As 12.21.12 Dawns, There is Some Reason For Concern

December 20th, 2012

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December 21, 2012 has arived already for much of the world.  As of this post, it is already afternoon on the 21 of December in Australia, and the date is now dawning across Europe.

As most know, this is the day that much todo has been made of due to reports that it was the last day listed on the Mayan Calendar.  To some, this equated to a prediction of the end of the world.   Of course, if you actually look at the beliefs of the Mayans, that’s not what it would mean, and even if it did, there’s no reason to think that the ancient civilization would have some magical insight into the future.  There are no indications that anything is actually going to happen to the earth or humanity on this day.

So, why then, should this cause any concern?

December 21, 2012 is certainly not the first day which is predicted to be doomsday and it won’t be the last.  However, it has gotten much more media coverage and more than most and has a greater number of serious followers than most such predicted events.

Doomsday cults and predictions have been around for at least centuries.  In each case, the predictions have failed to materialize, leading to some extreme disipointments.  In a few notable cases, some of the followers were so convinced that the world was about to end, they had abandoned their belongs, left jobs and otherwise destroyed their lives in the expectations of the end of days.  While there are few reports of that happening in preparation  for December 21, 2012, there are many who have invested a great deal in shelters and survival equipment in the hope of making it through the fall of human civilization.   (Of course, they can always use that stuff for the next predicted end of the world.)

Yet there is still some danger in these widespread beliefs.  Those who have bought into the idea that the coming day marks some great disaster or even the end of the world may simply wait for it to happen and then react with great disappointment when they wake up on the 22nd and realize they didn’t buy any Christmas presents or pay their bills for the month.  However, for the more extreme, and especially those who may have been followers of cults or movements centered around the prediction that the world is about to end, there is a danger of more extreme reactions.

Although rare, some doomsday predictions have resulted in mass suicide or violence. In 1995, members of the the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo cult came to believe that the end of the world was upon them and that their leader, a reincarnation of Jesus Christ, was preparing to save the sinners of the world, but that in order for this to happen, a great war, which had been foretold, must begin. Their convoluted beliefs motivated them to release sarin nerve gas on the Tokyo Subway, injuring hundreds and killing thirteen and injuring hundreds.

Suicides have been more common. Members of the French Cult, the Order of the Solar Temple, were part of a handful of high profile mass suicides in the 1990′s. In 1997, 39 members of the group Heaven’s Gate committed suicide, believing that an alien spacecraft, following the Comet Hale-Bopp was arriving to deliver their souls from earth. (It is unclear whether they believed this was directly related to the end of the world, although apparently they expected that would occur in the relatively near future.)

I certainly do not wish to raise the alarm and nobody should be overly concerned of major acts of terrorism – such actions can happen anytime, anyway.  In all likelihood the day will pass without any major incidents.   However, if you happen to have a friend or family member who is very deeply involved in cult-like practices or is just prone to taking these things very seriously, it might be a good idea to check up on them.


This entry was posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2012 at 11:19 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, History, religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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10 Responses to “As 12.21.12 Dawns, There is Some Reason For Concern”

  1. 1
    Mark Says:

    A new post and no comments yet? Guess that would happen when a subject as politically charged as gun control comes up!


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  2. 2
    DV82XL Says:

    Your point is well taken Steve. We can only hope that this isn’t going to push the unhinged too far into their own fantasies before the day is out.


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  3. 3
    Bob Wilson Says:

    “Doomsday cults and predictions have been around for at least centuries.”

    No kidding. Look at some recent ones:
    population bomb
    global cooling
    global warming
    climate change

    “Although rare, some doomsday proficiencies have resulted in mass suicide or violence.”

    You’re right, look at the responses of the cultists:
    zero population growth
    cap and tax
    huge taxpayer provided subsidies for “green” and “alternative” energy scams

    We really do have to keep an eye on these cultists


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  4. 4
    Jason Smith Says:

    Last year an old pastor started saying Jesus would return in May and then start the rapture, followed by the destruction of the world, which would be completed by October. He said this was based on his mathematical calculations of some versus in the bible.

    Most people, even really religious people, laughed at it and were not surprised when it came and went and the world continued to exist. Somehow he managed to get a few people to buy it hook line and sinker and some of them were so sure that it was the end they sold their houses, quit their jobs and spent all their money trying to convince others.

    It was jsut a few people, but they were up **** creek after ti was over. Poor fools.


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  5. 5
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Jason Smith said:

    Last year an old pastor started saying Jesus would return in May and then start the rapture, followed by the destruction of the world, which would be completed by October.

    He said this was based on his mathematical calculations of some versus in the bible.

    Most people, even really religious people, laughed at it and were not surprised when it came and went and the world continued to exist. Somehow he managed to get a few people to buy it hook line and sinker and some of them were so sure that it was the end they sold their houses, quit their jobs and spent all their money trying to convince others.

    It was jsut a few people, but they were up **** creek after ti was over. Poor fools.

    Yes, the guy you are thinking of is Harold Camping. I think he only managed to get a few dozen people to fall for his crap so badly they left their lives/jobs/homes etc.

    Unfortunately, in these cases, the fallout from these fools has ripple effects that tend to hurt more than just the idiots who sold their homes. In the case of Camping, there was a lot of collateral damage. Several people took out loans they could never pay back and used them to pay for advertisements and such. When the end didn’t come, they defaulted and the banks (and thus bank customers) had to absorb the loss. A number of people walked away from their families and left spouses and children high and dry.

    An especially sad story was of a 14 year old, who was pulled from school and had his family’s college savings blown on this nonsense by his mother and father. He thought they were nuts, but at 14 years old, there was little he could do. (I will try to find the article)

    The idiots who do this crap always end up falling back on somebody. Families are forced to take them in or they become a burden on taxpayer-funded aid and welfare programs.

    That’s the really sad thing. The way our society functions, when you blow your retirement, default on loans and abandon your responsibilities, the harm has effects beyond yourself.


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  6. 6
    George Says:

    Thankfully there were no reports of anyone going too nuts on this, but I do agree it is always something that can happen and it actually has happened a few times.

    What might have made this time a closer call than most is that the claim that it was the end was picked up by so many big media groups and pushed harder than you get from most and that would mean an off kilter individual looking for an excuse to think the world was about to end might find one more easily.

    Glad it did not happen, but still, it is always a concern when these idiots start spouting proficiency of doomsday.


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  7. 7
    Jonny Says:

    All the signs now say that the end times could happen any time at all, but only a fool claims to know. It can’t be known to anyone except the Lord. It could be tomorrow or in a thousand years. Christ will return and the end will happen, but we know not when. It is part of faith to wait however long it may be.


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  8. 8
    PsihoKekec Says:

    I thought these things don’t happen around here, but I was talking with some of my relatives and when the topic came to this apocalypse they mentioned several people that bought up supplies and bunkered up when the time came. Can you imagine the mockery that these people must endure now?


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  9. 9
    drbuzz0 Says:

    I never quite understood that. I suppose if you think that it is the beginning of some kind of long term conflict or unrest then it would make sense. However, if you actually believe that the world will end, meaning it’s about to get sucked into a black hole or ripped apart by a planet-sized collision or something like that, then, in fact, it does not matter how many cans of pork and beans are in your basement.


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  10. 10
    Paul Studier Says:

    Well, I was prepared. I made sure that my computer was using the Gregorian calendar instead of the Mayan calendar.

    ;-)


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