Doom Sells, But Who's Buying?

In the wake of the epic doomsday disaster film 2012 reaping in a cataclysmic $225 million globally opening weekend, it's pretty clear doom is a boom.

Doomsday prophesy is an art, that's why the purveyors make the big bucks.

But don't worry, doomsday prophets are notorious for dying of old age. It's a little known fact people who focus only on the end of days have an incredibly long life expectancy. It's a solid career choice for the right individual. For one, you can be wrong about the world coming to an end. So far no one's ever gotten it right.

You know, since we're still here...and stuff.

I was born in a doomsday cult, The Children of God, and I have studied the issue at length. So now I can help you, help yourself:

There is a long and distinguished history of dooming. There has been preaching about the end of time since the beginning of time. The Apocalypse. The Rapture. End Times. Armageddon. Y2K. 2012. The possibilities are endless!

In order to be a doomsday prophet, you can't afford to be discouraged by anything. Especially not evidence.

Just treat every day like a close-out going out of business sale. Yes, this is your business as usual. It's a deadline! It's now or never! Everything marked down! Everything must go! Combat short attention spans with shorter timelines.

Oh sure, there have been some like Jim Jones and Heaven's Gate who have killed themselves and their flock, but you're not about discouragement. True doomsday prophets are tax-free and facts-free zones of stay-tuned-or-you'll-miss-something-ness. Doomsday prophecy is a riveting and exciting career where you learn to dodge and duck accountability with your charisma. You're like a charming, tax-exempt whack-a-mole.

When it comes to belief, hope floats but doom sells. Pastor John Hagee, a supporter of Senator John McCain for President, once told his megachurch, "You could get raptured out of this building before I get finished preaching." On the tape, you can hear the crowd cheer. "Yay!" This is the kind of message that separates the megachurches from the meager churches.

The other character trait necessary is not caring that you're wrong. If being accurate is important to you, program calculators for a living. If being proved to be a fraud fills you with anxiety and make you want cower into a fetal position and hide from public life forever, then doomsday prophesy is not your bag. Either yarn rhetorically or go home.

The cult leader my parents followed, Moses David, predicted the world/America would end in the early 1970's. After it didn't happen, he used the general prophesy of "it can't be long now!" to cover any doubt about what was around the corner.

The Christian Coalition's Pat Robertson annually makes predictions about the coming year. In 2007 he said, "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that." Wow, was that wrong. Did he retire? Hell, no. Why would he need to? Now he has the disclaimer, "If there's a mistake it's not His fault, it's mine." As for 2009? He predicted America would embrace socialism under Obama. Subtle. Learn from the master, folks.

But people will want to believe you if you seem to believe it enough yourself and they like you. What's a couple of outright failed prophesies among friends, huh? People of faith tend to have faith in people. So if you don't have any hesitation exploiting that. You're so there.

Interesting side note: My mother, who has spent the past 35 years convinced the world could end at any minute, has maintained a perfect credit score. Lesson here for doomers: Don't ever sell short the short sell.

And lastly, you should not just assume as a doomsday prophet that you are going to be stuck at church or on CBN for eternity. You guys are not just screaming incoherencies on the street corner anymore. There are many career opportunities for you on basic cable. If there's any place where inaccurate hyperbole is not only celebrated but encouraged -- it's at Fox News. Glenn Beck knows how to doom. But note Jim Cramer is not on Fox so don't feel limited. Remember Geraldo Rivera started out at ABC sniffing out the Satanic cult conspiracies before he graduated to Fox where he could give away troop positions.

To sum up: fear and impending doom can equal bread and butter. But you have to hurry. It could all end soon.

This piece originated at True/Slant.