Researchers are debating whether or not the Mayan calendar actually attempted to predict the end of days.
Mayans existed in Central America between 250 and 900 A.D. They devised a cyclical calendar that can run 5,126 years, beginning in 3114 B.C. Because 5,126 minus 3,114 equals 2,012, conspiracies have started that the Mayans were trying to predict that the world would end in 2012.
Researchers say there is no truth to the conspiracies, according to ABCnews.com.
“There's no real prophesy that says this is going to be the end of the world,” said Christopher Powell, an archeologist who studies Mayan culture. “Not from the Mayan ruins, anyway."
Physicist Ian O'Neill has written a piece for Discovery that says, "There's no evidence to suggest the Mayans believed the end of their Long Count calendar would spell doomsday."
Christian evangelists such as preacher and Family Radio Worldwide founder Harold Camping has predicted doomsday incorrectly on several occasions. He predicted the world would end in 1994, then said that the Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011, and his latest prediction was an October 2011 Rapture.
Camping boldly told The Associated Press that “May 21 will be the date of the Rapture and the Day of Judgment.”
As a result, many believers sold their homes and gave up their wealth to follow Camping. They bought t-shirts and other merchandise and stood on street corners telling of the upcoming Rapture.
Camping has not yet explained why his prediction was incorrect.
Steven L. Sherman, author of The Revelation of Christ: Understanding the Apocalypse, told The Christian Post that this is what happens when people are not “Bible literate."
Sherman thinks there are natural and social signs of the apocalypse. According to him, the book of Daniel speaks of the confirmation of the continent, meaning we have to look to Israel for "God's time clock" as he puts it.
He says the lack of recognition of the Camp David Accords by Egypt could be a signal. Sherman believes that persecution of the righteous and plagues will begin after the confirmation of the continent and what we know as the end of days would follow.
"In my view," Sherman said, "the Armageddon is not the end of earth – it is the end of evil days."
The Christian writer believes that predictors of the end of days like Camping are miscalculating the timing of years of the Scripture and that leaders like him should be "disfellowshipped."
"Where do you think the people who followed him were asked to give all their belongings?" Sherman asks. "To his industries!"
To Sherman, people who believe in the Mayan calendar as the predictor of the end of days are believing in paganism. "I don't put any credence in it, but Christians have to be prepared for persecution one day," said the author.
“I had some skepticism but I was trying to push the skepticism away because I believe in God,” said Keith Bauer, who drove his family from Maryland to Camping's Oakland, Calif., Family Radio headquarters, according to the NYDailynews.com.
“I was hoping for it because I think heaven would be a lot better than this earth,” he said.
Family Radio spent approximately $1 million on a billboard campaign. In 2002, the Christian radio station was worth around $22 million. By 2008, it was valued at over $117 million.
CBSnews.com reported that the apocalypse has been predicted over 100 times over the past 100 years.