The philosopher A. C. Grayling notes in his new book, The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and For Humanism, that
Depending on how one counts them, something between 800 and 3,000 new religious sects, or even new religions as such, have sprung up since the Second World War, most of them in the United States and Africa. A frequent feature is that they are not much concerned with the afterlife because they are millenarian, believing that the end of the world is imminent, and they promise anyone who will join the sect that he or she will be transformed, raptured or otherwise saved when the end comes.
Sound familiar? This is exactly how Christianity got going. A fanatical, itinerant preacher took it upon himself to announce that the end of the world was just around the corner (Matthew 16.27-28 etc). It wasn’t, but a few gullible souls believed him – especially when he told them they would rule the new world once it arrived (Luke 22.30 etc).
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Notes: Grayling, A. C. (2013) The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and For Humanism, London: Bloomsbury, p229. Emphases are Grayling’s.