Mass suicide fears as French worry end of world is approaching
Natural disasters, the internet and French fears of economic doom are lending credence to predictions that the planet will self-destruct on December 21, 2012, said Miviludes, the government body that monitors cults and suspicious spiritual activities.
There have been 183 false predictions of the end of the world since the Roman Empire collapsed and these are multiplying with new technology and a global climate of fear, it added.
In the US, doomsday radio preacher Harold Camping received global publicity by predicting that the Rapture would occur May 21. When the day passed uneventfully, Camping offered a new date, October 21, for the end of the world.
The 2012 prediction, based on the end of the 5000-year Mayan calendar, has taken root around the world but nowhere does it seem to have been as widely embraced as France, The (London) Times reported.
The government is worried about a rush of converts to Bugarach, a hilltop village in the southwest that is destined to survive judgment day, according to internet rumours.
Miviludes chairman Georges Fenech visited the area between Perpignan and Carcassonne last week to be briefed by the police intelligence service and local officials on the gurus, disciples, magicians, healers and others who have arrived to await next year’s expected Apocalypse. The village, which is said to be a haven for UFOs, was besieged by Armageddon tourists on Monday, the Pentecost holiday.
Mr Fenech, a judge and former lawmaker, dismissed the prophesies as a “hodgepodge of bad astrophysics” but added that Apocalypse fever is no laughing matter.
He recalled “the horror of the dramas which cults have caused in recent years with their doctrines that provoke extreme anxiety.”
The most recent involving France was a series of 74 suicides in the late 1990s in France, Switzerland and Canada by devotees of the Order of the Solar Temple.
The fascination for Apocalypse theories fits with the mood of gloom that has engulfed France over the past decade. Opinion polls regularly highlight the country as one of the most pessimistic in the world.
Our hope is in Christ – Hold on tightly.
Psalm 31:24 Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD.
Psalm 37:9 For evildoers will be destroyed, but those who put their hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
Psalm 42:5 Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.