An earthquake shakes the foundation of a house. Entire buildings collapse into one another as glass and metal fall from the sky onto the ongoing destruction and mayhem below. Giant waves, taller than the Eiffel Tower, rise up and swallow cities whole. All of these are scenes from 2012, the latest doomsday blockbuster to hit theatres. Although the scenes of destruction are the product of special effects and computer-generated images, the movie leaves many people wondering, “Could this really happen?”
It’s a silly question, and asking it has no more validity than posing the same question after seeing Mike Myers in the film adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. However, that has not discouraged thousands of people from starting blogs and publishing books searching for, or giving evidence of, the coming apocalypse.
All of the hype about the end of the world was sparked by one little historical fact: the Mayan Long Calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012. Some believe on that day, a catastrophic event will occur, wiping out mankind. Others believe there will be a transformation that brings about a “New Age” of civilization.
Many of these ideas cannot be traced to the Mayans, but to Western interpretations of the Mayan calendar, according to a modern-day Mayan elder, Chile Pixtun, in a story for the Associated Press. The story goes on to say, “Most archaeologists, astronomers and Maya say the only thing likely to hit Earth [in 2012] is a meteor shower of New Age philosophy, pop astronomy, Internet doomsday rumors and TV specials.”
For Christians, a major problem with the theory is the lack of Biblical foundation. While the Bible does describe to some extent the end of the world, the Bible also makes it very clear no one knows when the end times are coming. Jesus states in Matthew 24:36, “No one knows about the day or the hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Many have tried to make connections between current events and those described in the Bible. A Web site called www.the-end.com proclaims, “The year 2008 marked the last of God’s warnings to mankind and the beginning of a countdown of the final three and one-half years of man’s self-rule that will end by May 27, 2012.” Another Web site, Survive2012.com, claims, “There is zero scientific evidence that anything will happen, but there are numerous things that could easily threaten the human species in the year 2012, such as a geomagnetic reversal, asteroid strike or supernova. Or something more intimate, like a flu pandemic or a nuclear war.” All of this should reinforce the idea this panic has no basis in reality but is instead mere speculation.
We have seen this before. From the Y2K panic to the mass hysteria following the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, the alarm far outweighs the reality. It is much more likely Dec. 22, 2012, will be much like Oct. 31, 1938, the day after War of the Worlds was broadcast, or Jan. 1, 2000 – completely ordinary.