Monday, September 07, 2009

Will the World End in 2012?

Having joined 'the Bible' on Facebook, I spotted a comment by someone speculating that the end of the world was due in 2012, when an asteroid would hit the earth. I asked the chap to check his sources and after doing so he revised it to 2036.

But he's not alone: 2012 conspiracy theories are doing the rounds of the New Age community, and there's a disaster movie of the same name ready to retread Day After Tomorrow territory, by the same chap who directed Day After Tomorrow. This slightly tongue-in-cheek article surveys the possible suspects.

1. By the sound of it, some Christians are jumping on the 2012 bandwagon without really thinking about where the idea comes from. Following Jesus clearly isn't exciting enough for them. Stop and think people: if lots of gullible evangelicals (because it will be evangelicals) start wittering on about 2012, and it doesn't happen (which it won't, most likely), then they'll look gullible. That won't add much credibility to the faith they stand for.

2. We seem to need these things: 1999/2000, now 2012, wonder when the next one will be? There seems to be an inbuilt desire for the apocalyptic to be, at least, possible.

3. A Facebook friend noted the inherent contradiction of a green-tinged New Ager getting into 2012 conspiracy theories. What's the point of saving the planet if it's only got 3 years left?

4. Christians do believe that God, at some stage, will step decisively into history, that Jesus will return. We're also cautioned not to speculate about when it will happen, and history is littered with idiotic predictions about the end of the world. It's more important to live holy lives today than get caught up in conspiracy theories about tomorrow. Whether or not the world has 3, or 3 million years left, makes not one jot of difference to how Christians should be living. We should still be trying to commend our faith to others, and we should still be trying to live as loving stewards of this planet rather than rapacious landlords.

5. The best use of this kind of nonsense is to get people thinking about the future. There are some things that are going to kick in (and are kicking in already) during the next generation: fuel shortages, water shortages, climate change etc. We need to live in the present in a way that is loving and generous towards future generations. The enemy is ourselves, and our approach to life, and the way the capitalist system has encouraged spiralling consumption and greed. Unless we change, this is the way the world as we know it ends: not with a whim but with a banker*.

*not my original line, sadly.


  1. So when Hurricane Katrina comes hurling towards you, you will just sit there? What if you are wrong and the Book of Revelations begins playing out line by line... for real? 2012 is far more than some comet coming to strike the planet. Real 2012 information includes the many spots in the Bible that are coming true even as I type as well as those that have yet to come about.

    We have been warned. Don't go to if you wish not to seek the facts. Suicide is also frowned on in the Bible.

  2. Dree - thanks for your comment. Not sure you know enough about me to judge what my response would be to 'the facts'.

    A lot of the book of Revelation has already played out, if you read it for what it is. The church has got into a horrendous pickle every time it's treated Revelation as a script for actual events, rather than recognised it as a genre of literature which revels in symbolism, code and picture language.

    Jesus said 'nobody knows the day or the hour'. Therefore anyone who thinks they do know the date of the end of the world is putting themselves in opposition to Jesus. I know who I'm siding with.

  3. Er … why 2012? Is it some kind of weird chronologically challenged date based on the bimillennial anniversary of the boy Jesus' bar-mitzvah? Or what?

  4. Apparently it's because the Mayan calendar runs out. And obviously if the Mayans couldn't express something as a date, the world will end. Why on earth did the bunch of assorted fruit and nuts that is the apocalyptic Christian movement decide to start using the Mayan calendar? is a good place to start...

  5. I have book in my library called 101 Reasons why the world will end in 1988. Yeah, 21 years ago and the world continues. Oops. Instead of wasting time speculating, our call is to be faithful stewards of the Lord, inviting all to the wedding supper of the Lamb, whenever that will be. 2012, 2102 or any other date makes no difference to our call.