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    Pygoscelis's Avatar
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    The Psychology of "End Times"

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    I read an article in a magazine today while waiting for an appointment. It claimed that some high number (forget the number) of people from the USA believe that we are living in the "end times".

    It explains that by "end times" it means that Jesus will come back and the world will come to an end within their lifetime.

    If the article's numbers are accurate I have to wonder about the psychological effects of that belief. Do these people have any reason to care for the long term health of the planet or the societies upon it?

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    Malaikah's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Interesting question.

    The belief is similar in Islam, however I have never seen this effect on anyone. If anything the realization would encourage them to do good deeds... though I do not see much of that. Also the time periods outlined indicate that it is still a while before Jesus (as) returns.

    Also, there is a hadith where the Prophet Muhammad pbuh said that if a person was planting a tree and the Day of Judgment was about to occur very soon (i.e. so soon that planting the tree would be pointless- I don't remember the actual time period he mentioned), the person should still plant that tree and will be rewarded for planting it.

    In short- proximity of the end of the world is no excuse to stuff up the enviroment.
    The Psychology of "End Times"


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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pygoscelis View Post
    If the article's numbers are accurate I have to wonder about the psychological effects of that belief. Do these people have any reason to care for the long term health of the planet or the societies upon it?
    I have wondered very similar things myself, and I think you make a good point.

    I remember having an email exchange with an American evangelical Christian some years back, and she certainly was entire unperturbed about the environment and using up earths' resources ... because she believed so strongly that God would provide for her, and that if we ran out of resources, it probably meant the end was nigh!

    I do believe this attitude is changing, and many American evangelicals are turning to face environmental and social issues ...
    http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action...=s&NewsID=5378
    (You may find sojourners interesting)

    I think the issues is less with believing that the end times will come. All Christians (and Muslims for that matter) believe that Jesus will return and judge us all. It's a fundamental part of our faith.

    The issue lies with those people who trawl through prophecies and claim to know that the end times are close at hand! When people assume to have such knowledge, they start to make mistakes.

    Jesus said:
    "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch." (Matthew 13: 32-34)
    We are not supposed to give up our appointed jobs (i.e. our stewardship over his creation, being responsible for each other's well-being etc) until the time of his return, not until we think he might be returning!

    Peace
    The Psychology of "End Times"

    Peace
    glo

    Here I stand.
    I can do no other.
    May God help me.
    Amen.

    Come, let us worship and bow down •
    and kneel before the Lord our Maker

    [Psalm 95]


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    lolwatever's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by Malaikah View Post
    Interesting question.

    The belief is similar in Islam, however I have never seen this effect on anyone. If anything the realization would encourage them to do good deeds... though I do not see much of that. Also the time periods outlined indicate that it is still a while before Jesus (as) returns.

    Also, there is a hadith where the Prophet Muhammad pbuh said that if a person was planting a tree and the Day of Judgment was about to occur very soon (i.e. so soon that planting the tree would be pointless- I don't remember the actual time period he mentioned), the person should still plant that tree and will be rewarded for planting it.

    In short- proximity of the end of the world is no excuse to stuff up the enviroment.
    Well said, also from another perspective... end of times simply means judgement day is getting closer, which obviously means we should be taking care of earth and the environment if we wanna do well when the end of time actually comes

    tc all the best.
    The Psychology of "End Times"

    commenthere:



    ليس بعلم ما حواه القمطر، ماالعلم إلا ما وعاه الصدر
    .::.....sabr Ayyoub.....::.

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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Ministers and preachers have been warning of the "endtimes" for quite some time. Historically this has been the catalyst for a religious revival. In U.S. history it was called The Great Awakening. I remember one such minister(not personally), in the early 1800's, who set an exact date for the end of the world. Of course this didn't come to pass, and the congregation soon melted away. I think most people of faith have accepted that only God knows when that day will arrive.
    The Psychology of "End Times"

    "Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."

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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by glo View Post

    We are not supposed to give up our appointed jobs (i.e. our stewardship over his creation, being responsible for each other's well-being etc) until the time of his return, not until we think he might be returning!

    Peace
    Good point. Also to note, I forgot the passage, but Jesus said the hour is unknown.
    The Psychology of "End Times"

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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by Skillganon View Post
    Good point. Also to note, I forgot the passage, but Jesus said the hour is unknown.
    Greetings, Skillganon

    You find Jesus' quote in Mark 13:32 and Matthew 24:36. I posted the latter in my above post.

    peace
    The Psychology of "End Times"

    Peace
    glo

    Here I stand.
    I can do no other.
    May God help me.
    Amen.

