Fasten your shutters! Ready your bomb shelters! Get your guns primed! Say goodbye to your loved ones! Do all the things that you ever wanted to do! Repent of your many sins and commit suicide!
Or perhaps it's time to get a NEW Mayan calendar.
My friend Lindsey had a Benjamin Franklin quote on her blog to help greet the new year and I liked the idea. So I went to Brainy Quote, which is one of my favorite websites because it has quotes covering every subject, from famous or infamous alike. Because of the latest and greatest hype that has taken over the world, I typed in the numbers "2012" in the search box and came up with some interesting stuff.
PM 2.5., tax rates and 2012 Olympics. Hm. Hm. Hm. No talk of the end of the world? No mention at all. This will require further searching.
[Should I give up?]
counted all of them, the number of predictions is somewhere in the thousands. They range from the earlier days of man's existence (apparently we've always had a thirst for doom and evil tidings) to modern day. Some years even have more than one prediction. The prophecies are made by many different kinds of people but I found that scientists and religious leaders made up the larger percentage. They are made for different reasons; some I believe were genuinely believed by the prophet; others were just for money, fame, or power. You will find a few of the more interesting ones below, with links. It was hard to choose!
1669 - 1690: 20,000 Old Believers in Russia burned themselves to death to protect themselves from the Anti-Christ. (links: religious tolerance, tacoma atheists)
"I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world." -- Pat Robertson (links: tacoma atheists, Wikipedia)
Of course, there is the Mayan Calendar which is ending in 2012 [link:http://www.universetoday.com]. As you know, that means the world is supposed to be ending this year. A lot of people are taking this seriously... just like so many people have wholeheartedly believed other predictions in the past. We have committed suicide, killed human beings and animals, sold all of our possessions, forsaken our family, lived in caves, set off bombs, started fires: you name it, someone has done it for the end of the world.
You know what Jesus said? But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. [Mark 13:32]
And Paul was quite certain in his letter to the Thessalonians: But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. [1 Thess. 5]
If Jesus didn't know the date, if Paul didn't know the date and if the angels didn't know the date, why should we? Furthermore, should we be living in fear? Earthquakes, storms, persecution and hatred have happened every second of every day somewhere in the world. Death comes to us all eventually and so must the end of the world. But to prepare for it, we should be seeking a relationship with God and how to become better people. We should learn how to love and live more.
I agree, there is room for caution... but in some cases there is a very fine line between wisdom and paranoia.
So! Have a Happy New Year! May each day find you celebrating something good and lovely. May the end of the world find us ready for the next step in our journey, whenever it happens.