One in every seven people around the world, or fifteen percent, believe the world will end during the course of their lives. U.S., China and Turkey have the most believers, with about 22 percent thinking the end is near. But why 2012? This date comes from the supposed doomsday prophecy made by the Mayan calendar. The prediction says that the world will end on December 21, 2012. Read an extract of the article below:
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Anthropologists have explained that Mayans did make predictions, but these were not fatalistic. They never said anything about the end of the world. The obsession with this thought has been more common in Western thinking.
So why has the prediction gained so much support? Extremists might use this information to abuse the fear of others. There is a lot of money in encouraging people’s fears and releasing books, movies, and related products. It has also received a lot of media attention. The Internet has allowed it to gain much more attention than other panics. There are hundreds of thousands of websites on the subject. NASA offered a special service called “ask an Astrobiologist,” and received thousands of questions on whether people should kill themselves, their children and their pets. It has also appeared on many documentaries and references in television.
Doomsday (n.) = the day of the Last Judgment, at the end of the world
Fatalistic (adj.) = accepting a belief that everything is inevitable
Extremist (n.) = a supporter of extreme practices
Abuse (n.) = to use incorrectly
Encourage (v.) = to stimulate
Panic (n.) = a widespread terror