Religion and doom seem to go hand-in-hand, at least for some believers. Take Harold Camping, who preaches on Family Radio, has a history of end-of-world predictions, though they have all fallen flat as the doomsdays have come and gone.
His latest, following a forecast of Judgment Day to take place this past May 21, is that the world will end today (Oct. 21). Things have been pretty quiet so far.
While Camping shows an extreme view of the end, belief in an eventual apocalypse is not uncommon in the United States, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The 2006 survey revealed 79 percent of U.S. Christians say they believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ, and 20 percent believe the second coming will happen in their lifetimes.
These "second coming" beliefs are generally tied with an end-of-the-world scenario. Thinking the end is near may actually be comforting to some, say sociologists. For instance, a belief in doomsday may give followers a clear sense of the world and their place in it. Such apocalyptic worldviews may also stem from an overwhelming feeling that one's problems are too big, and, as such, the only possible solution is a clean slate.
Whatever the reasons, these religious apocalypse forecasts all lead to a deflating aftermath, as believers struggle to cope with a doomsday no-show.