Shocking Poll: 15% Believe the End of the World is Near

Posted by Mike Tirone - Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

When the Mayan civilization was around, there was 200 million on the earth, according to Census.gov. Today, it looks as though the relatively small central American civilization has affected over a billion of our earth inhabitants today.

The Mayan's famous calendar spans about 5,125 years and abruptly cuts short on December 21, 2012 --just around six months from now-- supposedly signifying the end the world.

Movies, books, television shows and many other forms of pop culture have discussed the potential end of the world based on the Mayan calendar. And it seems that there are plenty of people convinced that the end is near...

According to a recent poll from Reuters, almost 15% of people worldwide (around 1.05 billion) believe the world will end during their lifetime, while 10% (about 701 million people) think the Mayan calendar could signify it will happen this year.

“Whether they think it will come to an end through the hands of God, or a natural disaster or a politcal event, whatever the reason, one in seven thinks the end of the world is coming,” said Kere Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos Global Public Affairs which conducted the poll.

There is a strong possibility of external influences upon these individuals polled, as Gottfried feels that the numbers a bit skewed.

“Perhaps it is because of the media attention coming from one interpretation of the Mayan prophecy that states the world 'ends' in our calendar year 2012,” Gottfried explains, while also adding that some Mayan scholars have disputed the interpretation.

One famous Mayan scholar (aka “Mayanist”), David Stuart, has voiced his opinion on the matter in his blog The Maya Decipherment. When asked what the Maya said about 2012, Stuart answers:

“They actually said very little, if anything. Only one ancient inscription refers to the upcoming 13.0.0.0.0 date in 2012, from a now destroyed site named Tortuguero. … What we can say with confidence is that the ancient Maya left no clear or definite record about 2012 and its significance. There is certainly no ancient claim that the world or any part of it will come to an end.

When answering where this “end of the world” claim came from, Stuart says,

“[From] New Age hacks and, now, Hollywood producers. The idea can be traced largely back to the novelist and mystic named Frank Waters, who in the 1960s and 70s wrote a number of novels and cultural treatises on Native Americans of the American southwest.

...

Waters’ ideas got picked up and expanded upon by Jose Arguelles in his insanely misguided but influential book The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology (1987). Many different writers have followed with their own strange books and essays on the “meaning” of 2012, mostly contradicting one another.

Responses to the international poll of 16,262 people in more than 20 countries varied widely. Only six percent of French residents believing in an impending Armageddon in their lifetime while 22% of residents in Turkey and the United States believe we're doomed. South Africa and Argentina also have fairly high percentages.

According to Reuters,

About one in 10 people globally also said they were experiencing fear or anxiety about the impending end of the world in 2012. The greatest numbers were in Russia and Poland, the fewest in Great Britain.

Gottfried also said that people with lower education or household income levels, as well as those under 35 years old, were more likely to believe in an apocalypse during their lifetime or in 2012, or have anxiety over the prospect.

"Perhaps those who are older have lived long enough to not be as concerned with what happens to their future," she explained.

Wealth Wire wants your take on the matter. Do you feel we all will meet our maker this year? Or in the near future/during your lifetime? Or is it completely out of the question? Leave your answers in the comment box below and vote in our poll...

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