    Come, let us worship and bow down •
    and kneel before the Lord our Maker

    [Psalm 95]


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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Muslim Psychology regarding the "end times" should be:

    If the end time comes and you are planting a seed, plant the seed.
    Last edited by netprince; 01-01-2007 at 02:36 AM.

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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    this is a good topic, because it is something i have often wondered about.
    in the u.s. we once had a secretary of the interior (james watt, i think), who was a christian. he was quoted as saying something to the effect that we don't need to worry about the forests because jesus was coming back soon.
    i read over and over on this board muslims saying things that indicate that this world is of little importantance, it is something to be "gotten through" and the Important Thing is the next world. the impression i get is that a lot of people are more focused on the next world than this one.
    this could be a mis-interpretation on their part or a misunderstanding on mine.
    and yes, i too, wonder about the psychological ramifications of such a belief system (which also seems to me very fear-oriented).
    maybe it strikes me this way because i do not believe in an afterlife. i do not think this belief is wrong, but it seems wrong to me to have disdain for this world - it is not just a diving board in to the pool of eternity - it is god's creation, after all.
    this is the first time i have read that hadees quoted Malaikah - needless to say, i like this a lot.
    The Psychology of "End Times"

    each man thinks of his own fleas as gazelles
    question authority

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    Malaikah's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by snakelegs View Post
    i read over and over on this board muslims saying things that indicate that this world is of little importantance, it is something to be "gotten through" and the Important Thing is the next world. the impression i get is that a lot of people are more focused on the next world than this one.
    Well everything has to be given its due proportions. We only live in this world for an average of, lets say, 80 years or so, the day of judgement it self is 50 thousand years long and paradise/hell-fire is for eternity... so obviously the next life is more important and what it was we have to focus on.

    However, part of focusing on the next life included taking care of this life. It is our duty as Muslims to look after ourselves and our families and stop injustice, forbid evil, take care of the environment and animals, earn a living etc. What is not allowed though is living in this life as the next life doesn't exist, and equally forbidden is living for the next life and ignoring the needs of this life.

    So what is needed is moderation, we should not give either this worldly life or the next life more than what it deserves.
    The Psychology of "End Times"


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    Pygoscelis's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    This dovetails nicely with the frequent theist claim against atheists that atheists have "nothing to live for" because they believe in no afterlife. But the reverse is actually true. To us atheists this life is all you get, so you'd better make the most of it.

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    lolwatever's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pygoscelis View Post
    This dovetails nicely with the frequent theist claim against atheists that atheists have "nothing to live for" because they believe in no afterlife. But the reverse is actually true. To us atheists this life is all you get, so you'd better make the most of it.
    how is it that the 'reverse is true' ?

    Muslims believe that if you don't make the most of this life, you're facing some serious danger in the afterlife.

    Also... the phrase "you'd better make teh most of it" can be looked at dfiferently by different athiests, an athiest who doesn't believe in accountability may very well interpret it to mean that it's a good idea to steal, cheat, make as much money (thru whatever means), as long as you enjoy life. (and who cares about the environment).

    Whereas with Muslims, that sort of interpretation is 100% out of the equation. Because it means you're destined for trouble in the hereafter

    tc all the best

    ps: infact, a perfectly rational athiest would steal, cheat and all that if he knwos he can escape, since that's indeed 'making the most of your life' if there was no accountability.
    The Psychology of "End Times"

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    ليس بعلم ما حواه القمطر، ماالعلم إلا ما وعاه الصدر
    .::.....sabr Ayyoub.....::.

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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by lolwatever View Post
    how is it that the 'reverse is true' ?

    Muslims believe that if you don't make the most of this life, you're facing some serious danger in the afterlife.

    Also... the phrase "you'd better make teh most of it" can be looked at dfiferently by different athiests, an athiest who doesn't believe in accountability may very well interpret it to mean that it's a good idea to steal, cheat, make as much money (thru whatever means), as long as you enjoy life. (and who cares about the environment).

