The 2012 (Religious?) Movement

The belief that the end of the world, or a massive meteor strike, or .. or something, will happen on Dec 12, 2012 (12/12/12 … get it?) is pretty popular. But, the widely accepted belief system may be more than just a bunch of crazy assholes with huge gaps in their education. It may shed light on the formation of religious movements. Archaeologist John Hoopes has an interesting interview about the subject over at Boing Boing.

MKB: We’re starting to see anthropologists publishing research on the 2012 movement. Why is the movement something important to study on its own, separate from the traditional archaeology that seeks to understand what ancient Mayans believed?


JH: Mainly because I think it gives us an opportunity to see how religious movements begin.

There’s a lot in that mythology that people are referring to as if it is real or as something they want to believe in. It’s been tied together with the Age of Aquarius, the legitimacy of prophecy, and visionary experiences. There’s a lot there that’s similar to the beginnings of other religious traditions. Christianity, for instance, began in the context of messianic prophecies. The LDS church began in the context of speculation about Native Americans and concerns about the end of the world. And the Millerite movement of the 1840s is another one. That gave rise to today’s Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses. William Miller prophesied the second coming for October 1844. And even though it didn’t happen, it still had a lasting legacy because so many people believed. Publications started by Millerites are still the publications of the Jehovah’s Witnesses today. I really think there will be some religious or spiritual movements that come out of the 2012 mythology. If you go into Barnes and Noble and look in the metaphysics or spirituality sections, you’ll find tons of books about 2012. It’s not treated as historical or scientific, but as spiritual.

Explore posts in the same categories: Confused Thinking, Conspiracy Theories

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