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Inter-Religious Conference Examines “Visions Of The End Times”

 

By Acharya S.P.Dwivedi

Majority of the religions of the world prescribe to ‘final days’, ‘last days’ ,’eschaton’ and ‘end time’ and believe that world is destined to have an ultimate climax. The scriptural prophecies vary a lot and self declared Messiah, time to time, comes with dates of ‘doomsday’ also.

Those who believe in the linear pattern of existence think that everything has a beginning, middle and end thus the end of universe is inevitable. Since the development of the concept of ‘deep time’ in the 18th century, and  with that the calculation of the estimated age of Earth has been debated. However, the scientific discourse about end times has centered on the ‘ultimate  fate of the universe’; and theories ‘ such as -Big Rip, Big Crunch, Big Bounce and Big Freeze, have been included. While  some of the spiritual leaders think that the end of the world is a material issue and we should not waste our time and energy in discussing about it.

The key aspects of Hindu views of eschatology are related with creation and dissolution. Creation begins when Brahaman (God) makes his energies active and ends when he withdraws. Hindus believe that the process of creation and dissolution  is cyclic. Judaism, in term, ‘end of days’ makes reference to the Messianic Age, coming of Messiah and the resurrection of righteous. Lord Buddha said  that after 5000 years his teachings will be forgotten then a Boddhisatva named Maitreya will come and discover the teaching of dharma.

In  Christianity the  ‘end time’ is  addressed as a period of tribulation that precedes the Second Coming of Christ while some others think that it  is the end of personal tribulation before they become enlightened with the World God.  Islam calls it, in reference with ‘end times’ , ‘The Day of Judgment’ is preceded by the appearance of Mahdi mounted on white stallion.

Professor Laura duhan Kaplan of the Vancouver School of Theology organized a three days conference from  23rd May to 25th May,2017 in UBC, Vancouver.  The theme of the conference was ’VISIONS OF THE END TIMES’.

Several schlars, academics, graduate students, sociologists and psychologists  presented, in  total,  nineteen  research papers. I also presented the paper.

The Confrence attracted  a large number of people from outside of  Metro Vancouver. It was well attended and during  ‘question and answer’ period  the participation  was incredible.  All  the participants felt that it was quite enlightening and educating experience and registrants enjoyed the breakfast and lunch.

 

 

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