So the world ended and we’re all still here. How do you like that?
As ‘end of the world’ predictions go, this one had few followers. In fact, back in January 2012 when this was all discovered, or at least publicized, there were a lot of people who were quite possibly genuinely worried that the world very well might end on December 21, 2012; but as of last night, there was no rioting in the streets, no mass chaos, no doomsday call to repentance.
The reason that this was dismissed so quickly as compared to others is both simple and complicated at the same time.
Personally I am going to credit social media for the discrediting of the Mayan prediction. That is probably convenient because I also blame social media for creating the hysteria. But in short, facebook, twitter and google+ have been awash in humorous posts saying the world would not end. There were more than a few occasions where some time honored tradition or established enterprise would collapse, and everyone would be quick to post some ‘well played Mayans’ caption at the death of Dick Clark or the collapse of Twinkies.
So social media outlets pulled through in reaching the masses, more so than any other entity, that this was not to be taken seriously.
And therein lies the lesson from all of this.
Social media is the newest outlet for advancing the Gospel to people that are not being reached. I don’t care how many stories you want to tell me of how somebody read a Gideon’s Bible in a Super 8 motel and found Jesus. The reality is that I stay in plenty of hotels, and I have never even opened one of those Bibles, and I am someone who would be likely to do so.
Facebook, twitter, and google+, as well as many other venues are the place for reaching people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. People are on these outlets all day long, reading and downloading and posting. The Church needs to do more in getting its message out.
Do these venues promote a false gospel? Of course, how do you think we got this Mayan calendar nonsense in the first place?
Because that is the other side of the coin with social media knocking down the Mayan calendar issue; it has led some to assume that the world may never end. If this prediction of an ancient civilization is wrong, so to must the accounts of others be wrong, so to must Christianity be wrong.
If the Church does not reach out with the Gospel and reach people who sit at computer screens and stare at smart phones all day, they will be among those who will be condemned on the day that Christ returns and the world does end.
The lack of hysteria, the plethora of jokes, the laid back approach that we are all taking to December 21, 2012 is a lesson: the power of social media works. It can work for you and it can work against you. If you are absent entirely, it will work against you. The goal of the Church is to have a presence, to have a voice; so that some might be saved.