Skeptics in the Pub: John Walliss

It’s (Not) the End of the World As We Know It

John Walliss: It's (Not) the End of the World As We Know Itby John Walliss
When: Thursday, October 20th, 2011 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Head of Steam, 7 Lime Street, Liverpool

On 21st May 2011 the end of the world should have begun. This prophecy, from evangelical Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping, however, did not come to pass. Christians all over the world were not raptured, the Tribulation period did not begin, and Camping, who has subsequently suffered a stroke, and his followers are having to come to terms with the apparent failure, or at least delay, of the prophesied events to occur.

Camping however, is not unique in religious history. Numerous other prophets and religious leaders have made claims that the world will end on a specific date with events subsequently proving them wrong.

John will examine the phenomenon of prophetic failure, drawing on the wealth of literature that we have developed in the social sciences over the last 60 or so years. In doing so he will hope to answer such questions as what happens when prophecy fails and does prophecy ever really fail?

John Walliss is the senior lecturer in the sociology of religion and Director of the Centre for Millennialism Studies within the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University..

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