2012: Has the Final Countdown Begun?

Mark Hitchcock The headline was seen all over the world. The first news item that flashed across the internet on July 6, 2008 was an article titled “Thousands Expect Apocalypse in 2012.” The article was excerpted from an ABC News investigation on the global rise in “doomsday cults.” The opening sentence of the article said it all: “Survival groups around the world are gearing up and counting down to a mysterious date that has been anticipated for thousands of years: December 21, 2012.”

Since that time, 2012 has been showing up everywhere. There are thousands of websites devoted to 2012. On several websites there’s an official 2012 countdown that will give you an up-to-the-second indicator of how long we have to wait for the end of the world. It looks like for many people the countdown has officially begun! Books on 2012 are flying off the shelves. Network news, cable channels and major internet outlets are all featuring programs and articles on the 2012 phenomenon. Here are just a few examples:

History Channel: “Decoding the Past—Doomsday 2012: The End of Days” History Channel: “The Lost Book of Nostradamus and 2012” AOL News: “Thousands Expect Apocalypse in 2012” ABC News: “Will the World End in 2012? Thousands Worldwide Prepare for the Apocalypse, Expected in 2012” Fox & Friends: “It’s the End of the World: Mayan Calendar Ends in 2012” Geraldo Rivera (Fox News): “Fact or Fiction: Will the World End in 2012?” USA Today: “Does Maya calendar predict 2012 apocalypse” Los Angeles Times: “Many gather to ponder end of Maya days” New York Post: “2012: The End is Nigh!” U.S. News and World Report: “Apocalypse 2012: Are the Final Days Coming Soon? New Doomsdayers Adapt a Mayan Prediction” Newsweek: “2012: A Y2K for the New Age” I was shocked to find that in 2008, 16 percent of Americans answered “yes” when asked, “Do you expect any apocalyptic events to happen on December 21, 2012?” Another barometer of the swelling interest in 2012 is the “Ask an Astrobiologist” section of NASA’s Web site where senior scientist David Morrison answers questions from the public. According to CNN, more than half of the inquiries on the most popular list were related to 2012. People everywhere are asking questions about 2012.

Recently, NPR ran an article titled “Mayan Calendar Spurs End-Of-The-World Debate” (7/29/09), and the Telegraph.co.uk headline on 9/3/09 was “2012: Will it be the end of the world as we know it.” On top of all of this is the $200 million movie “2012” from director Roland Emmerich set to release on November 13, 2009. You can watch the movie trailer on the 2012 movie website. It’s all-out, apocalyptic destruction.

So, what’s all the furor about? Could 12.21.12 be the end of the world? Many believe that it will be. Did the ancient Mayans know earth’s expiration date? Over the next few weeks, I want to address a few issues related to 2012 from my new book titled 2012, the Bible and the End of the World. The tagline for the movie “2012” is “Find out the truth . . . if you dare.” I invite you to join me in taking this dare as we try to shed some light on 2012 and the end of the world.