...the word “Apocalypse” comes from the Greek “apokalupsis” which means something which has been revealed or uncovered. The meaning was thus not originally associated with the end of the world or the final destruction of civilization, such as it is today. Apocalypses, revelations, were a genre of literature which rose to popularity in Palestine in the 3rd century BCEHe says a whole lot more, some of which speaks to my own beliefs on how Apocalypic topics are "played" these days...
...Apocalypses were historically described in the form of a dream or a vision, which is pretty much how we do it right down to the present day as well. Aside from what we said above about the image of the Apocalypse acting as a means to mentally “clean house,” I think it’s also especially important to look at it as a genre of protest literature.
Part of the power of the sheer act of creating and identifying with a story is that your subconscious mind has a difficult time differentiating it from reality. If you immerse yourself in it deeply enough, you’ll actually experience it as though it were real - on a lower level of course, but it’s still an experience. As protest literature then, Apocalypses let people mentally act out their fantasies of revolution and retribution. Their enemies are punished and those on the path of good find out that their actions and value systems will be vindicated at some point in the future.
As described above, the genre of Apocalypse literature arose most likely among a group of people who were being oppressed, and who felt like they didn’t have an appropriate voice in the society. If you look at modern day Apocalyptic literature, you will find exactly the same thing.
The way I see it is there are two main camps (well okay, with a lot of sub-camps). On one side, you have the hardcore Christians - people typified by the Rapture Ready website. People who fear that their value system is slipping away from its position of dominance. As they lose power, they begin to cling to stories in which they gain back that power.
Then on the other side of the fence, you have the vast roiling sea of outsiders, conspiracy theorists and counter-culturalists. This is a diverse crowd of course, but they share a set of common characteristics.
Consider for a moment that this is true. That what originally started as a form of Apocalyptic protest literature, was later seized upon by people in power to establish their own legitimacy. By playing upon the fear and superstition of works like the Book of Revelations, people in power are actually intentionally trying to push our centuries-long programmed buttons.Meander around Tim's website for further clarification on this issue.