Friday, August 12, 2022

Eschatology and Religion

 Several global religions (both Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic) anticipate the end of the world or end times, teaching that negative world events will reach a culmination. The belief that the end of the world is approaching is known as apocalypticism, and throughout history, adherents of both mainstream faiths and doomsday cults have held this view. In the realm of mysticism, the phrase figuratively refers to the end of mundane existence and reunification with the divine. Diverse faiths view eschatology as a foretold future occurrence in religious books or folklore.

The Abrahamic religions maintain a linear cosmology, with end-time scenarios revolving around themes of redemption and change. In later Judaism, "end of days" refers to the Messianic Age and encompasses the return of the exiled Jewish diaspora, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the righteous, and the eschatological world. Some types of Christianity view the end times as a period of suffering preceding the second coming of Christ, who will confront the rising of the Antichrist and his power structure, as well as false prophets, and usher in the Kingdom of God. In Islam, the Day of Judgment is preceded by the appearance of the Mas ad-Dajjl and followed by the descent of s (Jesus), who will triumph over the false Messiah or Antichrist; his defeat will set in motion a series of events that will conclude with the sun rising from the west and the beginning of the Qiymah (Judgment Day).

Dharmic religions tend to hold more cyclical worldviews, with end-of-time eschatologies defined by degeneration, redemption, and rebirth (though some believe transitions between cycles are relatively uneventful). In Hinduism, the end of the world happens when Kalki, the ultimate incarnation of Vishnu, descends on a white horse and finishes the present Kali Yuga, completing a cycle that begins again with the regeneration of the globe. Buddha foretold that his teachings will be lost after 5,000 years, followed by chaos. It is stated that a bodhisattva named Maitreya will arise and rediscover the teachings of the Buddha Dharma, and that seven suns would subsequently bring about the final annihilation of the planet.

Since the 18th century creation of the idea of deep time and the estimation of the age of the Earth, scientific debate about the end of the world has examined the ultimate fate of the cosmos. There have been Big Rip, Big Crunch, Big Bounce, and Big Freeze theories (heat death). Social and scientific critics are also concerned about global catastrophic dangers and potential extinction scenarios.

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