Chinese Church Voices

What Will You Do if the World Doesn’t End?

Chinese Church Voices is an occasional column of the ChinaSource Blog providing translations of original writing by Christians in China. The views represented are entirely those of the original author; inclusion in Chinese Church Voices does not imply or equal an endorsement by ChinaSource.

The ancient Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012, leading many around the world to believe that day will mark the end of the world. PRI's Mary Kay Magistad reports that, according to a Reuters survey, "China ranks highest when it comes to end-of-the-world fears. Some 20 percent of those surveyed expected something to happen on Dec. 21." This article, posted on the Tianya Forum site, asks the question "How will you spend the rest of your life if the world doesn't end in 2012?," then gives an answer from a Christian perspective.

It's the beginning of December, and it's getting closer and closer to December 21, 2012, the date that the Mayan prophecies said the world would end. On the Chinese internet the "Mayan Question" has become popular, causing many internet users to think about the meaning of life: "If 2012 really is the end of the world, I should go home to eat with my family, wash my parents' feet, travel with loved ones " Casting aside their busy lives, what people really long for is affection, friendship, and love, which are true, good, and beautiful. If 2012 is not the end of the world, how will you spend the rest of your life?

Three years ago, the movie "2012" earned more than 400 million RMB in Mainland China. It also brought with it a lot of research on the Mayan Apocalyptic Prophecy," although everyone knew it wasn't true. Not long ago, the 3D version of "2012" appeared in cinemas. This 3D version was mainly made for the Chinese audience, since not many other countries or regions planned to show it.

Most people believe that the 2012 apocalyptic prophecy is not true, but it has still caused a lot of people to think. Two internet users on the Douban website, "Don't speak" and "Jia Ling Bi Jia," started a discussion, asking people to write down the ten things they'd like to accomplish in their last month before the end of the world. In less than 24 hours, more than 1400 people had already responded.

"Don't speak" is the internet name for Hai Huang, a 30-year-old with a normal office job. He happened to be talking to his friend about this topic, and they were curious as to how other people would answer the question as to what they'd like to do before the end of the world, and that was the start of this surprisingly popular topic. As a result, many young people, busy in the office at the end of the year, quieted their hearts to reexamine their lives.

Hai Huang says, "Many people wrote things like 'I want to have a really nice meal with my parents, and have a heart-to-heart talk with them.' Maybe everyone, deep down, feels like they owe their parents something, or maybe society is just too busy, and people don't have time to spend with their families. Other people have dreams that they have not yet accomplished, and they lack the motivation necessary to pursue those dreams, always putting them off. Only if the end of the world is really coming will people really accomplish those things, so they won't have any regrets. This activity is making some people reevaluate their lives."

Too many people have lost their dreams in the course of pursuing their dreams. Theyve lost their joy in the course of pursuing happiness, falling into endless busyness, stress, and anxiety. Isn't this putting the cart before the horse? The "myth of success" causes people to focus on tangible wealth while overlooking the loneliness and emptiness in the depths of their souls.

The "myth of success." Zhenshao Song proposed this notion: "Most people who pursue success have this sort of idea: success will make me happy! Led by this concept, they cast aside everything in the pursuit of success, ignoring their families, their health, their friends, and even their souls. But only once they've attained this so-called success do they realize that what they had given up was actually the essence of happiness. The myth of success will mislead some people, causing them to take a wrong turn. Young people think that working for a Fortune 500 company means success, or that earning more money means success, or that becoming a senior official means success. They then wither and fall along the path to success."

Zhenshao Song was also seduced by the "myth of success." When he was small, his family was poor, so he always believed that the essence of happiness was having better material conditions. "I once thought that having a computer would be enough, but when I got that, I thought that having a house would make me even happier, and that didn't happen. I know from repeated firsthand experience, material conditions aren't everything. When we elevate ourselves in our inner hearts, we'll receive more and more riches from life," says Zhenshao Song.

Zhenshao Song didn't write the ten things he would do during his last month on earth; neither did he not do something that he needed to do. If the "last day" really comes, he will continue living as he is now. For example, he'd try not to travel on business, spend a lot of time with his child and family, and "even if the end of the world came, I'd have no regrets.

"Christians should live like this, living each day as if it is our last. Then we won't have any regrets. Every day we should actively prepare, and work hard to mature, grow, and change, like the five wise virgins, waiting for their groom to come.

Original article: 『天涯杂谈』 如果2012没有末日 你要怎么过?

Read more about reactions in China to the Mayan "end of the world" prediction;
As Mayan 'end of the world' nears, Chinese especially interested in preparing (Public Radio International)
2012 Mayan Calendar Countdown: Apocalypse Fears Leads Chinese Man to Stab 22 School Children (International Business Times)
Web China: Netizens make wishes as end of Mayan Calendar Nears (People's Daily)

Image source: Aztec Calendar Sun Stone, by Kim Alaniz, via Flickr

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