We're all doomed, eh?
So why the obsession with the doomsday scenario? Rev Pádraig Corkery, the dean of the faculty of theology and a lecturer in moral theology at St Patrick’s College in Maynooth, says, “There is a fundamentalist element in politics and religion, and people always want easy answers to difficult questions.
“So if you ask, ‘When is the world going to end?’, and there’s your date, then people feel certainty.”
Corkery says he hasn’t given much thought to such predictions. “I haven’t reflected more deeply on it. But if you reflect on the rise of political and religious fundamentalism, we live in a dynamic and uncertain world where things have changed dramatically in the past 50 years. That unnerves people, and they seek certainty.
“Fundamentalist religion offers answers: you know what’s right and what’s wrong and you’re certain of it. Political fundamentalism offers answers, too; you’re told unemployment happens because of this, or immigration is bad because of that, and you become certain of such things.
It’s the same with wanting to know when the world is going to end: searching for certainty in a dynamic world.”
Doing doomsday: What would you do if the world ended?
Maeve Higgins, comedian and writer:
“I would march to the closest hairdresser or barber shop and plead with the scissors-holder to give me a full, heavy fringe. Predictably, they would refuse, telling me my face was too roundy. I’d tell them I didn’t care, I’m tired of living on my knees, and I want to go out with a bang, plural.”
Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, broadcaster and PhD candidate at Trinity College:
“I’d make sure I was with my mates and my brothers in a pub that serves really good Guinness, a bit of trad in the background, and I’d probably stay there. Wouldn’t that be a nice way to finish up?”
Michael John Gorman, founding director of the Science Gallery:
“I’d build a time machine out of the parts of Ernest Walton’s atom-splitter hidden deep within Trinity’s physics department and escape through a wormhole.”
Mark O’Halloran, writer and actor :
“There are two ways of dealing with impending oblivion: 1. You go bananas. 2. You accept it with grace and dignity. Personally I’d go bananas, get totally drunk and attempt to fornicate my way into the next world.”
Niall “Bressie” Breslin, musician:
“I’m going in for surgery on the 21st, so I have been watching 28 Days Later to get some tips in case I come out of the anaesthetic and all of you have turned into flesh-eating zombies. Shaun of the Dead too. Aim for the head, by all accounts.”
Diarmaid Ferriter, professor of modern history at University College Dublin:
“Honestly, I’d go to bed with my wife, Sheila, and, under the duvet, forget the world altogether – and after that share a large bottle of bubbly and a cannabis joint with her and laugh uproariously.”