This past couple weeks in my Geography class have coincided with a section on Latin America. It’s been pertinent to the students, especially since we’ve been able to naturally bring up the ancient Mayan civilization and their doomsday calendar prophecy (supposedly this Friday, December 21st)
I’ve even heard some students mention their parents aren’t making them go to school that day (probably out of fear of Americans not Mayans).
Obviously, I don’t believe such ridiculous claims. Plenty of scholars have given reason to believe the Mayans actually thought their calendar would reset for another few thousand years cycle instead of ending abruptly. People of actual Mayan/Indian ancestry believe Dec 21st is a cause for celebration not doom.
Over-educated old white dudes from America are the ones who artificially drummed up this wacky prediction.
Regardless, people have a natural fascination with eschatology, whether it be through the book of Revelation, Nostradamus, alien/zombie apocalypse, Mayans, or some great climate change holocaust. Even most hardened skeptics believe the earth isn’t going to keep peacefully revolving as is for an indefinite period of time.
The Mayans were advanced in many ways as their art, architecture and complex writing system displays. But there is no reason to believe their prophetic skill is any better than Harold Camping’s fuzzy mathematical end time calculations. Three reasons why this modern Mayan cultural phenomenon is just dumb:
1. They never saw the Spanish Conquistadors coming. Or, even more devastatingly, they never saw the small pox the Spanish brought with them on the boat, which wiped out over 90% of the Mayans in just a few years. They couldn’t see the soon end of the their own civilization but they could see the future end of all the world civilizations? Yeah…
2. Human sacrifice was the norm. Whether to appease the corn god or to dedicate a newly built temple, archaeology has recently dug up 1 and 2-year-old sacrifice victims from Mayan ruins. A culture that legalistically murders its own in droves (some estimates 50,000 a year) doesn’t really seem to be a culture worth obsessing over now. Whatever cataclysmic tragedy the end of the world brings it can’t be much worse than sacrificing your own children.
3. Most importantly: The Mayans absolutely can’t know the exact date of the end of all things. Jesus, the perfect only Son of God, didn’t even know the specific date for the end of all things (Matt 24:36). Only the Father does. Yet people believe God would reveal these deep secrets to a culture of child murderers? What the Son doesn’t know no one else can know. Not Camping, not Nostradamus, not Jehovah Witnesses, not me, not you.
Yet with the most recent Sandy Hook news still fresh in our collective psyche we should be eagerly anticipating a better eternal city with lasting foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10). A city where a righteous King will reign with perfect love and justice (Revelation 21).
It really won’t be the end of anything, but rather a great unimaginable Beginning of truer lasting things.
Every last tear wiped.
Every last wrong righted.
I don’t believe it’s coming December 21st, but it’s one day closer than it was yesterday.