentary Magazine and then as a book, turned out to be right. In America, it was a myth.
At the Democrat National Convention in 2000, the Democrats featured five children ages about 5 to 11 who recited lyrics about the doomsdays they could look forward to growing up in America. The first child, for example, said this:
"When I grow up ... Will I be able to see a rainbow in a smog-filled sky? Will there be any trees alive?"
In his 1968 book, "The Population Bomb," Stanford Professor Paul Ehrlich wrote: "In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate."
Another doomsday prophecy from the left:
Two prominent feminist writers, Gloria Steinem and Naomi Wolf wrote in their bestselling books, "Revolution from Within" and "The Beauty Myth" -- and the news media reported -- that 150,000 girls and women per year die of anorexia nervosa. The number is actually fewer than 100.
There is one major difference between leftist and religious doomsday scenarios. The religious readily acknowledge that their doomsday scenario is built entirely on faith. The left, on the other hand, claims that its doomsday scenarios are entirely built on science.
That there is little truth to the left-wing claim is not as important as the fact that these doomsday scenarios have undermined the status of science. How many scientists have been compromised by their joining the research-money and fame bandwagons of left-wing apocalyptic predictions? And how has this affected the public's perceptions of science and scientists when it comes to contentious issues?
The left had its laugh this past weekend, but only because it's a lot easier to laugh at religious doomsdays than at leftist ones.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”