2012 and the End of the World

December 21, 2012 concludes the 5,125-year-long Mayan Long Count Calendar. Some believe the conclusion of this calendar will cause extreme environmental changes, while others contend it will trigger a global apocalypse. Although mainstream scholarship, in fields from anthropology to astronomy, has largely debunked world-changing and world-ending prognostications, speculation continues to intensify as the date nears.

Long Count Calendars were used in Central America by indigenous people groups, including the Mayans, before European explorers imposed their dating system in the region. The Long Count Calendar tracks time linearly (as opposed to cyclically) and when it concludes, it purportedly marks the close of one age and the opening of another.

The Mayan Long Count Calendar employs the following method for counting days:

1 uinal =  20 days 18 uinals (or 360 days) = 1 tun 20 tuns  = 1 k’atun 20 k’atuns (or 144,000 days) = 1 b’ka’tun

The Long Count Calendar began on the mythical date of Mayan creation, which was August 11, 3114 B.C. on the Gregorian calendar. After 13 b’ka’tuns – or 5,125 years – some Mayan inscriptions say that time will graduate to a higher order. The most widely accepted correlation of the end of the 13th b’ak’tun with the Western calendar is December 21, 2012.

Modern discussion about an apocalyptic event accompanying the completion of the Long Count Calendar started in the 1950’s and 1960’s with astronomer Maud Worcester Makemson and anthropologist Munro S. Edmonson. Author Michael Coe fueled the fire in 1966, referring to the end-date of the Mayan Long Count Calendar as “Armageddon” in his book, The Maya.

The majority of Mayan scholars argue against apocalyptic predictions, positing that all the 2012 Doom’s Day scenarios are contemporary inventions and that such forecasting misrepresents Mayan history. Moreover, not only do modern Mayans not attach significance to the date, but some ancient Mayans didn't either. Ancient Mayan cities used the Long Count Calendar in different ways and some even believed the calendar would end after 20 b’ak’tuns, not 13.

There are many contemproary interpretations on what the end of the Long Count Calendar means and what will happen on December 21, 2012. Although many of these teachers are on the fringe of the religion or group to which they profess allegiance, their theories are receiving a lot of attention.

Please see the articles below for more information.

  • 2012 and NASAhttp://www.religionfacts.com/topics/2012/2012-and-nasa

    Does science support or oppose the astronomical events that some believe will cause the end of the world on December 21, 2012? What does science say about the planet Nibiru racing toward earth, or solar flares, or planet alignments, or any other astronomical occurrence that some in the New Age community say is supposedly threatening Earth? Below is a series of questions and answers that NASA published on its website about December 21, 2012: 2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won't End? Remember the Y2K scare? It came and went without much of a whimper because of adequate planning and analysis of the situation...

  • 2012 and Nostradamushttp://www.religionfacts.com/topics/2012/nostradamus

    Nostradamus lived in 16th century France and wrote what some believe are prophecy’s about the future, including December 21, 2012.. His followers credit him with predicting events such as World War II, the Kennedy assassinations, and September 11, 2001...

  • 2012 and the Biblehttp://www.religionfacts.com/topics/2012/bible

    The two places in the Bible where some 2012 adherents find the alleged Mayan prophecy are in hidden codes in the original Hebrew text and in the imagery of apocalyptic literature...

  • 2012 and the New Agehttp://www.religionfacts.com/topics/2012/new-age

    The New Age interpretation of the alleged Mayan prophecy of 2012 is often called the “Planet X Hypothesis,” which is believed to be the name of an undiscovered planet that is spiraling toward Earth...

  • 2012 and the Web Bothttp://www.religionfacts.com/topics/2012/web-bot

    The “Web Bot” is a software program created in 1997 that some claim can predict the future by means of tracking keywords used on the Internet...