Fliers covered the windshields of cars parked in an HEB parking lot last week, proclaiming that a nuclear war will commence today leading to the end of man's governments 13 months later.
The House of Yahweh, which distributed the fliers, makes these claims based on prophesies that can be found in the Bible, according to Tanah Hawkins, a House of Yahweh spokeswoman.
Chapter 7 in the Book of Daniel speaks about the Creator's government taking over man's government. According to the Book of Revelations the nuclear war will begin near the Euphrates River, Hawkins said. When the Bible is translated into its original Hebrew, it says that the House of Yahweh is the only safe place.
Many religions believe that the world will eventually end, but beliefs vary on how and when this will happen.
Both Father Ed Koharchik of the University Catholic Center and Dean Smith of the University Avenue Church of Christ pointed to verses in the Bible that indicate humans are unable to predict when the end of the world will occur.
In Mark 13:32-33, Jesus says, "As to the exact day or hour, no one knows it, neither the angels in heaven, nor even the Son, only the Father. Be constantly on the watch! Stay awake! You do not know when the appointed time will come!"
Muslims believe there are major and minor signs that the end of the world is coming. Some of these may be occurring today - minor signs include very tall buildings, women who dress immodestly and women who wear their hair like beehives. These signs come from Muslim holy books, the Quran and the Hadith, said history sophomore and Muslim Student Association public relations coordinator Saba Syed. Major signs indicate the end of the world is imminent. The return of Jesus to Earth is a major sign. The sun rising in the west is a major sign that that day is the world's last day.
"When a major sign has occurred like that, there's no going back. There's no forgiveness after that," Syed said. "Everyone understands and acknowledges the existence of God. An angel will blow his horn, and then everything dies."
Syed stressed that Muslims do not know when the end of the world will come. She said they do know the day of judgment will be on a Friday.
Mayans believe in a cyclical calendar that will end its 13th 400-year period on Dec. 21, 2012, according to Virginia Garrard-Burnett, interim director of UT's religious studies program.
The Mayans believe that the end of one cycle and the beginning of another cycle is a particularly unstable time during which great change may happen, she said.
Mayan religion has blended with Christianity in many ways. Many Mayans live impoverished lives and hope the end of the world comes in 2012, because they believe that Jesus will come and take them to heaven where things will be better, Garrard-Burnett explained.
In the 1980s, thousands of Mayans were killed during a civil war in Guatemala. Many Mayans believe war was the tribulation from the Bible, Garrard-Burnett said.
Some Mayans have made prophesies in the past that have come true. In the 1960s, an old woman prophesied that there would be a massive earthquake. Her town took her seriously and began stockpiling emergency supplies. An earthquake occurred in February 1976, Garrard-Burnett said.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that while the Earth, this galaxy and this universe will all eventually end, they are an infinite, according to Lee Sutherland. Sutherland is an information sciences graduate student and member of the Dharmata Foundation, a Buddhist group not officially affiliated with UT.
Time periods called "kalpas" last millions of years in Buddhism. A kalpa called a "kaliyuga" is a "dark time," said Sutherland.
"When everybody starts behaving kind of badly toward each other ... kind of like animals, that's a sign, at least with the humans, that everything is going out the window," Sutherland said. "Throughout history there will be good times and bad times, but the overall average of things will get worse and worse."
As people become more and more disrespectful and brutish toward each other, good karma for sustaining a nice world will be exhausted and the world will be destroyed, he explained.
"Planets and beings are destroyed and coming into being. The minds will find a new place to incarnate. If the Earth were destroyed, it wouldn't really matter. People have really good karma and really bad karma. There are so many forms of manifestations," Sutherland explained.
Sutherland believes a mind does not necessarily need to reincarnate in a human or even on Earth, and therefore the destruction of earth is not necessarily important in Buddhist thinking.
Like Buddhists, Hindus believe that life is cyclical, according to Matt Sayers, an Asian cultures and languages graduate student who teaches the religious studies class, "Death and Dying in Indian Religions."
"Brahma created the world. Vishnu preserves the world. Shiva will destroy the world," Sayers explained..
Daniel Rosenberg, a matheatics senior and member of the Chabad Jewish Student Organization, said the Jewish religion does not really have a concept for the end of the world. One prophesy maintains that there will be a great war right before the Messiah comes, in which thousands of people will die.
Rosenberg stressed that a prophesy does not necessarily mean that the event will happen. Bad prophesies can be changed.
"There isn't such a dwelling on these subjects. We really dwell on practical things and living your life day-to-day. However, God decides to punish you or reward you is up to God," he said.