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By Michael Thompson
In recorded human history, man has always been fascinated with the end times. Although never sure whether to distain or embrace such prophetic ravings, the general masses always seem split in opinion. Even now, there is great debate over an interpretation of the Mayan Calendar, supposedly signifying the end will come Dec. 21.
Will December really mark the end of life on Earth as we know it? Enthusiasts say that on that date, Earth will begin the end. Cynics scorn such belief as folly. Yet rarely does anyone hear a factual based argument for either side. Instead of listening to unsupported claims or unmarked ridicule, look at past claims and look at the facts to determine the truth in this argument.
Lee Jang Rim, leader of the Korean doomsday cult, claimed the world would end in 1992. Thousands of followers sold their belongings and abandoned their property in a devotion to their leader’s claims. The day after the world's predicted last day, it was just as it was the night before, save a disgruntled mass of homeless followers.
In 1999, Credonia Mwerinde claimed the world would come to an abrupt halt at the beginning of the new millennium. In Uganda, Mwerinde persuaded about 4,000 individuals to sell their homes and land. All those resources were then donated to Mwerinde and other leaders within the group. On Jan. 1, 2000, many of the members began to doubt the leadership, as well as demand a refund of the donated money. Many followers of the movement were found dead across the country in the following months.
Harold Egbert Camping, president of Family Radio, claimed to know the date of the end of the world. He professed that the rapture would occur on May 21, 2011, and in doing so, convinced thousands to donate their money to his evangelical cause. Not only did he deceive many Americans last year, but he also made similar claims in 1988 and 1994.
Now back track to around 400 B.C. when the Mayan civilization carved their first calendars into stone.
The Mayans calendar system was comprised of the Long Count calendar, the Tzolkin and the Haab. The Long Count calendar is what has caused such a commotion.
That calendar is comprised of a series of five numbers such as: 18.104.22.168.5. The furthest to the right is called the kin, and equaling a day. The next in order is the uinal, representing eighteen kin. Next is the tun, which represents twenty uinal. Second to last is the katun, standing for twenty tun. Finally, the baktun is the equal to twenty katun.
According to Mayan mythology, the gods had attempted to make the world with inhabitants three times before; each attempt failed and was thus destroyed. Each past world supposedly lasted 13 baktun, roughly 5,125 years. On Dec. 21, 2012, the long count will once again reach 13 baktun.
In 1966, Micahel D. Coe decided that according to the mythology regarding the past three worlds in Mayan religion, this current world would come to an end on the 13 baktun. Coe’s argument was based solely on the fact that, according to Mayan religion, the three worlds previous came to an end after this time.
Since Coe’s initial claim, many books, movies and articles have been made that perpetuate his claim to the end of the world. Now this 2012 phenomenon is so imbedded within culture that people have fabricated evidence so that they can still believe in it.
So now, look at these past claims. What makes them any different from Coe’s? What makes him right and them wrong?
The want to know the future, even if it means the end, is a part of human nature. Not only does Coe’s theory, despite being adopted my millions, not have any evidence, but it actually has substantial evidence against it.
The 13 baktun does not signal destruction. It signals rejoicing. According to the Mayan religion, three past worlds were destroyed because of their faults in the eyes of the gods. Then, the gods made a final, perfect world.
According to Mayan mythology, this current world is the fourth and final world. The gods deemed it suitable and perfect.
All people want to know what is going to happen next. For this reason, so many people have held onto the uncorroborated idea of the end of the world in 2012.
Michael Thompson is a junior who is home schooled.