    Whereas with Muslims, that sort of interpretation is 100% out of the equation. Because it means you're destined for trouble in the hereafter

    tc all the best

    ps: infact, a perfectly rational athiest would steal, cheat and all that if he knwos he can escape, since that's indeed 'making the most of your life' if there was no accountability.
    making the most of this life does not necessarily mean that one should live as decadent a life-style as posible, stealing, cheating, being promiscuous etc. etc.
    in fact, quite the opposite.
    instead it can mean to take the time to really appreciate all the miracles that god has created - in other words, it can make you just as aware of god as those who believe in an afterlife, if not even more so. (and without the fear).
    it can make you deeply thankful to god for the gift of life and make you more aware of the present than the future.
    The Psychology of "End Times"

    each man thinks of his own fleas as gazelles
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    lolwatever's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by snakelegs View Post
    making the most of this life does not necessarily mean that one should live as decadent a life-style as posible, stealing, cheating, being promiscuous etc. etc.
    in fact, quite the opposite.

    instead it can mean to take the time to really appreciate all the miracles that god has created - in other words, it can make you just as aware of god as those who believe in an afterlife, if not even more so. (and without the fear).
    it can make you deeply thankful to god for the gift of life and make you more aware of the present than the future.
    Yes you're right in the case that the person believes in god and accountability.

    In the case of athiests, they don't believe in god in the first place.. much less in thanking him.

    I'm not saying every athiest is a theif n all that... i'm just saying a rational athiest who wants to make the most of their life can't be blamed for behaving like that. Afterall, they are just making the most of thier lives...

    There's this interesting thing in economics called 'Cost-Benefit Principle'... Any rational human is goverened by this law (as rational people do what is in their personal interest), for a Muslim, the cost-benefit principle would dictate they don't steal, cheat etc because the cost of doing that is severe punishment in the hereafter which is much greater than the very short term benefit derived from stealing (for example).

    For a rational athiest on the other hand, the benefit of stealing without getting caught could be greater than the cost of doing such a thing, since there's no accountability or punishment for doing such things.

    I'm not saying every athiest is like that... i'm just saying, making the most of life can very well entail that sort of logic in the case of athiest. It all comes down to evaluating the cost and benefit derived from doing any action. That's how the world works.

    tc all the best


    ps: take a look at hurricane catrina for example, when it destroyed security systems and cameras, people went wild stealing and robbing and all.. obviously coz they don't believe much in accountability, hence doing what they think is 'making the most of their lives'.
    Last edited by lolwatever; 12-22-2006 at 07:03 PM.
    The Psychology of "End Times"

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    .::.....sabr Ayyoub.....::.

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    lolwatever's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    edit
    The Psychology of "End Times"

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    ليس بعلم ما حواه القمطر، ماالعلم إلا ما وعاه الصدر
    .::.....sabr Ayyoub.....::.

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    Pygoscelis's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    What you are refering to isn't an atheist.

    It is a sociopath.

    Do you really believe that religion is the only source of societal values?

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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
    This dovetails nicely with the frequent theist claim against atheists that atheists have "nothing to live for" because they believe in no afterlife. But the reverse is actually true. To us atheists this life is all you get, so you'd better make the most of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by lolwatever View Post
    how is it that the 'reverse is true' ?
    I'll try to clarify.

    Atheists clearly don't have "nothing to live for" if this life is all they get. Its all you get, so its that much more valuable to you.

    It also isn't a testing ground or a waiting room for something better. This isn't a dress rehearsal or an interview. This is the big show. Make it a good one.

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    lolwatever's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pygoscelis View Post
    What you are refering to isn't an atheist.

    It is a sociopath.
    And what makes "sociopath's" not elligeable to become athiests .. it's not like there's even a single value that athiesm binds anyone to. If anything it leaves decisions purely to the human mind, which tends to be governed by the cost-benefit principle i explained above.

    Do you really believe that religion is the only source of societal values?
    Islam is a source of constant moral values. Athiesm on the other hand, is the source of absolutely no values. If anything, it leaves morality purely to the intellect to decide what's moral and what's not, and what's worth persuing and what's not.

    And as i mentioned in prev post.. you can't blame athiest's for degenerating into species that believe in teh surival of the strongest as long as they're doing what's in their personal benefit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pygoscelis View Post
    I'll try to clarify.

    Atheists clearly don't have "nothing to live for" if this life is all they get. Its all you get, so its that much more valuable to you.
    .
    Ofcourse, i didn't deny that anywhere did i? Assuming there was nothing to live for, you're perfectly correct. It's part of running a show. Everyone is there to make the most of life for themselves, so as long as they do what's in their interest, who cares.

