Is Dec. 21 the end of the world?

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SALT LAKE CITY - There are only 15 days until the Mayan calendar ends, which some believe will also mark the end of the world. One local expert believes something interesting may happen on Dec. 21, but not what those people think.

Dr. Allen Christenson, a BYU professor and Mayan expert, says that the movies claiming that 2012 is the end of the world are interesting, but they don't reflect what the Maya believe. He says Dec. 21 will usher in a new era.

"Yes absolutely the world is going to end in 2012," Christenson said. "You have to understand what the Maya mean by that. In Maya culture, the world time itself is not immortal and is not all powerful, everything dies and it dies on a regular basis. So every time the sun sets, the world dies. Every time there's a harvest, the world dies. Every time December 31st comes around, the world dies."

Christenson says that when a Mayan calendar comes to an end, it starts again, just like when our calendar ends on Dec. 31, a new one begins on Jan. 1.

"Instead of looking at it as a permanent death we should look at it more like the Maya do an opportunity to start over," he said.

He's not worried about Dec. 21, and says the Maya aren't, either. They believe it's a spiritual renewal; one that will happen while the world still turns.

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