We’re gonna party like it’s 2011

November 10, 2009

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America's periodic obsessions with the end of the world is reaching another peak. Historians track "Great Awakenings" of religious fervor that convulse the land about every 80 years. The "60s" is often labeled as the Fourth Great Awakening, if you start counting with Jonathan Edwards' puritan era. Another curious tide, tracking the awakening tide, is the periodic wave of writings about "End-Times" that has its own peaks about 30-40 years after each Great Awakening. The old-fashioned term for this social phenomenon is "millennialism" -- a fascination with the return of Jesus, his thousand-year reign, and Armageddon, the end of days.

We are presently witnessing another peak of millennialism, as the Baby Boomers of the 60s approach their own end of days. Surely a generation so "awakened" must be so important that Armageddon must arrive on their watch.

Predicting the date of the Second Coming of Jesus has never been a winning bet, though. Remember partying like it's 1999? 2000 (and 2001) were big letdowns.  Not to be denied, the faithful set aside the Christian calendar. Got a different calendar? The Chinese calendar's abacus-like complexity is no help. Hmmmm. What about the Mayans ? Now there's a godly folk. And how convenient -- 2012 arrives in time to get to heaven with all my teeth still attached.

NASA has a page denying that the world will end in 2012 . What does seem unstoppable is the opening of the movie 2012 this Friday the 13th. I will go see it, for the graphic edge-of-your-seat view. We're on the eve of destruction -- don't be left behind!