Life Goes On: Doomsday Theories Are Taking Over Our Lives

Life Goes On: Doomsday Theories Are Taking Over Our Lives

Tony Williams of the Aphesis Apostolic Ministry in Fresno, California, holds this sign on the weekends to urge people to consider giving their lives to God. "I get flipped off," he says. "One good response is better than all the negative." (Mark Crosse/Fresno Bee/MCT)

First, it was Y2K. At midnight on January 1, 2000, computer systems were supposed to collapse, causing a global shutdown and throwing mankind back into the Dark Ages.

At midnight on January 1, 2000, New Year’s parties went on, and life went on.

Then, it was the pole shift hypothesis. According to Richard Noone in his book “5/5/2000 – Ice: The Ultimate Disaster,” on May 5, 2000, the planets Mercury, Mars, Venus, Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn would align for the first time in 6,000 years, causing a catastrophic buildup of ice at the South Pole, leading to the world’s chilly demise.

On May 5, 2000, here in Westport, albeit a drizzly day, the temperature reached a high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit, and the world did not freeze over.

Over the past few months, it has been Christian radio host Harold Camping’s Rapture theory. It was predicted that on May 21 at 6 p.m. in each time zone, devastating earthquakes would strike, marking the beginning of the Rapture, and the end of the world.

At 6 p.m. on May 21, I didn’t feel the ground rumble, and I certainly didn’t see any of my neighbors fly up into the sky.

However, at 6:01 on the day of the anticipated Rapture, I did see on my Facebook newsfeed not only junior prom muploads, but also dozens of statuses about how since the world was still in existence, people could now focus more on 2012.

December 21, 2012—which marks the completion of a “great cycle” of 13 “b’ak’tuns” (periods of 144,000 days each) in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar—is the next expected “end of the world,” but no one is quite sure what will cause the apocalypse on that day. Some are expecting a geomagnetic reversal. Others are planning to be sucked into a giant black hole. I’ve heard rumors that aliens will take over at the stroke of midnight.

Me? I’ll be enjoying my last day of school before winter break.

Fueled by extremist religious groups, survivalists, and movie upon movie, these doomsday theories have gotten out of hand and taken over our lives. My little brother, the most practical-minded sixth-grader I know, made me give him a hug at 5:59 on May 21, in case the world did actually end.

I mean, really?

There’s no question it’s a big world out there, and we’ve got some major issues. Natural disasters, increasing political tensions, and dwindling resources ultimately pose newer and tougher challenges for our survival on this planet. But I think it’s a problem when I can’t even have a serious conversation with a friend or family member about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami or Osama bin Laden’s capture and killing without the word “2012” coming up.

These conspiracy theories are all over the Internet too. I’ve been invited three times on Facebook to the group “Post-Rapture Looting,” which boasts over 20,000 members. The Guardian, one of world’s most prominent newspapers released a guide on how to prepare for the Rapture. For crying out loud, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted a blog on how to be safe during a zombie apocalypse.

It’s gotten to the point where I simply cannot escape from the end of the world. I can’t search “2012” in the effort to read information about the potential presidential candidates without every single link on the first Google page relating to the apocalypse in some way. I even tried to start writing my English research paper on Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” and I somehow landed on a conspiracy page talking about the inevitable correlation between vampires and 2012. Seriously.

All this hype about the end of the world is ultimately delaying us from living our lives to the fullest. I don’t know about you, but if I believed in 2012 and it actually does happen, I would be pretty p.o.’ed when aliens blow up my house realizing that I had spent the last three years worrying about it happening than actually having fun.

Long story short, if you’re buying into the 2012 end of the world stuff or not, enjoy every day.

You never know if it’s your last.