    It also isn't a testing ground or a waiting room for something better. This isn't a dress rehearsal or an interview. This is the big show. Make it a good one
    And what makes you object to a rational athiest defining a good life as one that is full of stealing, cheating and all sorts of crimes when it suits him, and obeying 'societal values' when it also suits them. No one's gonna hold him accountable, so who cares?

    Ofcourse.. Muslims see such mentality as one of sociopath's based on our morals, but as far as you're concerned, you're making irrational insults by labelling him as one.


    So yeh... i think we've done away with this: "This dovetails nicely with the frequent theist claim against atheists that atheists have "nothing to live for" because they believe in no afterlife.But the reverse is actually true. To us atheists this life is all you get, so you'd better make the most of it."
    Last edited by lolwatever; 12-31-2006 at 07:01 PM.
    The Psychology of "End Times"

    commenthere:



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    .::.....sabr Ayyoub.....::.

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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by lolwatever View Post
    And what makes "sociopath's" not elligeable to become athiests ..
    Nice straw man you are building there.

    Islam is a source of constant moral values.
    It is a code of behaviour. Whether they are "moral values" is in the eye of the beholder. There are many islamic "values" that other cultures find deplorable (and vice versa I am sure).

    Athiesm on the other hand, is the source of absolutely no values.
    True

    If anything, it leaves morality purely to the intellect to decide what's moral and what's not, and what's worth persuing and what's not.
    Religion may not be present but there are other social forces that are just as strong. Hence my asking you if you really believe religion to be the only source of societal values. Apparently you do. That is unfortunate.

    And as i mentioned in prev post.. you can't blame athiest's for degenerating into species that believe in teh surival of the strongest as long as they're doing what's in their personal benefit.
    Only if they are sociopaths, as I stated above.

    And what makes you object to a rational athiest defining a good life as one that is full of stealing, cheating and all sorts of crimes when it suits him, and obeying 'societal values' when it also suits them. No one's gonna hold him accountable, so who cares?
    Um this is rather a dense and offensive view.

    Just because we don't codify a social code and attribute it to an imaginary 'higher power' you think we feel its ok to rape and steal and kill each other? You don't figure we come about that that isn't so good to do, independently of this religious dogma stuff?

    Do you yourself have no moral values, independent of your religious belif? No sense of empathy? No drive to do right over wrong absent a primitive punishment/reward dynamic? No non-religious moral compass at all?

    Maybe its burried deep beneath years of religious dogmatism, but if you look for it I'm sure its there.
    If not, then I truly hope you never lose your faith, for you'd be a danger to society.

    You seem to be pushing that atheists are prone to be more selfish and less empathetic and caring for their fellow human beings. Is that your claim? You may want to consider that people do all sorts of nasty things in the NAME of religion, sometimes believing themselves to be directed by it, sometimes using it to rationalize bad things they've done.

    If this is your rather bold claim, maybe you should start a thread on it. It would be interesting to see you try to substantiate it. Meanwhile, this thread has an entirely different purpose.
    Last edited by Pygoscelis; 12-31-2006 at 09:08 PM.

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    lolwatever's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of "End Times"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pygoscelis View Post
    Nice straw man you are building there.
    How does that answer my question
    And what makes "sociopath's" not elligeable to be athiests?


    It is a code of behaviour. Whether they are "moral values" is in the eye of the beholder. There are many islamic "values" that other cultures find deplorable (and vice versa I am sure).
    You're missing the point, call it what you want, Islam has a constant and consistent code of behaviour, athiest's don't.

    As far as you're own statements are concerned, Societal values contradict the idea of "making the most of your life", why should societal values be the cause of you not making the most of your life physically or in any other aspect?


    Religion may not be present but there are other social forces that are just as strong. Hence my asking you if you really believe religion to be the only source of societal values. Apparently you do. That is unfortunate.
    Ofcourse it isn't, but by your own saying you admit that athiests should make the most of their lives, societal values can be an obstacle to that happening (infact, when enough people start to see certain values becoming obstacles, the societal values themselves change)

    So for someone who's rational, why let societal valuse (which sometimes are purely subjective and have no personal benefit) be the casue of not allowing you to make the most of your life?



