Special Report: Predicting the End of Time

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) –  Is it possible to foretell the future and predict when the world as we know it will come to an end? Some people believe it is and that life's most sought out answers are hidden deep within ancient Mayan Ruins built thousands of years ago.

Others believe film makers and authors are cashing-in on the hype with movies like the latest blockbuster hit, '2012'.

It's one of life's greatest mysteries. When will the world as we know it come to an end? And when it's near, will there be catastrophic  signs?

"I think the end of time will be in my lifetime," said Hurdie Peterkin.

According to some researchers, Peterkin may be right. In fact, many believe the apocalypse will happen soon; in the year 2012 in fact. Some theorists even pinpoint doomsday to December 21st, 2012, when the earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

"Some believe it's going to be an age of new spirituality, others believe it will be the end of the world,"  said Jack Clay of the Dougherty County School System.

Believers in the 2012 apocalypse theory point to the ancient Mayan culture. The advanced civilization reached its height from 200 to 900 AD and is known for its intricate architecture, astronomical expertise, and sophisticated calendars. Their longest cyclical calendar began approximately 5,125 years ago and is set to end  in 2012.

But is the end of their calendar, like the end of ours, signifying simply the start of a new one?  Or does it hold a greater significance… is it the end of humanity?

"There was a temple that is reported to have specific details about what the Mayans feel like the end of the world was going to be like. But that temple was destroyed," Bryan Collier of the Dougherty County School System.

"There are a lot of good researchers that have done a lot of talking about this and even then nobody can come up with a good consensus  as to what they truly believed," said Collier.

Angie Kearbey is and always has been apprehensive about December 21st, 2012. "I'll be nervous, I'll be glad when the day is past."

She says anytime a prediction is made about the end of the world, she gets a little antsy. "When it was 1999 I was very nervous then too."

She's referring to Y2K, when some people feared the world would come to a halt when the clock struck midnight in the year 2000. In 1988, when the book 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988 hit the shelves, the nation panicked, too.  And the timeline of failed end of world predictions could go on and on.

"Throughout the years I hear people talk about this, that THIS could be the end," said Leesburg First Methodist Pastor Mike Lyons.

Religious leaders like Lyons aren't buying into what they call a "hype". Pastor Lyons says authors and movie makers are cashing in, and taking advantage of the public's desire for answers to life's big questions.

"The truth is we want control, we want to know. But no one knows the day or the hour, not even the angels."

But did the Mayans know? Some still say the answer is yes, and life-changing secrets are hidden deep within their ruins.  And of course others find any and all apocalyptic predictions…rubbish.

Either way, our fascination with predicting the end of time remains.  And if 2012 too proves to be a false prediction, there are sure to be many more until the 'real end' arrives.

Solar flares, huge cracks in the Earth large enough to swallow skyscrapers, and massive tidal waves… it's all a part of the on-screen global chaos seen in the movie '2012'.

The prophecy is based on one of the Mayan calendars. It began more than 5,000 years ago, and is set to end in the year 2012.

"It's a concern of course. I want to live out my life," said Angie Kearbey. "Anytime there is some prediction I get nervous, that's how I am."

But those who study the Mayan culture like Dougherty county school teachers Bryan Collier and Jack Clay aren't buying into what they call a 'hype' based on very little facts.

"The Mayans today don't place much emphases on this, or Westerners are coming in saying 'this is what it means to us,'" said Clay.

"Really for the Mayans the end of the long calendar was just the start of a new calendar. We know they believed there was a long count before, and that kind of implies there would be time after that," said Collier.

Only it's hard to know for sure because most of the Mayan temples were destroyed when the Spanish conquered the ancient civilization in the 1400s.

"Nobody can come up with a good consensus as to what they truly believed," said Collier.

But Methodist Pastor Mike Lyons DOES know what he believes, and it has nothing to do with the Mayans. "He'll come like a thief in the night and there will be a sense of shock and awe about his appearance."

Pastor Lyons tells his congregation to live everyday like Jesus is coming tomorrow. He says no one can predict the end of the world as we know it, and he has scripture to back up his beliefs.

"It talks about the return of Christ and it says nobody will know the day or the hour."

Although most Christians don't try and predict an exact day and year like December 21st, 2012, they do believe the final days are among us.

"There are biblical passages that tell us how we will know the end of times. There will be earthquakes, wars, etc. So we are having some of those things," said Horton.

She's referring to the many passages in the Christian Bible that speak of earthquakes, like Matthew 24:7 which reads, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places."

"I think that has something to do with it, now they're more prevalent than ever," said Peterkin.

A graph which shows the number of deadly and destructive Earthquakes with Magnitudes 6 to 8 between 1900 and 2008. The graph shows a drastic increase in earthquakes since the year 2000, and that's not including the most recent ones in China, Chile, and Haiti. And scenes like this scare people.

"I think the end of time will be in my lifetime," said Peterkin.

But many professors say there are scientific explanations to explain the increase in earthquake activity.

"Constant changes are guaranteed in nature :14:28 The global warming seems to be releasing pressure. So when you melt ice, the pressure is released then we can be having earthquakes." said Dr. Babatunde Abayomi, ASU Professor.

Although reasons behind end of time predictions vary, one thing is clear. People everywhere are fascinated with the subject.

Widespread interest in the subject is made clear by simply looking at a bookshelf At Books A Million. Dozens of 2012 books are for sale. There is even an Idiot's Guide for 2012.

When we did a search on google.com for 2012 and the end of times, we got 44 million hits. And on YouTube we found 46 thousand clips warning viewers about their fate.

"People have sold their houses, their cars, gotten rid of their material things and we're still here. I've lived through decades of them," said Horton.

So is it really just a big 'hype' for nothing, similar to Y2K.

Or is there truth behind the prophecies… it may sound cliche , but only time will tell the answers to one of life's greatest mysteries and finally put an end to predicting the end of time.

Other apocalyptic predictions were made in the year 2007, 2000, 1988, and many other years where authors and movie makers cashed in on their theories. We did a Google search for 2012 and the end of the world and got 40 million hits.

There are thousands more clips on You Tube too.

©2010 WALB News. All rights reserved.