December 19, 2012
Will the world end on December 21st, 2012? That’s what some say, attributing it to a Maya prophecy.
The belief has been around in some form since the 1960s. Books have been written about it, it’s been discussed on television, and a really forgettable Hollywood movie was made about it.
People have actually contacted NASA asking the space agency if they should kill themselves and their children.
The phenomenon has its adherents in many countries. You can find them in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, China and Latin America.
But even the purveyors of the hysteria (some of whom have made a lot of money) aren’t in agreement on what actually is prophesied to occur on December 21st, 2012.
Is it the end of the world, and if so by what means (collision with the Planet Niburu or a black hole are two candidates).
Or rather than destruction of the planet is it “just” destruction of civilization? In a Super Bowl ad, General Motors portrayed a destruction of civilization which can, however, be survived by a man and his dog in a Chevy Silverado. (See ad here).
Other 2012 promoters approach it from another angle, predicting that December 21st will usher in a new “cosmic consciousness” or something like that. It’s easier to backpedal from that prediction than to claim the world will end and not have it end, which is rather obvious.
The Maya were – and are – an indigenous ethnic group dwelling in what is now eastern Mexico and western Central America. Their civilization flourished in the first millennium A.D. The Maya constructed cities, ceremonial centers, pyramids and roads in the region, which was not ruled by a unitary Maya empire but by rival Maya city-states. The Maya were gifted in mathematics and astronomy and used several different calendars. Today, tourists can visit Maya ruins in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Did the Maya actually predict something cataclysmic or transcendent on December 21st, 2012?
The date in the Maya calendar which corresponds to December 21st, 2012 is mentioned a few times in Maya inscriptions, but so are many other dates. The Maya worked with distant dates and big numbers, and they projected dates far in the future in order to relate them to their own times . These are projections, not prophecies.
The most famous inscription mentioning this date was found at the Tortuguero site in Tabasco state in Mexico. This particular inscription is damaged and incomplete, its meaning obscure and disputed. It’s not much to base a theory on.
Furthermore, the “Temple of the Inscriptions” (Chiapas state in Mexico) has a projected date inscribed that corresponds to 4772 A.D. If you believed the world would end in 2012 would you project a date of 4772?
What actually is significant about the December 21st, 2012 date in the Maya calendar is that it’s the end of the 13th b’aktún. (A b’aktún is a period of 394.3 years ).
Despite all the hoopla and hysteria, there is no Maya prophecy of the end of the world.
Here are some quotes from recognized scholars in the field who study Maya archaeology:
Mark van Stone of FAMSI(Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc.) :"There is nothing in the Maya or Aztec or ancient Mesoamerican prophecy to suggest that they prophesied a sudden or major change of any sort in 2012.”
Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archaeology at Florida Museum of Natural History : “We have no record or knowledge that [the Maya] would think the world would come to an end” in 2012.
David Stuart (University of Texas) calls it “complete nonsense” and says it’s promoted by "gurus and spiritualists who wouldn't know a Maya glyph if one hit them on the nose.”
It’s neither Maya experts nor the contemporary Maya themselves who are the principal purveyors of the 2012 hysteria. It’s mostly “New Age” gurus who, in typical cafeteria religion style take what they want from the old Maya religion and mix it with other elements.
Do the people who believe in the supposed Maya prophecy believe in the traditional Maya religion? Do they worship Maya idols? Do they practice bloodletting, human sacrifice or the strapping of boards to baby’s heads to give them long foreheads? These were Maya customs, so in the interests of authenticity are they practicing them?
No, they just take a supposed Maya prophecy and hitch it on their other New Age beliefs.
The so-called Maya prophecy is both inauthentically Maya and religiously inconsistent.
Why would Christians believe in a supposed Maya prophecy when they have the Bible and Jesus Christ’s own prediction of His return? Since Christians don’t know the date of the return of Christ and aren’t supposed to set the date, why would they run after a so-called Maya prophecy?
Certainly, 2012 has been a rough year, but it has nothing to do with a non-existent Maya prophecy utilized to make its purveyors a lot of money.
Not that Maya archaeology isn’t fascinating. It is. But peddling the Maya Calendar 2012 End of the World nonsense isn’t the way to study it.
I invite readers of NewsWithViews.com who would like more information to read my article entitled 2012: Prophecies of the Maya Calendar for more details.
And to the readers of NewsWithViews, I wish you all a Merry Christmas!
© 2012 Allan Wall - All Rights Reserved
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Allan Wall recently returned to the U.S. after residing many years in Mexico.