Well this is it folks. Doomsday. The end of the world. The apocalypse. The Mayan’s said this is the day the world ends….Apparently. December 21st has come and gone in many countries and little old Earth is still here. It seems like we have been here before with the projected end of the world supposedly happening in the year 2000. When that didn’t happen it must have been because we messed up the calendars and it would come a bit later. It may come as no surprise to some that the projected end of the world has come around with surprising regularity throughout history.
When the first millennium was approaching, many in western countries believed they were nearing the end days, Christ would return, heralding the destruction of Earth and the deaths those living in sin. Preachers travelled across countries claiming the end of the world was nigh and that people should repent their sins. In fact even the Pope, Sylvester ll, believed no one would see the 2nd millennium. For him at least, his prediction turned out to be true; he died in 999.
Of course when the new millennium came about the doomsday theorists never stopped. They believed it would now occur in 1033, which was exactly one thousand years after the death and subsequent resurrection of Christ. Roll on one thousand years and the Y2K saw similar predictions, although this time, with a more technologically advanced backdrop. Planes would fall from the skies, Earth would be plunged into a new dark age with all technology ceasing to work. I’m sure there will be similar scares when approaching the year 3000, that is if the world is still around by then :P.
The California radio preacher Harold Camping set a date for the end of the world no fewer than six times, settling on 22 October 2011 – a day which, historians may recall, was distinguished by an absence of fire and brimstone.
You also cant help but notice the arbitrariness of the use of the Gregorian calendar. Many people around the world use other calendars, i.e. The Muslim Calendar begins at 622 AD, the Jewish one at 3761 BC, the Japanese Calendar begins at 660 BC and the Chinese Calendar at 2698 BC. Of course, it suits western discourse to use the Gregorian calendar, but whos to say weve got out dates right. Roman emperor Augustus, added a month named after him to the Roman calendar, and there have been various other changes to get to the resultant Gregorian calendar we use today.
For true believers, when the calendar reaches 22/12/2012 I’m sure they will be looking for answers as to the real date of the apocalypse and start to believe in the next big doomsday date. For the rest of us, life goes on.
Thanks for reading,