Well I answered this question before and it created a firestorm of hate speech directed at Christians with a Biblical perspective, and if my memory serves me well, you are looking for anything other than a Biblical perspective for an answer here. However, knowing full well that my answer will likely be voted down by non-believers I will answer your question anyway according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
I do not believe the world will end because the Mayans et al predicted it would. "But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:36) However, I do believe that we are on the threshold of the end of the world as we know it and it happens to be a coincidence that the Mayans and other cultures point to a end of the world this year.
The economy is a bubble about to burst. Israel has become a nation and this generation that is living now is the generation according to Biblical prophecy that will see the end of times.
The world situation is ripe for the introduction of a one world government and religion, led by a world leader as prophesied in the Bible.
There is no prophecy that has yet to be fulfilled before Bible-believing Christians are raptured out of here. We possess the technology and instability at this time for there to be a rationalization of the disappearance that will satisfy the masses.
The number and intensity of natural disasters is increasing and everything is set for the final wars described in the Bible. Look at the mideast and Israel. The mideast is a ticking bomb, about to go off.
The world is in crisis and ready for a world leader to come to center stage. Look out for "peace and security." "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV)