opinionBy Nqaba Matshazi
THE world, will come to an end in three weeks, at least if you believe in an ancient Mayan tradition that claims it will end on December 21 2012.
Scholars have for the past several decades been trying to decipher what the 5 125-year-old Mayan calendar means, but to date only contrasting theories have been developed, but for the doomsday theorists, that is enough to prove that the end is nigh.
The Mayans are an ancient civilisation, which lived in Mexico several millennia ago and have had a long-running calendar that inexplicably stops on December 21 2012, giving credence to theories that this was a sign of the end of the world.
What further gives credence to Mayans as clairvoyants of note is that, with chilling accuracy, they predicted World War I and the Asian Tsunami of 2004.
Some doomsday cults believe that on December 21, the earth will be aligned with the sun and the stars, a rare phenomenon, which only happens once in several millennia.
The alignment will mean overheating of the earth's core, allowing the earth's crust to shift and this will be cataclysmic.
Continents will then shift, the north and south poles more so, with floods and fire being a key component of this shift.
And with the floods that recently hit America, Europe and most of the world, doomsday theorists feel vindicated and think the tell-tale signs are there for all to see. Recently, flood warnings have also been issued for Zimbabwe.
But Christians on the other hand can sit easy, as they believe that God will not destroy the world with water and floods again, that is if his promise to Noah is anything to go by.
Pastor Useni Sibanda, the national director of the Christian Alliance, dismissed the predictions, saying no one knew the date or time of the world would end.
"Even Jesus said he did not know the date or time of his Second Coming," he said. "Christianity offers signs of the end times and these are there for all to see, but when the world ends, we do not know."
Sibanda said wars and acts of God-like hurricanes and floods were signs of the end times, but this did not mean the apocalypse was close.
Theological College of Zimbabwe president, Ray Motsi, said such predictions tended to confuse people and should not be taken seriously.
"We dismiss them, they are alarmists," he said. "History is full of doomsday prophesies that have not come true."
However, some scholars believe December 21, the winter solstice or shortest day in the northern hemisphere, does not necessarily mean an end of the world, but rather heralds a new beginning of peace and unity.
But Mayan tradition states that a new beginning can only happen after the destruction of the old world order and so doom is predicted.
Apocalypse theories questionable
However, apocalypse theories are nothing new and have been doing the rounds for a while. Most recently, Harold Camping forecasted that Judgement Day would be on May 21 2011, with the end of the world coming five months down the line.
Camping, president of Christian radio, Family Radio, had initially claimed the world would end in 1994, and then hilariously claimed he had got his Biblical math wrong and the world would instead end in 2011. But then, he got his maths wrong, again.
But maybe one that will strike a chord with Zimbabweans is Pat Cummings of the 700 Club, which used to be broadcast on ZBC, who infamously claimed the world would end in 1982.
He continues to make predictions to this date, most of them, wide off the mark.
The world was also supposed to end in 2000, with many projecting that Jesus would return to take his own, but again the year passed without much incident.