"Almost all apocalyptic beliefs show Christian influence," Kent told LiveScience.
That's because a central tenant of the faith is that Jesus will return — although many mainstream Christians point to the Bible verse Matthew 24:36 to condemn doomsday prophets such as Camping. That verse says that no one knows the day or hour of the end, "not even the angels in heaven."
Those who try to predict when doomsday will occur often focus on the world's sin. Camping, for example, has said that God left all churches in 1988, leaving Satan to rule those institutions. Famous 1800s doomsday prophet William Miller, who predicted that the end would come on Oct. 22, 1844, was "disillusioned with humanity," Kent said. [Read: Oops! 11 Failed Doomsday Predictions]
"He read a considerable amount of history and came to see humans as brutes," Kent said.
With this worldview, the end of the world is a welcome way to wipe Earth clean.
"Despite fire, death and destruction, the god of apocalypticism is a god of order, not chaos," DiTommaso told LiveScience in May. "That's the reassurance."
The personal is the prophetic
An individual's psychology and environment may contribute to the apocalyptic worldview. Followers often live and socialize in small groups where outside opinions aren't heard, DiTommaso said. This "social encapsulation" keeps faith-shaking questions at bay.
Camping and his followers are also operating from a worldview that holds that the Bible and its prophecies cannot be wrong, DiTommaso told LiveScience.