Prophet Predicts U.S. Will Be Nuked by Christmas
Dec 15, 2008: Riots in the United States will begin before Christmas as a result of Barack Obama winning the presidential election. The old, hard-line Soviet guard will jump on the opportunity and nuke us, killing 100 million people or more. So goes the prophecy of Leland Freeborn of Parowan, Utah, known by a small group of followers as the Parowan Prophet. Los Angeles Times reporter Peter H. King traveled to Freeborn's home to get details.
Freeborn, a survivalist who keeps iodine handy in order to ward off the effects of radiation, admits to issuing inaccurate doomsday prophecies before. It's not an exact science, he allows.
Among the successful predictions Freeborn claims to have made: O.J. Simpson's murder acquittal and Al Gore's winning of the popular vote in 2000, he told King.
King describes Freeborn: "A Mormon of substance, a father of 12, he had crashed his airplane in 1975 and fallen into a three-week coma, during which he went through 'to the other side' and emerged a prophet."
Failed doomsday predictions are nothing new. As LiveScience's Bad Science columnist Ben Radford points out: "There have been thousands of people predicting the imminent end of the world, dating back to at least 2800 B.C. They have all been wrong." Radford has written extensively about people who claim to predict the future. He says the predictions are often rooted in Bible passages, as seems to be the case with Freeborn, or often the source is misunderstood astronomy or plain old schizophrenia.
All that in mind, you can test Freeborn's prophecy at home: Simply see if you're alive come Christmas morning.
If you make it, start getting ready for 2012, when the whole world is expected to end, according to cult leader Wayne Bent, who ought to have a better line on future events, being the son of God and all. But Bent, too, has got it wrong before, currently outliving his last end-of-the-world prognostication by more than a year.
End Times: Buddhist Eschatology
Inconceivable is the beginning, bhikkhus [i.e., recluses, monastics, disciples], of the round of rebirth [i.e., Samsara]. A first point is not known of ignorance-hindered beings fettered by craving, rushing on and running about [in Samsara].
Then [t]he Buddha explains how, in the future, the world system will come to an end.
THERE WILL COME A TIME, BHIKKHUS
There will come a time, bhikkhus, when the great ocean dries up, evaporates, and is no more.
In the distant future the world will be destroyed in one of three ways: destroying by fire, by water, or by wind. Here, [t]he Buddha describes what happens when the world is destroyed by fire.
First of all, a hundred thousand years beforehand, certain sky-devas ["shining ones," light-beings, "angels," celestial messengers, extraterrestrials] will appear before people with dishevelled hair and pitiful faces, wiping their tears with their hands [reference: Path of Purification]. They will announce the end of the world and urge people to develop the four Divine Abidings (Brahma Viharas):
- loving-kindness (metta)
- compassion (karuna)
- sympathetic joy (mudita)
- equanimity (upekkha)
Most people will take these words to heart and practice loving-kindness towards each other and in other ways accomplish wholesome karma. Those who are able will develop jhana. Those who are unable to develop jhana will, because of their past wholesome karma, be reborn in the deva world be reborn in the deva world: as devas, they will develop jhana. Dependent on ignorance and craving, the karmic potency (kamma satti) of their jhana causes all these beings to be reborn in the Brahma world [celestial worlds superior to deva realms].
After a long period, a great cloud appears and heavy rain falls throughout the hundred thousand million world spheres (koti-sata-sahassa-cakka-vala). People sow crops, but when the crops have grown high enough for an ox to graze, the rain stops. With no more rain, all plants dry up and are no more, and there is soon famine. Human beings die, and also earth devas (bhumma-deva), for they live on flowers and fruits. Owing to their past wholesome karma, they are reborn in the deva world, where they as devas develop jhana. Dependent on ignorance and craving, the karmic potency of their jhana causes them to be reborn in the Brahma world.
According to a law of nature, also the beings in hell escape from hell and are reborn in the human world (VsM.xiii.405). They develop loving-kindness and are reborn in the deva world, where they as devas develop jhana. Dependent on ignorance and craving, the karmic potency of their jhana causes them to be reborn in the Brahma world.
But the beings who were reborn in hell [niraya, the downfall, a set of unfortunate destinations for the maturing of bad karma] as a result of persistent wrong views (niyata-miccha-ditthi, the most serious of the six weighty karmas) do not escape: dependent on ignorance and craving, the karmic potency of their persistent wrong views causes them to be reborn in a world-interstice hell (lok-antarika-niraya): [a perpetually dark "interstitial" plane, the description of which sounds like hyperspace] one of the hells situated in the space between world systems. Thus, even though the world system is coming to an end, the continued rushing on and running about of beings does not come to an end.
The Buddha explains: Not even then, [recluses], is the suffering of ignorance-hindered beings fettered by craving (who rush on and run about) brought to an end, I declare.
After a long period without rain, by the time all beings have been reborn elsewhere, a second sun [A.VII.vii.2, Satta-Suriya-Sutra ("The Seven Suns Discourse")]. And as one sun sets, the other rises, so there is no more telling night from day: the world is continuously scorched by the heat of the two suns. Rivers and streams dry up.
After yet another very long period, a third sun appears, and now also the great rivers dry up...
There will come a time, [recluses], when Sineru, king of mountains, is burned, destroyed, and is no more. Not even then, [recluses], is the suffering of ignorance-hindered beings fettered by craving (who rush on and run about [in Samsara or, literally, "the continued wandering on"]) brought to an end, I declare.
There will come a time, [recluses], when the great earth is burned, destroyed, and is no more. Not even then, [recluses], is the suffering of ignorance-hindered beings fettered by craving (who run on and run about) brought to an end, I declare.
Having explained how beings continue to rush on and run about in the round of rebirth [i.e., Samsara], [t]he Buddha then discusses why they do so.