So I start this post with the title and have to Google "miscreant!" That's how directly my posts are channeled from that goddess of snakes who takes me over.
Just joking. But also linking to the religious arguments about us living in end times. The valiant butchers of IS (ISIS/ISIL) believe that we are living in end times, and so do many American religious conservatives. To give you a slightly humorous take, here's Michele Bachmann on that topic:
Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) expressed a mixture of condemnation and appreciation toward President Barack Obama for, in her words, bringing the world to end times.What a relief! I can stop flossing!
“Barack Obama is intent, it is his number one goal, to ensure that Iran has a nuclear weapon," she said. "Why? Why would you put the nuclear weapon in the hands of madmen who are Islamic radicals?"
Bachmann, however, then seemed to approve of the President moving mankind into "the midnight hour."
"We get to be living in the most exciting time in history," she said, urging fellow Christians to "rejoice."
"Jesus Christ is coming back. We, in our lifetimes potentially, could see Jesus Christ returning to Earth, the Rapture of the Church."
The point of this post is that something like "end times" is not an exogenous variable from the point of view of politicians and those active in trying to make them come about. "End times" can be achieved. A nuclear war could do it nicely, but so could many other things, such as irreversible changes in the climate.
The reverse of that is that we can delay the "end times" by our behavior. Sadly, people with certain religious views don't have any incentive to do so, because they have packed their suitcases and have their travel tickets for paradise tightly in one hand while they use the guns with the other.
I haven't read enough on the history of apocalyptic thoughts, but my guess is that there have always been many people who believed that they themselves were living in the "end times." But I doubt they had quite the same power to push this planet closer to them than some people today have. While rejoicing over it.