A Brief History of the Apocalypse. Doomsday has been around for centuries.
Also, an article (warning- it IS from an atheist perspective) discussing mental health repercussions in children regarding the most recent rise of apocalyptic talk.
I would like to speak on the topic of terrifying children with doomsday talk for a moment. My father (crazy-smart Southern Baptist preacher) thought he had figured out the rapture date when I was about 8 years old. For over a year, he saved durable goods, canned goods, grain, etc. He even built a bunker in our basement. When the day came, we stayed home from school, and hid in that bunker all day. Absolutely terrified the whole time. We didn't sleep all night, and when morning came, he just shrugged it off as it wasn't God's will.
His kids however, didn't shrug it off. We became scared of the whole concept of God, and "his will."
Now he has 2 daughters that converted back to Catholicism as soon as they got away from him, and me the atheist/humanist.
That's not really why I'm an atheist, but it was what led me to seek other options as far as personal spirituality, etc. went.
That being said, I don't believe I'm any better than someone who is religious. Humanism says that because we can't prove or disprove that a higher being exists, we should respect the "other side's" views and faith. Neither side has cornered the market on the Truth, so to speak. I agree with this.
And PS- I MISSED YOU GUYS!! Mwah!