Perhaps no aspect of religion is as disgusting as the welcome prospect of the destruction of Earth to build a new Kingdom. "To Hell with unbelievers," one of the eschatological persuasion may remark, "I shall be with Jesus in eternal paradise." When God comes "as a thief in the night", unbelievers will be caught off-guard while the faithful will be swooped up into the heavens by the protecting, and apparently indiscriminate, arms of the Holy Fascist who shall then cast fire and brimstone and temporary torture upon the pitiless savages beneath; and this is only when the real fun begins! You might just wonder what is taking Him so long.
For every cult there is a moment of climax where the pathetic followers of the cult leader await states of bliss. Said cult leader eagerly professes his sophistry to the masses who lap it up like a starving dog. At this moment, the cult leader wields a great force upon the ignorant people who look up to him, and this was exemplified in the case of the preacher William Miller who, according to his calculations, had the Second Coming of Jesus pinned down to October 22nd, 1844. God has a tendency to be fashionably late.
When the day of October 22nd came and went, the masses let out a collective sigh of agony and psychological pangs. The whining, groaning, and lamenting highlighted what is known as "The Great Disappointment." Growing up, my father always told me that definitions are important because "words mean things," and perhaps no greater example can be thought of than what is known as The Great Disappointment. Who can be disappointed at the idea that the Sun rose in the East in the morning? Only the religious can dream up such a sickening scenario.
It is for this reason why predatory pastoral deception has such a negative role in our society. While our planet is going to waste, what does that mean to a premillenialist Christian who anxiously desires the destruction of our home? Still, even though Christians expect a better Earth to be built upon the ruins of human accomplishment, there remains the aspect of the destruction of people who share different opinions or who are merely shielded from the truth. Because of their unfortunate circumstances and decisions, this oddly justifies the period of tribulation that awaits them. Righteous vengeance is enacted against these stupefied people who were merely mistaken in their understanding of reality.
This isn't entirely exclusively a Christian shortcoming. In Islam, the arrival of the 12th Imam signifies the dominance of the Muslim faith across the world and Iran is actively seeking to bring about this Imam. If only their weaponry didn't make apocalyptic events a possible reality! Another horrid example of such a sentiment manifested itself in the infamous Heaven's Gate cult where believers assumed that they would be whisked away upon a UFO (while Earth and its remaining inhabitants were "recycled") in coordination with Haley's Comet. Haley's Comet passed and no UFO appeared.
And this is the story of eschatology: Just keep waiting. There is no end, as long as linear time progresses. Haley's Comet will come and go. Earthquakes and tsunamis will come and go. Religious conflict will come and go. Nuclear weapons will fire on and off (hopefully not), and the fallout will come and go. Christianity in particular plays their eschatology perfectly, as in the End Times the world will become debauched and actively reject Jesus as they partake in their hedonistic rituals. This sets up a bit of a Nash Equilibrium for any doubter; if they begin denying Jesus (because that's where their mind leads them to), is this a sign of the end times? If they believe just a little longer, will they be saved when the rest of the world begins disbelieving? If this quality was an emergent property of deluded spiritualists, it worked out beautifully for charlatan evangelical pastors who line their pockets with wealth sucked from the gullible.
Leave it to religion to turn something that has bothered us from the dawn of time to the modern day into something to look forward to, as if a comprehensive inversion of our conceptions about reality have turned upside down. Because of presumably sincere folks like William Miller and his modern-day ilk who peddle such folly, paranoia about the end of days will be with us for quite some time. From frightened hunter-gatherers who didn't know the first thing about geology and assumed volcanoes would bring the end of civilization due to dissatisfied deities to the History Channel analyzing Mayan "theories" about 2012 apocalypse, there seems to be this mantra: Just wait a little longer. Yes, just wait--and religious prophecy may be self-fulfilled.