    Only if they are sociopaths, as I stated above.
    And i dare say, Athiests have a greater incentive to become sociopath's (or atleast, split personality athiests) compared to people who believe in accountability for their actions.


    Um this is rather a dense and offensive view.
    Well it sure agrees with simple economic laws.

    Just because we don't codify a social code and attribute it to an imaginary 'higher power' you think we feel its ok to rape and steal and kill each other? You don't figure we come about that that isn't so good to do, independently of this religious dogma stuff?
    Let's look at emperics, the cities where hurricane catrina struck had very good security measures in place which served as the 'higher power' which deterred people from stealing and wreaking havoc for their own personal benefit..... When it did strike, it's not hard to read the many reports of theft and robbery and all sorts of anti societal value stuff that happened. Why? Because that higher power no longer exists, and obviously there's no other deterrant (obviously they don't have much belief in hereafter accountability)...

    So your theory of 'making the most of life' would dictate (and strongly encourage) that they do such things to make maximum personal gain. You think they're sociopaths? well whatever you think they are, they are rational innit :X

    Do you yourself have no moral values, independent of your religious belif? No sense of empathy? No drive to do right over wrong absent a primitive punishment/reward dynamic? No non-religious moral compass at all?
    Well give me a single piece of evidence that suggests that societal values can be upheld without their being some form of higher overseeing authority? Even in this modern era we see that society will definately crumble if people arent' aware of someething overseeing their actions.

    It's unfortunate that you think we believe in imagintive powers.... for someone who pretended to have some sort of scientific understanding to come to odd conclusions in that 'no god exist thread'... it's a lil too above your level to discuss whether accountability is something real or unreal if you hold outrageous views like 'anything can happen given infinite time...'

    Maybe its burried deep beneath years of religious dogmatism, but if you look for it I'm sure its there.
    If not, then I truly hope you never lose your faith, for you'd be a danger to society.
    I'm not here to try prove that you're a thief when no one's looking (that's not piont of this thread), but what i am saying is that you're absolutely wrong when you said:
    "This dovetails nicely with the frequent theist claim against atheists that atheists have "nothing to live for" because they believe in no afterlife.But the reverse is actually true. To us atheists this life is all you get, so you'd better make the most of it."

    You seem to be pushing that atheists are prone to be more selfish and less empathetic and caring for their fellow human beings. Is that your claim? You may want to consider that people do all sorts of nasty things in the NAME of religion, sometimes believing themselves to be directed by it, sometimes using it to rationalize bad things they've done.
    I'm not pushing anything... i'm just stating the obvious

    "Humans are goverend by the cost-benefit principle, they will do what is in their personal interest in every situation"

    Taking the theft scenario for example, assuming there was absoltuely no one watching and no way of getting caught,

    This is a very possible situation: For an athiest, benefit of stealing 5kg of gold could possibly outweigh the cost of such an act. There's no accountabilty of cost in first place... so why not?

    In case of a Muslim, the cost of stealing could be many years in hell fire :| By the cost-benefit principle, a rational Muslim would not steal, an athiest could.

    As far as your other thign about peopel doing bad things in name of religion, that's why im talking only as far as Islam is concerned coz i dunno much about hwo other religions see this.

    What we're talking about here is the psychology of the end of time and the concept of accountability, as far as that is concerned, i think we've made the point that it is indeed a very strong motive for Muslims to behave themselves in this world in order to be successful in this life and hereafter.

    And in order to further give us incentive to be concientous pepole, Allah set down a legal system which drives those with lack of faith away from doing illegal acts (such as the laws regarding theft, adultery, rape, financial misconduct etc...) which acts as a deterrant for those who don't think straight when it comes to remembering the hereafter.

    You can't make judgemetns about people (Muslims or otherwise) in an environment where the legal system isn't applied as a complete package otherwise the society just wont' function properly (it's like banning alchohol and advertising it 24/7, just doesn't work)

    If this is your rather bold claim, maybe you should start a thread on it. It would be interesting to see you try to substantiate it. Meanwhile, this thread has an entirely different purpose.
    Substantiate what? That rational human beigns do what's in their personal interset? Pickup any micro economics book it's usually discussed in the first chapter or so... My main point was to prove your claim that athiests take teh higher ground when it comes to making the most of indivudal's life is baseless.

    all the best
    Last edited by lolwatever; 01-01-2007 at 01:20 AM.
    The Psychology of "End Times"

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